Fingering the Ninjas…

I met Euan Semple for tea yesterday at the slightly bizarre Brunswick Centre in London. Euan talked about the fun he’s having coaxing organisations into social media and it all made sense to me. We kept returning to the idea of inviting people to participate not making them. It’s easier to work with volunteers – a notion that underpins the success of Open Space faclitation and most of the good stuff in social software.

Euan gleefully brandished his copy of The Kids Are All Right (he blogged it here) and I share his enthusiasm for the attitudes to work and life of the next generation.

This is partly based on playing with them albeit behind my avatar level 60 Mage, in World of Warcraft. When I very occasionally discover the ages of who I’m raiding with, I generally find I’m about twice the age of the next eldest in the party.

WoW’s a great example of teams made up entirely of volunteers. One of the many interesting phenomena of WoW is the players who join raids and then try to hog the loot. The term for them is Ninja, and if you’re fingered as one it’s a kind of social death. No higher authority at WoW gets involved, the system self-regulates. I wonder if the gamer generation is more willing to yell “Ninja” when they rumble folks in the real world nicking ideas and passing them off as their own? I rather hope so…

Bonus link: We found ourselves talking about Dave Snowden a lot. Here’s Dave (with a couple of typos amended by me) on the perils of Six Stigma and similar methods misapplied to managiing flesh and blood.

A lot of stupidity survives simply because good people use their their networks to prevent very bad things happening. As a result of which the negative feedback to the system designers is suppressed. You could argue that a good old fashioned work to rule would demolish many a fancy management initiative. As it is, especially in the public service,people find ways to make the system work despite itself.

Yes, and then some consultant Ninja comes along and tries to take the credit…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.