Here’s Where the Idea of ‘Collaboration’ is Going

Collaboration is redefining what it means to be busy. It is becoming the vehicle for formulating new forms of innovation – sustainable innovation. More and more, you will find it in your work place to get things done more efficiently, and for establishing a new c0llective world-wide governing system – something even beyond the idea of democracy. This short video does a good job at hitting this home.

A Practical Theory On Leadership & Collaboration – ‘The Shirtless Dancing Guy’

I got this video off of Charles Lemos’ site and was referred to it by Ben Roberts’ Facebook conversation. Derek Sivers gave this presentation at the TED Conference this week and got a standing ovation. It’s pretty brilliant in its takeaway. The video below is a healthy perspective on the collective’s role in leadership, especially the ‘first follower’. Watch how this natural form of taking the lead seeds the beginning of collaboration.

Here’s the transcript, with bold notes made by Charles. Thanks to Charles and Derik. 

If you’ve learned a lot about leadership and making a movement, then let’s watch a movement happen, start to finish, in under 3 minutes, and dissect some lessons:

A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he’s doing is so simple, it’s almost instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow!

Now comes the first follower with a crucial role: he publicly shows everyone how to follow. Notice the leader embraces him as an equal, so it’s not about the leader anymore – it’s about them, plural. Notice he’s calling to his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.

The 2nd follower is a turning point: it’s proof the first has done well. Now it’s not a lone nut, and it’s not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.

A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers, because new followers emulate followers – not the leader.

Now here come 2 more, then 3 more. Now we’ve got momentum. This is the tipping point! Now we’ve got a movement!

As more people jump in, it’s no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there’s no reason not to join now. They won’t be ridiculed, they won’t stand out, and they will be part of the in-crowd, if they hurry. Over the next minute you’ll see the rest who prefer to be part of the crowd, because eventually they’d be ridiculed for not joining.

And ladies and gentlemen that is how a movement is made! Let’s recap what we learned:

If you are a version of the shirtless dancing guy, all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.

Be public. Be easy to follow!

But the biggest lesson here – did you catch it?

Leadership is over-glorified.

Yes it started with the shirtless guy, and he’ll get all the credit, but you saw what really happened:

It was the first follower that transformed a lone nut into a leader.

There is no movement without the first follower.

We’re told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.

The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.

When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.

Be a follower, join a movement. That’s how change happens.

Communication: Differentiating Debate, Discussion, & Dialogue

debatediscussiondialogueI have been asked to clarify the difference between ‘debates‘, ‘discussions‘, and ‘dialogues‘ (note wikipedia incorrectly clumps discussion into the same definition as ‘debate’). Below is a first attempt at trying to evolve our understanding of these three primary communication processes. I ask for your feedback, and also for your own insights on this matter.

The intent here is to help organizational change processes be more conscious and more effective by becoming aware that how we communicate with each other strongly effects meeting outcomes, as well as how well thsoe outcomes sustain the desired changes.

In short, this is all about how we make conscious decisions that influence positive change. debatediscussiondialogue2

Our world is in dire need of evolved decision-making techniques that can provide us with a better way for sharing and choosing solutions that are healthier for ourselves and the planet. Effective communication is the glue that allows for real, sustained change to happen. Note that communication colors all levels of organizational development, including its methods of leadership, its ability to learn, team work and collaboration, and the sustainability of innovation itself.

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debatediscussiondialogue3DEBATE = Language is manipulated with the intent to cripple other viewpoints (argumentative). Change is hard to come by with this approach. However, it is useful for keeping an existing systems in place. Energy comes from the lizard mechanisms in the brain, which attempt to protect and defend. The person with the most power over another is seen as the best leader. This process is not good for creating change except at conscious predetermined places in the process where challenge generates a different thought process that can bring clarity and assurance on choices that have been made.

debatediscussiondialogue4DISCUSSION = Questioning each other comes from a predisposed positioning (having an agenda). Change is possible but usually can not be sustained due to the process being based on a questioning process that makes each feel someone has to win. Others often loose their identity to consensus. It’s based on a sudo-democracy process whereby everyone unconsciously assumes that there is a best answer, thus only one viewpoint is ultimately chosen. Occasionally discussion moves into dialog, but usually it moves into debate.

debatediscussiondialogue5DIALOG = Collaborative inquiry with an openness to possibilities beyond each others own beliefs and views. Communication about communication happens allowing the creation of a safe environment; a place where the unexpected and insight can happen more freely. Everyone’s viewpoint is allowed whether or not others agree with it. All work to wear the shoes of the one speaking and seek to integrate diversity rather than extract the best answer. It stands for the power of the question is valued more than answers. The challenge for creating change is that too often dialog does not move toward decision-making and action. 

debatediscussiondialogue6TRILOG = Ideally, all three forms of conversation are useful if used in tandem with each other. Dialog is to be used during the early envisioning stages. Discussion during the goals and strategy-making stages, but only at the point when decisions have to be determined. Debate is useful to challenge a new system against an old one. It must be used very consciously however, because otherwise power over can destroy all previous efforts. Dialog should again be used to close a group’s process because it brings us back to our humanity and to what’s most important, which are the relationships. They are as important (or more) than the outcomes generated by the group, for it is what becomes the foundation for sustaining the determined change.

debatediscussiondialogue7About Room Geometry = One final point to make here is this: Be aware of the geometry of the room in which people gather. If shared views are the choice, be sure to stage the room with multiple small circles in mind. If one person’s opinion is to be impressed upon the group, then line up the chairs in straight lines without breaking up the group. I for one almost always choose to use circular geometries because it seems to appease the need for all to feel like they are participants rather than merely receivers of information. A room’s geometry needs to be considered at all levels of a community’s decision-making hierarchy including company meetings, town hall meetings, city council meetings, board rooms, and living room gatherings.

