Monthly Archives: December 2011

LearnTrends Conference is no more

LearnTrends, the Corporate Learning and Innovation Conference, is going off the air.

In 2007, 2008, and 2009, we hosted free online conferences to push the envelope in learning innovation. Thousands of people from around the world participated. We also conducted special events, e.g. a session on using Sharepoint to support learning and a 24-hour round-the-world marathon webinar. We’re bidding adieu to 3,751 members.

The conference organizers, Tony Karrer, George Siemens, and I are still chasing after innovation in learning, but we’ve changed channels.

You can keep up with George, who first came up with the LearnTrends concept, on his blog or Twitter @gsiemens.

Stay current with Tony at or Twitter @elearningPosts.

You can find me at and or Twitter @jaycross/alliance

Have a great 2012!

Jay, George, and Tony


Warm thanks to the speakers and helpers who made LearnTrends a success.

George Siemens
Tony Karrer
David Snowden
Jay Cross
Richard Straub
Clark Quinn
Donald H. Taylor
Janet Clarey
David Wilson
Bill Bruck

Jane Hart
Robin Good
Tony Karrer
Nancy White
Dave Wilkins
Mark Sylvester
Kevin Wheeler
George Siemens
Marcia Conner
Allison Anderson
David Weinberger
Dave Pollard
Dave Gray
Alvaro Fernandez
Jay Cross

George Siemens
Jay Cross
Tony Karrer
Charles Jennings
Andy McGovern
Clark Quinn
Deb Schultz
Jerry Michalski
Chris Hardy
Jane Hart
Laura Overton
Charles Jennings
Jon Husband
Harold Jarche
Chirsty Confetti Higgins
Judy Brown
Pam Boiros
Janet Clarey
Jack Merklein
John Smith
Nancy White
Vincent Berthelot
Thierry de Baillon
Frederic Domon,
Tony O’Driscoll

The incredible support team

Scott Skibell, video
Steve Tuffill coordination
Kimberly Caise, moderation and training

Those were the days, my friends. We thought they’d never end. We’d sing and dance forever and a day.

If you have an observation or inquiry related to LearnTrends, leave a comment below.

Let's get Agile

“On February 11-13, 2001, at The Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in the Wasatch mountains of Utah, seventeen people met to talk, ski, relax, and try to find common ground and of course, to eat. What emerged was the Agile Software Development Manifesto.” Source

On January 6, 2001, at a mountaintop ski resort in Stoos, Switzerland, another group is meeting to talk, ski, and discuss how to make the philosophy underpinning Agile a management practice beyond the realm of software development. Steve Denning, one of our ringleaders, wrote “We will be searching to see what can be done to create and energize organizations in ways that make them better for the organizations themselves, better for the people doing the work, better for those for whom the work is being done, and better for society as a whole and to do so on a sustained basis.”

The practice of management is due for a makeover. Today’s organizations are not productive; their workers are not fulfilled. In many situations, agile management seems more appropriate than command & control. If this is how to make the world better, I’m all for it. Hence, I’m headed to a Swiss mountaintop.

What was it that made that session at Snowbird more than ten years ago so effective? I called Ward Cunningham to talk about the session. Here’s a brief excerpt from our conversation.

Related links

Ward Cunningham on Agile: 10 Years After

Agile Software Manifesto


Reflecting on my 2011

Last night (December 10), and I may have been wearing my Santa costume during the conversation, I mentioned to a friend that I’ve studied the concept of time and tell myself I should be free of the tyranny of the agrarian calendar that is the metronome for many of our lives. Nonetheless, every year when the days grow short, I clear away last year’s artifacts and reflect. As Socrates famously said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I plan to examine journal entries, my writings and presentations, photographs, videos, and relationships. I’ll be thinking about

  • what made me happy
  • what “made a difference”
  • what I enjoyed
  • what I accomplished
  • where I missed the boat during the last twelve months
  • things to avoid in 2012
  • how to design a more fun, meaningful life

I will do some of my reflecting publicly. It keeps me honest. What’s more, I truly believe we improve our lives by sharing what we do, know, and feel with one another.

The remainder of this post digs into posts, pictures, presentations, and what-not from my 2011. I’m mulling it over for the next few days. A future post will deal with what I make of it and my aspirations for 2012 and beyond. Unless you were part of my journey this year, you probably want to stop reading about now.

