More space deadline looms

Now that I’ve finished my tax return the next deadline looms: sending in my proposal to Todd for my More Space essay/chapter/thinkpiece thingy. I’m definitely more of a starter than a finisher so the fact that Todd’s cracking the whip a bit is probably a good thing.

I’m quite sure that what I eventually write and what I propose now, will be at variance with each other. This is, incidentally, one of the points I’ll be making in the piece.

My working title is going to be, as already hinted, Simple principles, lightly held. This will be a licence for me to enthuse about Improv and the virtues of living in the present whilst providing an excellent excuse for the many ways in which my blog demonstrates my inconsistency in living up to these ideals.

One of the more serious points will be to highlight the difference between things that are complicated and things that are complex. This will owe a lot to the megabrain that is Dave Snowden. He wrote this heavy essay on the topic, and here’s what I blogged in response earlier this year

Far too many people don’t get this, and waffle about metrics, obsessing with narrow measures and making dubious correlations to “prove” their latest ideas “work”, without looking at the broader context. In Britain, our Health Service and education system have been plagued with the very worst kind of shallow target setting and performance measurement. Marketing is awash with dreary mechanistic models that reduce the subtle wonders of human relationships to things like “value drivers” (they sound pretty horrid, don’t they!). This – to my mind – is part of a desperate effort to run away from the complex by treating it as merely complicated, coralling it into the familiar domain of the knowable, the safe hunting ground of the Experts who Know What To Do who delight in its complications as it allows them to seem so clever.

I shall no doubt detour to nail some examples of how the world of branding is awash with these complicated models.

I’m sure that whatever Malcolm Gladwell is saying in his new book will have to be factored in.

I’m going to talk a lot about Improv because this is what most excites me in all the work I do. Improv is a good example of simple principles, lightly held generating wonderfully rich drama.

The title is a nod to David Weinberger’s Small Pieces, Loosely Joined, though I imply no endorsement on his part. I think the approach will fit well into his wonderful evocation of how a networked world actually operates best.

I’m going to want to use some lovely pictures, and I think I’ll ask my good pal Julian Burton to help out with this. I hope Todd’s budget will run to colour reproduction…

I’ve not got my head around how I’m going to write, but I would like to try to embody the principles of Improv and collaboration whilst still taking personal responsibility for the end product.

And I want it to be fun to read.

Comments, brickbats, wild projections of your neuroses onto my personality all welcomed. I’m quite partial to chocolate cake, too.

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