Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Coining the right term

I used the Tedtalk of Joris Luyendijk 'Share your learning curve' (also here on my blog) for my work with a team in higher education. They are learning about 'facilitation of value chains', networking, reading and interviewing. We had already discussed that it would be interesting for their team to start a blog (to share their learning curve- though we didn't call it like that). In the Tedtalk Joris explains that he will start to explore the financial sector starting from zero knowledge. He would like to take other interested readers along in his search via the banking blog of the Guardian. Share your learning curve is a brilliant term for this. The Tedtalk supported what we had already discussed, and gave the blog a clear focus by coining the term 'share your learning curve'. I noticed it also inspired the testing blog.

What really surprises me in a way that I actually started 'sharing my learning curve' since 2005 on this blog (it was originally called communities of practice for development). I remember we had to capture blogging in three words during a teleconference and I chose 'very public learning'. So it surprises me that you can draw attention with something which is not new, by coining a right term. Probably having a good reputation is crucial too...

The same happened with our webinar with Jane Hart. She coined it the 'flipped webinar' flipping the presentation to a blog beforehand and working with the questions of the participants. It was a great webinar by the way, and it worked very well. However, I have a background in development cooperation and since 1990 I've been busy working on participation and participatory methods. So in a way it is not very new to  me. Again coining the right term which is an attractive one and maybe easy to remember works to draw attention.

I think I'm going to try and do some coining myself in 2012 though it seems like an art in itself. I think a good term can help clients in an advisory trajectory to see something very clearly. And if my own coining is not easy, I can still borrow terms from others that have inspired me like 'the networked non-profit' by Beth Kanter, 'filter failure' from Clay Shirky and 'ambient awareness'.

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