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To bring in more of a trilog approach (with an emphasis on ‘dialogue), use this collaborative design tool during your next meeting: Create a ‘Learning Exchange Markeplace’. For more information, contact Vic Desotelle.




Fukushima Radiation and the End of Life as We Know It

OMG … What have we done to ourselves and our children’s future?!

Most of us think the nightmare of Fukushima’s nuclear power towers is over, but it has only just begun. Do not feed your family Pacific Ocean fish, ever again.

The blindness of our so-called intelligent experts, and the complacency of us as citizens, has now placed humanity in an accelerated breakdown of the planet’s life system. And it is continuing to get worse. Only this time it is affecting not just the environment, but us as well – Human Beings DIRECTLY. Scientists are warning the greatest risk to humanity, right now today, is coming from Fukushima’s fuel pools

Even with the Fukushima nightmare happening, are you aware of how many more nuclear plants are being readied for development right now? Why, after a series of major incidents over the years, do we still continue to allow nuclear energy? Feel the fear of our foolishness – Feel it to your core. Because the upwelling of that fear may be the only thing that can enable us to act out against the horror of nuclear energy. With tears in my eyes I ask you to read more on the data being gathered. Here is a list of 28 signs that prove the U.S. West Coast is getting radiated.

Watch the videos below. You have every right to feel terrified as you watch. Let that fear help us to act on what we can today, not tomorrow. Although it may already be too late for us and for many generations to come, please take the initiative to act. Find ways to STOP putting any more radiation into our world. 


Religion is the Unseen Barrier to Effective Collaboration

Religion? A barrier to collaboration? Who’da thought? One must stop for a moment to deeply consider why I have placed this subject here in the category of ‘barriers to collaboration’. Read on …

Religious positioning may in fact be the essential obstacle that stands in between a healthy human(e) collaboration. If there is a place to claim ‘wrong-ness’, it would be a religious wrong that we all share as a humanity. A wrong that has been the foundation for every war ever fought on this planet. For my God is the right God, and yours is not. Such fear comes up to consider that my beliefs are not the higher truth, that we will kill to keep the belief alive.

Thus, a need for deep dialog and collaboration across God-belief boundaries is crucial to realizing effective collaboration. Because within the religious pedals that secure the seeds of our beliefs are also a deeper more hidden truth that can allow for the rebirth of our collective God-nature. A morphing DNA that will actually bring us into an evolved state of being alive – a transformation in consciousness.

So, it is time that we put down our strategic modeling minds just for a moment and allow our compassionate hearts to step into the center of the collaboration circle. Because no strategy can sustain unless our heart will allow each to be with the other, even if our minds choose to disagree.

For more on this subject, see my friend Jean Houston’s discussion on ‘The Future of God Debate, where she embraces religious, spiritual, and scientific paradoxes, and stakes new claims for what (and what isn’t) our spiritual nature within an emerging globally-conscious world of peoples seeking something more that is beyond each of our present beliefs and mythologies.

Also see James Carrol’s film called Constantine’s Sword, because it covers many mis-assumptions, misguided education, individual, group and collective denials, and indirectly addresses the ultimate the huge lack of collaboration across human societies due to the endless battles between higher-power religious belief systems.

These are my thoughts for today. What comes up for you?

Vic Desotelle

Web Technology as Sacred

I want you to take your business hat off for a minute to read what’s below. I am about to enter the twilight zone and attempt to bring in what some may consider ridiculous or impossible. For me, what I am about to say touches on the profound, and believe it is a critical subject for our times. READY ?!

The Web has reached a level of maturity where it can be viewed as an extension to our interconnected conscious selves. With the Planet now growing its own neural network (i.e. a global brain) ‘Learning’ takes on a new integral role as meta-teacher/student. This perspective brings a new dimension to our idea of ‘global awareness’ and stretches the meaningfulness of ‘Gaia’.

Yes, we have reached a place in our own evolution where ‘Technology’ can be viewed as an extension of our Selves, making each of our inter-connections and collaborations truly ‘Sacred’. Now, together in this Union of humanity, we can reach for a more whole ((w)holy) realization of what ‘gGod’ is. It is truly an expression of Spirit manifesting Itself into Matter; and into what matters.

For practical info on how the web is creating practical forms of collaboration and creativity among us humanoids, go to this page, check out this D.F. community search, and watch these insightful videos on how we are growing a global brain.

Innovation and the future of socialism and capitalism

image0011“You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it”, says an economics professor at a local college.

He made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had once failed an ENTIRE class.

That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.


