Exploring forms and norms – Lanterns in the Noguchi museum, NYC

One of the things I sometimes consider on this blog is how design and interactive art can help us to explore our relationships to technology and how we see the world. A few months ago I visited the Noguchi museum in NYC where a wonderful exhibition using paper lanterns prompted me to consider the sensory expectations that different forms can create and how playing with form and the absence of form can help us to think through what we notice and what we take for granted in our interactions.

Lanterns and spaces – Noguchi museum, NYC.
Image credit: author’s own

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Navigating knowledge landscapes – the role of community managers as guides

In July, I participated in an inspiring 4-day retreat led by Bev Trayner and Etienne Wenger – social learning theorists and consultants who have written extensively about communities of practice and how cultivation of knowledge is a group-mediated activity. Each morning at the retreat we explored their current thinking about social learning, enjoying much time for discussion of the ideas as a group. One model that particularly resonated with me was that of the knowledge landscape.

In this metaphor, communities of practice can be imagined as hills or mountains of expertise within a landscape. The mountains can vary in height, depending on the amount of knowledge contained, and the slope of the mountain indicates the gradient of learning or the curriculum that a new member of the community would need to follow in order to progress up the mountain to expert level. A steep slope indicates that it’s harder to master the knowledge in that community, whereas a more gentle gradient allows for working more leisurely within the learner’s comfort zone.

How steep is the learning curve in your community of practice?
Image credit: author’s own

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Reading for Leading #27: Just five minutes…Creating wide open ways in

Just five minutes…Creating wide open ways in

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

There’s a joke I heard recently about meditation where one practitioner turns and asks another how her practice is going. To which she replies,  “Oh, you know how it is: I spent 45 minutes not meditating today.”

And yet it’s always a day away…
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seaternity/14975654022/

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URLs of wisdom – W.T.Facebook edition – April 2018

This is a special instalment of the URLs of wisdom in which I round up some new and some not-so-new links about privacy, fake news and the business of community as relates to Facebook. If you have additional reading material on these topics to recommend, please add it as a comment.


When you add a feature that is really a bug…
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/2825261107/

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Community Manager musings: Four reasons coordinators of communities of practice can fail

Community manager musings is a series of occasional posts looking at the roles and skills of community managers – usually within science. 

“Gah! It’s all Greek to me!” One form of failure in building a community of practice comes from lack of domain expertise.
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/4199675334/

Nurturing and growing a successful community of practice is a delicate balance of activities where the intention is to create a vibrant group of members interested in honing their craft in a particular domain that they share.

Communities can fail for any of a number of reasons – but in communities of practice Wenger et al., mention four key causes that are due specifically to how the community manager’s role is carried out.

  1. Time
  2. Balance between public and private spaces
  3. Pro-active networking
  4. Technical / domain knowledge

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6 months of Reading for Leading! Top posts so far…

Every Monday morning for around 6 months I’ve been sharing a tip, reflection or short exercise about leadership and team-building. These Reading for Leading posts have covered a range of topics including systems thinking, self-care and networking tips as well as communication skills, time management and how to give good feedback.

Want to be a less robotic, more connected leader?Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/katy_tresedder/4902216441/

If you’ve not been following the series or may have missed some of the 26 posts so far, here are some of the most popular posts:

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Community Manager musings: How do you define a community manager?

Community manager musings is a series of occasional posts looking at the roles and skills of community managers – usually within science. 

What do you call a professional cat herder? Adapted from original image here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbowen/1148435913/

I’ve been having a series of conversations recently about how we define community and what different types of communities look like. As people are realising that many of the programs and activities that they coordinate have community at their core, they’ve then begun to ask: am I a community manager? What defines a community manager?

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