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  • Eugene Eric Kim 2:45 pm on January 13, 2014 Permalink |  

    Today’s Faster Than 20 blog post on networks and power gives you an idea of the kinds of concept papers I plan on introducing at the next pilot:

    The Real Importance of Networks: Understanding Power

    For bootcampers, I would expand on this a little bit with some discussion of frameworks for analyzing power and a pointer to other references. Hopefully, this piece gives you some context for the power workout we do.

    As always, feedback appreciated. Looking forward to seeing many of you tomorrow afternoon!

    • Brooking 4:50 pm on January 13, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Awesome timing Eugene & thought-provoking for sure. Also seems like a great prompt for a power conversation and perhaps this will come up a bit in our networks discussion tomorrow!


    • Rebecca 1:47 am on January 14, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is really great Eugene. Very sage while useful. I think what Brooking and I will be focusing on tomorrow has a lot to do with you’re concluding sentence. “Starting with these questions [around power] will help you better understand the true meaning behind the many ingredients of successful networks β€” the importance of relationship-building, of sharing, of diversity, of distributing control, of openness, and so forth. It will give you a broader perspective on the structures β€” both implicit and explicit β€” that make your network perform.”

      We are looking to spend the session building more shared understanding around those ingredients, why they’re so important. In some ways your power post offers a blanket answer to the Why, but we’re eager to sift through people’s different experiences and see what wisdom we all have on the characteristics of high-performing networks!

      Curtis Ogden has a great piece on this as well. He frames it as network thinking, but I think it addresses ingredients and characteristics more than just thinking: http://interactioninstitute.org/blog/2011/12/14/network-thinking/#more-7092

  • Eugene Eric Kim 3:39 pm on January 9, 2014 Permalink |  

    This week, I published two blog posts on Faster Than 20 about goal-setting. One of them will be very familiar to the most recent cohort of bootcampers, as it describes the goal / success spectrum template that we used in our Designing Collaborative Experiences workout. It may also be interesting to all of you because I cite my own spectrum for bootcamp as an example.

    Hack: Defining Good Goals, Success, and Failure

    The other one sets the philosophical groundwork for defining good, flexible goals:

    Be Intentional, But Hold It Lightly

    As always, comments welcome! I encourage you to leave them on the post itself so that others can join in on the conversation, but here is fine as well.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 12:55 am on January 9, 2014 Permalink |  

    I’m super excited to see the energy around self-organized bootcamps! To help with the organization, I created a spreadsheet where people can sign up to host. You all should have access to edit; if you don’t, let me know.

    Looking forward to next week’s gathering with @brooking and @rapetzel!

  • Eugene Eric Kim 5:03 pm on January 6, 2014 Permalink |  

    Happy New Year, bootcampers! I’m currently planning the next Changemakers Bootcamp pilot, and I’m pondering some changes. I’d love your ideas and feedback. Briefly:

    • Change the name to Collaboration Bootcamp.
    • Make it eight weeks instead of six.
    • Stricter requirements around participation. Specifically, you can still miss up to two, but you can’t miss the first session.
    • Concept papers. Lots of folks have requested more theory / teaching / Eugene-time. I am reluctant to do this during the two hours we have together, as I want to focus that time on practice. To try and accommodate, I’d like to write a series of two-page concept papers for everything we do at Bootcamp. I’m always willing to have followup conversations after the sessions, preferably here but also scheduled individually.

    I’m anxious to innovate around the last point above. It’s flattering that there’s a demand for more me-time, and I want to meet that demand, but I don’t want to fall back on traditional modes of “teaching.” Would love to hear people’s ideas.

    Finally, @jessausinheiler has asked a number of times about the difference between Changemaker Bootcamp and my new website, Faster Than 20. Faster Than 20 is simply an online home for my writing and my experiments. Changemaker Bootcamp is one of my experiments. It has its own website, this water cooler, etc. There are reasons for this, but there are also challenges: Namely, a lot of the stuff on Faster Than 20 is directly relevant to Bootcamp, and the way it’s currently setup requires people to go to two different places (an example of bad use of online group physics).

    It’s always a tradeoff, but I want to experiment with that line. As a small step, I’m thinking about making this water cooler part of Faster Than 20 rather than exclusively for Bootcamp. It would allow me to broaden the participant list as well. What do you all think?

