Continuing Conversations

Often I have a conversation with someone, and afterwards there is follow-up to be done, sharing more ideas and links. I could write a personal email, but it makes more sense to write most of it here, for anyone to read. I can send a personal email that points to the “Continuing Conversation”

Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 3 – the collaborator’s list

In Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 1 Whole Self (WS) said to Role 1 (R1) the Compulsive Collaborator:

Okay. I’m interested. And I recognise a lot of overlap with things I value in the previous/present roles in my life

I need to know what help you’d need from me if I give you a place in my future life. I like the idea of going forward with you but will you be too demanding? Can we get along well together?

Why don’t you go and make a list of the collaborations you are currently involved in, and what you want to do, and we can consider what I can realistically support.

Presenting the list

R1 – I’ve done a quick list, if you’d like to see it and talk it through.

The list was made as things came to mind, and arranged alphabetically for ease of reference. These are all things that are relevant in my life at the moment.

WS – Are they all equally demanding on your time?

R2 – No.

Some of the collaborations are currently active and energetic, some are more or less “on hold”, but if they “came alive” through someone else adding energy I’d try to add some energy as well.

One is bubbling away and full of energy at the moment (that’s FEAST). I did break that one down into smaller collaborative groups, reflecting the way it’s working online at present, but that seemed too detailed for this list.

WS – What about you and your roles in the collaborations?

R2 – That varies.

Some of the collaborations would not exist without me, because of the way I was there when they began. In others I’m on the fringes, but glad to be there, and aware of the potential. I don’t want to forget them completely in my list.

Some are extremely new and may be too fresh and fragile to count as “collaborations” – but that rather depends on how you define a collaboration. In this context a collaboration is two or more people who come together to do some kind of work. It might be paid or unpaid and is probably more closely related to “social” value (in a very broad sense) than it is to immediately obvious financial value.

I’ve stretched the boundaries a bit. I’ve allowed myself to include the idea that going somewhere to exchange information and learn from each other is also a social good, and a kind of peer-to-peer collaboration, so can be included here.

  • Dadamac Foundation
  • Escape School
  • Exponentially Human
  • Facebook groups where we help/support/learn from each other
  • Federated Wiki
  • GlobalNet21
  • Hub Westminster
  • London Enspiral
  • Meetups – various
  • OneShift
  • Project for a Progressive Ethics
  • Research-Practitioner collaborations
  • RSA Fellowship
  • Skype – buddying/support/learning sessions
  • Tuttle
  • Teal for Startups (T4S)
  • u.lab continuation group on Zoom
  • And a few others – but I ran out of time….

WS – Hmm.  I’m not at all sure I can allow all those. You’re not the only Role in my life you know. I think Caregiver will have something to say if I agree to support all that you want to do.

And I did say that I want to try for four roles this time around, like George has.

We’ll have to come back to this list and knock it into better shape. Try and have a think about it before we meet again.

Meanwhile – I think we deserve a break. Time for another cuppa.

Feb 28, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , ,

Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 2

Okay – so ref Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 1

I’ve had the cuppa and I’m back.

Time for Whole Self (WS) to call in Role 2 (R2). So… .

Calling in Role 2 – the Practical Innovator

WS – Come on in R2 and introduce yourself. What shall I call you?

R2 – For now call me Practical Innovator

WS – What do you do?

R2 – That’s not easy to describe.

I could say something about innovation, and practical problems and making prototype solutions, but that sounds too general to have any meaning. It also covers lots of things I don’t do.

I could give examples of what I’ve done in the past, and maybe we could pull out some kind of tidy description together, see what the connecting threads are.

WS – Hmm. Let’s come at this from a different angle

Why do you do this “practical innovator” stuff? What good is it to anyone?

R2 – Why do I do it?

Because “something” (some kind of challenge, or problem, or idea) has kind of “called out to me”, and once my curiosity and creativity are aroused then I’m hooked on finding a solution. I have to see “it” more clearly, what the “challenge” is, if it can be tackled, and how that can be done, and what the tricky bits are and how I could overcome them. I have to  investigate, and look at “it”from other perspectives, and I just have to keep prodding and poking at it and seeing how “it” could be done, until I’ve found a practical solution that I can see will work.

WS – And do you find solutions?

R2 – It depends what you mean by finding solutions.

I do find solutions, and I demonstrate that they work, but then I’m not sure what to do with the solutions, to make them more generally available.

WS – Hmm. This all sound rather unsatisfactory – not much good at all.

You can’t explain yourself. You can’t justify yourself.

I don’t even know if it’s worth while asking you to go away and write a list of what you’ve done, especially if you’ll need my help in making sense of it.

I really am very busy you know.

