A bicycle for the mind requires a different perspective and disruption
A common question asked around this time last year regarding the (then) new iPad Pro, can it replace your laptop?
An uncommon answer: yes, it can. But, not because it does what a laptop does.
iPad doesn’t just replace, it changes what computing can question. The question gets asked each time a new model or major software update happens to it because the voices speaking about the platform and hardware are too far removed from what others do for. They are also too much embedded into trying to make the iPad do what PCs have taught them to do. These might sound like discerning perspectives, but it’s not distinct to look at a mountain from an alternative perspective. The end of the Mashable 2018 iPad Pro review says it nicely:
…It’s such an intimate creation process that it made me realize that Apple’s not merely trying to change my or your old habits. Apple’s not trying to make the iPad Pro a laptop replacement because the device isn’t one. It’s trying to do something bigger: invent a new way of creating for a new generation that is not bound to the old computing laws of clicking a mouse…
Not being bound to former methods is a invitation to think better about the jobs to be done for computing devices. And for much of what the complaints are (moving files from one physical or virtual share to another, command-scripts for said files, approval queues, etc.), work is more like moving chairs around and a sense of control over the chairs which really isn’t work at all when broken down into its common parts.
The bit about the iPad is that it disrupts the perspective of what it means to compute — to be productive, to push pixels, and to work (however that work’s outputs are measured). This bit becomes more interesting the more someone dives into those who’ve pursued better workflows. From Henny the Bizness, Jonathan Morrison, Federico Viticci, and several others, the perspective of the iPad as a primary device ended up reshaping the tone and tenor of what one becomes within their work.
So, then, what really is work? Or rather, what more aligns with the perspectives of what it means to have computing as a tool to aide/do behaviors considered productivity?
And if a simple piece of glass and electrons can alter the very definition of work; what kinds of perspectives have yet to be discovered which are not only productive, but also sustainable?
For Avanceé, the answer to this seems to point to work being connective tissues. A swaddling of complex and interdependent elements, eventually made unknotted and simple. Work isn’t the end product, but a series of elevating/deescalating layers of stuff until the signal is clear. This work has many forms but the same goal.
##A Contemplative Thoughts Browser
An excellent thread on Twitter by @SamPenrose put to text what a number of folks have had as a confusion/contemplation to the purpose of the iPad. A few of those tweets begat some responses:
Once more, with feeling: what is (the) iPad? A bicycle for the mind. A bicycle for fish. It is wildly successful but “has no reason for being.” It is as clear as glass and as clear as mud. The less sense it makes, the more it sells. Conceptually confused, mundanely great.
I teach a few executives how to stop diving into the weeds by showing them the flexibility/simplicity of the iPad they wish to carry.
Conceptually, that is teaching to the tool; realistically, it’s showing them how to think.
🚲 for 🧠
Email, games, video and web browing are more complicated cases, but iPad is not obviously the best for any of them. Both experts and average users—in the hundreds of millions—are divided on what they prefer.
Events and containers… the commentary has indeed centered on these because computing evolved to “instance”
PC hasn’t meant both canvas/pallet. My argument has been that tablets (really, iPad) successfully don’t just straddle that line, but invites something else from it
What it invites seems unclear, but when iPad isn’t asked to replace but augment what 💻 isn’t as good as, then that clarity becomes clearer IMO:
A static/dynamic interface showing/describing and enabling the attachment and reattachment of [stuff] based on where it is in thought
Used this (same phrasing) to describe @MuseAppHQ to a friend the other day, but it fits communicating (more clearly) a vision for iPad
That’s a lot of words to essentially say what @BenedictEvans said in the same thread:
iPad and PC each have things that only they can do. Most people only do the things that both can do.
So to ask again: if a simple piece of glass and electrons can alter the very definition of work; what kinds of perspectives have yet to be discovered which are not only productive, but also sustainable? What becomes of work that’s now described as connective tissue more than inputs/outputs or the resulting widgets?
