Thursday, November 26, 2009

Creativity - Finding the Meaning!

I liked reading this article. Resonates with me....especially the bit about creativity and depression! So, maybe, it is indeed true that lack of creativity when dealing with something leaves you thinking that you are not able to find the meaning (in that activity)! Need to sleep on this. :-)

Technology for Society

Ashoka: Innovators for the Public are hosting Tech 4 Society, a conference exploring technology, invention and social change, in Hyderabad, India, in February 2010. Find out more about the conference here. This blog post is an entry in their competition to find the official blogger to travel to and cover the event.

This is a rare post because it is on a subject, regarding which I have negligible exposure, experience and expertise. But there, nevertheless, are other strong forces that make me want to write. Interest, intrigue, inclination and introspection. I’m embarking on this post with the intention of being a part of Ashoka-Lemelson Technology for Society Event. But it is also true that I may have anyway written on this topic sooner or later. In fact, I hope this happens to be the first step towards a series of enlightened posts on this topic. So, what is the topic?

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The intersection of Social Change, Invention and Technology! Doesn’t that show signs of an interesting merry-go-round? If Social Change + Invention + Technology is not equal to a Revolution, I don’t know what a revolution is all about. When I started pondering about this, I picked up a sheet of paper and wrote these terms down in three overlapping circles and stared at them for a while and felt overwhelmed; the intersecting area in the middle of the three circles, I realized, is extremely wide, deep and expansive in reality. I am not sure how effective this effort will be given my unfamiliarity with, and the sheer density of, the topic, but here I go, equipped with nothing more than a few reliable facts and some random introspective thoughts. I hope to make the right connections and hear a few resounding clicks.

One of the more important questions in the context of this topic would perhaps be “Why and how does such a revolution start?” I think the heart of the idea lies in the desperate need for a social change. And, I dare say, it starts with an emotional response to a social challenge rather than a commercial ambition. Another dimension would be the technical wherewithal at the disposal of the source of this emotion. The third important aspect would be the energy put into, and the methods leveraged on for, building awareness (a word that scores over marketing in this context) and increasing the reach (of services). Someone with a passion for making a positive difference to the society and a flair for technology or even just technological possibilities is undoubtedly the hero/heroine we are looking for. One look at the NGOs around the world, entities like Ashoka and socially conscious individuals would give us a lot of reasons to be happy about. The focus on Social Entrepreneurship in top-notch B-Schools is also an important turning point. More often than not, the idea flashes at the intersection of technology and a need of the society. Someone who spots and empathizes with (or experiences) a social challenge and draws a connection between it and a technological concept might discover where the two meet. It could be a flash or a consequence of repeated introspection or discussions (with relevant people).

In Business Week’s recent list of most intriguing start-ups (wherein technology plays a critical role), I noticed that most of the ideas could be roughly classified based on what inspires them – Entertainment (games, music etc) Environment (alternative energy sources etc), and, arguably, Empathy (health, education). In my view, social entrepreneurship is associated with the last. It would be wonderful to see such start-ups cover more areas related to education, agriculture, health, infrastructure, governance, and poverty alleviation in the case of developing countries.

Most revolutionary ideas for social change piggyback on mobile technology, techno-scientific instruments and the Internet. I think the impact lies in the radical changes that technology brings to the way we communicate, create and run communities and provide - virtual - services. Technology is just the enabler, but it drastically changes the scale, speed and cost at which we do things. It signifies doing more with less. Arguably, the quality of governance goes up as well. In order to fully leverage on these aspects for social change, the IT ministry and the government need to play a role. We need to have the ideas converted into project plans, advised by knowledgeable and passionate communities. Teams should be given the freedom for implementation but held accountable. Projects should be piloted and then scaled up after observing the initial impact and benefits.

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As I wrote this post, I recalled that I’d voted for “Help social entrepreneurs drive change” in the Google 10^100 Project many weeks ago. This, I might claim, is my only, however absurd, claim to fame in this context. But I seriously hope to walk the talk and contribute in other ways.

