Friday, August 24, 2012


This is the utterly butterly Friday of the Nonsense. Warning: If you don't watch animation movies or watch them but cannot relate to any of the characters therein, you may not understand a single word of this post and may also, as a bonus, face the risk of experiencing permanently temporary (or temporarily permanent in certain cases) insanity.

Imagine a character like Merlin the Magician (Shrek) who was fired from his school, who fumbles and blunders but says all sorts of profound things related to soul-searching, truth and introspection.

Now imagine how it would be for him to go on a vacation with the following characters.

The extremely lazy, ignorant but kind and lovable Sloth, Sid (Ice Age)

The flamboyant, brave, clever and crazy Weasel, Buckminister (Madagascar - Ice Age!)

The entertaining, forgetful, helpful and funny Fish, Dory (Finding Nemo)

Any idea how awesome that would be? Rocks you to the soles, uh? Why....even I would love to go on a vacation with these quirky and unique characters. Actually, I have a brilliant idea. An idea that normally strikes you only once in a life time. How would it be to make a movie with all these characters together....on a vacation? If you decide to make it, make sure you mention your source of inspiration. That's all. 

PS: I thought of Bugs Bunny as well, but, hey, he would steal the entire show and people would find it difficult to shift their attention to any of the other characters except perhaps Buck. 


PS2: I made an unforgivable omission. I forgot to add King Julien to this list.

Lunatic, narcissistic, talkative and talented Lemur (Madagascar)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5Cs of Social Technology

There are 5 key ways in which one can participate in the Social technology movement. Create, Co-Create, Collate and Curate, Comment, Consume

Disclaimer: I have a vague feeling I read something on these lines more than a year ago in a blog, but don't recall the details. I am using this idea because it is an easy way to explain how one can be a part of the Social movement.

So, when you consider leveraging on the social technology platforms, it would be a good idea to consider what you are good at what you could possibly do more of based on your expertise and role.

Do you want to:

1) Create: Create white papers, PPTs, blog posts, tweets etc (Tools: Repositories, Blogs, Microblogs)

2) Co-Create: Create a bigger and collective body of knowledge via Wikis or Conversations (Tools: Wiki, Networking Tools, Workspaces)

3) Collate and Curate: Combine things you read from various sources, analyze, filter, add value and put them together for your own as well as others' benefit (Tools: Blogs, Repositories)

4) Comment: Leave your comments on others' blog posts, conversations, documents and tweets (Tools: Blogs, Workspaces, Repositories, Microblogs)

5) Consume: Simple! Just be open to content and knowledge from others and acknowledge it whenever you can! :-) 

Conversations vs Road Traffic

After spending a lot of time thinking about the complexities and intricacies of social enterprise, helping teams use sophisticated platforms for collaboration and community building and the like, one tends to forget about the most basic of things - Conversations. Plain and simple.

How many of us are actually good at having conversations? Are they as simple as they seem to be? What happens when our conversations are not clear, focused, adaptive and result-oriented? What is the difference between written conversations vs spoken? How many of our conversations lead somewhere? How many of them bring up optimal solutions to challenges? How many of us walk away from conversations with the satisfaction of having learned something or accomplished something?

Here are some things that came to my mind in the form of a metaphor (favorite thinking tool). Road Traffic vs Conversations! ;-) I am just going to touch upon the different dimensions without putting too many things in here.

1. Pace - Speed of thought and speech. How do we manage having conversations with people who think faster or slower? How do we manage having conversations with people who also talk faster or slower? (Think about how you deal with drivers who overtake you or prevent you from speeding ;-))

2. Direction - What are we expecting from the conversation? Where do we want to go? What shortcuts are we willing to take? What rules are we ready to break? (Think about what you would do to get to your destination based on the traffic. Change roads? Break rules? Take a U-turn and go back home? ;-))

3. Vehicle - What is the context that the other person is in? How does it impact her thinking? What would she be able to understand or relate to based on the context she is in? How can you understand that context as well as communicate your own and arrive at a mutual understanding? (Do you what it feels like to drive a small electric vehicle if you are in a BMW or vice versa? ;-))

4. Left-Hand Drive vs Right-Hand Drive - What are the principles and rules that the person operates from? How well does it match with your own? What are the glaring differences and how does it impact the outcome of the conversation? (How easy is it to drive a car with the steering wheel on the right hand side in a country that mandates you have to be on the right hand side of the road or face its wrath?)

5. Self-Driven vs Chauffeur-Driven - Do we have our own goals and thoughts that we chase or are we more focused on goals and ambitions related to the collective or bigger entity (team/organization)? How do we balance the two whilst having our conversations and what do we look for? What is the other person looking for? (Do you sit back and relax while someone else drives the car for you while at the same time looking out for challenges and things that will have an impact on you? Do you drive the car yourself and decide which route to take and what not to do?)

6. Diversions - How good are we at handling diversions in the topic and finding a new route back to our destination or how do we enjoy the new route and let serendipity take over? (Do you curse and swear when you need to take a sudden diversion in your regular route or does it have almost zero impact on you because you have the time and the space to experience something new?)

7. Honkers - How do you handle disturbances and interruptions in the conversation? Do you honk (threaten) your way through or do you patiently wait for things to be sorted out or do you yourself tackle the disturbance head to head? (Is honking at the risk of annoying everyone else on the road a good approach to resolving the disturbance. Does it lead to accidents?)

So, what do you think? :-)

PS: Input from a reader: What about Traffic Cops and Signals? - Moderated conversations!?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Leadership and the Gita

When we focus on the fruits of our effort, we are anxious and eager to see things happening and we want our ideas to materialize sooner than later. When we want things to happen quickly, we may be forced to preserve the status quo (instead of changing things or transforming things) because that is what meets with quick acceptance and approval. 

Leaders are those who do anything but preserve the status quo. "Leaders are NOT those who achieve within or despite the system but those who transform the system" (HT: Steve Denning). 

Krishna wants us to be wonder He asks us not to focus on the fruits of our effort but just do our duty! :-)

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Collective Learning

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to change the way children learn into a more collaborative experience. At the end of the decade, for them to grow up and be good members of the society and achieve something meaningful, they must learn to listen deeply, appreciate others' views and let each person express himself while still arriving at independent conclusions. Eventually, though, it is about posing the right questions as a collective, putting everything together and filtering the noise. 

Update: So, why do you think this is funny? :-P Because it sounds contradictory and paradoxical? However, I do think I have not articulated what's in my head well enough.... 

I am not saying we must not think independently. Just saying we must learn the art of arriving at independent conclusions and at the same time learn to appreciate that others may have different views due to their own perceptions, experiences and background. We need to be able to see why they think the way they think! 

If we can then put various ideas together and filter out what the collective thinks is noise, it may lead to a good decision in corporate environments. Lone artists or innovators can still go ahead and do their own thing without checking with anyone ;-)