As good a theme for the week’s reads as any. From @yourgirlSylv:
There are lots of different kinds of disabilities in the world. Some visible, some invisible. People living with disabilities are some of the most creative & resilient folks bc of a life of navigating systems designed without our consideration! #CripTheVote
And now, a few reads which sync to such a powerful statement:
Special Note: as noticed in this week’s post; have been putting in some time with the beta of Muse, a note/whiteboard/tack board-like app. It goes beyond the behavior of most note apps — closest analogy could be WeTransfer’s Paper mixed with Photoshop’s layers. Really neat, and has already tweaked a few shortcuts & behaviors. Read more and sign up for the newsletter.
And for the more recent, homegrown content:
Pondering a future of knowledge work, managing flow not controlling it
Thinking about a few recent projects, and a few failed ones, a piece of thought has lingered about the effectiveness of remote work. However, those who engage within remote work are existing in an asymmetrical culture, usually a few generations old, of working in a non-remote setting. Meaning, the things to unlearn in order to work effectively in remote contexts are just as impactful as the new methods and expectations we now engage within. Such a perspective is wrought with challenges, usually verbalized with the phrase “fit.” However, “flow” is probably the better term. Because working away from the boundaries of widgets, time, and place, one needs to create a different relationship with outcomes and opportunities.
Flow is something like what’s been experienced with the app Muse. This app has a premise of boards/cards; yet the strength in it seems to be when you take away the concept of document and replace it with flow. Here, the better parts of association and context get intermixed w/the facility of hypertext and ink to create something jut a bit different. Instead of conforming the reader into a structured reading, they are given a structured context, and room to read into it their own paths. This has only been explored thru testing a beta version of Muse, see their website for the full vision, and to request access to assist in testing.
There’s been some evolution of this control-to-flow concept as Avanceé has been refined. The workstation is still an iPad, yet the communication moves back and forth between hard and soft deliverables. Meaning simply, the role our behavior plays is likely more influential than the containers themselves. Some groups understand this and have literally charted a new world because of it — others are finding their way (Avanceé is the latter). Within the framing that is flow, there’s probably a different metric which needs to be attached to both work and it’s assets.
When it is redefined, what remains is less about get it to me in this format and more about enable me to make the best decisions forward. Knowledge working spaces are shifting to facilitating knowledge — we hope — and not simply repeating the tasks of turning widgets.
Communicating clarity is not exactly easy. There’s the perspective we have, and then there is the perspective of others. We can expert for others to learn the way we do, or shape perspectives in a way which syncs with our worldview. However, this is an inappropriate expectation — what is valuable for them is what maintains their universe. Clarity should indeed transmit our perspective, but it should at its best empower them to see the best/worst of their universe. When we acknowledge this as a goal of clarity, their ability to exist isn’t just magnified, but ends up amplifying our existence also.
Such is the shape of the notable reads for this week; enjoy:
No new writing this week. Editorial bits return next week. Last week’s notable reads 🔗
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Another week in the books, and yet labor seems to continue. Still processing what it means in the context of a week spent assisting clients take steps forward in their technological adoptions. Close and far, small steps, and clarity… with an expectation that you cannot plan for everything.
Perhaps this week’s links land on that point:
And a few from here:
Valuable? Insightful? Or, simply the cadence is more helpful to cause you to slow down in the midst of the other bits which come your way? In any case, if this weekly collection is valuable, consider supporting Avanceé thru Librepay.
Moving forward by looking backward
When learning to drive, my parents gave me a lot of solid info about dealing with what you can’t control about traffic and other folks on the road. Of the many tips, one of the most interesting had to be about the level of attention to put towards driving out of your rear view mirror. Being in enough rear-end accidents might teach this better than other moments, but it came to be a sensible bit of advice to have 1/3 of your attention to that little mirror facing to your rear. The synchronous lesson was to be like a trucker and have your eyes/attention 12-15 seconds ahead of you also. In this way, you aren’t simply driving for your immediate surroundings, but also for the time-spaces you’ve yet to come to. A lower insurance premium, despite a much-higher-than-usual rate of mileage, seems to count this as a lesson well-lived.