I’d like to dedicate this post to Zephyr who is a brilliant embodiment of the above said topic. Zephyr is the author of Freedom’s Way (a highly inspiring book) and is currently leveraging on technology to help individuals and organizations find their true potential via tools such as Meta-Analysis and Vision Driver. As he so beautifully puts it on his blog, he focuses on "Marrying World Wisdoms, Profound Thinking, and the Latest Insights in Science to the Unique Opportunities of Modern Living". Also, it is a great time to dedicate such a post to Zephyr as it was, coincidentally, his birthday yesterday! :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reverse Brainstorming

I love paradox thinking! Totally into it! Fascinated by it, you know! Would be game to try almost everything that suggests a "reverse" approach! [Thanks to Derm Barret's book's - The Paradox Process - influence on me!] :-)

This is the latest paradoxical idea that I've bumped into and am craving for an appropriate opportunity to try it out! David Gurteeen's "Reverse Brainstorming". Extracts:


The concept is simple: rather than brainstorm what you want - brain storm the opposite of what you want. For example, if you would like your KM project to be a success don't ask "How do we ensure our KM project is a success?" but ask "How do we ensure that our KM project is a total miserable failure?"

They are then taken through a process of prioritizing those items and coming up with antidotes i.e. things that if done would ensure the failures would not happen. Next they share these possible responses and insights between the groups.

This works best with about 30 people i.e six groups of five people.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Google Doodle

I just discovered that Google threw its "gOOgle - logo - spotlight" on A&O on the occasion of Asterix Comic's 50th Anniversary on Oct 29th, 09. Source: Google Doodles Page

So, why am I putting up a post on this delightful incident? What purpose does it serve? Nothing really...except that....

1. I like Google
2. I like Asterix and Obelix
3. I like the sketch (logo) above
4. I think it will make my blog look a bit colourful and jolly for the next few weeks
5. Today is Friday and the unwritten rule is that one can blog about anything on a Friday...irrespective of what the title of the blog claims to focus on
6. I just crossed the Ts and dotted the Is in a so-called creative piece of work and would like to believe that the immediate future, now that I have intervened, looks cool and promising. So, I am taking a break to post something that gives me a kick (Pun unintended. I am not referring to Asterix's gesture above)

Fantastix, whatix?
PS: The only complaint I have about the sketch above is that Dogmatix is conspicuous by his absence. Growl.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

KM India Summit - 2009

Here is my “blog-book” on KM India. Give me my PhD in rambling now.

Right now, I feel like a woman who is going on a one-year trip around the world and needs to pack her bags in no more than one or two hours. Where does one start? H
ow big a bag does one need? What can I afford to leave out? Actually, another way to make you understand how I feel is to ask you to imagine a person with a huge gunny bag full of random and mostly unconnected tidbits. The easiest way to share them with you is to probably just turn the bag upside down on the table and let the tidbits roll out on the table – and, er, lie scattered. Which means you’ll have to pick up the bits that matter to you. Don’t look at me like that.

Calvin and Hobbes : Bill Watterson

I think, in a way, it’s good I had to wait for a while to complete this post, as I had to wade through the work backlog and get it out of my mind to start with. The delay has at least forced me to rummage around in the gunny bag for some key tidbits and present them to you rather than just throw every single thing at you in a random order. But despite the 3-week delay in posting this, I feel like Calvin in the strip below.

Calvin and Hobbes: Bill Watterson

There was many a time I started writing this or filling in the gaps only to end up stumbling and falling because of continuous twitter/email/IM distractions. I finally decided I had had enough and turned off all notifications and made myself invisible on IM so I could peacefully finish this post. Thanks for sympathizing with me. Let’s move on, now. If the purpose of this post is not clear from the title, let me make it clear now - I’ll be making a list of some key things I picked up at the KM India conference - between Oct 28th and Nov 1st 09 - and it’s here for you to filter and take what you want. :-)

To start with, I shared some of the one-liners and other thought-provoking stuff I came across at the conference in the form of one-liners via Twitter a couple of weeks back. Let me try and filter them for you here. But please note that these are in reverse order.

