"For the Birds" from Pixar is a hilarious 3-minute cartoon video which I have used many times as a ice-breaker with teams, networks and groups. It is a great way to make people laugh, relax and quickly open up a really good discussion on some very important team-related issues. Make sure you watch right to the end with the sound on!
Howard Rheingold talks on www.TED.com about the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action and how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group.
Are you smarter than a goose? Sure you are -- one on one. But when it comes to working efficiently, you and your colleagues can't touch the gaggle. According to author Ken Thompson, geese and other animals that naturally form groups have a lot to teach us about business. In a theory he calls organizational biomimetics, Thompson lays out the principles underlying nature's management strategies. So what can you learn from a bird or an ant? Take a gander. Katharine Gammon at Wired Magazine reports.
Techtarget report on a June Dice Holdings survey of over 1,500 tech professionals, which found that 37% of them would accept a pay cut of up to 10% in exchange for the opportunity to work from home (telecommute).
What do Ants, Termites, Graffiti Artists, Cavemen, Teenagers and Town Planners all have in common? They understand the power of Stigmergy to leave marks in their environment as important sign-posts to friends (or foes). Even more importantly they all know the difference between sign-posting and dialogue.
In How To Innovate And Create New Business Opportunities When You Are A Small Fish: Here Comes The VEN, Robin Good and Ken Thompson argue that when you are a small fish, it may appear pretty difficult, if not altogether out of your reach, to be able to "network up" with other small firms to provide higher value services to major clients. But is it a real physical limitation or is it just that small companies lack a proven and effective business collaboration model - The Virtual Enterprise Network (VEN)?
I have been thinking a lot about what happens when a leader gets under severe pressure, usually because things are not going according to plan. It seems to me this is the very essence of real leadership and where leaders can really justify their salaries. BUT according to Professor Dietrich Dorner, in his excellent book The Logic Of Failure: Recognizing And Avoiding Error In Complex Situations, there are two very tempting but ultimately disastrous tangents a leader can pursue in a crisis instead of addressing the real issues.
Many networks and communities seem to require constant attention from the leaders or facilitators. Its always the same old people who seem to do all the work. Take away the leader, perhaps because the funding runs out, and the community just withers and dies - sometimes within a matter of weeks. Often this happens because the network has not cultivated the 3 critical dialogues in a community: taking care of business, grooming and emoting. These dialogs must take occur across the 3 key network encounters: one-one, one-many and many-many. Heres how you can make your networks and communities less fragile!
I have always been a great fan of the Blackberry from RIM with its mobile email and its full QWERTY keyboard but it was always so bulky. So when I got the chance to upgrade to the sleek and slim Blackberry Pearl I thought it was worth a go. I read some great reviews of the product too. But the slim style comes at a price – a new style QWERTY keyboard with two alpha letters on each key instead of one. But for me in terms of usability it’s a disaster.
For a manager, whose only background is traditional monolithic enterprises, being put in charge of a virtual business network or a collaborative supply chain is like a fixed wing pilot trying to fly a helicopter without any training. With the extra degree of freedom and the lack of inherent stability involved there is only going to be one outcome unless that leader spends some time on a network simulator first. Here is a chance to build-up some solid flight training hours before you take-off in the real thing!