Monthly Archives: November 2011

Is Social Media making me Anti-Social?

Proof number 1 … or am I just a lousy networker?

  • I was so busy trying to QR scan a conference member’s badge at VOV that I didn’t even look her in the eye when I said hello… this lasted a very long and afterwards-embarrassing 2 minutes or so.


Proof number 2 … or do I just spend too much time on Facebook?

  • I see less important people on Facebook more often than I see more important people in real life. Like?


Proof number 3 … or am I just a bad brother?

  • I get more status updates about my sister from a friend-of-a-friend on FB than I do from her herself.

Proof number 4 … or am just a sad iPhone freak?

  • I rarely experience real life without at some point pulling out my iPhone to watch it through a lens. See also Proof number 1 and this short film clip on why Louis C.K hates Twitter.


Proof number 5 … or am I heading for divorce?

  • My wife went to bed ages ago and I’m still playing on WordPress !


Don’t follow me on Twitter. Please, it won’t help!

Just leave a comment…


Where are all these Enterprise 2.0 companies?

In a recent conference with @_Synergo in Mouscron I spoke at about Innovation at work. I gave a talk on the New World of Work and Infinite Learning possibilities. You can see the Prezi here:


During the presentation, a lady in the audience asked “But where are these Enterprise 2.0 companies DAN?” I was extremely pleased that a neighbouring audience member said his company was a good example.


Check out this 1 minute film of that man, Luc Lammens, CEO from Centric Belgium talking about how Flat Collaboration and Constant Learning helps his company mutate into something resembling Enterprise 2.0


Thanks for reading

See you on Twitter?


Is Twitter really good for learning? (reply to @MiekWouters)

Reading @MiekWouters post about Twitter this morning on @KluwerOpleiding blogspot, I’m wondering: WHAT can be learnt on Twitter? Can it really increase competence? These are the questions I spend my time debating with non-Twitter lovers..

If we define competence as knowledge, skills and attitude, its clear to me that Twitter usage/benefits differ greatly per each one…


For knowledge, its really great. I have learnt so many new things via Twitter. The possibilities are endless …which leads to some of the issues with Twitter: How can you filter quality? Are you getting “the whole picture”? Who is right and who is wrong?

These problems are not new with Twitter and can be seen in all knowledge-sharing systems. Some organisations are tackling this issue by defining “knowledge coaches” who act as a hub or connector in the organisation to help people find their way through the masses of available information. Its clear that there is plenty out there, but how can we be sure to get the right stuff in?


Regarding skills, I already think Twitter is not as useful. I of course agree that new skills can be learnt outside of a formal training environment and some Web 2.0 tools are great for this. I recently learnt how to make Scoubidou’s for my 6 year-old using YouTube. If I didn’t have YouTube, I’d have had a crying daughter! …but Twitter already performs less well for me:

  • It is mostly only a hub to other places and therefore not the answer in itself (although its still a great hub)
  • With online skill-learning, it is very important to get feedback on your performance – Twitter can be a feedback channel, but that is not about the technology itself, rather the users using it ..and I think other forms of feedback will always be better
  • All I do on Twitter is share and discuss, not actually practice (unless its communication skills and the ability to make short messages)


I think Twitter can be useful for attitude. It’s a great base for conversation, discovery and sharing. As with almost everything in our creative era, Twitter can give you access to new cultures, new points of view, new information, discussion, border-crossing… This is brilliant news for open-minded people who want to reflect on their own approach, beliefs, processes. In the last few months I have followed some great TwitterChats with @C4LPT and @RealWpLearn on learning in the organisation and “met” some really interesting people with some really interesting views. This allowed me to learn new knowledge, but also to think about my attitude, my assumptions. Twitter is not the only tool for this attitude-based learning – any communication can help – but the sheer potential of the network of people is blinding.


In summary, Twitter is great! …but you can’t learn everything with it.

…fortunately, because I’m a trainer 🙂


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Who loves red monkeys? (survey)

In his work on organizational innovation, @JefStaes talks uses the analogy of red monkeys to describe a new idea. These 2 blog posts outline that idea and deliver results of my recent online survey of 71 people to see who loves red monkeys themselves, in their teams and in their organisations…

I suggest you read the supporting theory first – follow this link.

For a related blog post on how leaders can help bring change to the organisation, check this link.


In my survey, I asked people to choose between sets of phrases that describe either the Creator, Pioneer, Follower or Settler change personality. I asked them to choose what best suits themselves, their team/department/close colleagues and their company from the following:

  • I love change! I tend to create change and new ideas myself. When faced with new ideas, I brainstorm to create even more. I throw new ideas and change into the organisation with enthusiasm.
  • I am open to change and take it seriously. When people come to me with new ideas or initiatives, I will help them to test the idea to see how it can work. If it does work, we can introduce it into the organisation.
  • I don’t really like change and new ways of working. I don’t come up with ideas myself. But if its best for me, I’ll do it. Just show me good examples and proof and I’ll do what needs to be done.
  • I am against change. I don’t like changing things, or new ideas. Things would be best if they just continued the same way. Don’t come to me with new ideas!


When dealing with this model in training (in the wider context of introducing change management), we first learn about the red monkey model, then I ask: Which do you think you are most like, your team and your company? Almost every time in training, I get a distribution like this:

…and I would have bet money on the survey giving the same results (fortunately, no-one offered to bet!)