#kmindia I am going to wrap up now. A lot of other people have already shared great tidbits. I may have repeated many. Search for #kmindia [to find all the relevant tweets]

#kmindia HCL conducts empathy workshops wherein project teams and customers understand each other (wow!)

#kmindia Vittal - One can be an apple falling on Newton and trigger off ideas even if one is not Newton himself :-)

#kmindia Vittal - Stone age did not come to an end because we ran out of stones! (LoL)

#kmindia - Use processes for exploitation but not for exploration - Snowden

#kmindia Jagdish - Hospitals have to depend on processes during an operation, not on innovation

#kmindia Jagdish - Music cannot be mastered without a process

#kmindia Jagdish - Average people become better with good systems [better processes]

#kmindia Snowden - Innovation thrives under starvation of resources, pressure of time & perspective shift

#kmindia Snowden - Process should not be confused with adaptation

#kmindia Snowden (What a speaker!) - When you control things, variation and deviation decreases. [Not good for innovation]

#kmindia Cognizant CEO believes that blogging leads to openness, progress and transparency/honesty. [More CEOs should talk like that]

#kmindia - Sukumar- Cognizant has 5 key design principles for KM. Drive Consumption. Freedom. Fun. Workflow Integration. Perpetual Beta [I like this. Good to distill approaches and attitudes into key guiding principles]

Dinesh (Thoughtworks) - Culture is what differentiates organizations, not its business model #kmindia

Thoughtworks's Dinesh - His presentation proves that there is a lot of alignment between the agile culture and KM. #kmindia

Tata Steel looks at 2 types of focus areas for KM [communities] - thrust areas or pain areas and aspirational areas or new ideas #kmindia

Atul Rai of Wipro - Participation and Value forms a vicious circle. #kmindia [The single biggest cribbing point when KMers meet, perhaps? :-)]

Gopi of GE - The future may be about Search + Integration + Unified Communication + Tech. Intelligence #kmindia

Gopi of GE - Indians knew a novel way of remembering the complicated Sin Table through a Shloka - default IP protection! #kmindia

Gopi of GE compared KM processes with the human body's Neurons. Collect, Process, Distribute #kmindia

TCS - Their process library is managed via Wikis and is therefore a collectively managed knowledge asset #kmindia

Eureka Forbes- Knowledge Pearls are diff from Knowledge Gems in the sense that the former are 'born' out of irritation (stories of failure) #kmindia

Prof Sadagopan - Knowledge is a special resource, a liberator and supreme. #kmindia [It’s exciting to think of knowledge as a liberator!]

#kmindia Ashok Soota mentioned that Tiger Woods's mentor won tournaments for the first time after he began mentoring! [That goes a long way to show that one learns more when one teaches!]

Loved this at #kmindia - Create like a child. Nurture like a maniac. Detach yourself like a warrior. Came from GE's Gopi [Philosophical and reminiscent of the teachings of the Gita….]

The KCafe by @DavidGurteen at #kmindia was an example of how simple ideas are as meaningful and important as sophisticated practices/tools

Infosys mentions 3 types of metrics for KM #kmindia. Business Benefits, Performance/Health & Basic Usage/Contribution (can someone who knows verify this please?)

OK. All these were self-explanatory messages that did not need any additional comments from yours truly. Now, here are some thoughts I sort of derived out of what was said and discussed at the conference (or maybe these are thoughts that occurred to me due to some subconscious influence I might not be able to articulate here)
Food for thought - derived from #kmindia - Is starting with dissent a great way to ultimately build consensus? #paradox I think this is a very interesting concept. When you want people to come to a common conclusion, don’t start off by asking them to do so. Instead ask them to come up with their own views, promote rigorous discussions, opposing views and debates and finally arrive at a conclusion/decision. This way, all potential obstacles might be considered beforehand and, secondly, people are going to be better convinced due to the intellectual rigor that they’ve been subjected to.

