Thursday, September 03, 2009

Why working wikily is so hard (at least for me)

Cover of "Grown Up Digital: How the Net G...Cover via Amazon

Yesterday I blogged about the working wikily paper. It takes the stand that the tools are not so innovative, it's the networked way of working that's revolutionary.. and that's partly engendered by the tools.

My own blogpost made me think about the generational differences and the different mindsets about collaboration. I read and blogged the book Grown up digital. Though many people I meet recognise that different generations use the web differently, often they point to exception to the rule. And don't really know how to work with the differences. The depth of the difference may be underestimated. Trust in working online and trust in jumping into collaborative partnerships is an issue. It's almost a paradigm shift, but it sure is a deep shift.

An example from my own experience to show that working wikily is a profound change of mind. Though I try to learn many new tools (and not just technically, but also diving in socially) I have a mindset about collaboration that is not fully networked. It feels like it is partly changing- for instance I met a person in the train and may jump into a collaborative project with her because we have common interests. I'm organising a series of workshops with 3 colleagues by open admission. People send an email to one of us, the central coordinator for that workshop. Since each workshop had another coordinator, it caused difficulties when people changed workshop etc. My solution was to propose a central coordinator for all admission. Even though I know all the tools, wikis, google docs etc. it didn't occur to me. My colleague then proposed to co-coordinate, use all our email addresses and put all admissions in a google doc. It a networked way of working at small scale. But illustrative of a different way of working nevertheless.

I do wonder whether my daughters will have a mindset of working wikily (they sure learn it on the various social networks they are already part of) and whether that's a good thing. There are probably also downsides to it. What do you see as the downsides of working wikily with a networked mindset?
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Wayne Key said...

There are true generational differences and research is proving that those differences even go to the hardwiring of the brain. The brain itself is far more plastic (changeable) than past research showed. (Ray Kurzweil in Transcend)

I am a big fan of Don Tapscott and his work! Thanks for featuring it in a post.


Wayne Key said...

After I first read this post and made a quick comment I spent some time on your site. I am thinking that perhaps we should talk a bit. It seems that we have very similar interests. I am currently developing a blog/information site on Human Potential in its various aspects, and am writing a book on "Mission" and how being on or off Mission affects people.

I am sorry about leaving this here, but I looked around for your email and couldnt find it. If you would like to reach me I am at or you can read some of my work at

til later


Bev Trayner said...

Yes, it's not the tools it's the mindset. Don't you remember saying that years ago? I have to keep reminding myself.

(Best Show)Watch said...


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Joitske said...

@bev trayner even though it's the mindset, we often start with the tools (including me!) because we have to focus on the tools too. but since they are so appealing, it is tempting to put too much time into them

@best show watch I will have a look at the site and will let you know

Daniel J. Pritchett said...

I have found Google docs to be wonderful for quick collaboration on projects large and small. My family uses them for handling different projects like child care, event planning, and home repair.

On a slightly larger scale I've seen them used to great effect for managing enrollment and contact information for groups of ~100 people.

I think we'll all get more used to the idea of shared documents rather than digitally cloning private documents to mail back and forth.