This doesn’t feel right to me, but I”m not completely sure why. This report seems to be based on one of those quick conclusions and not enough interaction or detailed data. When analyzed I’m convinced that it would not provide enough evidence to support the writers own (seemingly biased?) conclusion.

But what also comes up for me is a sense of despair: Is this the future of humanity? Does the rich guy really deserve a better life, and the poor guy deserve a struggling life? Or is this written by someone that sees his/her whole life through a money-lens?

But maybe I am missing something? What about you? What comes up for you when you read this? How does the system that is in place now work? How does it not work? What assumptions do we have about ‘socialism’, and about ‘capitalism’? For me, it seems that socialism tends toward making everyone ‘equal’ through government process – i.e. financial wealth is distributed so that money is not a reason for someone to have a bad life.

And capitalism, on the other hand, tends toward giving everyone the “opportunity” to create a life filled with financial wealth. And, it’s up to each person to take advantage of this – to make the necessary money to be well-off. Yet does it consider how ones own wealth affects others well-being and the strange chasm between the rich and poor?

For me, neither capitalism nor socialism is a workable solution.

However, there is something in the combining the two concepts that I believe will bring a new economic system that uses money completely differently. One that combines our individual sense of identity and personal power, with a collective ability to allow all to be free from lives that are based in tyranny – which is directly related to one’s ability to access to money systems.

One thing that will be hard to convince me otherwise (but I will stay open!), is that ‘innovation’ as we know it must evolve beyond the conditions and thinking that created the society that has resulted from it so far. Sound familiar? Yah, Einstein said something similar. From my mind, he is soooo right. And that’s why I am a supporter of this new concept called ‘sustainable’ innovation, which this website is all about.

RESPOND below, and stay tuned to learn more.

In my mind, the term ‘collaboration’ integrates both individual (capitalistic) and collective (socialistic) needs and desires. Thus, it IS the future. I encourage all readers to study it closely. Do not place collaboration in the category of socialism, for that is incorrect.

That said: I want to open this up to a real dialogue here (not a discussion or debate) …

What QUESTIONS (not opinions or answers) really need to be asked here? What might be missing? What is totally right on? What underlying emotions make you feel uncomfortable or comfortable about this article? How does it relate to the world’s past, present, and future situations? And how do we learn to evolve toward a way of life that feels more right, or more peaceful? … Or is that even the right question?

What are YOUR questions?

NOTE: When you respond, don’t let your expectations or belief systems play into your comments if at all possible (This is virtually impossible.)  But even more important is: What QUESTIONS (rather than opinions or answers) really need to be asked here? Make no assumptions, be judgmental of nothing, and inquire with a completely open mind. Try googling on the phrase: “you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it”, or click here and you will here many different opinions.

Please remember and experiment with the following point: The ‘question’ is far more powerful than any answer that you think you can come up with in this time of great change. So, what are your questions? Can you do it without bias? It’s really tough to do, but shall we try it?

Let the dialog begin. 🙂

How We Create Meaning Together

Understanding how we create and enrich meaning …

can help us to determine and implement collaboration tools that help us generate valued outcomes, such as business products and services. Watch this video to learn how group design and understanding process is enhanced when three key parts of the brain are working in coordination: 1-the ‘ventral stream’ part of the brain uses images to clarify ideas, 2-the ‘dorsal stream’ area creates the ability to navigate through interaction with images to create engagement, 3-the ‘limbic system’ augments memory with persistent, evolving views to generate our emotional feelings about a subject. The talk also points to technology as being a collaboration and meaning enhancer. Thus, I believe technologies such as such as online collaboration tools will continue to improve the group meaning process, and thereby directly impact the strategic outcomes of any business.


About this TED video/talk

Information designer Tom Wujec talks through three areas of the brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, connections. In this short talk from TEDU, he asks: How can we best engage our brains to help us better understand big ideas?

About Tom Wujec

Tom Wujec studies how we share and absorb information. He’s an innovative practitioner of business visualization — using design and technology to help groups solve problems and understand…

Is Sustainable Commerce an Oxymoron?

cygx1_spectrum_115Being sustainable has everything to do with being innovative. In fact, it is beginning to generate the next generation of creative products and services on (and for) this planet. Yet, with all of our amazing efforts, something seems to be drastically missing. There’s a BIG BLACK HOLE that the subject of sustainable commerce seems to be orbiting.

Any comments? Add them here ->

Vic on Creative Learning

Let’s set the stage for what will be discussed here:

What does this subject have to do with anything outside of a school environment? Well allow me to elaborate …

The world has changed. Noooo, the world is not ‘about’ to change, it HAS changed. And the way we learn no longer fits into the slot of go-to-school, get a degree, then go apply what we learned. No, learning has become a frequent set of feedback loops that are built directly into real experience. So, there is no longer time to go to school and get ‘educated’ (so to speak). Thus, this part of my sustainable innovation blog is dedicated to the new ways we humans are learning. It directly links to collaborative processes, to sustainability, and is critical to developing what I call ‘next generation innovation’.