#kmindia Methinks "Social KM" is the opposite of an oxymoron...what? How can KM not be social by default? Expanding on this, knowledge management by nature is a concept involving sharing, learning, collaboration etc. So, is ‘Social KM’ a term that might indicate KM (conventionally speaking) is otherwise not ‘social’?

#kmindia Maybe we should move from holistic KM case studies and get into the details based on proactive audience surveys. I am, personally, glad to be made aware of KM case studies…but, honestly, as far as I’ve observed most case studies are now becoming predictable. They need to be expanded and dug into for the intricacies – for the real learning. Or, even better, they need to be challenged!

I was wondering about @snowded 's talk at #kmindia. How does one become a chef & not a consultant with a recipe book? Passion? Experience? Natural Talent? Sukumar responded to that and said one needs to be observant and analytical to become a chef. Snowden, later, blogged about it and said a chef understands the principles behind cooking and is therefore much better than a consultant. A chef can adapt to any situation because he knows how to apply these principles. You can read Snowden’s full post here.

Extending that further, imagine this particular scenario - a chef will know what is likely to be a good substitute for an ingredient that is missing while a consultant will probably freeze on the spot and wonder what to do next or perhaps waste time and energy by going out to buy the missing ingredient.

Another thing that flashed on me during #kmindia was “By making everything democratic and ‘collective’, are we going to lose out on esoteric and eccentric ideas from e. and e. individuals?” Are we creating a culture and environment that will neglect or not tolerate something that is undemocratic? Maybe, that’s why, starting with dissent is a great way to consider all perspectives and give them the merit they deserve.

Now, consider this interesting observation I chanced to make while at the conference: TCS has its tag-line as “Promising certainty” – addressed primarily to customers - while Thoughtworks likes to ‘see’ the inherent ambiguity in the world and as a consequence wants its employees to have a passion for and accept ambiguity.

Two other intriguing things that I made a note of were from Snowden.

You can never tell a lie backwards unless trained for it. :-P

Children learn a lot of fundamental things between ages 1 and 6 and then start considering opposing views but are unable to make up their minds on most things until they are 19 or 20. Then, they start concluding on what the world should be like and want to change it to meet their conclusions and perspectives till they are 45 or so. Finally, they become soft and yielding – when over 45 - and are ready to accept different perspectives once more.

OK. Here is some intermediate respite from my random chattering. Here are links to resources from KM India.

- Dave Snowden’s post and presentation

- Madan Rao’s excellent and immediate posts on his learnings from KM India - Snowden’s keynote, Top 12 KM learnings, and the process vs innovation debate

- Sukumar’s presentation on KM at Cognizant

- Dinesh’s presentation on KM at Thoughtworks

Sorry. Will have to bring you back – rudely - to my ramblings now. There was a potentially interesting session arranged for at the conference that however turned out to be a disappointment in some ways. The idea involved groups of people clustering around 2-3 presenters from a certain organization and getting to know about their KM initiative for around 15 minutes and then moving on to the next organization’s presenters planted at various nodes in the room. I loved the idea and was looking forward to having useful conversations with all of the organizations presenting their KM strategies but ended up familiarizing myself with just two organizations’ strategies and not even getting a proper whiff of what the remaining 4-5 companies were doing! All because some people got carried away and continued waiting at the same organization’s desk and asking plenty of queries and refusing to move on to the next node thus depriving the next group of people from getting a low down on things from the beginning. I could only catch bits and pieces of information from the third node onwards as only questions from intractable members of the previous group were being answered. I was left shrugging and wringing my hands for the rest of the session. Think there should have been a neutral observer at each node shooing away the previous group and making way for a fresh session. Or the presenters themselves should have taken up the responsibility of addressing a fresh group rather than encourage the previous group’s questions beyond the allocated time.

