Over at Headshift Suw Charman has done a great job of capturing the 11 core themes from the Blogwalk “Window Wiki“. As people reflect on the event there is discussion about how to best develop the ideas from this session and how to ensure better learning next time. Here’s my three-ha’porth, modified slightly from my own comment to that discussion:
Reflection and Memory
Memory-wise I find the “little black book” with a few key phrases or bullet points essential to remember the flow of the day.
However I’m not keen to have a formal plenary “writing it down” session; partly so as to make best use of face-to-face time; partly because I find that writing a too-detailed set of notes tends to freeze the thinking at that point rather than allow the ideas to ferment and mature over time. Ian Glendinning strikes the right chord here for me.
I do think that a reflection period at the end of each session would be a good way to surface and anchor thoughts without over-formalising.
Developing the Ideas
The converse is also true – to continue the conversations amongst a geographically-dispersed group we are going to need to write it down on blogs, wikis, emails, IM etc. etc. – perhaps that is where we will begin to express a written emergence of our thinking?
I’m beginning to think that as well as having the “seed” themes (the 11 groupings from the window) to work with it would be very helpful to have some candidate “research questions” in each of those areas to focus our output. Each question should combine a focus for the thinking with a “how could we test this in real life?”. Food for a later set of posts?
Of course we already have one target output in terms of defining the right toolset (the [bliki]IntraBliki[/bliki]).
The overwhelming majority of issues discussed on the day were around people, interactions, emotions and the psychology of blogging in business – indeed as David Wilcox notes many of these issues are those that relate to any organisational change. However I think it would be dangerous to think that there are no technology challenges left at all. In my experience unless the technology hurdle is very very low then it becomes a great hook for people to hang their “resistance to change” issues on. Anu Gupta has picked up on this by referring to this Harvard Business School article
Don’t forget that we are, by definition, a self-selected group who have been prepared to deal with the technology to get our ideas “out there”. The use of social software in the workplace will only succeed (what’s more should only succeed) if it is successful in letting people do what they need to do more easily – a means not an end.