Cities can’t exist without a hinterland – the ‘land behind’ and around them that supports the city, provides people, resources, a place for the products of the city – for good and bad – to flow out to, a place for the city to grow into.
Ideas need a hinterland too – a wider landscape they emerge from, draw on, connect to. The healthier, wider, more varied the hinterland, the more connections the idea has to wider realities, the richer, more robust, more joyful and life giving the idea.
People, organisations and companies need hinterlands too – the ‘wrapper’ of other humans and groups and the spaces we live in. Often, this hinterland – these people and places – are really the main point.
So each day we have a choice: are we bringing life to our hinterland, enriching the soil we grow from, or are we growing rich by exploiting it?
Most businesses that prosper create value for their communities and their customers as well as themselves, and the most successful businesses do so in part by creating a self-reinforcing value loop with and for others. They build a platform on which people who don’t work directly for them can build their own dreams.
Tim O’Reilly, WTF?
This is a key to building a fruitful and sustainable business or charity – be part of your partners’ success story.
All the pieces are there, but it just. doesn’t. work.
We’ve all used badly put together tools, instruction manuals, software, doors. At best they’re slower and frustrate us. At worst, they cause us to lose out or harm us.
It’s the same with ideas. Whether we’re communicating simply to transfer knowledge or for emotional impact (your priorities may vary, but if you want to do either you really need to be doing both), the way they’re put together counts.
It’s the same with ideas: the way they’re put together counts. The structure of your ideas is crucial whether you’re communicating to transfer knowledge or to create an emotional impact, and really, if you’re serious about doing either you really need to be doing both.
Better? I think it’s a bit better. Must try harder.
So without further ado, here’s my Information Architecture
The introduction and first chapter that are included in the kindle sample are pretty compelling, but I can’t find an short quotation from it that doesn’t make it sounds boring, so I won’t.
Oh okay, I think this bit is cool:
[The] abundance and pervasiveness [of information] makes our lives better in many ways, but it also introduces new challenges. With so much information available in so many places, it can sometimes be difficult to cut through the noise to find the information you need and understand it once you have found it.
Information architecture (IA) is a design discipline that is focused on making information findable and understandable. Because of this, it is uniquely well suited to address these challenges. IA allows us to think about problems through two important perspectives: that information products and services are perceived by people as places made of information, and that these information environments can be organised for optimum findability and understandability.
It’s possible that I like this book because it makes me feel like I’m in the matrix.
Stumbled across it on Amazon just now. Middling reviews, but Floridi directs a lab and straddles multiple chairs at Oxford; has well appointed office; wears tweed and high cheekbones). Might be a good starting point?
HistoryofInformation.com is designed to help you follow the development of information and media, and attitudes about them, from the beginning of records to the near present. Containing annotated references to discoveries, developments of a social, scientific, or technological nature, as well as references to physical books, documents, artifacts, art works, and to websites and other digital media, it arranges, both chronologically and thematically, selected historical examples and selected recent developments of the methods used to record, distribute, exchange, organize, store, and searchinformation. The database allows you to approach the topics in a wide variety of ways.
Right, almost time to go – quit while you’re only five books behind and all that…
Try thinking about your words and actions as seeds.
One way to do this is to start at the end. Ask yourself “What kind of plant do I want to grow?” And try to plant the right seed in the right soil for it to flourish.
The other way round is to think about means: “If I do this, what is it the seed of? What kind of plant will grow from it, and where?”
This applies to almost everything – relationships, health, habits of thought, what we read, how we spend our time, who we spend it with, what we pursue, places we go, the motivations we allow ourselves to follow.
What seeds do you plant most often?
What could you plant more of?
What might you need to uproot?
Who are you planting for?
What’s left behind when you’re gone?
As we build our lives, organisations, communities – as we build a society – what plants will flourish best together, bringing life?
I love the parable of the man who plants a mustard seed, which “though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”*
You can’t see the future, but you have a pretty good idea of what sort of garden you want to live in, and a pretty good idea of what seeds you’ll need to plant. Sow those.
*No, I don’t think that mustard is the smallest seed or the largest plant either.
*Disclaimer: This post, originally lost in the Crocapocalypse, was only recently discovered sealed in an earthern jar in a cave near the Dead Sea. The post is intact, but some formatting (especially spaces) may have gone missing in action.
I sat down to write a post.
Saw the viewing stats for driverlesscroc looking interesting and inviting.
Catch yourself in the pause – in the gap between stimulus in response.
Mind the gap.
Mind in the gap: why did you come? What is this for?
It turned out that when I got to 121 minutes I wasn’t too far off worldwide distribution and an audience (okay, potential audience) of billions.
Not that I want an audience of billions, but it’s amazing to think about it. Pow – you have distribution that the biggest media companies in the world could only dream of a couple of decades ago.
Back to the podcast – the morning after this post I installed the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin for wordpress, and their stats add-on (both free) muddled through with filling things in, and then found this excellent article from elegantthemes.
And now I have an RSS feed that makes my podcast downloadable or streamable to anyone with a web browser or a podcast app on their phone.
I’m not on itunes or Google play yet – they’re not exactly the point, and take some extra registrations – but I’ll get there eventually.
For now, here are my amazing stats:
iphone users show up as iTunes downloads. I’m not actually on iTunes yet – I just serve a classy demographic.
Richard Hackman‘s third lens on teams and team performance looks at what happens to the individuals on the team.
What happens to the individuals? Did they learn something? Did they grow and develop professionally, or was this a waste of their time or something that frustrated and alienated them?
Team growth and individual growth are interrelated, but distinct. Team growth is (primarily) related to the team’s ability to work well together as ateam, and whether their ability to get the job done is improving, and the improvement is sustainable.
Individual growth is about personal learning and development:
Are the members of my team developing their own vision?
Are they and exercising and deepening – or possibly redefining – their values?
Are they gaining new tools – ideas, skills, understandings – that will serve them and others well, beyond the team?
Are they developing significant relationships and resources that will help enrich their lives and the lives of those around them?
How is what you’re doing now going to make their lives better in future? How is the work of your team an act of generosity the teams of the future?
Richard Hackman‘s second lens on teams and team performance is about the team getting better at what it does over time.
If you’re leading a team, your evaluation of the team’s performance can’t be based solely on whether you delivered the goods last time. You’ve got a bigger picture to think about, including whether your team is getting better over time.
Team growth is key too: “What happens to the team itself over time? Does it grow in capability? Is it a better performing unit after its completed this project than it was before?
As your team delivers the goods this time, is it getting stronger and better able to deliver the goods next
Is the team clear about a shared vision what it’s trying to achieve and where it’s going?
Are your values being strengthened through this project or are they compromised and in danger of withering?
Are you developing shared standards and practices that will make doing the same jobs easier tomorrow?
Are team members getting better at their individual roles?
Are you getting better at communicating, cooperating, helping each other out, having fun while you work?
Is the wrapper of essential resources and partnerships around the team being strengthened? (think ecosystem, not machine)