From the little I gathered in this session, I was impressed with Mindtree’s focus on personal KM, it’s emphasis on workspace design, connection with nature, brainstorming practices and usage of tools like six thinking hats. I was also impressed with Eureka Forbes’s mature and customized KM practices. It was also interesting to see how L&T was leveraging on KM practices to meet their business needs and operations in a methodical manner.

Going back to the talks (I warned you about the randomness of this post, did I not?) Dinesh’s talk for me was a clear indication of how important it is to have organizational values and culture that is ‘already’ or rather naturally aligned with KM. It can make a world of difference! Thoughtworks believes in the Agile methodology for project management and this methodology, in my view, overlaps with some of the KM concepts. In such an environment, it may be advisable to leverage on the culture and silently blend other dimensions of KM with the existing business approaches and not even label it as KM.

Now, swinging back to the schedule - Snowden’s Cognitive Edge course - on Complexity Theory - was thought provoking and entertaining. I kept shifting between giggles and deep-thinking at regular intervals. Snowden has a nonchalant way of delivering his speech and peppering it with plenty of stories and both subtle as well as no-holds-barred humor. :-) The course lasted two whole days and dealt with a lot of new concepts, theories, ideas and stories. I obviously am not equipped or even allowed to share the entire proceedings of the course, but I will try to share enough to perhaps arouse your curiosity after which you would be able to decide whether you want to explore the topic or not. Like I was mentioning to a friend, you can’t possibly list down something a wise person with a diverse background and decades of experience has come up with in as many years, in a few minutes or hours. First of all, it takes a while to even grasp some of the basics of Complexity Theory and its implications. We’re all used to decades of simplification, organization and control. Complexity theory is radically opposite to what many of us want to experience in life – order, control and predictability. It advises us to allow and facilitate things to emerge. It states that excessive control, standardization and insisting on compliance do not help. Some of the concepts therein are related to social network simulation and formation of crews (On a related note, I once remember reading my blog-mentor Gautam Ghosh’s blog post – many years ago - dwelling upon how Movie crews are formed and dismantled and whether organizations can learn from these methods.)

Actually, if you want a good overview of the basics of Complexity Theory or the Cynefin Framework, here’s a good resource you can look up - Keith’s presentation – It has a neat explanation and illustration of how to read the framework and is well worth your time.

Something I derived out of both Gurteen’s Knowledge Café as well as Snowden’s course is the powerful idea of creating small groups, getting them to discuss something, mixing or juggling up the groups, facilitating the cross-pollination of ideas and obtaining a, if you will, knowledge cocktail that can throw you off your balance, figuratively! ;-)

On a related note, I think organizations should really experiment and explore the concept of Unconferences and design it on the lines of a Knowledge Café.
BTW, the two amusing stories I wanted to share happened off the conference circuit. In the hotel where I was staying, on one of the evenings, I tiredly tottered into the in-house restaurant for dinner. While waiting for my food (which I took a pretty long time to choose) to arrive, I sleepily flipped through the menu card and registered shock (internally) on seeing some of the prices. With no strength to think about anything intellectually demanding, I began forcing my tired brain to list down the various kinds of people who were likely to visit the restaurant. I thought of politicians (imagined some of their faces in the process) and then thought of businessmen, sports personalities, the obscenely rich and people from the film industry. As I thought of the last in the list, the face that I saw in my mind’s eye – for no reason in particular – was that of a local south Indian actor called Prasanna. (I think I even vaguely imagined him flipping through the menu card, laughing and discussing what to order along with his non-descript friends). The imaginary scene lasted half a minute or so and was interrupted by the arrival of the food on seeing whose quantity, I almost fainted – and that was supposed to be half a plate only! Makes me wonder why some of these restaurants imagine their customers to be gluttons of the highest order. So, I trekked through the food with my spoon and fork and managed to chew 1/4th of the provided quantity without any grave danger of the stomach giving in to the onslaught. I then slowly made my way out of the restaurant and back to my room silently chiding the restaurant managers for not providing lighter options for a lone and not-so-hungry diner.