Why should I make space for you in my life? And – Oh for heaven sake R2 – now what’s the matter with you? This is no way to behave in an interview. Stop snuffling.

R2 – (with tears starting to flow)

You can’t throw me out WS.

If you throw me out I have no-where else to go …

And you will miss me….

You will miss me so intensely that..

You will be sorry…

You will be sorry…  very, very sorry If you throw me out

Excuse me. I have to go and find some tissues.

But think about it WS. I am the expression of your creative and curious self.

I have no-where to live except in you, and if you throw me out you will be nothing.. nothing..

How can you be anything without your curiosity, and without the creative expression of where it leads – you will be….you will be… as good as dead.

WS – Oh for heavens sake R2 – come back later when you’re being less of a drama queen and more coherent.

Go and blow your nose, and have a nice cup of tea, and we’ll see what we can do about this later.


This seems to be taking on a life of its own.

I didn’t know what “category” to choose for the first post, but now there are two it can be a “continuing conversation” I could do with changing the categories and menu items on this site, but have yet to learn how.

I think we’ll see the collaborator back again.

One of the reasons I need to work collaboratively is so that I pick up skills and strategies from other people as I go along. It doesn’t happen if you work alone. Any one out there who could help me learn to make simple adjustments to a wordpress site?

I’m not sure “who else will be interviewed” – or if/when “interviewing” will continue – but I do need to define my roles to help me organise my priorities. I’m attracted to the idea, and practical reality, of “the Holacracy of One” and plan to investigate it further.


Feb 28, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , ,

Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 1

This post is “for me” – but shared openly. This means I won’t be explaining things as I go along, because I already know the background.

One role is already fixed

In 2015 I defined seven roles for myself. This year I’m experimenting with four. I’m keeping the “care-giver” role with its purpose to support and nurture people who are close to me in some way (including myself) so we can flourish, and also to steward places we share (especially my home).

“Care-giver” a catch-all role that covers my personal-and-private life and also spills over into my Working-and-public life.

That leaves three more to define – all of them related to what I work on and share publicly

The old roles

There was a kind of hierachy in the previous seven roles. “Caregiver” was the most practical. “Explorer and pioneer in the landscape of change” was the most abstract. Other roles were “Holacracy launcher”,”Innovative systems builder”, Connector-communicator” (a friend added “boundary-spanning” there), “Pattern hunter” (the friend added “sense maker”) and”Teacher/learner and knowledge co-creator”

If I’m to rearrange them into three roles then it feels right to start off by separating the abstract and the practical into two separate roles and then have one to spare.

Defining roles – role 1 – compulsive collaborator?

At this point in defining roles for a Holacracy of One the strategy is to have a little conversation with yourself. Last time I tried  approach of “acting it out”. This time I’ll do a mix of talking and typing my way through it. So it’s a conversation between my Whole Self (WS) and the individual roles. The strategy is that WS calls the roles in in turn, and interviews them.

So – first role please. Come on in Role 1 (R1).

WS – Introduce yourself. What shall I call you?

R1 – For now call me Compulsive Collaborator

WS – What do you do?

R1 – I do things with other people?

WS – Why?

R1 – Lots of reasons.

There are all kinds of energy-giving and “accelerator” reasons related to working with others. Plus the benefits of team work and not needing to do everything yourself – different people having different strengths. All the Belbin Team roles stuff.

And there is so much to be done.

Besides, lots of the things I want to do and help with won’t be finished in my lifetime – but if other, younger, people are working on them, and new people are being attracted to the ongoing work, and I am simply playing a part it won’t matter that the whole thing won’t be finished in my life time.

And collaborating with others is good for my “social vitamins” count  – online calls and face-to-face meetings balance all the work I do in isolation at my screen.

WS – Okay . I like what I hear so far. What kind of collaborations do you have in mind?

R1 – Well. I guess there are three main kinds

  1. Things other people have dreamt up/started and I can help them.
  2. Things I’ve dreamt up/started and need help with
  3. Things that are yet to be started but could well emerge when “we” – whoever that means – start to explore ideas and vision and consider collaborating to enable it to happen

WS – Okay. I’m interested. And I recognise a lot of overlap with things I value in the previous/present roles in my life

I need to know what help you’d need from me if I give you a place in my future life. I like the idea of going forward with you but will you be too demanding? Can we get along well together?

Why don’t you go and make a list of the collaborations you are currently involved in, and what you want to do, and we can consider what I can realistically support.

Meanwhile I’ll go for a cuppa, and then I’ll call in the next role.

Feb 28, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , ,

Connecting with Ward Cunningham and Federated Wiki

Last week, thanks to David Bovill, I was on a hangout with Ward Cunningham

The hangout was connected to development of the Federated Wiki. David showed it to me a couple of years ago, but more as a demo than an immediate invitation to get involved.  Now that is changing.

