Monday, November 17, 2008

Account of Stephen Downs visit to Second Spain

Stephen Downes very kindly aDownes en Connectivitas 17-nov-08_006greed to guest a conference about Networks within organizations in  Second Spain.  The SIM was unstable, the participants that arrived on time had no problems with sound but  some of the latecomers could not hear him or my translation.  His talk ended and the round of questions was held on the text chat expecting to reach everyone in the room.  People were eager to ask and get answers so they put up with the unexpected heavy text chat while Stephen very patiently waited until I typed the translation to continue.

The content of his conference is available in the following videos that he gently provided before hand.

Talking to educators, he told them he wasn't going to talk about how to teach their students,  he would rather talk about how could they manage their own learning because that was the important point.

His views of a Networked organization sound like a dream from the point of view of the members of an organization, to be able to choose which product to sell by pursuing your interests and talents would be fantastic. Can you imagine?

From the point of view of the organization itself, this view requires them to let go, to leave their mission behind, to foster openness, diversity, autonomy and connectedness. I guess the feeling there would be fear, you'll have to trust others, to believe they'll do their best in their field.  Stephen  mentioned that to manage a company in a traditional way is not efficient, people work for their own interest not for the interest of the company owners.

If we own an organization, what we have to think about is how to set activities that mean, quoting Stephen, "A mutually beneficial exchange of value". As Jorge Cuevas says: "Give others the chance to win too", this is, make others gain something valuable working with you,  while you get something valuable also for yourself.

It was a pity that the SIM behaved so badly. There were people who could not hear a word of all that was said, the richness of Stephen's voice was lost for them; it's certainly not easy to translate to and from a text chat but it was a different experience. I had never translated online with no body language clues!

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