As I stepped out and walked towards the lifts I saw the side profile of a person jabbing the ‘Up Arrow’ button on the lift. (There was no one else around) Guess who this lift-button jabber turned out to be? No prizes for guessing. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that it was none other than the very same Prasanna who had made a sudden and inexplicable appearance in my half-dream! What happened next was very quick and was a surprise to me myself. It was like as if someone else was speaking from inside my head. I screamed like I had just spotted my long-lost brother after ages. I said “Prasanna!!! You won’t believe this! You simply won’t believe this!” And he turned around and looked at me in a confused manner. In retrospect, I think he was expecting someone familiar to him and must have been confused to see an unknown person talk to him like she was his movie’s producer! I switched to Tamil and said “You won’t believe it” once again. Meanwhile the lift’s doors opened and I walked in like a programmed human. Meanwhile, our poor actor was probably bewildered and racking his brains to recall whether he knew me or not. In the process, he almost stumbled at the entrance of the lift probably cursing his memory for deserting him. But there was no stopping me. I continued like I had known him for ages and said “I just thought of you while in the restaurant. I don’t know why I had to think of you because there are so many other actors I could have potentially thought about. You know….what they call sixth sense!”. I stopped for breath and he cleverly used the opportunity to get a word in sideways and ask me “Have we met before? You seem familiar”. I said “No….of course, you seem familiar to me…but…”. He laughed and I smiled and then I noticed that the lift had already arrived at my floor. I continued my funny behaviour and walked out without much ado and said “Have a nice evening” as the doors closed. I think the way I uttered the last word was incoherent but he must have been busy recovering from the incident to even notice what I was babbling. So, that was that. It was only after I made my way to my room did I realize how strange the whole thing would have seemed to him…the way I told him that he “wouldn’t believe it” without even introducing myself or giving him the awed look that an actor normally expects from the general public! Far from it, I probably behaved like he was a student of the school in which I was once the principal. Hee Haw. I do surprise myself!

The second amusing incident was again to do with the hotel I was in. On day 2, I noticed a cockroach of gigantic proportions vibrating at an enormous frequency in the washroom – the good news was that the insect was lying on its backside and seemed to be extremely unhappy with something on the ceiling and not, fortunately, flying around. Having witnessed the above-mentioned scene, I screamed my way to the phone to call up housekeeping and put the aforementioned insect in what I hoped would be its rightful place. After I had told the housekeeping lady that I had a funny request and explained the situation, she responded with a nervous laugh and sent her army along to wage the war. I am not sure what kind of treatment was meted out to the cockroach but there was a strong smell of insecticide wafting into the room for a while. Later in the evening, when I went back to my room, I found an apology letter and three milk chocolates waiting for me on the table. The apology letter, by the way, did not specify exactly why it happened to be there. It just referred to the above-mentioned incident in a very mysterious and anonymous manner and said, “We are sorry for the incident…”. After wondering if the cockroach was a celebrity cockroach that had instructed the housekeeping to not reveal its particulars, I popped in one of the milk chocolates and wished they’d left pure cocoa chocolates instead.

Finally, here’s Snowden’s video on how NOT to organize a children’s party – a satirical story to help us understand how we normally deal with something that’s complex – as if it were something that ought to be well-controlled and directed – and are then surprised about the repercussions!

Let me go now. Enough of rambling for many weeks to come, what?

PS: I realize that I'm quite obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes and will find every possible opportunity to link it with whatever topic I happen to be rambling about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Competition to Collaboration

I’m rambling again on a topic that will always arouse me. Competition vs. collaboration. Admittedly, competition stretches one to the limit. And corporate houses, therefore, thoroughly enjoy creating such an environment. They are so blinded by what needs to be done in the immediate future that they don’t care for the cost at which the performance comes. Especially because the cost is intangible in many ways, invisible in the short run, and anyway unattributable or untraceable in the long run. In some rare cases, it doesn’t really matter to the corporate house because the impact is just on the competing individuals or other third parties rather than on itself.

