Users

Social Media Prayer Wheels

I run several groups on LinkedIn, some for my clients, some to support the work I do, and one for my students. After several years of managing these communities and observing others that I belong to, I have some insights. First, it takes effort! A lot of effort. A group is a community that tries to generate a sense of membership by creating topics of conversations, sharing of information and news, and supporting each others professional efforts. A real community requires participation. It requires a nucleus of idea about which people can come together. It needs some passion as well as intellectual involvement. And members need to feel like they belong and have a say in the movement and evolution of their groups. In short, LinkedIn groups are no different from other communities, it’s just that they mainly focus on professional topics. That said, there are a lot of differences from one community to the next, and one LinkedIn group to the next. Some communities form to support a real world activity like a conference. One of my groups, ICT & Human Rights, was formed for such a purpose. The original core of the group were people who were attending…

Group Color Preferences

Red Head Festival, crowd shot

The Color of the Redhead Festival… …is NOT red! An annual festival of redheads has been taking place in Breda, Holland, was held on 3 September of this year. Almost 2000 red heads from 52 countries gathered together to share and revel in their DNA, BBC corresponded Tim Allman reported. In the sea of red, what stands out is a clear preference for color green. Somehow, the color green become the unofficial uniform of the red-headed. It’s not like they all thought: “I think everyone will be wearing green, so should I.” More likely, redheads believe they look better in green. But when every one in the group shows up in green, it strengthen the bond. Red Delegates, Blue Delegates Check out this crowd shot of the republican convention. Notice any color that stands out? How about at the democratic convention? And here’s a lighting scheme for the democratic convention: The convention organizers used color as a reenforcement of political unity for the delegates at both conventions. Using Color to Cement Group Affiliation There are certain professions that signal group membership with color: white used to be the preference for doctors and scientists working at a lab; green or blue…

Cultural Barriers to Success

Tim Buton Exhibition at La Cinémathèque in Paris

Man-made Disasters in a Wake of Tsunami This month, The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission issued its final report on the disaster: It was man-made! Here’s a quote from the report: What must be admitted — very painfully — is that this was a disaster “Made in Japan.” Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program”; our groupism; and our insularity. Had other Japanese been in the shoes of those who bear responsibility for this accident, the result may well have been the same. The last sentence is particular insightful — the blame was not rested on the shoulders of a particular individual, as tempting as that might be, or even on the shoulders of some manager. The fault was places on the cultural context in which the incident played out. Museums in Paris We just got back from seeing a Tim Burton exhibit at the La Cinémathèque, in Paris. The content of the exhibit, as one could imagine, is quite wonderful. But there were many, many human failures in making the visit an enjoyable experience. And yes,…

Foie Gras on Child’s Menu and Other Cultural Differences

2012-06-28 School Menu in France

We are staying in a tiny village of Cenac, in a beautiful Dordogne Valley in France — the valley of foie gras (duck liver). The other day, when we went out for dinner in a local restaurant, we saw a great little item on the Child’s Menu: foie gras! Imagine a duck liver pate on a child’s menu anywhere in US? Here, it’s a common item — if not duck liver, than some other pate is often on the menu for kids. Check out the photo we took of the elementary school menu, posted on the door of the school: Notice the rabbit, duck, olives, salad and vegetables, and, of course, the pate on the menu! I think the families and children in this small village would be shocked by the menu offerings at our schools in San Francisco! This is a cultural difference! Cultural differences affect how we think about problem solving — how we approach the problem and how we go about looking for solutions. Consider a few images below. They are from India and show a cultural difference in imaginative solutions to every day problems: The motorcycle bus and the home-made flotation device show creativity within a…

Special Preview: Wearable Computing (Steve Mann)

The next chapter in the Interaction-Design.org tome on human-computer interaction design is now up for an early review to my readers. This chapter takes on Wearable Computing and is written by Steve Mann. Mostly, this is a historical review of Prof. Mann’s experimentations with wearable computing devices, and for those unfamiliar with this subject area, this is an interesting introduction. On the left, you can see an early version of wearable computing: Steve Mann’s backpack based system from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. But as always, I have a slightly different take on this topic… The Little Mac That Saved My Son’s Life Almost 18 years ago, I went into a preterm labor. At 24 and a half weeks into gestation, this was very scary. At the time, San Francisco Children’s Hospital was pioneering a program for high risk pregnancies (which mine just turned out to be). Two doctors, Dr. Kuts and Dr. Maine, figured out how to use an old Mac SE, a modem, a telephone, a subcutaneous pump, and a belt which measures contractions to allow women like me to stay at home as much as we could (as opposed to spending months in the hospital). Here’s…

US Rio+2.0 Breakout Session on Environmental & Conservation Education

Below are the notes from the US Rio+2.0 conference hosted at Stanford last week. The notes are from the Education: Environment and Conservation breakout session. US Rio+2.0 Breakout Session Education: Environment and Conservation Attendees: Prof. Anthony D. Barnosky: Professor and Curator, Department of Integrative Biology at University of California Berkeley Wali Modaqiq: Deputy Director General (DDG), National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Dr. Khalid Naseemi: Chief of Staff & Spokes Person for National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Julie Noblitt: The Green Ninja — Climate-action Superhero Prof. Robert Siegel, M.D., Ph.D.: Associate Professor, Microbiology & Immunology Human Biology/African Studies at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences Dr. Beth Stevens: Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship Environment and Conservation at Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. Madam Anyaa Vohiri, M.A., J.D.: Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia Olga Werby, Ed.D.: President, Pipsqueak Productions, LLC. Mostapha Zaher: Director General (DG), National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Our breakout group was partly the result of the conversation started the day before in the Environment session. Some of the members of our breakout group were present in that session as well. The main discussion…