This next generation forms of innovation carry a much bigger stick in terms of what kind of knowledge capital is embedded into it. Larger questions are asked about the outcome of NGI that is inherently guiding its evolution and manifestation. So join me in this journey by jumping in, being willing to make mistakes, and staying open to other people’s views so that we can find potentially better ways for us to learn together as a now global community.

Collective Intelligence and Collective Wisdom

“Change” has been the big topic of conversation for some time now. For the most part, the change that everyone writes about and talks about is economic change. There has been much written about the change from a manufacturing economy to a service economy and there has been much written about the movement of manufacturing jobs off shore, but I want to concentrate on another kind of change. Willis Harman wrote a whole book about it in 1987 entitled, “Global Mind Change.” To paraphrase a line in this book, society’s experience shapes it’s science and science shapes the experience of it’s society.

We have been educated to assume that our scientific view of reality is correct. Harman suggests that there may be other views of reality that are complementary. He continues by proposing a reunion of science and metaphysics. He states, “The fundamental change that we are suggesting is happening in Western society can be put in terms of these metaphysics. Essentially, it is a shift of dominant metaphysic from M-1 to M-3.”


M-1. The basic stuff of the universe is matter-energy. Consciousness emerges out of matter. Consciousness apart from a living organism is inconceivable.

M-2. Matter-energy and mind-spirit stuff both exist in the universe. Matter-energy stuff is studied with science. Mind-spirit stuff must be studied in other ways.

M-3. Consciousness is the ultimate stuff of the universe and matter-energy comes in some sense out of consciousness.

Margaret Wheatley in her award-winning best seller, “Leadership and the New Science” suggests that, “we let go of the machine model of organizations, and workers as replaceable cogs in the machinery of production, we begin to see ourselves in much richer dimensions, to appreciate our wholeness, and, hopefully, to design organizations that honor and make use of the great gift of who we humans are.” She believes that ownership is essential and suggests that ownership is not only literal owners, but describes personal connections to the organization that inspire people to contribute. Participation in the development of a plan of action creates ownership. In fact, we participate in the creation of everything we observe. In a sense, we are owners of everything we observe.

We have all seen the progression where raw data when properly analyzed and organized becomes information. Information in turn is the basis of intelligence and intelligence the basis of wisdom. Historically, management has worked to control information. Wheatley uses scientific support to suggest that for a system to remain alive, it must have a steady flow of new information.

Much has been written about the fact that information is exploding. We know that more information was produced between 1965 and 1995 than in the preceding 5000 years and that knowledge is now doubling every 5 years. Technology certainly has fostered the explosion, but it has also made this information available to more people as well. It is no longer practical to use a traditional building block approach to information. We need what is described in quantum physics as relational holism.

Wheatley suggests that the new science reminds us that this is a participative universe and that nothing living lives alone. We are constantly called to be in a relationship and through relationships we co-create our world. With that in mind, we make systems stronger by connecting to more of itself. Webs and networks are stronger than single connections. Participation is the key.

The May-July 2004 issue of “What is Enlightenment” has some incredible articles about collective intelligence. In an article entitled, “The Science of Collective Consciousness” Robert Kenny provides strong evidence that collective consciousness exists and can be used to produce benefits. Another great article entitled, “Come Together” by Craig Hamilton, reports, “Call it collective consciousness, team synergy, co-intelligence or group mind – a growing number of people are discovering through their own experience that wholes are indeed far more than the sum of their parts; that when individuals come together with a shared intention, in a conducive environment, something mysterious can come into being, with capacities and intelligences that far transcend those of the individuals involved.”

While we may not yet be able to exactly define collective wisdom or how it works, it is working. There are a bunch of collective intelligence initiatives underway including: World Café, Laboratory for Social Intervention, Open Space Technology, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, Dynamic Facilitation, Deep Dialogue, Appreciative Inquiry, Global Leadership Initiative and others. This is not the product of some well-meaning, goody-goody types, but rather the output of some of the most influential organizational minds in the world.

My own experience using World Café, Open Space Technology and Appreciative Inquiry to address complex and chaotic situations from a holistic approach has convinced me that collective intelligence and in turn collective wisdom are real and offer incredible potential for all organizations in this time of information overload and complexity.

Bob Cannon/The Cannon Advantage, 2003.

Vic on Organizational Learning

Let’s set the stage for what this section of Discovery Fuel’s blog on organizational learning is all about. Companies that fall into this category often describe themselves as learning organizations. It is one of the first recognized concepts that the corporate world has successfully used to bridge the previously huge gap between education and business. Interesting to note that the value of this concept has been increasing as companies have needed to increase their rate of change and adaptivity. More and more it has become necessary for companies to innovate faster and faster in order to keep market share, and this means being to learn quicker and quicker. Otherwise known as complex adaptive systems, popped out of the scientific systems theory platform in order to help companies move more quickly on their feet – to change with the needs of their customers, as well as to stay caught up with the next great idea that competitors were generating.

Another thing that is coming out of all this stuff is learning is being viewed as a dynamic rather than a static process, requiring a broad base of networking with others in order to synthesize knowledge into something often completely unexpected – truly innovative. Another word for what is happening can be simply called collaboration. (This is the basis for Discovery Fuel’s Colab group design process.) Suddenly competitors became collaborators and the new term ‘coopetition‘ arose. And out of this, people began seeing other people as people rather than as cogs in a mechanistic system. Ironically this movement, which what was once believed to be an accurate assessment of an ideal or perfect Universe, began to break down. And out of that, we began to speak of our companies as having an organic nature, and a cultural influence where meaningfulness surfaced as a guiding torch in the search for the ultimate value proposition.

