Monday, 3 March 2008

Collaboration - sharing the soft learnings

For the last few weeks I have been looking at sources, potential platforms and tools which let project teams, or even wider groupings , collaborate around what I'm starting to call the 'soft stuff'.

A comment I made on the NZ LibraryTech is part of this thinking. They had, rightly, posted on that lovely feeling of satisfaction that comes when you get a project to come out almost like you had envisaged . In this case their newly launched Publications New Zealand - a beta website of the publicly accessible record of New Zealand publications.

I in turn replied that I had enjoyed their account of the development process, and asking for more detail on their process - e.g. did they use persona' and scenarios - how did they document these - through formal use case, or activity wire frames etc

I had a triple interest in asking or engaging with them. First, I really rate the new voices that are emerging out of the NZ National Library, and this blog is one of their forums,

Second, I love watching/ listening to reflective learning in action. It works, and sometimes we need to be reminded that the primary ingredient is honest open engagement. I think their account is a really great example of both.

Thirdly, and to our joint purpose here, because I am seeing more and more projects in the heritage/knowledge sector starting to deliver solid assets into the digital commons, I'm equally interested in talking about how we unpack these assets and identify and share the common learning, especially around the development process.

Defining the soft stuff
As part of this I want to start a discussion on what tools and ideas do we need to share these learnings - not just around process - but also in terms of what could best be called the 'soft stuff" - the unexpected outcomes - the bit of the project that changed peoples thinking - the way the project picked up on other areas of collaboration - how it started to fit with the wider ecology of new web tools and methodologies - how the project was received, and what are customers or collaborators doing with the tool on offer.

The response from the National Library Publications NZ project was encouraging - in a word, they are up for some kind of communal thinking.

My question this morning, is, who else is up for this - and/or what other projects in the knowledge and heritage world would like to put there hand up?

The next step would be how to organise the conversation. I'm hoping to post on some tools latter in the week - but in the first instance, I'm keen to test the water as to who else is up for this - whether in New Zealand, or further afield.


Con said...

Kia ora Paul

The Australia New Zealand Digital Encyclopedias Group is one existing forum, which I think you already know of. Didn't you attend the 2005 meeting in Wellington?

This year's meeting will again be back on this side of the ditch. The NZETC put our hands up to organise it, though we're keen to involve others as much as possible. The date hasn't been finalised but it's usually early December.

There's also a mail-list which is currently pretty low-volume since so far it has mostly been administrative.



manda said...

Hi Paul, nice header image you have there! Are you able to add a link to it so people know what the CC license is? Thanks!

Brian F said...

A place to "share learnings" sounds interesting. Last year the most important learning on nz-libs was "does my bum look big in Paula Ryan dress?" and llamas.

Joann Ransom said...

Hi Paul,

Kete Horowhenua is definitely willing and interested in sharing the learning around the development of projects like ours.

Ours was a huge learning curve for us and it would have been great to read how other people tackled similar projects.

cheers Jo Ransom.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul - remember back in 2002 when the National Digital Forum was set up to "share information and develop expertise in the regions and nationally"?

Good intentions... but has the NDF managed to provide a forum for the kinds of sharing that you're after? It seems to be crystallising into yet another mini-bureacracy, not the peer network of passionate and knowledgable professionals that I've always wanted to join. NDF's members are now cultural institutions, not the many individuals at the coalface trying to make professional connections that will help them do their job a little better every day.

How about pushing for the NDF programme to contain more sessions driven by people on the ground and moving beyond the hype to the kinds of learning that you're describing. Policy updates and showcases of successful technical developments are great, but they need to be balanced against opportunities to learn from each other, rather than the person up there on the podium. At the moment the emphasis is firmly on authorised 'speakers' - how about more panels, hands-on workshops, and posters?

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