Friday, March 03, 2006

It's Official! - 07/07/07 Wedding - Location TBA

Kristie and Gramps 2Well, we have heard enough of the "so when are you going to get married?" bit and after sleeping on the idea for several months it seems that Saturday July 7, 2007 is going to be the date of Chris & Kristie's wedding - So save the date!

For me, the push over the edge was realizing that my grandmother's engagement ring had two rows of seven diamonds - it reminded me of how superstitious my Irish grandmother was and how happy she would be about getting married on such a good date. Now I just need to check with the astrologers and feng shui experts to let us know if it is really an auspicious day for us - JK!

It will be a destination wedding, so if you need to, start saving up now as all friends will be invited. Exactly where is still up in the air - I would really like Big Sur or Napa or The Greek Isles, but I really want my grandfather there so we might end up doing it in Miami Beach, Napes, Key West or maybe even some other Florida beach town. After the last time I brought my grandfather out to California in 2001 (the month before 9/11) he refuses to fly and since he is my only family left, I really need to have him there. His 90th Birthday is coming up next month on April 30th, so it would be really amazing for him to be there for me - he is not only my grandfather, but growing up in his house, he is like a father to me, and since my Mom and Grandmother have passed, he is also a close best friend - in fact, I am probably the only person he really confides in now, though he is pretty much an open book just like me...

Anyways, thanks to my lovely fiance for understanding the importance of this to me and thanks to those of you who were not overly pushy about setting the wedding date. As for the rest of you bridezilla's... well, I hope you are finally as happy as we are.

Love you baby - thanks for being you and loving me as much as I love you.

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BrainJams: Boundary Spanners in the Commons...

Well, it has been a long and somewhat silent week for me - or at least for my blog because my voice is hoarse from talking to everyone so much. Last week's BrainJams in Berkeley gave me a lot to think about, but it was the right stuff to think about because the vision for BrainJams is getting clearer and so is the story around it. From the feedback I have been getting, it feels as if BrainJams is the early manifestation of a community of people who break through traditional boundaries and participate in open collaboration in the public commons.

This is good. The audience for the message is identified. The purpose is becoming clear. The message is getting simpler (though watch out for the buzzwords that follow). The format for the events is evolving in a great way. The discussions of the past few months are leading to action.

While I am driving the organization, I still feel like I am in the backseat and the participants behind the wheel, so let me put this idea to you as YAPMS (Yet Another Proposed Mission Statement):
BrainJams is a community of people who span traditional boundaries within and across organizations for the purpose of populating, organizing and enhancing the "Public Knowledge Commons" while teaching other's to make the best use of the appropriate tools for their situation to connect, communicate and collaborate within their communities.

From initial discussions this week, it would seem that this resonates, is somewhat unique, matches my original intentions and just feels right, though admittedly it could use some 'wordsmithing'.

While this includes the idea of unconferences as a primary venue for peer to peer learning, it encompasses more then this singular idea for real time human gatherings. In a very real sense, the name brought forth a format and the format developed the purpose as it was within those open space conversations where this idea really grew. Yes it is still about Web 2.1 and the people within it (or as I am fond of calling it now, the Human Centered Web) but it is also about much more.

It is about freedom of expression. It is about standing up and being heard. It is about making things right - because WE can, even when the system can not. It is about the simple fact that the knowledge I need to know, to do what I have to do, is out there somewhere. It is about the fact that technology alone can not get me that information reliably - but smart people like you can with the aid of technology, particularly with the technology of the Human Centered Web. It is about learning from one another. It is about the computer being good with information and people being the source of the wisdom of how to use that information. It is about tolerance for differences and embracing commonalities between us. It is about diversity of perspective and culture. It is about doing what is best for our communities because it is also best for ourselves. it is about seeking out the truth rather than pushing an agenda. It is about taking action as much as it is about discussing which actions need to be taken.

So where do we start? or rather, where do we go from here?