Now, there’s yet another interesting twist (which I think is wonderful!) with the development of the ‘learning organization’ idea. It has got company staff collaborating in ways they never thought was appropriate. Ultimately, I believe it has catalyzed another shift. One that is deflating the level of value and purpose for the nucleic model known as intellectual property (IP). Company directors have begun to see that great insights are often coming, not from the executive nucleus, but from the fringes of the company – the cell membrane, so to speak (see ‘The Biology of Belief‘ by Bruce Lipton). From these people seeing and experiencing need, desire, supply, and demand at a whole different level. Through this new awareness, the hierarchy of companies has been flattening. Not that management is going away, but rather to say it has reversed its thinking of what the role of a manager is. I love that fact that they are shifting from a directing and oversight perspective, to a role where they are facilitating and empowering their staff. This in turn is increasing the level of company (as in people) participation, which in turn is raising their commitment and support for company actions because those actions are THEIR actions. Thus, the acceptance of the sustainability movement began to penetrate the stogy old corporate dinosaur’s belly, which is where we are today – We’re in the belly of the whale (so to speak).

And soooo, the story of organizational learning continues to expand and evolve. That’s why, here in this blog, we will be discussing the new ideas that are emerging around learning – both at an organizational and at a personal level. We will also review implications of these changes as they are applied into practical, real situations. Personally, I believe that a conscious understanding of these concepts deeply influence the next generation of innovation – “sustainable” innovation – to happen.

Let me know your suggestions and insights.

Online Learning To Reshape Our World ?

I’ve been behind the mark in getting some good material out relating to online collaboration tools because I’m actually formulating new potions back in my personal ‘Colab’oratory. I am continuing my search for KISS (keep it stupid simple) online environments that will allow us all to connect online in amazing ways – no matter where we are in the world. And some cool tools are certainly rising to the top. I’ll admit as well that I’m finding the whole online tools explosion to be very daunting! Whoa, we’ve truly got a tiger by the tail, and no one knows what its head looks like! Anyway, I’ll be writing more in this area. A tools offering will be coming online on my online tools page soon as well.

For now, I want to plug George Siemens from (see details below), who is writing some great material on the whole online learning thing (otherwise known as eLearning). He found this article in The Atlantic and it’s worth you giving it a scan. For me, it emphasizes our need to learn learn learn about online tools and begin to use them alot. Why? Becaue it will give us the freedom to self-select what we want to learn in an accelerated, expanded, and deepened way without the limits of travel and location that have restricted our education in the past. It talks about how education (learning) and the bad economy are related, describing how education is ramping up, just as it has in the past during periods of bad economy.

Read up from eLearnSpace blog

Adhering to the motto “a provocative title will surely increase readership”, Atlantic has an interesting article on How the Crash Will Reshape America :  Economic crises tend to reinforce and accelerate the underlying, long-term trends within an economy. Our economy is in the midst of a fundamental long-term transformation—similar to that of the late 19th century, when people streamed off farms and into new and rising industrial cities. In this case, the economy is shifting away from manufacturing and toward idea-driven creative industries—and that, too, favors America’s talent-rich, fast-metabolizing places.

I find Richard Florida’s “world is spiky” view to be more accurate than Thomas Friedman’s “world is flat”. But, in this article a tension that I’ve felt with Florida’s work is more clearly revealed than previously. Florida has argued – generally quite effectively – that location matters. Cities and regions of creativity and innovation spur growth. To succeed in your career, it’s a good idea to be in areas that are hotspots for your field. But…I am not sure how to reconcile this view with the growth of technology. Now, more than ever, technology has reduced the challenges of distance. Online education and distributed teams reflect this. Video conferencing and online conferences reduce the need for travel. Is location less, not more, important than in the past?

Questions or Comments? Contact Me <> Read ERN online at: Visit <>  for extensive information and resources on elearning Visit my connectivism <>  site for resources on the changing nature of learning. His book, Knowing Knowledge is available.

The 'WE' Part Hasn't Worked Because 'YOU' Are Making 'R'ational Decisions

I watched ‘The Colbert Report’ recently (see below video). He had this guy on named Jonah Lehrer who wrote the book “How We Decide”. Ohhhhh, we are so fooled by our own rational mind. You know, that tough guy part of us who thinks its in control when instead its his sister, the emotional/intuitive part of our brain, that is really running the show. “”Pure reason is a disease”, says Lehrer. Ha! It’s certainly done a good job for us so far, hasn’t it? NOT! How naive we are to think that we can conclude from ‘logical evidence’ what decision we need to make. And how different the decision that we end up making is from what we may have needed to make.

I suggest that, in our righteous stance, we have mostly been wrong and completely unaware of the fact that most our decisions are made based on irrational reason. Especially when it comes to making choices on how best to serve the human condition. The planet and our human (or should I say inhuman) state of being is busy tearing down our own life support system (called the planet’s ecosystem). And do you know what is finally making us take a different form of action? It’s the shear panic and fear that we feel from what we maybe have done. Thank God for the weird weather patterns so that we could question the scientists predictions.

