Critical thinking

“Being a critical thinker is both attitude and intellectual skill; that is, one must choose to act like a critical thinker and master the analytical techniques employed by a critical thinker. Some of these attitudes and techniques include:

  • being open-minded
  • being objective
  • seeking root causes
  • viewing a problem from multiple perspectives
  • giving a fair hearing to evidence on multiple perspectives
  • suspending judgement until all pertinent information has been heard
  • listening to contrary views
  • changing conclusion in the face of compelling information.”

[Dick, W., Carey L. and Carey J.O., 2009. The Systematic Design of Instruction. Sevent edition. Page 18.]


Home design

Are you re-designing your home? Or just like to get some inspiration for future projects? check following sites and suggest some more that you may know!


I guess everybody would be able to define somehow what the plagiarism is, but do we really know to distinguish the little nuances? Here is short video summarizing 10 most common types of plagiarism:

And here is very useful module/tutorial on Plagiarism from Indiana University after which one can take exam and get certificate of completion:



Solving world problems via games

Believe it or not, there are people in the world who never played online computer games.

And there are people who spent on such games more than 10,000 hours before reaching age of 21 …

I didn’t have very positive image of computer games in general, including online games, but this presentation opened my eyes about so many opportunities there are about how  to use experience from virtual world for solving the real world problems … just watch.

Reflection on facilitation of a meeting for community of practice missing the direction

After quite a while, once again I have participated in a facilitated meeting as a participant instead of facilitating it. It was AgNIC (Agriculture Network Information Center) annual meeting, and the facilitator was Jerinyl Veldorf from Library Organization and Development, University of Minnesota.  I liked her approach and decided to write a summary that can be of use in the future.

AgNIC is in a changing point of its history and needs to redefine where to focus in the future. There were many new faces in the meeting, different interests, different level of knowledge and level of engagement.

Facilitator started with SWOT analysis in a World Cafe arrangement – about 50 people in the room split into eight groups (practically running SWOT twice in parallel). Instead of moving the groups around, we have moved the flip charts, and it worked pretty well. In the end, each group that started a topic summarized notes from the flip chart (in some cases more than one) and one person from the group presented the key points in the plenary.

The next task (after a coffee break) was to define possible new mission and key outputs for AgNIC. We all ‘brainstormed’ our brains and presented the ideas to the group around the table (again groups of 6-7 people). The challenge was to come to a mutual agreement/consensus, so if even one person didn’t agree with what somebody else proposed, it wasn’t included in the report flip chart. Then the two parallel groups merged (coming from eight to four groups) and compared their ideas (flip charts) trying to reach consensus as in the previous activity. Final four reports were sticked on the wall, and each participant voted with five dots for the most attractive mission statement and outcomes for AgNIC (DotVoting).

Finally came the time to propose concrete action steps. Jerinyl used Card collection & sorting: each of us got a number of PostIts to write down specific action points/steps, keeping in mind earlier defined mission and key tasks for AgNIC. Again we were eight groups separately sticking the PostIts on the wall, grouping them and defining commonalities for each group in two words – verb & noun. In the end, each group presented the outputs – usually two words describing specific activity – example: ‘setting standards’. Two people were capturing all these outputs in parallel in two flip charts, filtering duplicates and linking similar action points. In this way, we have arrived in about 20 quite tangible action points.

Unfortunately, this was the end of the process, and the next steps will happen through email or online communication, which makes me bit skeptical.  Personally I think it would have been better if we had 1/2 or 1 more day is available. Selected group of people would work overnight on those 20 action points – including some more details/ideas from the PostIts. And in the following day small groups would work on very specific small projects, assigning responsibilities, tasks, timelines, priorities …. However, I have to say, I was impressed by smooth progress and tangible results of the process setup by Jerinyl.  I have very much enjoyed the day and got inspiration for my future facilitation adventures.

Quo vadis Yammer?

Yesterday (Apr 25) I had an opportunity to participate in Yammer on tour event in San Francisco. It was really an eye opener for me. Currently Yammer has over 5million users and it’s growing in speed of approx 1/4 of a million/month.  If I got it right, it seems that through online social networks we are now witnessing several  paradigm shifts (which are reflected in some upcoming Yammer’s features:

