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Thinking in public


User manual august 2018

I’m just wrapping up after a few days out of the office doing some deeper thinking than you get chance to do in the normal week – I have called it my August firebreak.  It was one of the things I wanted to do as part of my personal development this year and I am lucky enough to have a boss and a team who were happy for me to do it.  Over the next month or so I’ll be asking them for feedback on it and seeing if it would work to do it again at some point.

I have found it hugely helpful to take time to reflect and bring together some the things I have been thinking about over the last few months.  Action research relies on this kind of time to turn reflection in reflexive learning and I hope that is what I have done over the last week.  I certainly have a number of lines of enquiry which I want to explore over the coming months.  Its been a really productive few days and I have done work on all the themes I set out to look at:

  • I have done some thinking about networked governance and published a piece on full stack decision making because ” if your goal is to end up with an organisation that is less silo’d at the same time as being more collaborative, adaptive and flexible it seems sensible to look to the thinking which is designed to support a more sophisticated view of decision making then that of a hierarchy where things get rolled up and then down the hill to get an decision”.
  • I have been thinking about the digital mindset and how it can connect to the origin myth of your organisation
  • I have update the 8 tribes of digital model and discovered a new tribe! Yes – there are now 9 tribes of digital
  • My bigger piece of work has been to write a longer piece about why all change is system change:  “All change is system change — to say otherwise is to ignore a fundamental truth about organisations being living breathing human systems.”
  • I have also done a couple of pieces of ‘work work’ which may appear here in due course
  • I didn’t get as much reading done as I thought I would – but it did make me realise how much I have read over the last few months and helped me create a reading list for the next few months

I also did something I have meaning to do for a while which is to create a first version of a user manual for me – based on the template that Cassie Robinson has written about here.  I love this read and would really like to know if people find it helpful.

This is the first time in a while I have been able to get back to combining thinking and doing and also to be working properly in the open – so I also wanted to be really clear with the people that I work with that this explosion of quite theoretical thinking isn’t all about to come to land on them when I get back in the office tomorrow.  Here are some things about me:

  • I often think in the abstract but I am also a pragmatist – none of these fairly theoretical ideas will survive in the wild – they all need considering through the lens of what actually works
  • I look forward and that can be a long way forward – some of these ideas will be years in the making
  • I don’t expect other people to be as comfortable with the theoretical as I am – if we all thought like this the world would be duller and considerably less productive

What I write here is however a good indicator of how I think the world is changing and how I think we should be trying to influence that change – but its all here for discussion and debate – I don’t think there are any right answer but instead there are really good questions.

PS. What it hasn’t helped me do is work out where I want to publish stuff so apologies to anyone who is seeing me pop in on Medium as well as here.

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