Feb 06 2015

Ford Foundation, Open Access and Really Sharing Knowledge

inandoutKnowledge sharing can be enabled or blocked based on organizational policies and infrastructure. This is essential in sectors that are (or claim to be) for the public good, like non profits, donors and foundations, NGOs and educational institutions. I was happy to read that the Ford Foundation has added Creative Commons approach to all their work, joining the Open Society Foundations, the Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the CGIAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ford Foundation Expands Creative Commons Licensing for All Grant-Funded Projects

(New York) – The Ford Foundation announced today that it is adopting an open licensing policy for all grant-funded projects and research to promote greater transparency and accessibility of materials. Effective February 1, grantees and consultants will be required to make foundation-funded materials subject to a Creative Commons license allowing others, free of charge and without requesting permission, the ability to copy, redistribute, and adapt existing materials, provided they give appropriate credit to the original author.

via Ford Foundation Expands Creative Commons Licensing for All Grant-Funded Projects / News from Ford / Newsroom / Ford Foundation.

Walking the talk is harder than publishing the policy. Some people still worry that setting their knowledge free will hurt them. So we need to look at how certain professions are rewarded (or punished) when it comes to sharing intellectual property. For example, our way of educating and validating researchers and scientists (“publish or perish”) still pushes people to withhold (particularly data sets) rather than “set free.” I’d be very interested if any of you have research/data that links the benefits of sharing knowledge to professional advancement. I think we either have some myths to bust, or we have serious infrastructure changes needed.

This is resonant with another article shared with me today, from the Stanford Review on the role of including gender perspective for research breakthroughs.  Being open allows access to thinking of others, to diverse perspectives which then inform our work, decisions and results.

Doing research wrong costs lives and money. Ten drugs were recently withdrawn from the U.S. market because of life-threatening health effects – eight of these posed greater threats for women.

Clearly, doing research right has the potential to save lives and money, and this is the goal of the Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environmentproject directed by Stanford history Professor Londa Schiebinger.

With an international team of more than 60 scientists, engineers and gender experts, Schiebinger has explored how gender analysis can open doors to discovery.

“Once you start looking, you find that taking gender into account can improve almost anything with a human endpoint – stem cell research, assistive technologies for the elderly, automobile design, transportation systems, osteoporosis research in men, and natural language processing,” Schiebinger said.

Open our databases. Open our practices. Open our minds. Open possibilities.

No responses yet

Feb 03 2015

kelvy bird figured out how to explain what graphic facilitators do

This is so good, from the amazing kelvy bird. I struggle to explain what I do when I am graphically facilitating. It is not neutral, like graphic recording. There IS a sensemaking and contextualization that I do WITH people (not just FOR them.) If you are a visual practitioner, or work with them, read this whole post. 4 Levels of Scribing — kelvy bird.

Here is kelvy’s beautiful image. Now go read her post. Now. Please.

No responses yet

Feb 01 2015

Slowing Down to Pay ATTENTION – the #365 Photo Practice

January30For a number of years, some of my good buddies have taken part in the #365 photo project.  Alan Levine and Stephen Downes have been most prominent on my radar. I never seriously considered doing it until January 2, 2015. I can’t quite put my finger on why. There are lots of logical reasons – I try and include the visual in my work on a regular basis. But that wasn’t the reason. I’m beginning to think it was because I wanted to pay attention to things differently. So I did not consider it more than that and just started. Just fricken do it.  Forget the logical.

I did not think about themes. I did not think about “getting better at taking pictures.” I did not think about narrative. Just take a picture or pictures, and pick one to post. Voila.

About the same time I noticed that my friend and “inspiring being” Eugene Eric Kim posted Ten Days Into my 365 Photos Project. I had noticed his pictures and thought, “cool, Eugene is doing this too!” And of course, Eugene being someone who I perceive as taking his photographic craft as seriously as he takes his process arts work, I got a bit intimidated by his comments about taking better pictures. (Update: He posted about the project again today in a don’t-miss post.)