In the same way, there are data points, tools, and methods we ought to use in order to inform forward motion for organizations. More than the data of the moment (current stock price, number of daily active users, last quarter’s numbers), it is the data around this which is better utilized in order to shape how we move forward. For example, a group seeks to make sure an investment continues to show signs of improvement, but notices only that less than 5% of the indices are making a return. But, unless they look at the performance of all of the index investments over a period, they will only make bandage-level changes to the performance of the fund. It sounds elementary, but looking backwards just a bit (how often did the entire fund perform like this, when did the specific indexes fail previously, what was the client or market response when items change, etc.), enables an ability to move forward differently.
However, it’s not simply looking backwards. Reference the leading story of this post — using the rear view mirror was only part of understanding the context of the journey. One had to also look further ahead than all but the very best participants on the road. In the case of driving, the best tractor trailer drivers are the road’s best. Not only because they need to see what’s happening well before it does, but also because they manage more weight (physics) than nearly anything else on the road. For them, looking at what their vehicle has to do 15-30sec before it happens isn’t just a matter of driving well, it’s a matter of staying alive and profitable. Same with utilizing data — while not every permutation is knowable, there are often just enough points to be known that one can see a little bit further down the road than normal. And with such vision, adapt their rate of travel towards a better destination.
In a recent project, a case of looking backwards enabled us to take a significant step forward for several smaller projects which were also suffering. We mapped the notable items, and then went backwards to previous year items to see if any patterns were present. Not only were there pattens present, but also a few previously unknown gaps revealed themselves. This enabled a course correction which might have been seen by only one party. Our experimental dashboard elevated it for several stakeholders to see, and a fuller action plan was developed to address it.
This isn’t to say you don’t look out of the front windshield. Only that there’s more to your journey than what’s hitting that glass. Look backwards and forwards, recognize the context of as much as you can, and then your ability to spot and respond to trends will not only be clearer, but you’ll probably clarify others’ ability to run those trends with you.
The distance between faith and worry… or what’s found in a proposal meeting’s questions. The two states really aren’t dissimilar, only difference being one feels internal to a person, and the latter to the organization. How does one navigate that distance? Yes, there’s some measure of playing to certainty. Yet there’s also the other parts of the fold — confirming through questions what you do well, what you don’t, and what you will need assistance in going forward towards. And once that distance has been traversed, in either direction, the knowledge of what can be performed can be more clearly understood and compensated by all interested parties.
Heck of a way to introduce the links for the week, but it fits as a theme. Take a read and make the connection yourself:
And a few from here:
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Perhaps innovation’s perspective is bound by personal friction
One discussion often turns into many. It is excellent when several disparate, disconnected conversations begin to carry a common theme. Not forced, but something more organic. A tweet and it’s resulting thread illuminated an obstacle to a wider change, found on a much personal level — friction.
I am wildly inefficient on my phone. For me, any coordinating or communicating is best done on a laptop. Anyone else feel this way?
Thoughts while reading the thread more or less landed here: how does one design beyond the limits of their own cognitive behaviors? Can they if the personal friction that brokers their workspaces is so embedded?
Meaning, there’s probably a clearer reason why some innovations take longer to become “mainstream.” It is because of enough (loud) personal friction by just enough folks isn’t able to be overcome and so a narrative is formed and reiterated. What’s most iterated? That the newer tool/feature/behavior doesn’t do what the old one had done as easily?
It probably magnifies exponentially when a luminary in the (older) method takes the opinion public. At that point it is no longer just one’s personal feeling, but now it’s validated by someone with reputation.
Does it mean we should keep personal friction points to ourselves? Probably not. But, we might be better taking steps forward if we realize that whatever the friction is, has a perspective which might ripple well beyond our own “it feels uncomfortable.” Those who can overcome such a perspective open themselves up to a phase change. The change is transformative, and likely results in an inability to shape themselves into the former behaviors/perspectives any more. Their friction is now in convincing those who couldn’t move past theirs that there’s something beyond where they are. And what’s beyond will likely transform everything to come. Such a perspective is a new measurement not only of success, but of life itself.
