Why not do the big, hard things to change the world?

So screw the little things. Here are 10 big, difficult, world-changing concepts we can get behind:

These hard things have to do with: Nuclear weapons, diet, women, poverty, transparency, green cities among others.

via Worldchanging: Bright Green: Earth Day: 10 Big, Really Hard Things We Can Do to Save the Planet.

Is self-organization or structure better for collaboration?

More structure can be better than more freedom to foster collaboration. Yet, it is not the goals or the processes a team leader needs to define. Rather, the roles of each team member need to be clarified so they are well understood by all.

The Biggest Mistake You (Probably) Make with Teams – Tammy Erickson – Harvard Business Review

Why don’t we ask more questions?

Very much in line with the quote by Martin von Hildebrand I posted a couple of days ago:

Too often in most businesses asking questions seems intrusive, as if you are trying to catch someone off guard or perhaps suspect they haven’t done their homework. That’s too bad, because far too many questions go unasked, and because of that far too many assumptions go unchallenged and far too many half-baked ideas are implemented.

via Thinking Faster: Asking the right questions.

Thanks to Martin (aka frogpond) for pointing me to this post.

Listen, embrace feedback and go viral

Viral effects are a form of feedback. Viral effects aren’t about “viral marketing”. They’re about the transmission of stuff from one actor to another — in a classic increasing returns pattern: 2 people, 4 people, 16 people, 256 people you can pick your own exponent. That stuff can be flu bugs — or better stuff, like information, reputation, money…anything. The sky’s the limit in a hyperconnected world.

via The Age of Viral Feedback – Umair Haque – HarvardBusiness.org.

An end to change?

Awesome reflection about change by Wendy Farmer-O’Neil entitled Change is dead:

I am proposing that the ever-emergent flow is all there is. Take that into your body for a moment and see if there is a different response.

And how do we respond to that? With self-organization, like we always have. Like there was ever anything else. Only now, we can choose to do it consciously. We can choose to learn and create processes that leverage the power of emergence, of context, of relationship, of questions. So let go of change. It is a concept that no longer serves us or our organizations. It locks us in a jail of false hope and is creating increasingly disastrous consequences. We are simply in the flow of the ever-emergent. We shape our present and future through our collective intention. Might as well step up and start taking responsibility for what you care about and see who else shows up.

Emphasis mine, HT @hnauheimer for sharing.

Can we direct slow unconscious change processes?

In his TED talk, Seth Godin defines change leaders as heretics looking at the status quo and deciding that it is not for them. He is talking about consciously choosing to change something and doing it.

There is also another type of change that happens without realizing it, sometimes without wanting it.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Inhotim, a contemporary art museum and beautiful garden. If you ever are near Belo Horizonte, do visit this small park, it is amazing!

To be honest I am not a big fan of contemporary art, but one of the art pieces there that spoke to me was Samson (1985) by Chris Burden.

Samson (1985) by Chris Burden

Samson (1985) by Chris Burden

From the explanatory sign:

Samson (1985) consists of a 100 ton jack connected to a gear box and a turnstile. The jack pushes two large timbers against the walls of the gallery. Each visitor to the exhibition must pass through the turnstile and each input on the turnstile ever so slightly expands the jack, and ultimately, if enough people visit the exhibition, Samson (1985) could, theoretically, destroy the building. (…) The institutional critique in Samson (1985) is brutal and subtle simultaneously: by forcing spectators to pass through the turnstile in order to satisfy their curiosity, Burden assigns them equal culpability in the potential destruction of the gallery space.

A couple of parallels from life outside the museum come to mind immediately: we are slowly destroying our basis of living. It is not the single act of driving 500 meters to get milk or buying a new cellphone every 6 months, but the sum of all these small things that add up to destroy the natural resources we depend on.

Another example is social media: Tweet by tweet, share by share, wall comment by wall comment, digg by digg, we are changing the way we communicate and work with each other and this already has profound implications for the way organizations and governments work, hire, and communicate.

Can Seth’s heretics give this unconscious change direction so we create value for each other instead of destroying it? What do you think?

RTVC Workshop and New Post on WebTastings

We just finished the Realtime Virtual Collaboration Workshop. It was a great experience and though it initially seemed very chaotic, turned into some fruitful conversation. Kudos to the participants for self-organizing so well. We will definitely share summaries and lessons learned.

On a related note, I just posted a new post to WebTastings about the lessons we learned from social reporting of a Conference on Rights and Climate Change.