Looking backward
I began reviewing last year by going over my Google calendar. These trips stood out:

January Picasso exhibit in Seattle, Hartford for CIGNA February Ottawa for CIDA and THRC April Florence, Venice, Paris, Glacier Express, Chur, Zurich May Princeton Reunions, Falling Water June Keynote ICELW, Overlap, Jerry’s Retreat August Carmel, Car week, 21C project September Scandahoovia and Poland October Brazil, Laguna, Palm Springs, Portugal November DevLearn Vegas, Online Educa Berlin

I looked back through my tweetstream, but soon lost patience. Too many damned tweets.

2010 Photos
Next I turned to Flickr. I posted 6,200 photos this year. 360 of those were pictures of food for The Berkeley Diet. 550 are photos of Brazil. 500 are from Car Week in Carmel. 144 are from DevLearn (I often capture presentation slides to look at afterwards). 150 were from Overlap. Most of the photos document whatever memorable scenes come before my eyes. I tagged 120 photos that captured a sense of what was going on with “2011”. I created a Slideshow but that comes all at once, and I sought to drip-feed the imagery of 2011 into my consciousness.

I discovered a nifty Flickr downloader named Bulkr. $30 later, I have the ability to download batches of Flickr photos by set (or, for that matter, to back up my entire Flickr portfolio.) I downloaded the 2011 photos to a USB stick and put them in an electronic picture frame. Photos of friends, events, presentations, and journeys are flashing by, six a minute, as I write. Last year was a whole lot of fun. Highlights include playing with glorious food, brainstorming with fascinating people, visting beautiful places, ogling wonderful cars and art, and doing interesting work.

Now I’m turning to my words of the year. I made 156 posts to Internet Time Blog. I closed the Informal Learning blog in February; its job was done. I asked Working Smarter Daily to display my most prominent posts on Internet Time Blog for 2011.

  • Working Smarter in the Enterprise
  • A model of workplace learning
  • Working Smarter: popular posts
  • AT&T Breaks Guitars
  • The Textbook Bubble
  • 21st Century Leadership
  • Ridiculous research findings on informal learning
  • How to evaluate social and informal learning
  • Embedding social learning into enterprise software
  • iPad2
  • Making sense of the world
  • It’s all about working smarter
  • Occupy Education
  • Those who forget the mistakes of history
  • Training departments: wake up, smell coffee
  • 21st century management practice
  • What does a 21st century leader need to do?
  • Learning while working
  • Where innovation comes in
  • Crowd-inspired innovation
  • Serendipity is not optional
  • Kick-starting a corporate social network
  • The 21st century is in play and it’s really, really different
  • Future of Talent
  • Learning in the 21st century workplace
  • Succeed in business: mimic sardines
  • Headlines are not reality
  • Business = service
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Working Smarter Glossary

At the bottom of the list:

  • Jay in Rio (video)
  • Customer spring (vacation)
  • It need not be new to be good (quotes)
  • The Nature of Networks (video)
  • The Chief of Confusion
I don’t have time to re-read my 340-page Journal. I exported it from Pages into Word and ran Summarizer, reducing it to 18 pages. I found a lot of research notes associated with my big project in the beginning of the year. Topics include Sharepoint, Jive, learning+working, rough drafts of articles, resource lists, and notes for various articles.
Paging through the full journal, I see that I spent a good deal of time trying to come to grips with my ADD, doing such things as pondering my second grade report cards:
From my notes:
I have all of the classic ADD behaviors: impatient, poor time management, restless, forgetful, overly talkative, inattentive, easily angered, anxious and depressed, addictive, distracted, and prone to hyperfocusing.

Ten years ago, when I was asking myself if I’m ADD, things weren’t clear. Most physicians were non-believers. Now many therapists and others believe the ADD is quite real. It’s a brain-based condition. It’s not a matter of free will and moral failings.

When medication failed to change any of this, I went to a neuropsychologist and completed hours of tests. The diagnosis: no doubt that I have ADD.  Sorry we don’t know what to do about it.