Sure the scientists data is rational, but our ability as a collective to act on it is not. We have made our choices based on the emotional baggage that comes with old expectations and assumptions; things we don’t dare hold onto any longer. Our decision to change course is coming from an emotional response that’s way more potent than any logical one could ever consider being. Otherwise, we would have made different decisions, different choices, a long long time ago – wouldn’t you agree? (Beeeee careful! Notice where your decision is coming from as you choose to either agree or disagree with me 🙂

So, the next time you “think” that you are making logical choices about hiring or firing, creating or destroying, going to the meeting or not going, loving or hating, etc., know that your emotional state is probably in the drivers seat. The next time you’ve got something to decide about want to make, finish, stop, or start, give yourself permission to see that part of you which you are not in control of. Then practice taking a breath before you respond to your business cohort or your family loved one. What will happen if you do this? What will happen if you allow your rational mind to dance with its non-rational partner? I assure you, that the overall decisions you end up making will be far more supportive of your own well being, of others lives, and of the planet’s sustainability.

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

Now then, here’s the link to ‘collaboration’.

Once you enter this personal dance between your rational and emotional mind, begin to watch how your relationships with others change. Yes, that’s right. Watch how you relate, how you listen, how you support and encourage, and how you begin to allow others to become a part of ‘YOUR’ decision-making process. It’s at this point that the ‘WE’ emerges. Watch how you come to realize that their level of participation and commitment to getting the work done is directly related to your old unconscious ways of ‘thinking’ that you have to get input from them, make the decisions on your own. As you awaken to this, your unconscious emotional fears will no longer have the power to kill of staff individuality. You will come to recognize that you’ve been missing insights from them, and as a result, deeper levels of participation. All of which feeds your company’s or team’s choices and decisions. When the group begins to choose together, to make decisions together, your organization’s intuition will come alive. It will help to steer you though a maze of (shall we say) irrational logistics that the rational mind just can’t handle. And what will happen when your team is empowered to do come together like this? … Ohhhhh, just you watch.

Validation Generates Deep Collaboration

picture-2There are some things that do not need explanation. Want to feel real good at your next gathering or meeting? Then take time from your busy schedule and allow yourself to feel good for a couple minutes. Check out these two AWESOME videos. Play one of these at your next meeting or pow wow and watch the difference in the way people connect with each other. And the next day, try an experiment: See what comes as a result of validating each other.

Online Collaboration Boosts Power of the People

This is such exciting times that we live in. The world is cracking and inside is something completely different for us to feast on. Yes, the turmoil part is painful; very very painful. Yet we’ve got to feed off the energy of what is working, of what feels exciting, to get us out of the unsustainable mess we’re in on this planet. Right? Don’t you agree?

Take this article I came across today in Business Week Magazine. You must read it. Note that it dates back to 2005, which is a phenomena in itself – the fact that we all want to keep with what’s going on but the train is moving to fast to get on board (but that’s another story for later) … So, anyway, the article lists a bunch of ‘people power pioneers’ like Wikipedia’s CEO and so on. It also lists many examples of how fast this so-called ‘collaboration’ train is really moving. Getting to market is taking a fraction of the time. All due to world-wide collaboration that is occuring due to the boom of emerging user-friendly (or getting that way) online tools. Now these tools are getting better and better. Each day I find another one that is easier to use, cheaper (very often free!). There are now over 3,000 collaboration tools online today – It’s truly overwhelming!

The interesting point that I want to make here is that, rather than a company making a tool hoping to fit a market need, most of these tools are being made by the users themselves that need them. I am a good example of this as I am presently seeking out tool designers that can create a user friendly application that follows principles of Discovery Fuel’s ‘Colabs’ collaboration concepts. Hec, I’m going to make my own tool. (By the way, know of anyone I should talk to?) Whereas, a couple of years ago I could have never considered this. This kind of practice is turning the marketplace on its head. I love it! Why? Because I am seeing ‘opportunity’ (which shows up in every crisis) for the little guy, of which there are millions, to make a living in unique, freeing, wonderous, and purposeful ways. So, keep an eye on Discovery Fuel’s Online Collaboration Tools page. There’s much to come as we saddle up to ride into the virtual Colab on the horizon.

Hec, maybe we can “collaborate” on some things together 🙂

Vic, D.F.

Technology's Influence on Behavior Changes

I watched this interesting video on company and personal branding, which are often one in the same these days. Check it out because it tells an underlying tale of how technology is influencing our behavior. Additionally David Armano tells a story here of how positive interactions with his iPod has changed his ‘dropping’ behavior. This triggered an insight for me that is relevant to collaboration and design. Online collaboration tools are rapidly filling a new industry space, and it is my belief this phenomena will continue to grow and evolve to the point where human interaction will dramatically increase within the virtual space of the web. Now, did you feel a hit in your gut with what I just said? Some of you, I’m sure, felt excited. And many of you, I’ll bet, heard an inner voice of concern for how you think technology is separating our humanity by disconnecting us from our physical interactions. You know, after a lot of thought about this, I think this later hit needs serious review. Certainly it is going to change our behaviors. That is, the ways in which we interact and are comfortable with, are going to change. Personally, I have gone from a place of concern, to being keenly watchful of what’s happening, to going fully on board with these changes. To the point where I have committed myself to a study and emerging business offering of online collaboration environments. Because I see it as the future of how we can rapidly change (shall we say) our ‘meta’ behaviors on this planet for the betterment of a world that we want to live in.

