Two people are walking towards each other along a crowded pavement. Each is carrying a precarious pile of boxes in front of them. They see each other coming, and as they approach engage in a careful dance to get past each other without dropping anything. They succeed and carry on about their days. No one […]

The hallways of learning

Nancy Dixon has a fascinating post about working with researchers who were getting a new work environment designed to foster casual conversation and collaboration. Basically their new cubes were going to be built either side of a communal area that was part coffee bar part meeting table. Before the change they knew very little about […]

Incremental innovation

Carl Franzen describes how scientists captured the first picture of atoms vibrating in a molecule. What caught my eye was that the technique used has been around for some years. Blaga said that the team’s main innovation — and the reason why nobody had achieved such a view of atomic vibrations before — was overcoming […]

Networks and creativity

Keith Sawyer spots some research that looked at some famous “loner” creatives and found that their most creative periods coincided with less social isolation.

Collaboration, the difficult one

Dwight Towers spotted this interesting post on barriers to collaboration. I’ve noticed that collaboration seems a lot easier to talk about than to do and this article looks at some of the issues. I largely agree with his first reason for difficulty: Failure to recognize the complexity of group thought. When we think that communicating […]


Everyone’s seems to be into co-creation and crowdsourcing these days. Here’s a lovely reality check for lazy brands who assume too much about what to expect. It’s the phenomenon of “yes I’d love for you to collaborate by washing my dishes and peeling my potatoes” Hat tips Katie Chatfield and Kirsty

Self-organisation, traffic lights and empathy

Recommended viewing for contemplating the power of self-organisation and the hidden costs of top-down control. The best line in the commentary was this: “Road capacity might be limited but empathy is boundless.” (If you can’t see the embedded videos click here and here.) Hat tips: A blog around the clock and Richard Gayle

Collaboration and status

Sometimes I go searching for something in an old post and stumble on other stuff I wrote years ago. This can lead to cringes but occasionally to things I think bear repeating such as this this reflection on how come collaboration sometimes seems so difficult: Collaboration is a low status game. The offer to collaborate […]

Empathy and innovation

Tim Kastelle has a good post about Empathy and Innovation. I’m fond of talking about “relationships before ideas” and Tim seems to be in similar territory. One of the supposed challenges of innovation is getting ideas to spread and Tim argues that empathy is pretty key to that especially if you’re into Mark’s Herd worldview. […]