Sitting down to write and on the window is an insect I’d not seen before. Not a spider, just six legs. And yet, I’m more intrigued at it, than it probably is at me. The closer I get to it, the more it takes steps to move away from my gaze. Even going as far towards moving into an upper corner of the window, to a place it’s likely under more danger from birds or even other insects. For all I know, the insect was here enjoying the background music and I simply disrupted its moment to gaze quietly. It didn’t expect to have my eyes its way, and defiantly not my motions. Such an analogy to not just this week’s notable reads, but also some of how we might be processing a connected life going forward.
Here’s this week’s reads — the processing will be left up to you.
And a few from here:
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Happenstance or happen to have a stance
Reviewing some older notes on organizations and user experience, came across a few bits on the UX Maturity Scale. What’s clear about it is that it’s not so much a discussion on whether understanding user experience is possible or not, but the competence of what’s understood because of the maturity of the organization attending to leverage it.
If one were to view their organization’s processes or departments through this lens, it is possible to uncover aspects of work and process which fit the day-to-day expectations, but result in increased friction towards the very groups the org aims to empower. Introspective? Yes. This lens confronts the org with the very core tenants of their reason for existing. Granted, some might have the stance, we don’t do this for clients/consumer, but for shareholders. Yet, even then, a culture has to mature towards this, minimizing friction in respective spaces until the core audience is consistently pleased.
Beyond the design perspective, maturity looks similar — what are the implicit rules being followed, when do those rules become autonomous stimuli, and when do those become defining character. One could assume that much of this happens by chance. That, at some point in the evolution of an org, certain traits come to the surface over others, creating the framing to which the org will define itself. Yet, it seems that for some of the adored and loathed orgs, this is less random and more structured. These orgs happen to craft some stance on which their very orgs will live or die, and then it becomes so insistent, that aspects of an org which seem they should be unaffected, now conform to such a vision.
Clients and customers feel this. They feel the connect or disconnect from the touch-points of an org and their messaging. It might even be subconsciously understood even if it’s consciously exercised. A company might hold itself to the highest standards of diversity and inclusion, yet have the very difficult task of retention because their hiring processes and department haven’t reorganized and re-measured around diversity/inclusion metrics, still keeping the same friction and KPIs of the very practices and industries they market themselves different than. A company might say sustainability, security, and privacy, yet their most ardent customers degrade, irritate, and unhealthily expose other members with such ferocity that no amount of company posturing removes the friction felt by those being subjected to alternate views. Experience isn’t something found by happenstance, it is very much designed into the very structures of what makes an org live.
Have been giving the uneasy smirk in explaining to organizations that user experience isn’t a product — it is the summation of the client/consumer’s ability to feel/not feel friction between their expectations and reality. To an org which is mature, this isn’t a challenging point of view. It is a level-setting one. If your org believes themselves to be mature, having a stance will cause the greatness that happenstance cannot.
Rest and recovery… or something like that. For one reason or another, you can’t seem to slow down until your body (or the organization you are a part of) seems to also take a rest. Aspects of today’s connected environment allow for a bit of this self-coaching. An emphasis on data, yes; but also an accountability to other professions who once used this data and interpretations as a special intelligence. What’s gained with rest is strength. What’s gained with recovery is endurance. Using the connected devices and services at your disposal should grant a level of knowledge/understanding you’d not had before. But, if you aren’t using them, you might as well be considered running on fumes.
Perhaps in these contexts, you find rest and recovery moments in what’s shared from this week’s notable readings.
