April 20, 2003
Interesting Times II

Chris asked me, in a sidethread, what I thought was interesting about these times by my cross-ref to Danny Ayers.

I can't speak for Danny (though in trawling to catch up with current topics over the last few days, Danny has said much here and there!). But here's what I see as interesting for these times...

First of all, I see a confluence of organizations working on learning, collaboration and interconnectedness. BlueOxen is certainly one of them, as is the coalescing Social Software Alliance. And of course the bootstrap folks working hard on a clearer understanding and building of Englebart's ideas.

And there's a buncha software poking around, like the various purpling interfaces being put together by BlueOxen, et al. The ongoing development of blogging tools from the desktop to the protocols. What appear to be advances in thinking about Wikis, and people thinking about linking of weblogs and wikis, wikis and emails, etc. The still continuing work on Nelson's ideas (like gzz/fenfire or Abora).

[and my linking of the xanaciousness is not an endorsement, but an expression of go-back-to-thisness (or GoBackToThis, a conversational pattern?]

One of the issues that Jim McGee brought up the other day which I've been thinking about is how access to the correct tools from the grassroots can lead to a better knowledge work. Where KM is topdown, what if knowledge work grew from the inside out? What if the conversations had inside a team could be influenced by the conversations around a team. There's a lot more to say about the bargain we all make in organizations of any size, about the variances in our persona we display at work, online, and to ourselves. But the exciting thing I see now, and why I think this instant is an interesting time, is because there are more people thinking about this in open ways than there often have been.

Discoveries are again beginning to happen more transparently, which in itself allows those of us observing to grow and be interested.

I do wonder a bit why things are interesting now? Maybe because the corporate mindset of locking down ideas, even those built on open standards, is softened with the markets, even if temporarily. Maybe because the people thinking now want to learn to think stronger again. Maybe it's like when the gopher stuff started happening, and it wasn't really rich enough for anyone to want to lock it up, and the things being thought about today will be seen in five years as terrifically crude. Maybe it's luck, maybe I just noticed it. But I do think things are interesting.

Posted by esinclai at April 20, 2003 06:12 PM |

Intriguing insight about the improved development environment possibly resulting from diminished economic opportunity. Increased "competitiveness" in a depressed economy actually becomes increased co-operativeness, and a rhetorical comeback (if not sofar bone out in the courts or legislature) for the Commons.


Posted by: mike on April 20, 2003 07:55 PM

wow, so much good stuff to follow and learn about in your blog this week Eric... will be filling up my brain with lots of good links from you while working this week.

btw, my blogging initiative at the office is going somewhere. I at least have an audience that is interested in the ideas... more details when I see you next.

Posted by: brian on April 20, 2003 08:20 PM

Mike, I made that supposition somewhat briskly today, though it did have enough of the ring of truth to it to get writ. Probably deserves further investigation, however.

It would tie in with some of the "we're going to work on something socially responsible" trend that gets reported here and there in the media (e.g. NYT, etc). And it also would tie in with the Po Bronson work going on now.

Of course, one of the buzzwords that got bandied around (at least in the i-Bank world I was in) was coopetition. The idea that it gets more expressed at the grassroots than at the corporations is only mildly ironic.

Brian, thanks. There's more to followup on to come. I'm a bit flooded with bits and pieces right now to grab together more coherently.

Posted by: Eric Sinclair on April 20, 2003 09:00 PM
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