I was using my phone and my very cracked and battered Nexus 7 tablet. Oh dear. Then I stopped myself. Remember, I said, I am not doing this as a photographic practice, but as one of paying attention. At the same time, I LOVED Eugene’s reflections and a little thread of light conversation started pinging and pattering between our posts of our pictures on Facebook.  I liked that. I enjoyed when other friends hit the “like” button, or even better, left comments. Last week I was working very hard and the only picture I could muster one night was taking a picture of my feet while I was collapsed on the couch. And the comment was on the energetic nature of my sock color. This little bit of attention  energized me (Thanks, Joy!). My friends were being part of my paying attention. The attention became a network, or a tiny little force-field.

I like that. A lot!

On January 29th, Eugene posted a picture and comments that again twinged me to observe my own practice by observing his. The conversation was so useful to me. Eugene gave me permission to share it and it is captured here. #365Photo Conversation With Eugene. Eugene some interesting things, so if you are interested, click in!

Eugene wrote “My primary criteria is that the photo tell some story about my day.”

I responded, “That was really helpful for me to read, as I’m still very unclear about my own aims and criteria with the project. I think right now my baseline is low – get it done. I also have a tiny tablet and a cell phone as my camera, so I have to discover what makes a “good” picture on those devices. I do get intimidated by beautiful pictures by others (like you) and I have to shut off that voice. I have enjoyed a) trying to be observant of images/moments and b) giving a tiny bit of context when I post. But it is still very emergent.”

Later in the conversation Eugene wrote: “Nancy, even though we didn’t plan it, knowing that you’re doing this too has helped me _tremendously_. Several of your images have already inspired me..” and “I’ve also loved the emergent aspects of this project, which includes this exchange with you! I also love that you’re taking photos with your phone and tablet…” and “to embrace the spirit of the project and all of the unexpected things that are happening as a result.”

liquidnetworkI was nodding affirmatively as I read. My own random experiment has already morphed and changed because of posting pictures on Facebook and engaging with people like Eugene. The social learning aspect is a wonderful and welcome surprise. That network.

So here is my recap so far.

Attention: Attention turns out to feel more like observation. As I take my daily walks, I am starting to “look with new eyes” at what passes around me. Big picture. Detail. Pattern. Getting out of my “to do list” mode and let my mind calm by using my eyes, instead of “thinking, thinking, thinking.”  The unexpected is now paying attention differently to my friends’ #365photos. (And slightly annoyed that I have to go multiple places, but not so annoyed that I find a technological solution to this!)

Identity: I had not at all thought about how my pictures would give a wee window into my worlds to those who see them on Facebook. I always underestimate how much time and attention people give to Facebook. That is both a wonderful and scary thought. Now that I have noticed this, I am resisting taking/curating my photos as an expression of identity. I want to stay with “attention” for now.

Practice: When I was traveling and in a time zone 19 hours away, I got confused about which “day” I was posting for. Ah, the international time line. But travel provides fertile opportunities for pictures. I was worried that I would not be able to post. I can’t always post from my phone while overseas, so I did more with my tablet and wifi. Thanks to Eugene’s positive support, I have let go of worrying about pictures that are literally just snap shots.

I’m liking this!

 

 

 

3 responses so far

Feb 01 2015

Alternatives to Presentations and (boring) Panels

conversationI can’t quite recall who started pointing towards the “What If...” format, but when it showed up three times last week, I knew I should pay attention. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my clients working on meetings talking about alternatives to presentations and panel discussions (which are rarely discussions.) I’ve been using “Celebrity Interviews” (aka “Chat Shows“) and “Fishbowls” (or variants such as the “Samoan Circle“).

According to co-founder Matt Murrie, What If lends itself to a learning frame, versus information delivery, with the onus for stimulating the learning on the questions the Questioneers (as alternative to presenters) ask. Then it flows to a conversation cafe-like or World Cafe format of small group discussions.

In live and virtual events, Questioneers (the question askers) ask thought-provoking questions in eight minute talks, followed by lengthy breaks for interaction among the off-stage presenters (the audience).

via About | What if…? 360.

So as usual, it all comes down to the power of a) questions and b) conversation. I hope you are not surprised!

I’m looking forward to trying this out. If you have used this approach, I’d love to hear your stories.

3 responses so far

Jan 26 2015

Graphic Facilitation Workshop ‘Rosviz’ 2015

Graphic Facilitation Workshop ‘Rosviz’ 2015 | Michelle Laurie rants and raves reminds us that it is that time again… drum roll….