I could really use some help is with the following items:
  1. Hire a grant writer to help us get a grant from a foundation
  2. Build out the community web site completely to align with the vision above
  3. With that grant, to hire a small full time staff to handle the operational aspects of the BrainJams organization (Executive Director, Administrative Assistant, Event Logistics Coordinator and Community Content Editor)
  4. Begin a research project into mapping the history of groups, formats and tools to determine what works in which situations
  5. Begin to map out which groups exist today, what their purposes are and who the members are. This will allow more people to easily find people who are passionate about the same noble pursuit that they share so they can more easily tap into that community for conversation and the knowledge they need to take action themselves directly. This also addresses the fact that many groups exist for the same purpose, but have not aligned in action or understanding yet - in effect to become a "Meta-Group" that helps them span their organizational boundaries.
  6. Planning BrainJams New Orleans for May 4, 2006
  7. Refine all this thinking into a clear plan for the organization

Wish there was more time to dive deeper into all of this, as there are still about 5 or 6 blog posts I need to get out to explain the thinking behind this, but work calls, so I must close for now. Please do let me know what you think about these ideas, whether or not this is too expansive or too restrictive, and how we might improve upon this concept even further...

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Most Important Insyte from BrainJams Berkeley

The fire hose has been turned on for the last 48 hours - both for a client and for BrainJams. So far I have about 7 pages of a word document that needs to be edited and remixed for easier consumption - once I get some rest anyway. Still, I wanted to put this out right away as it is important.

The vision for BrainJams has finally become clear for me - I am fortunate to have the input of some fairly sharp people on this and look forward to further insightful analysis from Shannon Clark and Paul Sas - Christoper Allen and Dave Buerlind - and much thanks to Lee for sticking with my loose experiment - am looking forward to more of his input on these issues as they come into the realm of online conversation.

So the key insyte so far is based on some of what David was referencing as the "SIG of SIGs" concept - but more so by applying an understanding of Paramedia as Cathryn Hrudicka referenced via Web Content Day. Still, it is the more generic pattern that is really at play here - the most important value that BrainJams can deliver is in the meta layer, the mapping of knowledge to situations through collective effort the contextual vision is much wider than Wikipedia, though it certainly benefits from their work thus far. An effort to bring together all the differnet projects and communities out there working on putting knowledge into the public commons. This is much bigger than unconferences, though it does incorporate them and leverage its learnings. It would seem that there is a need for an organization to work in the metalayer across all orgnaizations, tools companies and individual knowledge workers - connecting the dots across organizations and communities of practice with the ultimate goal of seeding the situationally aware knowledge commons.

We discussed the idea of having multiple events in the future for different purposes - this is highly likely to happen and is also so, so 'meta'.

I need to hire a killer 'grant writer' - does anyone have any reccomendations?

The format of the next brainjams is seemingly known now that we have learned what we did from the Berkeley event. The next one we do here will be using a format similar to the one below.

10am - BrainJamming one-on-one)
Noon - Lunch
1PM - User Demos "My Favorite Tool/Tools" - 5 minutes each
2PM - Review Breaktrhough Sessions (more open space)
230PM - Breakthrough Session 1
3PM - Write and reflect for 15 Minutes
315PM - Breakthrough Session 2
345PM - Write and reflect for 15 Minutes
4PM - Breakthrough Session 3
430PM - Write and reflect for 15 Minutes
445PM - Wrap up the day

It is amazing to think that this might be the beginning of something along the lines of what I wrote about with The Noble Pursuit as a real possibility.

Thanks again to everyone who came out on SAT, it was very worthwhile for us, I hope the same was true for you despite the problems with trying the new format I had proposed - mea culpa... Thankfully something wonderful came out of it. Goes to show that the most difficult, crazy processes can still yield excellent insytes and real value when the intentions are in the right place.

Will put more links in tomorrow - off to bed for now...