I encourage you to open your mind and heart to the possibilities that might unfold for you and others by daring to step into the uncomfortable places being created for collaboration within the online virtual world. For me, thinking about what I can design and who I can design with rrrrreally exicites me because possibilities have opened up to a point where my long standing vision and bag full of ideas could actually be manifested. So cool! All with what I believe will include a deeper sense of compassion and reverence for our world and the people in it. Also note that, so far, it has been WAY easier for me to find others that think like me and want to create things that I am interested in ….  And I find that even more exciting!

Sooooo, behavior change? Yup. It’s happening, and that’s a good thing in my book. As long as we stay conscious watchers of the changes that are occurring and constantly question them deeply and collaboratively.

Let’s talk more about this soon.

Defining the Innovation Economy

Podcast from iInnovate


Geoffrey Moore –

VC, Consultant, and Bestselling Author of Crossing the Chasm … Geoffrey Moore is a VC with Mohr Davidow Ventures, consultant and, most famously, the bestselling author of Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado and Dealing with Darwin.

Talks about:

-Darwin vs Ecosystems
-Competition vs Altruism
-Self limiting boundaries
-Google as aggressive organism
-Patterns of success
-Social networks (web 2.0 latest)
-Core vs Content Innovation
-Morphing from strengths
-NonPharma-based Life Sciences trend
-Renewable energy trend
-Software as a medium (has evolved from a product)
-Digitation of Culture (online phenomena)
-Choosing who to hang out with
-Disruptive technologies
-How free online tools are shifting the economic model
-From gimmick innovation to innovation that points to a better way of doing (ex: virgin airway)

The Need For Communicating About Our Communication

Join Abhijit and I in this dialog about the evolution of “communication” …


Dec 24, 2008 AM


I’ve been in the business of mass communication and making efforts to ease the man-to-man communication process.

Abhijit Banerjee, 54


Hello Abhijit,
I am curious to learn more about your statement: ” efforts to ease the man-to-man communication “.
Vic D


Abhijit Banerjee
Reply Message

Hi Vic

I was expecting this question from the time I joined Copperstrings. And when I almost gave up, you asked. It’s a rather long story, but to cut it short, I am supposedly a mass communication specialist. Made my living in this profession for 30 long years. Created mass communications which helped sell several products, benefitted a number of companies. And all the while I kept wondering why when we are in direct communication with people – even one-to-one communication, there remains in most cases so much which is half understood, misunderstood or not understood at all. My wish is to ease this as far as possible. Not been very successful so far. Love to be your friend.

Best wishes.


Hello Abhijit,

Yes, yes; I agree with the principle inquiry you are making.

As a facilitator of group collaborative design processes (, I am very interested in what makes communication happen between both individuals and the among the global collective (the masses). It has triggered some thoughts for me, which I’ve added below as a list of points.  We may be able to build on a couple of them and see where the possibility of helping to generate more evolved forms of communication …

1- I believe that the primary glue that holds (or doesn’t hold) a group of any kind and size together is ‘communication’. It seems in today’s world that building group infrastructure needs to be based on how communication emerges between individuals within companies. Rather than the other way around as we do today, where people step into preconceived info-structures.  This backwards approach works for the masses but fails miserably for individual to individual interactions.

2- With such poor interaction between us humans as individuals, it amazes me that functional products get out the door of any company. It does seem that ‘mass’ communication is ruled by principles that are different than ‘individual’ communications. This raises a thought that ‘fractal’ theory may be relevant to clarifying and creating an evolved forms of communication.

3- Our technologies may get out the door, which is a direct result of communication. Yet there seems to be underlying design principles that are not “communicated”, which is causing huge decline in the ecology of our earth system. This loss of ‘ecology’ (i.e. the interaction between living systems) could be thought of as a breakdown in communication at the larger earth scale. This is beyond just human communication. The concept of ‘sustainability’ is helping to bring in new forms of awareness into our language and as a result, the way we create and live on this planet is changing.

4- The internet has opened a portal for entirely new forms of humane communication to emerge. What this looks like is not for any one of us to decide since they are mostly ’emergent’ through a collective process (i.e. emergent means showing up in organized ways that are not pre-planned). At the same time however, many of us are riding the desire for humans to connect in unique way and across world cultures (as we are now) to watch for patterns that may help to identify who we are becoming or want to become. The ideas of self responsibility, interdependence and collaboration have never been so relevant.

5- You may want to join my new online community called It is an experiment in advancing human interaction and collaborative design, and is founded on the question: “What is communication and how does it become a tool that we use to deepen our physical and spiritual lives as both individuals and the collective become aware of communication as a guiding tool or map to the creation of chosen states of being. Rather than today’s approach to communication which metaphorically acts like a vehicle that we are unknowingly riding in. This level of conscious communication falls under what I call ‘the squared principle’ meaning that it is about the “communication about communication”. This is what you and I are doing in this dialog.