    As a bigger step, I’m thinking about dissolving this website entirely, and just integrating the content with the Faster Than 20 website. Thoughts?

    • Eugene Chan 7:11 pm on January 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I like Changemaker Bootcamp more. “Collaboration” seems more like a method to me.
      8 weeks is good
      Concept papers can be good–not sure until I get a sense of what exactly you are proposing.
      The websites are confusing.

      • Eugene Chan 7:43 pm on January 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Ooops, I hit send a bit too early.

        You have 3 places where you post things: eekim.com, changemakerbootcamp, and now Faster than 20. Even though it might be clear in your mind as to the differentiation, it isn’t as clear to me. Especially since it is all “just you” at the moment.

        The difference between eekim and the other sites makes more sense. But between Faster than 20 and Changemaker is not so clear.

        The name “Changemaker Bootcamp” is also more concrete than Faster than 20.


        • Eugene Eric Kim 10:57 pm on January 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thanks for the quick feedback, @eugenechan! This is helping me think this through more carefully.

          So I’m taking this as a vote for consolidating fasterthan20.com and changemakerbootcamp.com? For context, here’s my distinction between eekim.com and fasterthan20.com: http://eekim.com/blog/2013/12/faster-than-20-my-new-website-on-high-performance-collaboration/

          By concept papers, I mean a brief overview of:

          1. Why we’re exercising this muscle in the first place
          2. How this is connected to the “bigger picture”
          3. Pointers to followup reading and frameworks

          For example, with the power workouts, I didn’t offer any feedback on how to think about power. All of that came from all of you exercising the muscles you already had, then debriefing with each other. The same was true of the difficult conversations workout. With a concept paper, I might offer some tips and point you all to other places to learn more.


          Would love to hear what others think.

    • Brooking 6:59 am on January 9, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi EEK – love the innovations, all of them actually feel like good moves to me. Re: further innovation ideas for the last one, I wonder if you’ll choose to hand out the concept papers before or after – before would satisfy those who like to enter w/ a clearer frame for practice; after would satisfy the desire to have more exploratory practice experiences. I wonder about giving out brief hand-outs before the exercise, and further explanation hand outs after (or on water cooler after) for integration. Another idea is to assign a boot camper the 2 pager and have them take 5 minutes to present the idea to the group, which gives them practice opportunities to work on communication skills and may feel a more valuable way for you to offer frameworks & more of your thinking, but still have it be focused on the bootcampers’ learning & practice experience and not you talking….

      Re: website: I like having them as separate sites, and more-over think the bootcamp as a closed group is a good thing and benefit of paying to join the boot camp. Having the watercooler be more open feels more vulnerable and makes this a less safe space I think for some of the more personal conversations, which to me is a loss….

      2 cents! -Brooking

      • Eugene Eric Kim 3:29 pm on January 9, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks, @brooking! I wonder what I’ll choose too. πŸ™‚ My inclination is to simply make the concept papers available in advance and give people the option. It’s consistent with my philosophy that workout time be devoted to practice and feedback. I like the idea of having bootcampers (rather than me) present for the reasons you list. However, I’m concerned about the time it would take away from the main workout.

        Appreciate your vote on keeping the websites separate as well as the feedback on open vs closed watercooler. There is no question that a closed group is safer than an open one. The key question is, to what degree? What would be happening here if this group were closed that’s not happening right now? What’s happening right now that wouldn’t be happening if this were closed? Well worth an experiment to articulate, then test some hypotheses.

    • Jessica 9:52 pm on January 9, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply


      I love the idea of concept papers — before and after. Before as a way to gather your thoughts AND practice presenting. After as a way to reflect on the progress you’ve made, and get feedback on your high-level plan.

      I, like Eugene C., like the idea of integrating the sites. I appreciate @brooking comment on the intimacy of the group but–personally–would welcome any one who happens to be on the FT20 site and wants to join our conversation. (And the site is currently “open” anyway).

      Looking forward to seeing everyone on 1/14.

      • Eugene Eric Kim 6:33 pm on January 10, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the feedback, @jessausinheiler, and glad you can make it on Tuesday!