My explanation of these results is something as follows:

  • People like to think of themselves as more creative than they actually probably are
  • No-one wants to think of themselves as anti-change, as a settler
  • People imagine their company to be slow with change, overly bureaucratic and not open to new suggestions. Note that I tend to work for a lot of large corporations and I suspect this could be different if I worked with smaller less structured organisations.
  • There is a mentality of “us against them” in many companies – this leads to the idea that “they” stifle “us”


In my online survey of the 4th November 2011, the 71 results I got give the following impression when stuck on to the red monkey model:

What do I think of these results?

  • I didn’t see the major “my company is a settler” view I expected (good news in my opinion)
  • Maybe asking the question without training/learning doesn’t give people the same feeling of the model as in a training room
  • Individuals still rate themselves quite creative and open to change
  • ..and more so than other people in their organisation


According to @JefStaes the Creators and the Pioneers make up only about 10% of the population. If we imagine my survey respondents (“ME”) to be “the population” of an organisation then we have no followers! This could make for an extremely (read “overly”) dynamic organisational culture!

What are my thoughts on this?

  1. Maybe by chance the people who took the survey are actually part of the 10% in their own organisation
  2. Since I asked via Twitter, maybe I didn’t get so many “Followers” and “Settlers” answering – they are not on the Twitter train yet..
  3. Or, as I already noted: People tend to “mark themselves up” as more creative or pioneering


I’m glad people rate themselves as creative and open to change. I only add (rather cynically, I admit) the following paradox:

  • If you ask me if I’m honest, I’ll say “yes”
  • If you ask me if other people are honest, I’ll say “not always”
  • Everyone replies the same to these 2 questions
  • …but I don’t believe everyone is honest
  • ..but I still say I am! 🙂


Please leave me a comment if you read, took part or enjoyed this survey. Ienjoyed it a lot, but I don’t pretend to know everything here – I’m interested to keep on learning and would love your feedback. I’ve added to the comments myself with 2 email replies already received over the weekend…

For a related blog post on how leaders can help bring change to the organisation, check this link



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Who loves red monkeys? (theory)

In his work on organizational innovation, @JefStaes talks uses the analogy of red monkeys to describe a new idea. These 2 blog posts outline that idea and deliver results of my recent online survey of 71 people to see who loves red monkeys themselves, in their teams and in their organisations…

To read the survey results, follow this link.

For a related blog post on how leaders can help bring change to the organisation, check this link.


The Red Monkey Analogy

Imagine 2 different ecosystems: a forest and an ocean. In the forest, there are brown monkeys. In the ocean, red fish. Suppose a brown monkey were to meet a red fish. Out of their mating (discussion, creation) would come a red monkey. @JefStaes calls red monkeys new ideas and says that they are created where borders and ecosystems collide.


Creating Innovation

If you want to innovate, says @JefStaes, you need two elements: Creativity (the red monkey) and Entrepreneurship (implementation). If you don’t implement things, nothing happens with the new ideas. But what is more interesting is to find the right way to implement new ideas in the organisation. Otherwise, the red monkey will die.

Example: Drop it in the middle of the forest and the brown monkeys will kill it (they don’t like it, they don’t understand it, “it won’t work around here”); drop it in the ocean and it’ll drown (it’s not fit for the environment yet).


Who love red monkeys?

@JefStaes describes 4 change personalities, starting from the edge of the eco-system and moving inwards:

  • Creators: They create new ideas. They cross borders. They love change.
  • Pioneers: They are open to change. They will take a new idea and test it to see if and how it can work. They can help you to create examples, which you need for the…
  • Followers: They wouldn’t necessarily like to change, but if they can see that the red monkey (new idea, change) is in their favour, they’ll do it.
  • Settlers: Don’t want to change. You need settlers in an eco-system to keep it safe and secure. But they don’t like doing things differently. I compare this to organisational functions like “financial controller” and “compliance”.  Without them, you have no stability. But they don’t like change. They have to be forced to change. Or, like the dinosaurs, they will die when everything around them eventually changes.


With these personalities in mind, you can imagine what happens if a Creator brings his red monkey to one of the other people:

  • C –> Creator: They enthusiastically brainstorm, creating lots of wonderful new ideas that may or may not work. When they are done brainstorming that idea, they will move on to others. Not the best people to actually get things implemented…
  • C –> Pioneer: The Creator has found an ally. The Pioneer has willingness, time and resources to check out the new idea. He will test it, shape it and if the idea is feasible, find good strong working examples of how it can benefit the organisation.
  • C –> Follower: If the idea is not proven, the Follower will not follow.
  • C+P –> Follower: If the Creator tests his ideas with the Pioneer first, now the Follower will accept. He can see how it is useful, he understands the benefits. Its proven, so he accepts.
  • C + P + F –> Settler: Overwhelmed by the force of Creators, Pioneers and Followers, the Settler will give in. Or be forced to change. Or move out. Or die.

Don’t forget: Drop your red monkey into the Settlers and they will kill it. They don’t like it, they don’t understand it, “it won’t work around here” or it’ll drown (it’s not fit for the environment yet). In my experience, the Settlers even sometimes try to kill the idea before it can be taken any further. They will lobby against it, either openly or behind the back of the Creators. In this way, the Settler can be the enemy of red monkeys.


With my online survey, I asked people to choose from 4 sets of phrases describing either Creators, Pioneers, Follower and Settlers. Which ones did they think best described them, their teams and their companies? You can see the results by following this link.


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