Frighteningly Global: the democratised, decentralised, new world

Today went well: i presented a webinar on ‘scaffolded Social Learning‘ to around a hundred and thirty people. As is usual, i rewrote the whole thing yesterday and shared it on the blog before it even started. Later i’ll share the slides too. Those people were around the world: Australia, Beirut, France, Mumbai, London… a global community united in a spirit of enquiry.

Decentralised Global

At the weekend, i leave for Singapore for a conference, then to Thailand to work with another community. A week back home, then it’s off to America. Frighteningly global.

There’s no plan, no strategy: for the last four years, i’ve simply been #WorkingOutLoud before i do anything else. Take writing the books: the first one, i locked myself away for four weeks to write, then published it. The last one, i wrote everyday and shared everything as i wrote. Today, i’ve given away around twenty copies to people in that community. Why? Because knowledge itself is not the point: in the Social Age, it’s about our ability to create meaning, and that happens in community. The books are not the outcome, they are just part of the conversation.

The democratisation of communication, the death of the office, the rise of communities, these things have transformed how we work, how we lead, how we learn. National borders and geographic distances mean very little anymore. Cultural boundaries still exist, but the technology makes it ever easier to cross them (although not always for the better: we still need to strive for fairness).

The Social Age has momentum: ideas generate their own mass and speed, amplified around the world by engaged communities, entirely outside the control or ownership of any organisation. We unite around shared values and shared purpose, creating communities that are self regulating and self directed. The organisation can still be part of the conversation, but it no longer owns it.

If you use social media, how do you stop people wasting time“, asked someone on the webinar. Why would i? It’s their time to waste. I myself invest significant hours on Facebook, taking photos, drawing, reading, playing games, talking to friends and strumming the guitar. I also spend a lot of time working, engaging in work communities and problem solving. I just don’t do it through any formal system or between the hours of 9-5. Well, it’s probably 9-5 somewhere, but these communities are global, and it’s always five o’clock somewhere.

And anyway, you never know, but if people come together and talk, we may accidentally learn something.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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8 Responses to Frighteningly Global: the democratised, decentralised, new world

  1. graham hogg says:

    Julian, from London to New York I still enjoy reading your insightful blog on my commute where I’ve traded Wandsworth Town to Canary Wharf with the lower east side to Midtown!

    What are your thoughts on the challenge between emerging communities across organizations and strategic vertical alignment? My challenge is how do leaders achieve this alignment?

    • julianstodd says:

      Thanks Graham, i’m glad i’ve been able to make the transition to life in the Big Apple with you! The challenge of aligning communities to verticals: it’s twofold. Firstly, there is value in the divergence: communitites that span specialisms or even sit partly outside the organisation can be valueble to challenge our thinking and keep us agile. They are less likely to buy into the ‘do it the same as before’ mindset, which is the enemy of agility. Secondly, it may not be the place of leaders to align them at all: the role of the leader may be to engage with authenticity in the community, but not to try to steer it.

      Social authority comes through authentic engagement over time: it’s a magnetic model of leadership, ot a hierarchical one.

      Some organisations have found that the communities that they established to help learning have now become politically powerful as they weild so much social authority. It’s a rebalancing of power.

      I look forward to continuing this conversation over a beer in Bryant Park in December when i’m over that way… 🙂

  2. Julian I admire you so much!! It is amazing how you DARE TO DO!! And it is in daring where the power of life is. I am preparing still. I feel the time is not yet for me to step outside, I do not know why but I am still shy. I guess I am catching up from 23 years of living inside and not outside the knowledge social world. Knowledge has different shapes and it lives almost everywhere, it is part of everyday life and you bring it so beautifully in your illustrated posts that I enjoy so much.
    The time will be ripe for me to dare and work outside, share and learn in real settings with people from Singapour, Amsterdam, Laddak, Vietnam, Venezuela and hopefully I’ll meat you some where there maybe at 9 or maybe at 5 🙂
    Have a safe trip and do not stop sharing your thoughts and experiences form the outside world as they make some magic inside.

    • julianstodd says:

      Thanks for being part of this community Caroline and sharing your reflections. I find the illustrations help me get my thinking straight, and they are great for storytelling. I look forward to catching up at some point 🙂

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