And a few from here:
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Project: Masala.AI Branding Exploration
Describing an experimental workshop and a focused destination
In a few recent conversations about the goals for Avanceé, there has been the mention of a possible workshop series based around an existing client activity. Called “15 Minutes to Add Time to Your Life” it is a tech-focused exploration of using a tablet as the executive notebook or dashboard in order to gain efficiencies in relating to teams, or processing the outputs of managed teams. Challenging? You bet. While every leadership guru has something of the same pitch, what sets this workshop apart is a simplicity of focus — specifically on what is gained when an iPad or Microsoft Surface is used as the agent for behavioral change.
Does it work? Early returns are positive in this regard. One person who engaged in the workshop has almost completely removed themselves from relying on a paper file cabinet for colleague historical files (addressing a long-standing PII issue at that firm). Another has taken a smaller, yet no less insignificant step of using the iPad as a second screen when at their desk, but then taking it as the sole notebook (using Microsoft’s OneNote) when attending meetings. The light went off for them when they realized the ease at which they could organize smaller snippets of info, and then recall these via the on-device search. Again, these are small steps, but ones which add up to no more than 15 minutes of instruction — gaining more than 15 minutes back in time to dedicate to whatever needs the attention.
Can this work for anyone? Probably. However, in looking at a workshop series like this, the focus is on executive decision making and behaviors. Why this group? Because it is at this level were macro-decisions turn into a cacophony of tasks and expectations for others. By addressing their ability to make clearer and more effective real-time decisions, Avanceé is bridging the gap between the future they expect for the present, and their abilities to leverage what’s in their hands.
What happens after this session? That depends on the team. One executive turned a small segment of his team into an innovation-forward department. Meaning, they were to not only use the tasks in the 15 min workshop, but actively seek other ways in which time can be added to the days of those persons they are responsible for. Our conversations since have been about “lessons learned,” other applications/services which integrate into their workflows (or other workflows they weren’t as clear towards in their org), and other ways to see consistent innovative practices as the discipline of operations, not just a single/paradigm shifting event.
Will it work long term? No clue. Almost don’t care. The point is to move forward, and this focus enables many to carve out of their spaces the kind of perspective which is easily transferable to other areas of work and life. If it doesn’t work, it’s not because this was the outside person coming in with something they didn’t know of — this kind of workshop works best when the day-to-day is known and pursued in balance. From there, forward is the individual’s push, and the organization’s to cultivate.
If this comes to your org, how would you respond?
Cycles… everything seems to happen in cycles. None of these are all that spectacular in and of themselves, but we seem to be offered a bit of surprise about new cycles when they happen. In the transition from one cycle to another, we find the nuts and bolts of what makes life happen. How we respond to that shift determines a bit on how we are going to exist within that next cycle. Yet, there’s also lessons from reflecting backwards. Those previous cycles offer a bit of insight worth keeping in pocket as well. Those cycles are not to be relived, but they are meant to be learned from.
Cycles, or really the transition between them, continues as the theme for the week’s Notable Reads. How you figure and transition forward is up to the lessons you gather from these:
And a few from here:
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Reading a piece about totems and tantrums, was reminded of a term heard once before — mental knots. Basically, when people get into a cognitive state where their ability to filter sensory, contextual, and other input streams finds itself overloaded and unable to untangle from itself. This state is pretty easy to see in developing children. And somewhat also able to be discernered from drivers who approach other’s on the roadway as “in their way” or “not moving as they should.” What it amounts to in these contexts is an inability to untether all f the stimuli, ans therefore paralyzes and incites.
Mental knots also show up in organizational contexts. You might have an org in a transition state but unable to figure out how to get from under certain ties. A common scenario has a consultant come into a space, then ask people of various roles, experience levels, etc. their day-to-day activities. The consultant would be there in the capacity to address some process inefficiency. Yet, they find in these conversations such a tethering to their processes that any innovation would be met with a high amount of friction (resistance, tolerance, etc.).
How does one break or loosen these mental knots? Part of an answer is found in acknowledging the truth of the current state and one’s inability to move forward without first releasing some areas of tension. Another comes in looking at one’s abilities versus what was being attempted — knots are spaces where friction to move in a specific direction is unable to overcome the levels of input/output which sit on either side of that tie. An article prescribes walking as a means of releasing some of the bonds which restrict mental steps forward. Walking, physical exercise, mindfulness activities, can help to relieve some of those stressors — when an org takes a walk, this might look like a retrospective, a month of paused projects, or even a service activity.