Federated Wiki

The italicaised notes below about Federated Wiki are taken from the section on “New Relic: What’s next for the wiki?” from Wiki Inventor Ward Cunningham Dishes on the Future of His Creation (Feb.11th, 2016).

Ward Cunningham says:

I’m four years into that project. The first year with support from Nike, where I was a Code for a Better World Fellow, and three years with a community of developers around the world that have tried all kind of things with it.

To participate, you create your own server. Think of it like a blog: If you want to have a blog, you put one up on a server somewhere. Here, if you want to participate in the federation of wikis, you put up a wiki. But they all share in the same way using the Creative Commons and so forth. We’re up to more than 800 sites now; most of them added in the last year.

The Federated Wiki allows users to share their data but still own it. No one can modify it and say it’s what you created. Instead, I write to my wiki, and you write to your wiki. Anything you write, I’m welcome to take via Creative Commons with built-in attribution. But when I revise it, I put it on my wiki, not back on your wiki. So somebody could read my page and say, “Wow, Ward, you’re really doing great stuff here.” And then they look and see that I really wrote only one paragraph and it all came from you. It’s kind of a collective ownership because I’m giving it away—and the nice thing about digital stuff is that I can give it away and still own it.

So here is the big win: The people who write for Wikipedia spend a tremendous amount of energy correcting abuses. Federated Wiki solves the problem because when I put something on my wiki server, you’re free to use it but you can’t screw with my original. And if your version is better, you’ll get the eyeballs, but then I’m free to take your version back. Pretty soon, we’re advancing big problems in the world.

This is where you can make a start to explore the Federated Wiki

Looking ahead and invitation for involvement

The hangout I went to was part of a regular series and so I look forward to continuing to be part of the hangouts and work coming out of them.

I believe that various friends/contacts of mine would be interested in learning more about the Federated Wiki and getting involved too. I know that there is (or will be) an invitation for that involvement. I look forward to connecting people with the invitation.

I want to learn how to use the Federated Wiki and then I anticipate using it as the home for much of my past and future content (and collaboration).

From what I know so far I’m attracted to it because:

  • It seems a great mix between a personal wiki and a community
  • For some time I’ve wanted to be able to use a wiki for some of my work
  • I like to work collaboratively, and the federated wiki seems a much more fluid and spontaneous way of collaborating than google docs
  • I’m attracted to Ward’s “ethos” as expressed in the video above
  • One of my ongoing quests relates to how those of us involved in “unstructured, analogue, people-dominated collaborations” can apply the lessons of theFOSS (Free and Open Source Software)  community where, as I see it, people are involved in more “structured, rule-base, digital-tech-dominated collaborations”
  • Many of the things Ward says in the video above resonate with me and what I am trying to do regarding collaboration, trust, working from a central point and just letting it spread out, being open, being “international” (not limited by national/physical/distance boundaries), the power of people-connecting-with-people across cultural barriers as a powerful connecting force (towards becoming a ‘one-world” where every language and every person is important and valued).
  • I connect completely with his big vision of what we can do in a connected world and his invitation to “people” to get involved and bring our different strengths together.

Feb 25, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , , ,

Croydon, arts and more.

Hi John
Thank you for the Heartworks Schedule with details of the series of 6 evenings in Croydon (Matthews Yard) in 2013 where you mixed up mindfulness with community action, Croydonia and music. I’m glad our paths crossed last week at the Croydon Tech City launch 2017 event.

We certainly have overlapping interests ref (as you described them)

  1. Language and its inadequacies
  2. Meditation and mindfulness
  3. Community development/community arts

Let’s have those topics as a “mental agenda” for next time we get a chance to converse.

I’m noting some first thoughts, as a reminder to myself as much as anything, as a memory jogger ready for next time our paths cross.

Ref: Language and its inadequacies – ties in with lessons learned at Everything Unplugged, and elsewhere, including u.lab. More importantly perhaps is how it ties in with the need for other forms of expression, beyond language, such as Social Presencing Theatre. Relevant also to my futurist writing on being “exponentially human”. Also Clean Language.

Ref: Meditation and mindfulness – Yes I connect with that in various ways. NB Its increasing popularity as a starting point for online meetings.

Ref: Community development/community arts – Yes, in lots of ways. Including the “Cultural Leap” project for the “Reluctant Time Travellers”, the value of improvisation workshops as a tool for experimenting with new possibilities in a safe space. Also just the joy and the inter-relationship of community, development, and community arts/culture.

I wonder if you’ll be at Matthews Yard on Thursday. I’m hoping to make it.


Feb 01, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , , , , ,

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