Re: Guerrilla Learning Org??! LO2188
Sat, 22 Jul 1995 11:48:43 +0000

Replying to LO2175 --

In response to Barry's challenge: What's the difference between
large and small? What's the difference between the various attempts
to generate information sharing at things like cocktail parties and
intentional social arrangements?

The difference between large and small is one of scale. And the
differences of scale are that everything then must be scaled
appropriately (or "chunked" or "coarse grained"). Scale increases
compexity and then the design of the connections must reflect the
principles of complex (adaptive) systems.

I think you'll find that the ratio of "useful" communication to
social chat in the small, old and informal structures was about the
same as at the new arrangements - that is, very low. However, as it
was a natural human phenomenon, it was acceptable. Now that the
events, etc are designed for *something* to happen, the low ratio is
no longer acceptable. Maybe patience would help.

The purpose of the events and a design to match is probably not well
thought through. Are these really the kinds of vehicles for what is

I assert that the basis of all learning, knowledge development, etc
is relationship. The events that you are suggesting may be very good
at building relationship and thus very important. (They may also not
be designed very well for that.) But they don't sound like designs
for learning and information sharing itself.

So ... what are some practical approaches. Xerox equipped field
repair personnel with "radio band phones" that worked - and most of
the air traffic was shmooze. How about regular "open space" meetings
or other "bulletin board" kind of meetings? These are purposeful
(unlike the cocktail party) but pretty informal in structure. How
about public display - bulletin board, TV monitor or computer - for a
constant flow of ideas. Added power comes from hypertext kinds of
things which connect ideas, give trails (logical, by person, etc), "drill
down" facility and allow for comments on comments.

The paradox is in the nature of relationship. What occurs naturally
at one level of scale does not occur at all at another level (larger
or smaller). You can't reproduce what occurred at the smaller scale.
You need to design for emergence of new kinds of relationships. To
do that, you need a new relationship to relationship.

Michael McMaster