Recognizing mental knots is simply self awareness of an inhibitor. An org recognizing them and taking steps to alleviate stress is also self awareness — and a market opportunity.
Perhaps it is a good thing to have talent to shape a workspace. Companies which figure it out call it culture. But, entrepreneurs and freelancers tend to shape that talent out differently. Like music compositions, there’s a challenge to both express and to reduce complexity. There’s here’s what’s worked for me and here’s what required in order to make a successful output. Perhaps the soundtrack to this week could be themed as simply finding the soundtrack. Or, maybe finding clarity in one’s talents is something altogether different. This week’s notable reads offer a canvas for both.
And a few from here:
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New headlines, not faster ones
Some years ago, attempting to take more control over an online footprint, decided to put an experimental mobile Web server onto a low-end smartphone. It worked really well. Why would someone do that? Or year, or maybe less, before that there was a video by the largest phone manufacture at the time. In that video they talked about, they actually just showed, there was very little text, and I’ll be in that lifestyle where the mobile device transformed itself into what the user need it right at that moment. From that, came a small group — very, very far inside of that company, who took the all powerful tooling which makes web servers tick, and fit it all into a phone. That was the type of future headline I never read before but wanted to be living within immediately.
Before sitting down to compose this, attended a presentation on the future of computing. As the person talked about what he envisioned the future of computing looks like, I wondered where his reference point came from. When he talked about blockchain, he neglected to mention the very public ledger his employer was already building. When he spoke about using voice to design applications, there was no pointing to JAWS or even Apple’s recently demoed voice control feature for iOS13. When he spoke of sensors and cameras which could infer meaning, there was only “it will do this,” not “here’s how we design ethical constraints around the inherent bias of machines primary senses.” There was only the tropes of current and past news — and to be honest, a future already living with two connected rings and a pair of connected glasses on my person now. His future wasn’t far enough.
Attended that talk with the expectation of hearing something, learning something, perhaps even just a perspective not heard before. But the future to some people, is the past to others. For some, the future is faster horses. For others, the future is a protopian canvas compromised of languages long forgotten, scribbled by senses finally given a chance to be exercised. A future which goes further invites the reality of a different floor — not just a “more” floor or an invasive one. It creates a language more than it extends an existing one. Yes, it augments — but it also alleviates and alternates. Going further means that we intentionally disinvite ourselves from owning the narrative — and decide that those with a newer native capacity drive, model, build, regulate, and reproduce.
Some days before, a conversation sparked because of (as was stated) “a clearly different understadning of how to use an iPad.” The person was not just intrigued, but wanted to know why they did not understand-for-use the same technology they had in their hand. As with a current client, this turned into a “what kind of present can Avanceé help you envision with what’s in your hands now?” For them, it was like asking them, “do you want the future right now, or later?” Our sessions start with the future being further than what they’d been working towards but not outside of their hands’ ability to grasp.
There’s something to be said about anchoring the future in what’s understood about the present. But, if you push out a bit further, you just might reveal something about the future which ignites senses beyond simply being stimulated. My goal with Avanceé is to help you push further into that future. Not to give you exactly what you might see from me. But, to offer you a lane, well-within your capacity to build and traverse, so the future you imagine, is also the one you live.
Need help getting to that future? Let Avanceé help you.
Climate and weather are increasingly the points of topic in the northern hemisphere. Sure, part of it is due to the uncomfortable and unpredictable nature of weather. At the same time, the inability to control climate reminds us of our own fragility. The power of humanity (or maybe our intelligence) has certainly been in manipulating the environment such that we don’t seem to be as effected by our environment. And yet, we’ve learned to manipulate it because of the environment. Interdependency and augmentation have always gone hand in hand. Yet now, our ability to quickly communicate what has and hasn’t worked now presents a lot more of us with an earnest challenge: will we thrive because we are resistant to further change, or resilient because of it?
