Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Two Workshops in Darwin

In Darwin, Melanie Brenton organized two three-hour workshops. First of all, Melanie is a wonder. She seems to have a leadership role in a bazillion projects.

It was great to have a mixed audience of TAFE people (for you USA folks, that is sort of like our vocational and community college system, but not exactly), University people and business folk. Each brought a slightly different perspective and set of issues about using online interaction. The morning presentation was about online collaboration with the frame of how to balance between individuals and groups. We used the “Three tensions” as a framework, as well as some context of the “web 2.0” tools and changing networked environment.

We started with the “ball of string” exercise, which I’ve participated in at a variety of events. Essentially the first person takes the ball of string, tells their story/introduction, then tosses it to the next. When we finish, we have a simulacrum of a network and a visual representation of nodes of the network. We also captured the key issues surfaced on the white board .

We mixed some presentation with table discussions. Before I knew it, three hours had flown by. And I was worried that I would not have enough. Ha! Oh, and we had scones with jam and cream for break. Oh baby, they were good. I forgot to take a picture. Darn.

After a nice lunch of barramundi (a meaty, delicious fish) – with garlic butter – perfect when you have to present (pass the mints) we went back for the second 3-hour workshop. Our group was smaller, with a few new folks, but mostly folks who had been with us in the morning. This workshop focused on how we help second wave adopters engage in online interactions. I’ve been thinking more and more that we need to be collecting, sharing, encouraging and disseminating second wave adoption stories. By second wave, I mean people who aren’t into “gee whiz, this is a cool tool, let me play with it.” They are folks who want to do something and if online tools and processes help them, they might adopt them. Often there is some fear or lack of comfort with technology, perhaps suspicion of online interaction and generally a lack of context and experience. I offered 6 “ways in” (see slides) and we invented others based on each person’s context. Finally, we made a list of the next things we wanted to learn.

After we finished, Melanie took me to her house for a quick sip of electrons (download email) and then to the airport where I flew to Adelaide just to spend the night, then on to Melbourne and then Launceston on Tasmania the next morning. Thank you, Melanie!

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