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Archive for the ‘Big Picture’ Category

Quieting the Lizard Brain

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What can be a better way to get over the lethargic status quo and (re)start regular blogging than this video – Seth Godin’s speech at 99% Conference – on Quieting the Lizard Brain.
In this presentation Seth Godin outlines a common creative affliction: sabotaging our projects just before we show them to the world. Godin targets our “lizard brain” as the source of these primal doubts, and implores us to “thrash at the beginning” of projects so that we can ship on time and on budget.

Worth mentioning the mission framework of 99%, which is a quote from Thomas Edison

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration

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Written by anol

January 8th, 2010 at 5:27 am

Innovation in Evaluation: Good webzine and IDEO initiative

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IDEO partnered with Good magazine to cultivate and explore the relationship between innovation and evaluation. They are running a blog based opinion column: Innovation in Evaluation.

Some ‘good’ discussion going on there, in blogpost and the comments. For example, Sally Madsen wrote, ‘How Might We Celebrate Learning through Evaluation?‘. To quote:

Why do we evaluate? Sometimes it’s for reflective validation: qualifying the success of a program after it is complete. Other times it’s for active learning: seeing what is working well and what could be improved, and using this insight to change things for the better.

Evaluation for validation has an important role in comparing different approaches: Which approach has the most impact? Which gives the best value for money? How can this affect strategy moving forward? The downside of this type of evaluation is that it often doesn’t produce conclusions until months or years after the actual project has ended—when the opportunity to change course or affect the project outcome is gone. Evaluation for active learning, on the other hand, allows you to take action as soon as a problem is identified. In design and innovation, evaluation for learning is a natural and essential part of the process.

Written by anol

September 7th, 2009 at 5:25 am

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1000th post and why I will keep on blogging!

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How's My Blogging?
Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr

This is 1000th post at SoulSoup. Since 2004 I am blogging almost regularly. Although, I must confess, despite of Jakob Nielsen’s suggestion to Write Articles, Not Blog Postings, SoulSoup is still a (constantly updated) directory of stuffs I am interested in (90% of the time). Sometimes I do write things which can be considered as ‘Article’ too, but frequency of that is almost negligible.

But, I’m not going to stop blogging in foreseeable future.

Recently we are witnessing a sentiment all over blogosphere (if that still exist), with the rise of ‘real time’ life streaming, blogging is dead! Charles Arthur from Guardian thinks The long tail of blogging is dying. New York Times writes Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest. Steve Rubel has announced that he is giving up on blogging and moving towards his Posterous-powered lifestream. His move, he reported, was due to a feeling that blogging “feels old” and that the new reality is about the flow of information. Louis Gray and Jeremiah Owyang feel that blogging isn’t dead and there is still a place for long-form writing. Jeremiah writes:

It seems as if blogging is becoming old hat, or at least evolving into something smaller, faster, and more portable. I’m with Louis Gray, (who has finally blogged his stance –great graphics) I’m not going to give up my blog, instead, I think of it as the hub of content, and the rest of the information I aggregate (notice the Twitter bar up top and the Friendfeed integration below). To me, joining the conversation is certainly important, but it doesn’t mean the hub (or corporate website) goes away.

That kind of resonates with my idea of blog as a dashboard, in the center of my personal knowledge management workflow. I no longer check Technorati ranking or page-rank, but comments still make me happy. To me a blog is the most effective filter to separate signals from noise. When I write a blogpost (even while writing just a link-post to point out a good resource or article of my interest), I can wrap that with my personal point of view and context. Or highlight the sections which I found interesting. I blog at 2 more places (here and here), with complete different context and purpose. I use twitter everyday (and sometimes little too much). I am using micro-blogging platform Tumblr as a visual bookmarking tool. And yes, I am in various social networks too. But my blog is the anchoring point of all other streams, stocks and flows.

I have a simpler explanation of this uproar nowadays (blogging is dead!). Blogging now reached mainstream. Celebrities got blogs, online edition of all major newspapers got blogging channels, all major organizations added another tab in their website – ‘blog’. Blogging lost its renegade, rebel status. (BTW – Twitter is a complete different story, it’s more of a group-broadcasting tool than publishing, being mainstream is OK there.) It’s like rise of off Broadway theater, then becoming part of mainstream broadway theater. It’s not ‘cool‘ anymore.

Well…I am not a celebrity blogger. To be honest, I blog for myself. And I will keep on blogging.

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Written by anol

July 17th, 2009 at 8:37 am

Creative Elegance: The Power of Incomplete Ideas

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Matthew E. May is the author of “In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing“. A quick synopsis of his concept on elegance of incomplete ideas is published as a change this manifesto, “Creative Elegance: The Power of Incomplete Ideas” [PDF]. To quote -

It is nearly impossible to make it through a typical day without exchanging ideas. Whether deciding on something as simple as a restaurant for a long overdue night out, or as complicated as the design of an entirely new product, we are forever involved in sculpting and selling our creative thought. Conventional wisdom says that to be successful, an idea must be concrete, complete, and certain. But what if that’s wrong? What if the most elegant, most imaginative, most engaging ideas are none of those things?

Experiencing elegance is nearly always this profound. The unusually simple yet surprisingly powerful nature of any elegant this or that gives us pause, and the impact changes our view of things, often forever. Elegance delivers the power to cut through the noise. It can shake markets. It can change minds, and mindsets, as you’ve just witnessed.

When I read the manifesto, couple of things came to my mind. First, the context of visual abstraction level in comic books and use of graphics in learning contents. It’s an eternal dilemma for comic book artists of different genre- what should be the abstraction level of the illustrations? How much it should mimic reality? (Check out Scott McCloud’s TED presentation on understanding comics). Second thing came to my mind, this is THE reason why we almost always get disappointed by watching the silver screen rendering of a favorite novel. Words are the ultimate level of abstraction from visuals, which allows us to construct an image in our mind from the ‘incompleteness’ of the words. After reading a novel when we watch the movie version, a cognitive dissonance is inevitable.

What kind of abstraction level is OK for learning content design?

Written by anol

May 7th, 2009 at 9:49 am

Financial Crisis Infographics

with one comment published a nice motion-infographics to explain the financial crisis. It was completed as part of thesis work by Jonathan Jarvis in the Media Design Program, a graduate studio at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

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Written by anol

February 26th, 2009 at 9:07 am