This is the framing for the links which have stood out this week.
And then a few from here:
Avanceé continues to push the kind of content which sits on the outside of the box many refuse to get out of. Support this site if you’d like to continue to read and connect to pieces like this.
Many approaches, just as there are many senses
Having been involved with connected technology since the late 90s, there has been decent evolution in working methods. Where it was once, “only use online research for what can be validated,” now there’s “make sure there are qualitative and quantitative sources for materials.” The funny thing about the latter, is that often the approach still boils down to what can be seen or read. A visual literacy is the preamble to any declarative approach. And yet, we see time and time again, visual artifacts contain only so much information — to arrive at better conclusions, we often have to engage other senses to our approaches.
Engaging other senses sounds as if it could be more involved. And to some degree, that is true. For the beginning parts of our learning days, we are given multi sensory inputs: blocks to touch, colors to recognize, sounds to it knowledge, and more. Over time, our learning environment changes to include more memory retention and recall. If this makes sense, we move to what is understood as higher-order affects. Yet, these higher-order types of mental activities often make us feel so disengaged we run to other tactile, audial, and other senses in order to feel refreshed so that we can reengage with the productive environment.
How do we take the best advantage of using more senses in our environment in order to come to traditional, and often times more innovative outcomes?
Some of this may come out of the way that we evolve what we understand about our natural environment and productivity. For example, one client splits work across several segments of the day. We make a point to have a walking session for one of them, alongside the seated ones, when the weather permits. Those walking sessions tend to expose the deeper problems that we were trying to solve. For another client, we make certain to put exercise and time under the trees as part of the creative method. Yet, outcomes for this client usually require deeper thought. And there is some research which seems to acknowledge that getting under trees, sitting next to still/running water, or smelling different scents as being a catalyst to creative efforts.
This is not an approach that is conductive, or traditional, to the office environment. As a matter fact, it is so different it can look like anarchy to such an environment or culture. However, it is not. Getting in touch with ones other senses enables approaches to creative endeavors which respond heartily to outside of the box perspectives. What’s created then resonates with more than just what is input thru the pupils.
Uncharacteristicly quiet this week. Or, more like listening to what others are/aren’t doing in this space more intensly if there’s more to be said about it. The weekly long-form missed for paying attention to these trends has allowed some deeper thoughts about what it means to be forward. In one conversation, reflecting on the executive need for adding more time to the day meant looking again at what this effort is supposed to produce. In another, it has been about addressing some base tech skills so that data analytics and personal security aren’t missed as other efforts to move forward happen. That leads to similar endings at this point — links which have said things which matter. Beyond these, the conversation and effort continues to cut a different way forward.
Here’s what has caught my attention this week:
Last week’s notable reads 🔗 can be found here.
There were no new pieces this week, yet there’s been a ton posted this year. Here are a few favs:
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Independence. Given the celebration of such for the USA, it’s helpful to stay on theme so to speak. And yet, so much about independence is really about ownership of agency. Ownership of owning not only your consequences, but also your pace. Ownership of your mobility, just as much as ownership of your quiet. Independence is about an active boundary — a means to establish what you know in order to discover what you are becoming. And yet, as we in the USA are figuring out, independence doesn’t end with a document. It isn’t concluded because a part of the group has it. It isn’t ownership of agency until all parties (those who want it and those being separated from it) can exercise their lives within it.
For such reasons, platforms like @microblog might be a better expression of independence than you might have figured. Where you have agency to be, then you can be all that you can imagine and more.
With that said, here’s this week’s links of interest:
And a few from here:
Avanceé expresses agency as it relates to making connections between design, data, and possibility. If this venture is assisting you discover what ownership of agency looks like, consider supporting this site.
