Flash Fiction

There are stories that are even shorter than short stories. Apparently they are called “flash fiction”. The probably most famous, appreciated and moving flash fiction story is the one by Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Apparently, less is more. I had a stab at it when I was in Tanzania last year:
Jumping at me
Immediately when I opened my bag while unpacking after the visit to the Maasai village, a spider jumped at me. It didn’t succeed in leaving the large bag, so I picked up the blouse it was sitting on. The spider was very black against the white blouse. I opened the door and carried the spider and the blouse out to the nearest large flower pot. There I tried to get rid of the spider. I shook the blouse thoroughly, but it didn’t want to let go. Suddenly, it jumped to the palm tree in the pot and crawled quickly up the stem. I was a little stunned by the sudden movement, and I almost started to feel abandoned.

A totally different kind of spider is The Swedish Program for Information and Communication Technology in Developing Regions (SPIDER). Their mission is is to assist developing countries with promotion and deployment of ICTs for combating the digital divide and reducing poverty, in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals. I was visiting their office in Kista last week, and it was very interesting!


September Renewal

It was so good to see so many familiar faces at the September Renewal Residential at Bore Place! And to make some new friends as well! As always Anne Radford and Jane Magruder Watkins did a splendid job carefully guiding us towards new insights into how renew relationships with clients and how to sustain and renew ourselves. Being in such a great place with wonderful food helped a lot.

I tried to gather some of the superb phrases that emerged during these days:
  • Love and blood.
  • We must put down our swords and start walking and talking together.
  • The data is in the system.
  • Dropping the pebble in the pool.
  • It’s all about people.
  • How it felt is not the same as the impact it had.
  • Feedback will tell you more about the person delivering it than about your performance.
  • What we fear the most is our own power and strength.
  • Hold your nerve!
  • Past Over and Pissed Off (POPO).
  • Humor me!
  • The 4D-model is really Kurt Lewin’s action research model.
  • Make use of what is in front of you.
  • Wisdom is acting with knowledge while simultaneously questioning yourself.
  • Sapien circles.
  • Open to awe.
  • Stealth AI.
  • What’s the most useful question I can ask you right now?
  • Smellavision.
  • Leadership is a function, not a position.
  • Prototyping.
  • Even better.
During one of our sessions, Mark Lough wrote a beautiful poem called "Still Water":

Still water
Moving with force

Dropping its power
Thundering into

Bringing about
New integrity

For those of you who couldn’t participate this time, I recommend having a look at the pictures.


Absorptive Capacity

I have noticed a rise in awareness of the ecological trend in the Swedish media. You might even speak of a development of Ecomedia (not to be confused with the EU ICT project, nor the Austrian blog, nor the Canadian media company, nor the book by Sean Cubitt) far away from the traditional look and feel in this segment. First there was Camino, a magazine made in Göteborg focusing on sustainable consumption. Next came EcoQueen, who’s attitude towards ecological aspects could at best be described as more playful. Even Vecko-Revyn is publishing a piece on ecological dresses from several Swedish fashion companies. However, they focus more on H&M than thoroughly ecological clothing company DEMCollective (also based in Göteborg) who act as true societal entrepreneurs using their company to impact the clothing industry.

Of course, if you are really into ecology, there are many more magazines you can browse through such as WWF and National Geographic or even our Frisksport Journal (as seen in the picture).

But keeping up with the trend is not always that easy. I remember participating in a workshop last year at the “The Power of Positive Change” conference in Orlando. The workshop was organised by the design company Ideo and our task was to design some kind of device or process to help an employee at Al Gore’s TV company Current to become more sustainable in his daily life. We were introduced to this “extreme user” though a film showing us a typical day in his life. However, I suspect that unfortunately he wasn’t that extreme at all. He drove to the office, although he lived just a few kilometres away. Breakfast was bought at a coffee shop and taken to the office. His dustbin was filled with paper mugs. And so on. I do hope Ideo told him about all the clever ideas we developed during the workshop.

Paper media of course has an advantage when it comes to absorption (yes, I know that’s not what’s meant by absorptive capacity but I couldn’t resist the pun). This, however, has not deterred the Swedish e-newspaper project DigiNews. But what is really the most ecological way to consume news? Any comments on that?