Training, lists and that sinking feeling

I’ve been reflecting on the training business a lot lately. Partly because I’ve been experimenting with some ideas at Edges of Work. So much training seems to lure us in with offers of highly structured content. I get it. There’s something very alluring about that promise of “You will learn…” followed by several bullet points. […]

Spiders and spying

It’s been quite frustrating following the coverage of the PRISM scheme to monitor internet activity. I see again how people at the top of any hierarchy seem to think the answer to all issues is for them to have more power and control. The foolish objections of the citizenry are met the with almost contemptuous […]

Just remembering…

I get to use the Cambridge University Library these days which I have to say is a pretty nice privilege if you can swing it. Perhaps that’s why i seem to be reminiscing more about student days. I seem to remember that back in the day, we students seemed to organise all sorts of interesting […]


That thing where you have this really meaty topic you want to write about. It’s so meaty that you think it will need a really long post. So you never write the thing. That.

The linearity of books vs the non-linearity of intelligence

Donald Clark observes Knowledge is not held in our minds alphabetically or in a linear or hierarchical menu structure. Knowledge is held in different ways procedural, episodic semantic, and called up into working memory, but it is fundamentally a neural network, physically and representationally. A hyperlinked representation of knowledge is therefore a much more useful […]

Report writers

Government seems to reverence a particular kind of cleverness. The lawyerly sort, that can write precise reports and prescribe best practices. I would dearly like to see some of the sages that write these things put to a public test. I want them to be put in a role play. So a Lord Laming could […]


Pomposity is a wonderfully plosive word. I’ve been thinking lately that the first physical manifestation of pomposity is a failure to breathe out freely. It’s often an unconscious defence and it’s effect is literally to puff the perpetrator up. I suspect that pomposity doesn’t start out with the intention of attacking. Still I think pomposity […]

Training for surprise

I have to agree with Harold Jarche: In the network age learning is conversation. But aren’t training courses more like “exhibit halls”? They are prepared in advance checked for quality control and delivered with the best look & feel. Conversations are messier with ill-defined boundaries; just like work and just like life. I can’t bear […]

Concreting Complexity

I’ve been thinking about the urge to scale things lately – see here and here. I understand the concern with being able to effect big social change and simultaneously see how easily that urge can be used to block small changes in an unconscious urge to be in control. Chris Rodgers is pretty vigorous in […]

Scaling and Theory U

I really enjoyed Dave Snowden’s reflections on Theory U. I’ve been meaning to write a comprehensive post but those never get written so here are a few reflections for now. Definitely worth reading the whole thing. He reflects more generally on approaches to management that draw on spiritual traditions such as meditation and reflection. This […]