        I am almost certainly going to integrate some kind of discussion functionality into Faster Than 20, as it’s already turning into a touch point for all of my different communities and projects, and I’m wanting to integrate them. Still uncertain as to whether to make this water cooler that, but the feedback is helpful.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 4:22 pm on December 13, 2013 Permalink |  

    Many thanks again to @jessausinheiler for organizing and facilitating a bootcamp this past Tuesday! So great to see everyone there! @brooking, sorry you couldn’t make it, and hoping you’re feeling better!

    Some quick thoughts on the session:

    • I loved being a participant! πŸ™‚
    • I think Jess’s choice to do an hour-long checkin exercise up-front was a good one. It’s been over a month since we’ve all seen each other, and it was a great way to check in on our respective projects. It also shows the value of doing these things regularly. An hour-long checkin doesn’t leave much time for workouts, and I’ve found that my more involved workouts tend to require at least 90 minutes. Regular meetings mean shorter checkins.
    • I liked the messaging exercise. Jess chose to do it in a more classic explain-the-framework-first approach, which worked fine. I happen to like that framework a lot. And, I’d love to challenge any of you to redesign the exercise more bootcamp-style: practice first, then framework (if at all).

    Finally, this was another great reminder for me about the value of practice. I’ve been doing variations of these same exercises for my projects, but repeating them β€” especially with a community of peers β€” provided new value and helped me move forward in concrete ways. So thank you again!

    • Eugene Chan 4:28 pm on December 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Agreed on all points!

      And an open invitation to all Bootcampers (any cohort): we are looking at January 14th 3 to 5 as the next date/time for our community of practice. Location to be determined, but you are invited to join.

      @eekim: if there are bootcamp exercise patterns, it would be good to see them listed somewhere on the site.

      • Eugene Eric Kim 4:32 pm on December 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for posting about January 14! I am definitely planning on documenting patterns. And, I would be delighted if all of you shared patterns you’ve observed as well. πŸ™‚

    • Brooking 2:20 am on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hey all sorry I missed it, I am still recovering a bit it’s been an epic lil sickness… was really bummed to miss the chance to re-convene. I’ve got Jan 14th on my calendar! -Brooking

      • Eugene Eric Kim 2:44 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        No worries, @brooking. Ugh β€” sorry to hear you’re still sick. Glad you’ll be able to join on January 14, especially since I think you’ll be running the workout. πŸ˜‰

  • Eugene Eric Kim 4:36 pm on December 9, 2013 Permalink |  

    Last week, our very own @dana facilitated her very first retreat, a two-day strategy workshop for Code for America! Here are some pictures from the event:

    Growth Toward Scale: Regionalization

    Dana, hope you’ll post some thoughts from that experiment here, or at least will talk about the experience tomorrow at the self-organized bootcamp (which I’m looking forward to)!

    Also, this morning, I published a blog post on collective intelligence, which folks here might find interesting:

    Maximizing Collective Intelligence Means Giving Up Control

    As always, feedback encouraged! If you have thoughts to share on the blog post, please post it in the comments section there. Thanks!

  • Eugene Eric Kim 6:00 pm on December 3, 2013 Permalink |  

    Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Two quick notes:

    First, I’m looking forward to next week’s self-organized bootcamp. Let us know where and when we’ll meet, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. I plan on being a participant!

    Second, I soft-launched my new work-focused website yesterday:

    Introducing Faster Than 20

    I’m planning on being very intentional about sharing useful stories about collaboration, and I want this to be a forum for my community as well. That includes all of you!

    Some of you have said you want to hear more from me. If there’s specific stuff you’d like me to share, let me know, and I’ll post it there. (For example, I might take my super long response to @brooking’s question about online engagement and turn that into a blog post.)

    I hope to see many of you there as well, either engaging in the comments or writing guest posts.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 3:54 pm on November 27, 2013 Permalink |

    I just learned that Chris Argyris passed away a few weeks ago. Chris was a giant in organizational development. He coined the term and described the concept, “Ladder of Inference,” a tool that we used often at Groupaya. Here’s a link to one of his many classic Harvard Business Review articles, “Teaching Smart People How to Learn.”

    I would have expected the New York Times to have printed an obituary for him, but they did not. Says something about the limited awareness that people have of our field.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 5:47 pm on November 23, 2013 Permalink |

    Here’s a related, but divergent followup to the world’s largest comment I left in response to @brooking’s questions. While I was pulling up links to some of my stories, I found some other posts that strongly color how I think about online tools and their role in collaboration.