Graphic Facilitation Workshop ‘Rosviz’ 2015

Welcome to the 6th Annual Graphic Facilitation Workshop July 13-14, 2015

Location: Beautiful Rossland, B.C., Canada 

Imagine you are planning a project, facilitating a meeting or writing a report. Putting words on a page assumes people will understand them exactly.  Adding visuals invites conversation, discussion and exploration. Visuals spark the imagination, help communities plan their futures and help groups track progress. This two-day experiential workshop provides the skills and confidence needed to use a range of visuals in your work and engage beyond words.

IMG_0167   IMG_0271

Day 1: I CAN DRAW – Hands-On Writing on Walls 

Warm up Circles-LinesIMG_1105

IMG_0423The first day, we will start out by touching the paper, playing with the pens and loosening up our drawing muscles. We’ll silence those pesky inner censors and address the basics of “drawing on walls” including basic shapes, lettering and some initial iconography. You will learn a variety of ways to draw faces and people, an often intimidating but key element for visual engagement. We’ll cover basic techniques and tricks that enable any of us to draw as a way of capturing and communicating ideas with each other. At the end of the day, you will apply your skills by visually planning a real project or meeting you have.  Facilitation techniques including icebreakers, giving and receiving feedback and flip chart enhancements will be interspersed throughout the day.

Day 2: Using Visuals For Group Processes & Facilitation Methods 

IMG_0190 Assisting a facilitation challenge using the Samoan Circle.

The second day we will apply our graphic skills in practice.  We will explore how visuals can enhance group processes such as planning, meetings and evaluation. We will create mind maps, mandalas and a range of practical templates.  We’ll look at the use of visuals and participatory graphics (where the pen goes into everyone’s hands) with group facilitation methods such as World Cafe, Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry, and others. We will pay attention to preparation, the actual visual work, and follow up including digital capture of paper-based images. There will be time for lots of practice, feedback and facilitation support.

Throughout the two days you will have a safe, supportive (and fun!) space to practice and build confidence for real work settings.  We also host a community of practitioners online who give constructive feedback and support long after the workshop is over.

“Thanks so much to both of you!  It was an exceptional workshop and we both got a lot out of it on many levels.  You packed it full and yet it felt so fun and energizing!” (Paula Beltgens, 2014 workshop participant)

This workshop is for you if:

–       You plan a lot of meetings and want to make them more engaging, participatory, and meaningful;

–       You do planning, strategy and assessments;

–       You help groups make sense of complex ideas;

–       You want new ideas on how to make your reports, presentations and videos more visually appealing;

–       You want to be more engaging with groups;

–       You want to hone your current practice; or simply…

–       You are looking for a giant boost of inspiration, creativity and fresh ideas!

You might be a facilitator, community planner, team leader, trainer, teacher, project manager, marketing guru, organizational development consultant…everyone is welcome.

“I wanted to send a quick thank you for hosting such a wonderful workshop. I had a fabulous time and learned a lot, even though I already took the workshop 4 years ago I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take again. The content is rich, the hands on application powerful, the people genuine and the instructors first class. Being immersed in this creative process for two whole days is an amazing experience, I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about graphic facilitation and how it can help positively transform group process.” (Fern Sabo, 2x participant, 2010 & 2014)

You do NOT need previous experience or have to consider yourself an artist. At some level, we can all draw and use simple visuals to enhance our communications and engage diverse audiences.

As one participant said:

“Learn to draw with wild abandon! Take this course!” (2013 participant)

IMG_0347

Check out our reflections and photos from 2013 workshops here and here, and the Harvest from the 2012 workshop here and one participant’s Prezi showing the rosviz12 Harvest Journal!

Here is more about what people are saying about our workshop:

“Wonderful workshop – best learning experience ever!”

-Leva Lee, BC Campus (2013 workshop participant)

“Thanks Michelle and Nancy – the workshop was amazing – I am already craving more!”