Not the pioneer, but the ones who follow, who create the roads
Speaking with a few “coffee office mates” about cycling advocacy, there’s something powerful about advocacy which comes to mind. When there’s positivity advocacy, it validates a framing — ethical, capitalist, emotional, etc. — where it is no longer the case if something works. With advocacy in tow, there’s no need for further validation of culture change, it will change. The only question then is how deep that change will be.
Perhaps advocacy could be thought of as the presence of a change agent. When it convinces an area or change, there are those who will adapt, and those who will remove themselves. There’s a moment when a decision needs to be made — a shift where advocates cause positive, negative, or indifferent change. Yet, the change agent isn’t the reason for the change. They are merely the messenger. It is up to the environment to make the decision to follow or ignore. But, when they do, then the power of the advocate is exercised.
In a few engagements, Avanceé is granted access to the strategy and execution of forward-running programs. This is where Avanceé runs best — the statements go something like, “we aren’t ready to do what you are doing. But, we need your guidance to get closer to than where we are now.” Avanceé isn’t the author of the change, just an advocate towards getting there. We work alongside others who wish to be culture/change agents and then arrive at a place where enough information is gathered, or behaviors challenged, where the organization makes a choice to go forward or not.
Similar to cycling advocacy, it isn’t those who are already cycling who create the sustaining change. It is inviting those who are closer to the lived-experience of the region. Those who see other benefits of cycling (financial, health, local business support, etc.) as key to making that cultural change. It’s at that shift where advocacy moves from being a discussion to a transaction. A transaction which invites other discussions, and likely other transactions also. But, the advocate for the initial, won’t necessarily be the advocate for the next. They too will need to change — and become a follower to someone else’s advocacy plan.
Late? Or elite? Part of the reason for things being later than usual, that is the posting of this weeks links, is because of a focus towards business development for a few new clients. One part of the work is trying to understand why they are not late in their respective industry, but why they are elite. Sometimes, timing works for us if we find a flow that is less dependent on whether or not people who could use our services — that is, we work in our flow and are found because we are distinctly not pushing against the grain. Simply becoming notable because your flow demonstrates that others are striving. From there, the work that you put in is what guarantees the business’ outcomes.
And a few from here:
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Every org is a tech org, every tech is it’s currency
In some engagements, the product is simply to raise the floor of a specific team or role’s technical literacy. This might mean training on a particular platform or application, connecting the dots between existing practices, or carefully appraising incoming personnel’s skill sets. In all cases, one of the arguments made is that no matter the application of the business’ attention, they are a technical organization. Their ability to skillfully use, adapt to, and moderate themselves (individually and collectively) will determine if that literacy is profitable or detrimental.
What amounts to functional literacy is different than even 15-20 years ago. It used to be words per minute was the metric of literacy. Nothing about the quality of the output, nothing about the ability to transform that into various other forms. Just input. Later, many industries evolved past WPM to Microsoft Office proficiency. Not merely being about input, this phrasing also meant the ability to transform and manipulate for specific ends. Unfortunately, it is a very wide request for proficiency (does one need to know mail merge for Word, how to create rules for Outlook, or how to write/edit VBA for macros in Excel). Sure, a good bit of this request for proficiency had to do with understanding how to find and leverage functionality. Yet, it was rarely stated this way. Weirdly enough, this phrasing actually leads to the gaps SaaS products have aimed at marketing.
So, if we agree that these were the leading steps of literacy over the past 30+ years of knowledge-based productivity, what does technical literacy look like now?
Or, is it creating something else entirely, which adds the benefit of improving productivity, increasing stakeholder returns, or filling a social need?
Skillfully using, adapting, and moderating technology (individually and collectively) will determine if that literacy is profitable or detrimental. Technical literacy is the floor, and that floor will continue to evolve, just as our base uses of computing evolves.
Thought about publishing the weekly links earlier since Friday was quite packed. But, it made sense to wait a bit. There were a few things on deck for Friday which shaped these a bit better. That shaping will lead to better buckets of life later — and interesting bits to consider for the weekend forward.
From here: - Connectivity As Wellness - Notable Reads for 14 June 🔗