Are you free on January 18th and 19th? If you are – you might like to read on. If you are not – then maybe go and read this piece by Neil Morrison instead? It’s very good. Anyway – back to the 18th and 19th of January…

Would you like the opportunity to spend a couple of days experimenting and honing your facilitation skills? A few of us are having a co-created facilitation jam session on Friday 18th January and the morning of Saturday 19th January 2013, we have one place left to bring the group up to nine people (it’s a magic number don’t you know), and we’d like to invite you to join us.

The event will be quite free flowing with no one person responsible for leading the day. Instead we invite you to take turns to prepare and run a session during the event and receive immediate feedback on your ideas from your colleagues. You may be looking to improve on some existing methods you use – you may want to try something completely new. However you choose to play, it’s up to you.
This is being run as a not for profit event, you only pay to cover costs. The event will take place in historic Greenwich, London and we want to make it residential so we have some social time together as well. We estimate the cost will be around £250 per person, and we require a deposit payment from you now of just £50 to secure your place. We hope you can join us for a couple of days of useful fun to kickstart the New Year.
If you are free and would like to take part, please book here.

The Power of Personal

I’m tidying my desk – how totally rock n roll is that! I’ve found this photo (taken at Reading Rock Festival with hangover in full effect) sent to me many years ago by Paul McEvoy, who is sadly no longer with us. On the back of the photo is a handwritten poem:

Another day, another year

I’ve seen you laugh and shed a tear

They say that time waits for no man

So have your fun while you still can

What’s done is done, don’t look around

Keep your hopes up high, your feet on the ground

But whatever the future might send

Don’t forget that you’re my best friend

Happy Birthday – love Paul

I’ve also found some wonderful coupons that Keira made for me last year, here is one of them.

Hug Coupon

It’s so easy to be in touch electronically that we sometimes forget the power of the personalised, handwritten note. I sometimes send people things in the post. Sketches, notes, little gifts, nothing major, just small things that are all part of the importance of keeping in touch. And often I’ll get an appreciative call from someone who has received something I’ve posted to them, and I’ll remember the power of personal.

I wonder if you can find the time to drop someone a hand written note in 2013?

Happy New Year.

What Mistake?

The 2012 Merge Festival is under way in the Bankside area of London and runs until the end of this week. After having such a great time participating last year I’d been in touch with the organisers and arranged for Carole, Keira and I to take part again, this time as the subjects of some drawings.

Yesterday, the three of us each went to a gallery near the Tate Modern and sat for five artists who captured their view of us. Nothing unusual about that, until you learn that the artists were in fact robots, all named Paul. Each robot was made up of a camera, and a drawing arm fixed to a desk, all hooked up to a laptop. They were all programmed by Patrick Tresset and the picture above is the view from the subject’s chair looking out at the robots (just after they’d finished their work).

Looking at the drawings straight after completion, two things struck us. First, they were good likenesses and we really like some of them, and second, they’re all full of what we’d normally refer to as mistakes. As we looked at the pictures, we began to really appreciate the fact that the drawings are in biro. There’s something quite permanent about biro ink and once the pen is committed to paper, you’ve got something lasting, something you can’t rub out and start again. This in turn made me think about some of the drawing exercises I do with groups of people to help encourage a sense of creativity, experimentation, failure and success in the workplace, and the interesting differences we might see when comparing finished pencil and biro drawings, ‘mistakes’ and all.

Here are some of the drawings the robots produced:

Keira Robot Drawing
Carole Robot Drawing
Doug Robot Drawing

This was a great fun experiment to be a part of and a great reminder that one person’s (or robot’s) mistakes, are another’s creative flair. There may yet be slots available in the schedule so if you are in London over the next few days check out the website and see if you can get along and be on the receiving end of a few mistakes.