6- Our connection has triggered me to start a blog conversation about this subject regarding ‘mass communication’ vs ‘person-to-person communication’. I was hoping that you might join me in this dialog there so that other’s may be able to jump into the conversation as well. Plus it will be easier for us to review, synthesize, and track the lineage of conversations that emerge. More later …

What are your comments or insights?

Best to you,
Vic Desotelle

Who Says It Ain’t Easy Being Green ?! (Sustainable Business Planning Workshop)

How to Create a ‘Sustainable’ Business Plan


.Join Vic Desotelle from for an ONLINE collaborative sustainable business planning workshop series.

This session will allow you to preview and inquire about the series, which is for small business social entrepreneurs who have dreamed of owning a sustainable business. Learn how to make a viable business plan that moves your green idea from conception to successful execution. Create a sustainable future for yourself, customers, and community through this sustainable innovation learning series. Click here for more details


Collaboration: The Dance Between Inner and Outer Realities

So what’s real? And what influences it? Is it all withIN me where the control power lies? Or is it withOUT me? … And what the hec does this have to do with COLLABORATION ?

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Some say to themselves; I have no power of my own and I am controlled by the outer world, and by the influence of other people, events, and circumstances – an outer perspective. Yet the guru’s say that we are makers of our own reality – an inner perspective. So, if you go within yourself, then all the power you need to change is there. Well I would hereby like to raise the B.S. flag.

From this guy’s mountain top view both are correct. It is not one or the other that brings us to Nirvana. It is the dance between the Inner and the Outer that IS the FULL reality. For my world, your fire’s reality is outside of me. Yet in your world, your life’s flame is within you. So inner and outer are very relative to whose doing the conscious perceiving, right?

So the new Story (I believe) will be based on the relationship between INNER and OUTER reality. Between what happens withIN me and at the same time what happens withOUT me. (Notice my use of the word ‘without’ is different that is normally used.)

Interesting that is what Collaboration is all about. It is an unfolding story of how you the individual and we the collective are considered and co-created together. Diversity is from the individual theme, and Unity is from the collective theme. And COLLABORATION is just another way to describe the dance that occurs between me and them, you and us, I and we.

Insights on Team Identity and Self Expression

This is a real experience relating to my own personal authenticty awarenesss and development. I encourage you to do the same. Below are insights from John Voris of Authentic Systems after a healthy discussion on personal development and team building. Go ahead and listen in…

“Vic,  It was a pleasure talking with you. We have a great deal in common.

In the beginning, you seemed concerned with being boxed in and I hope that feeling lessened by the end of our conversation.  While we don’t like being labeled, we actually spend our entire life ensuring that we are. Individuality is not a state of doing in the sense of achievement but rather a way of life. It is how we pursue our desires. Liberty requires the freedom to choose the conditions in which to aspire toward our goals. Choosing our own direction makes our identity our own freely chosen.  Autonomy ensures self-development and cultivation of our faculties in the hopes of finding the best direction for full expression.

This self-direction finds structure by us always heading toward fulfilling our satisfaction of wants and desires and these passions are again structured in abeyance to the living design of our choices, heading toward our individual interpretation of what is fulfillment. The model of self is always imploding and feeding off itself.  Our identity finds definition in moral orientation that exists beneath the culturally imposed topography of self (Synthetic). We frame our inner self (Authentic) within a universally valid commitment and it is this commitment that generates our external manifestation.

If we were to lose this sense of orientation we would not know who we are. It is this linguistically transcending orientation that defines where you answer from when asked “Who are you?”. It is an abstract feeling that attaches to physicality of language. Our orientation is in this moral space–the  ontological basis to self. That is, to say that your Authentic Motivator is “Spiritual Connection” is a symbolic simulation at best.

To cultivate the “self” is to cultivate a “way of being” that has form. Even to say that all is relative and absolutes do not exist is still a “way of being.” Freedom is the willingness to be self-shackled.

I thought you might enjoy some additional thoughts on the subject.”

If you’d like to know what truely motivates you at your core, as well as what’s stoping you from achieving your goals, take John’s Authentic Identity Assessment and learn the truth about…you.

Vic on Team Building

Allow me to set the context for this section of my blog.

For me, team building is a highly important aspect of any organization’s development. Very few of you will argue me that.

However, I propose that it is rare to see team building as a process that is directly integrated into the work that needs to get done. Instead, team building is done using separate programs, like climbing trees together, or goofy games that create bonding. Yeah, it does that to an extent. But there is nothing better than a team that builds itself amidst the project they are working on – and doing that consciously together.

Now ‘that’ is the best way to build teams in my view.

It is a method that I emphasize strongly during the discovery process as I believe it is the way to fuel deeper forms of innovation. When team building is separate from the work at hand, it is harder to relate what happened when you were hanging 100 feet in the air from a rope when – back at the company – a statement is made by someone that just doesn’t make sense. How do you team with that?

Integrate team building with your project and get better more sustained results. Then go out and have some fun outside of the workplace together.