For that matter, even schools and families exploit the fact that competition can get people desperate enough to prove themselves as better than others. To be labeled as the best is - unfortunately so in some ways - a universally motivating factor. The biggest assumption when it comes to competition is that everyone has to move or is moving toward the same goal. It demands the best out of you, especially if you're the kind with a big ego. Competition is nothing but a challenge in the disguise of your competitor. It may be a challenge to prove your ability, endurance, responsiveness, innovativeness, potential, peak performance levels etc. Methinks, if a collaborative environment can propose a similar challenge will it deliver the goods of competition (peak performances) as well as collaboration (innovation, noble objectives, long term well-being)?

Is Knowledge a Commodity?

When someone reads, listens, thinks, introspects, experiments, observes, tries various alternatives, watches underlying patterns in the long run, learns something the hard way and finally distills the entire experience into a few principles or a neat framework and shares it with the world, how long does it take the world to understand the merit in these principles or the framework? Actually, in the first place, what exactly does it take the world to understand it? How does it work? Is it a journey in the reverse direction for the world (learner)? Are such learnings looked at, more often than not, with complacency? Does the learner see the merit, sweat and insight the way it ought to be or blindly apply it depending on the trust he has in the source it originates from?

Genius - Mysteries of Life

Awe-inspiring. Mind-blowing. Phenomenal. 7-year old surgeon. Child genius.

[Hat-tip: Rupa]

Monday, November 09, 2009

Questions & Answers

Gasp! I am beginning to get the feeling that my hold on this blog has been slipping a bit. No thought-provoking or original stuff for a while now! Huh? No. Not just writer's block. Maybe thinker's block. :-P But I'm hoping that this post is the turning point and the next few weeks turn out to be different and provide me with some cerebral gossip for this blog! Meanwhile, here's something that I think is good blog-material.

If you happen to be looking for a good example of serendipity, go no further. A week or so back I tweeted this “Some questions will remain unanswered. Take them or take leave of them”. Terry responded to the tweet and led me to a wonderful post – on his blog - that digs deeper into this thought.

My tweet, ironically, did not arise from deep thought and was more of a superficial response to mundane happenings in life. So, it was exciting to be led to a deeper level of thinking from where I was. Terry’s post says: Stop looking for answers….look for movement. Ask better questions and be comfortable with ambiguity! Attractive propositions for those who are exhausted in their search for certainty and predictability in this complex world and want someone to actually tell them – knock it into their heads - that it’s time they stopped being so naïve!

Interestingly, I have a huge fancy for idealism and perfection. It is paradoxical but sometimes this attitude, arguably, limits one’s thinking. Because such a person might continue to pursue the same thought for too long a time! She might not want to give up or adopt an alternative approach because of her need to “persevere”. And she wants to do a good job of everything she takes up. She needs to look good in her own eyes and there is nothing she doesn’t want to know. Bah. Sounds difficult? I guess it really is important to stop and reassess one’s attitude and expectations. Or just step back and take a look. This is the time when one needs to ask a different question like Terry’s post advocates. Or, perhaps, just let things be. Specializing in the impossible as Terry puts it, is such an intriguing thought.

The truth however is that for those in the typical corporate world, such a philosophy is rarely accepted by the community at large. Quarterly growth must be predictable and certain nonnegotiable. ;-)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

KM India Summit 2009

For those of you wondering why I've been silent for quite a while now (surprising for a compulsive maven like me. wait a second. when I say maven I am only referring to my desire to pass on what I learn to others and not my non-existent dazzling expertise, OK? :-)) I was away attending the KM India Summit. Came back to face the backlog music, if you like! ;-) (I couldn't tweet or blog from the conference) Quite submerged in it as yet. Lots of emails and work to catch up with.

Now that twitter has sort of taken over when it comes to impulsive sharing, I have been busy sharing most of my learnings at the conference via Tweets for the past 3 days. I plan to convert most of it into a single lengthy blog post and also link to speaker presentations that are available online. Additionally, I have a couple of amusing stories to share as well. But for all that, you need to wait for a bit! :-)