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Real Conversation
Jon Lebkowsky, 2 Sep 06

The Web 2.0 emphasis on social software, interactive technology, and architecture of participation is all well and good, but I wonder sometimes whether the means distracts us from the end, communication. At Designing for Civil Society, David Wilcox blogs that the best technology for "knowledge management" is talking to each other, sharing our stories interactively, online or face to face. Wilcox notes that David Gurteen "made a strong case for this most basic form of human communication being fundamental to any shared understanding and involvement - whether social or professional," and he links to Gurteen's post about "Knowledge Management and Real Conversation":

To my mind, one way to help reduce the above barriers is to start to engage in conversation - real conversation - to learn it, practice it and encourage it. We must start to seriously consider the fundamental problem that we are not good at talking with each other.

First, we do not listen to each other.

Second, we do not say what we think. We do not tell the ‘truth’ – we do not explain how and why we ‘perceive’ the world differently.

If we want to improve our knowledge and make it productive there is only one thing that we need to learn to do. That is to improve our understanding - to become more aware. Much will follow from this.

This is the kind of fundamental thinking that it's too easy to lose site of, especially when we're building business cases for new approaches and looking for ways to differentiate from what others are doing or what's gone before. If we don't learn the basics of the art of conversation, all the social software in the world won't make us more effective.

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I would like to extend an invitation to you to join in on a collective blogging section of our upcoming winter issue of Reconstruction

Here is the original call:

Theories/Practices of Blogging
Our intent in this section of the issue will be to collect a wide range of bloggers and link up to their statements in regards to why they blog (something many of us are asked) and any statement they have on the theories/practices of blogging.

If you already have a post on this you can feel free to use it, or, if you are interested, you can submit a new one.

We will link to each statement from the issue at our site, with the intent of creating a hyperlinked list of statements on blogging that can serve as an introduction to blogging (or an expansion of knowledge for those already blogging).

As you are a collective blog you could, if interested, do a collective post.

If you are interested please email me at the gmail address


Posted by: Michael Benton on 2 Sep 06

Beyond listening is idea building – taking someone’s nascent idea further, overcoming flaws along the way. Perhaps the best book about this is George Prince’s THE PRACTICE OF CREATIVITY.

My own book EVERYDAY INNOVATION: HOW TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS THAT GO SOMEWHERE uses games to teach thinking skills used by great innovators – and thus develop spontaneous lateral thinking. Takes us out of our mental silos… lots of fun!


Posted by: Andrew Gaines on 3 Sep 06

When writing our book about online conversation as knowledge sharing, I read another book that I'd recommend - Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. Part of making conversation effective is agreeing not to beat around the bush or let politeness undermine the essence of what you're trying to achieve.


Posted by: fig on 5 Sep 06



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