  • The rise of ‘consumerization‘ of enterprise  software = enduser decides
    • due to the fact that today a common employee (enduser) can pull the technology/software that suits him (from the cloud) without waiting on what the management decides and company implement is the utmost usability check – will they adopt or not?
    • Yammer’s CEO presented scheme summarizing, that while in 1990s most companies had their stuff and applications ‘on premises’; in 2000s ‘on clouds’, what leads nowadays is what he called ‘Fremium’ –   limitless number of choices that we all have (Indeed resulting in fragmentation of content/knowledge)
  • Yammer is presented as ‘The new Intranet‘ –  transforming intranet to ESN (enterpse social network)
    • on cloud (instant, no upgrades, low costs)
    • social (people centric – by people for people)
    • mobile (fully compatible with mobile devices, pads etc)
    • viral = voluntarily adopted
    • Social network is about SPEED = sharing now, not tomorrow
  • Yammer acquired One Drum – platform that carries a Microsoft Office app that allows users to edit Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents with colleagues in real time, the feature that is expected to be added to Yammer in Summer 2012. Another new feature that will come in few months is Sync – access to Yammer files from desktop through a shared folder – drag and drop synchronization with the Yammer cloud and coworker desktop
  • Yammer’s Universal Search really works – universal search feature is being released in these days –  which will through individualized search algoritm provide better match for our searches
  • PREMIUM groups – yammer-active teams can upgrade without waiting until (if) the whole company decides to upgrade. Premium features include more space for sharing files, possibility to moderate content and membership, mark files and pages as ‘official’ (e.g. final versions), enable external file sharing, etc.
  • Yammer feeds can be embedded practically anywhere (but I understand that content will be visible only to those who have login credentials for given Yammer group/feed)
  • Yammer guys also see as one of the keys to their success Mobile Apps so they continue to work on apps for all Iphone, Android, Windos Phone and BlackBerry.
  • Philosophy of Yammer is not to rip & replace existing enterprise systems (which costed companies tenths of thousands of dollars), but instead integrating & migrate to yammer (with those most common platforms – e.g. Sharepoint or Microsoft Dynamics) and customizing (see all yammer apps at

 Changing from Intranet to ESN (enterprise social network) indeed is a paradigm shift, which requires thorough preparation. Four keys were mentioned as necesary for social success:

  1. PLAN – roll out and sustain, define where you go, even if the way how to get there changes while ‘on the road’
  2. TEAM – compose team with complementary skills
  3. Create AWARENESS
  4. Governance

As an example was discussed Yammer’s adoption in Deloitte:

  • Deloitte has roughly 190,000 employees in 50 countries
  • One team made experiment to replace email by yammer (nobody from the team wanted to return to use email after one week)
  • Nowadays Deloitte’s Yammer has 50,000 registered users with in average 8,000 msgs/week (seems like 80:20 ration is true here as well)
  • Used AFA concept: Aim – Fire – Adjust

and few learnt lessons/tips:

    • Communicate early & often
    • Adoption needs a lot of attention – it doesn’t happen on its won
    • Expect skepticism
    • There is no wrong way to use Yammer
    • Keep rules to minimum
    • Nurse group of champions (early adopters?)
  •  Three mentioned strategies to speed up adoption:
    • ‘Make them do it’  –  involve managers/directors
    • ‘Make it fun’ – contests
    • ‘Remove other legs’ (cutting other comm channels or letting them naturally die)

Relationship is Conversation‘. If you are not having a conversation, you are missing an ocean of opportunity.

Some interesting resources:

* did you check recently Yammer feature list? No? do so – ever growing list of functions applications and tools at

* Aragon Research: Special Report – The social enterprise

Will social media kill off the intranet in years to come? 

* Yammer blogpost about the event itself and the links to PPT  and other resources –

Where are photos from my Flickr used?

Are you curious about who, where and how uses pictures from your Flickr? yes, me too 😉

Indeed one simple option is to Google ‘Flickr’ and your Flickr ‘user name’. Dig little bit deeper (not just first 10 results) and you may discover surprises.

Other option is to go your Flickr account stats => Referrers and follow incoming links. Usually most referrers comes from Flickr itself, Google, Bing and Yahoo search (and Google, Bing and Yahoo pictures), but bellow are usually few links going to specific referral sites. The sad thing is that you can only see referrers  for one particular day (use arrows on sides of the date to check other dates) and that you can only go about 40 days back.

It seems that at this moment Flickr doesn’t offer more aggregated or older statistics for referrers.

do you know more? please suggest.

Running Samoan circles in parallel

This week I am facilitating some sessions of the Launch meeting of MAIZE and WHEAT CGIAR research programs in Mexico City. Agenda is largely driven by scientists and there is not much space for introducing more interactive facilitation methods. I was asked to run the whole day wheat session where morning was dedicated to three long PPT presentations each followed by panel discussion. That wasn’t really very challenging and went pretty well (having over 80 people in the room). After Lunch meeting continued with group discussions. We had only one room available (L shape) – I have tried to set up three large tables (25 people each), but that didn’t seem right. hence I have changed my mind and got chairs in the circle for my favorite Samoan circle.  Introduction was OK, no opposition from people, however few minutes after start it was clear that this will not work – room was a Babel with too much noise to be able to hear clearly and focus on one discussion only. I have decided to remove the central group top another room and leave only two groups in the the room extremes to continue.

In the new room was a’classroom’ setting. No time for change. We have placed 5 chairs in the front (in half circle arrangement) and  asked to continue with the same rules as in Samoan circle (how to get to speak) – surprisingly it wen pretty smooth  and people coming and leaving the ‘speaking space’ like if it would be the inner circle. So at the end, except the fact that we have lost about 10 minutes moving from room to room, we have achieved the planned objectives.

Maybe the three Samoan circles would have worked if these were smaller, but having the large groups (almost 30 people in each circle) made it really too noisy.

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