-Janice Watt, Interior Health Authority facilitator (2013 workshop participant)

“I am still on cloud 9 after the Graphic Facilitation workshop. Thank you soooo much. I feel recharged after that! You two are such great facilitators.  You were willing to bend over backwards to ensure we were comfortable and enjoying ourselves/ learning to our full potential.  There wasn’t a moment that I was not completely engaged during the workshop. “

 -Maddy Koch,
 Community Planning Assistant (2012 workshop participant)

“The graphic facilitation workshop that Michelle and Nancy provided for Alberta Agriculture staff in fall 2011 was fantastic!  They began by setting the stage through careful preparation with the intention of the participants knowing it would be a safe place to learn, stretch their abilities and try new things.  And it worked.  Participants found the workshop to be energizing, fun, and interesting, but most of all useful.  Everyone walked away with ways they planned to incorporate the concepts into their daily work to better engage co-workers, partners and clients.  From using it in everything from agendas, minutes, flipcharts and handouts; to ice breakers, meetings, and team building; to note-taking, brainstorming and other planning processes; the graphic facilitation techniques are here to stay.  A huge thank you to Michelle and Nancy for lighting the fire!”

-Sharon Stollery
, Ag Industry Extension Branch, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (2011 workshop)

Looking for more detailed information? Download the list of skills we will cover: Rosviz14_Tools_Takehome_List

 And More Testimonials:

“What the RosViz11 gave me was the permission to draw without having to be an “artist”. Such joy! Thanks Michelle & Nancy.”

-Laurie Webster
, Consultant with Cognitive Edge (2011 workshop participant)

“I have so many good things to say about the workshop I don’t know where to begin!”

- Sylvia Currie, Curriculum Development and Academic Growth, BC Campus (2010 workshop participant)

“I really thought the workshops was useful for me, and I’m not an artist. In a short period of time (2 days) I was able to learn simple and effective techniques to communicate basic ideas using symbols, easy figures, and colour. What I really liked about the workshops was that it was BIG. Big paper, whole body movements, large images. I’ve always drawn on small pieces of paper and this was a whole body experience!

We also did some great listening exercises where in a short period of time, we had to illustrate big ideas (that were on an audio recording). It was a lot of fun and a new challenge.

Overall, two thumbs up!”

- Rachael Roussin, Consultant (2010 workshop participant)

“Thanks for doing this again, Michelle (and Nancy!!). I highly recommend it!”

- Beth Sanders, Populus Community Planning Inc. (2010 workshop participant)

Preparation:

▪    Come prepared to get your hands dirty.

▪    Dress is comfortable clothes that can get dirty and you won’t be sad if they are stained.

▪    Bring a pad of paper or journal to take notes – unlined is terrific.

▪    Bring a digital camera to record the fruits of your labor.

▪    We will supply the basic materials for the 2 days (and you get a starter kit to take home). Feel free to bring your own set of materials to play with as well. 

COSTS: $850 CAD + GST (5%) (incl. two days training, starter kit and plenty of healthy drinks and snacks).

HOT DEAL! Bring a friend and you both get $50 off! (not combined with other offers)

Please note meals, lodging and transportation are not included.  Accommodation information available upon request.

About your hosts:

Nancy White facilitating from the inner circle.

“I am a learner, mom, gramma and chocoholic. I founded Full Circle Associates to help organizations connect through online and offline strategies.  My practices are diverse, including online interaction designer, facilitator and coach for distributed communities of practice, online learning, distributed teams and online communities, doodler and visual practitioner. I have a special interest in the NGO/NPO sector and the emerging practice of using communities and networks for work and learning. I blog at http://www.fullcirc.com/, teach, present and write on online facilitation and interaction, social architecture, social media and visual practices. I am co-author with Etienne Wenger and John Smith of Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities. Lately not only do I like to draw on walls (graphic facilitation), but I spend a lot of time cooing over my granddaughters!!! For more about my visual practice see http://www.fullcirc.com/about/visual-and-graphic-work/.” Nancy White

Michelle Laurie at Rosviz13

“I have a passion for helping organizations and partnerships communicate as well as improve the way they generate and share knowledge.  Lately my work focuses on helping groups create change based on their research. My work explores the interface of environment and development via strategic planning, assessments, facilitation and engagement.  I incorporate visuals wherever I can particularly with the use of participatory graphics, templates, animation and reporting.  I also use visuals in my personal life for planning weddings, newborns and travels!  I am an associate with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a member of the International Association of Facilitators, the Canadian Evaluation Society and IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication. I am also your main contact for workshop logistics.” Michelle Laurie

To register you must email  michelle.k.laurie(@)gmail.com to confirm your participation, provide your contact details and submit payment.

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