    Here’s one on differentiating engagement from artifact. Here’s one on stigmergy (i.e. leaving trails).

    Here’s a 12-minute slidecast I put together three years ago that pulls together these different topics:

    As always, feedback encouraged!

    • Jessica 8:17 pm on November 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A quick point about engaging busy people in response to @brooking and @eekim, via an anectode: I was at the airport and felt compelled to answer your conversation thread. I tried for 10 minutes to log in via iPhone, but finally got frustrated and gave up. It may be obvious, but it’s so much easier when friends ping you in a way that’s easy to respond. Technology is getting there, but there are still plenty of barriers.

      Eugene, how do sites like https://mural.ly/ change your perception of online vs. in-person engagements? I’m thinking about taking a systems class at Worscester Polytechnic Institute, and was told that the school has “quite a vibrant online community”… I’ll report back on what I learn re: best practices for getting people to actually and meaningfully engage online.


      • Eugene Eric Kim 11:15 pm on November 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It’s not obvious, @jessausinheiler. An amazing number of people do not pay attention to things like login usability β€” including online retailers, whose businesses depend on these sorts of things.

        I did a collective visioning project last year with several Alameda-based arts organizations, and we wanted to use a blog for participants to share their thoughts online. We picked Tumblr for a variety of reasons, and then we sat some participants down in front of it and asked them to log in and post something. It was brutal. No one could figure out how to log in without our help.

        These were not stupid people. They were just normal. Online tools require a mental model that does not map to what most normal people understand. The notion of online identity is particularly broken.

        When these things crop up, you don’t just give up, but you do have to get real about expectations. This is where a lot of people get tripped up. They don’t adjust.

        When I started working on the Delta Dialogues (@dana’s bootcamp project), @rapetzel and I mapped out a strategy for how we might integrate online tools. We ended up doing two things: We had a project blog that was public, and we implemented a buddy system for people to interact with each other however they choseΒ β€” phone, face-to-face, etc. β€” between meetings. We shared artifacts from the meeting as printable PowerPoints (although we also published them online for transparency purposes). We did not try to implement some kind of online tool system so that people could interact between meetings, although I had originally thought we might go in that direction in Phase 2. I didn’t think our participants would be ready for it, and we had too many other priorities.

        As it turned out, our participants were even less ready than I thought they would be. Several of our participants (mostly government officials) had their secretaries print out their emails so they could read them, which made sending links completely useless. One of the participants shared his email account with his wife.

        So our strategy ended up being a good one, but it was not easy. For whatever reason, I find that people still have a lot of trouble getting why we approached things this way and how they might proceed moving forward. This is a common problem, not just with the Delta Dialogues, but with just about every project I’ve been involved with. It’s why I find the physical thought experiment so useful. If you imagine a special room where people could interact, but only if they figured out a puzzle lock that on average on 10 percent of participants even had the patience to try, what kind of engagement should you realistically expect, and how might you modify your design as a result?

        Given all this, Jess, how do tools like mural.ly change your perception of online vs face-to-face engagement? πŸ™‚

    • Jessica 6:13 am on December 5, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It really depends on the length of the engagement and my goals.

      So, an unlikely but extreme example, if the group was a global group of people who’s only chance of accomplishing their goals, given the budget, was to communicate virtually, I’d probably make a really big investment to teach them how to use the tool. For example, at the kickoff meeting I might organize a simulation exercise where people have to post / respond / comment on the site in real time, in pairs or triads, so they learn how to use the site together and from each other’s mistakes–and so they get a sense of how valuable of a tool it can be. Between bi-annual meetings, on a predictable/regular basis, I might post questions on the site (or have people take turns posting questions) that participants have 24-48 hours to respond to, to keep the momentum going. (In Murally this might mean posting an idea that others can build and comment on.)

      Is fun, instructive, collaborative up-front investment… and then time-bound, regular, predictable, valuable virtual engagement periods… really enough though?

      I pun it to other changemakers.

  • Eugene Eric Kim 1:08 am on November 22, 2013 Permalink |  

    Just to let you all know, all of the exit interviews are now up. You can enjoy them in their entirety at:


    Looking forward to hearing more about December 10!

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