Another major theme for me was 21st century leadership. I outlined what I thought was required, interviewed numerous people, and wrote hoards. It informs my judgment but has yet to surface anywhere but

Then there’s YouTube. I shot a number of videos; none of them were influential.
  • Occupy SF 37 views
  • 30 seconds on business 54
  • Create Learning Lisbon 171
  • Q&A about Informal Learning 213
  • Relections on DevLearn 129
  • About the Internet Time Alliance 107
  • Jay on Skype to Paris 85
  • Focus on the Business, Stan 106
  • Leader Storytelling, Terrance 78
  • Leadership in Uncertain Times, Kevin 53
  • Organizational Design, Aaron 160
  • Delighting Customers, John 8
  • Performance Reviews, John 15
  • Selection, motivation, and coaching, John 84
  • Connected company, Dave 30
  • 21st Century Business Models, 25
  • Portugal advance 95
  • Kick Ass Meetings, Terry 20
  • Oxford Union Debate, 524
  • Jerry & Jay in conversation, 134
  • Greg Oxton, 19
  • Radical Management, Marie 83
  • Offboarding, Kevin 67
  • Serendipity, Tom 205
  • Moms Rising, Joan 112
  • Impact 280
  • Alpenhorns in Chur 97
The Oxford video accompanied an article in eLearn, so it’s not typical. That means my most popular video is this three-minute rant I prepared for some conference.

Videos are so much fun to make. It’s a pity they’re not very popular with my readers.

A presentation I did for Citrix, Training Smarter, Working Smarter has been viewed more than 3,000 times. I didn’t upload many presentations to SlideShare this year because my files are too big. That’s what happens when you speak with pictures instead of words.

I didn’t write any books this year or even any introductions or chapters. I only wrote a handful of articles, for example:

Working Smarter Glossary 

Learning in the 21st Century

Making Sense of the World

Learning is the New Work

On the Road Again

Sardines Set the Example

The Long View (interview with T+D)

Interview with Bob Morris

MeFrog interview





Agile Management

In early January 2012, I’ll take the two-hour train ride from Zurich down to Schwys and on to Morschach, where I’ll board a cable car for the ride up the mountain to the skiing village of Stoos. I’ll let Steve Denning explain why:

Help the #Stoos Gathering Transform Management

Why doesn’t management advance? Why are most big organizations still run in a way that leads to steadily diminishing returns, dispirits those doing the work and frustrates those for whom the work is done? There is no shortage of good ideas for improvement. Some good ideas have been around for decades. This isn’t rocket science.

And yet overall, very little has changed. Why do most firms–and their investors–still focus on maximizing share value, which even Jack Welch called “the dumbest idea in the world”? Why do firms ignore Peter Drucker’s insight that the only valid purpose of a firm is to create a customer? Why is command-and-control still the order of the day? Why is it that even promising improvements don’t seem to last?

The Stoos Gathering
On January 6, 2012, twenty thought leaders from around the world will gather for two days in the ski resort at Stoos Switzerland to discuss what can be done to accelerate the transformation of management in organizations around the world.

We will be searching to see what can be done to create and energize organizations in ways that make them better for the organizations themselves, better for the people doing the work, better for those for whom the work is being done and better for society as a whole and to do so on a sustained basis.

The Agile Manifesto
The four of us believe that this is possible. We have seen how in 2001 seventeen software developers came together at Snowbird and crafted some ideas in the Agile Manifesto that did inspire many people working in the software industry to do things differently .

Granted, the agile movement is still evolving. But there has been huge progress. Tens of thousands of organizations around the world are developing software in a better way–better for the organization, better for the developers and better for the ultimate user.

Subscribing to something larger
We believe that one reason why this happened is that the Agile Manifesto created a kind of banner or umbrella or set of values that all of the people present could subscribe to, while still continuing to pursue their own individual variations on the theme. The individual activities were transformed into a large scale global movement, because the participants saw themselves as part of something larger.

The question that we will be exploring at the #Stoos Gathering is whether we can discover synergies that could accelerate the transformation of the way whole organizations are run. To succeed, we will need to find elements that we can all subscribe to and that will energize and accelerate the movement for global change.

Getting into this
I’m learning a lot from sources like these and from conversations with generous peers.

“Agile” means different things to different folks. It’s sort of like instructional design. Some people think instructional design is ADDIE. Others of it see instructional design as a large bag of multidisciplinary concepts and techniques. A priesthood of ID purists lash out at people who stray from strict doctrine. The strays respond that old-style ID is irrelevant.

Both instructional design and agile development are touted as superior to waterfall design. Iterative design makes sense in a rapidly-changing world. However, change is not evenly distributed. Agile is not a panacea. While work itself is increasingly conceptual, some work remains procedural; agile’s not going to be much help there. Agile also runs into a brick wall in dealing with complex systems. 75% of scrum shots fail.

This is not going to be as simple to figure out as I’d thought. Good thing I enjoy learning!

Working Smarter: Most popular posts of 2011

Best of Working Smarter Daily

January 1, 2011 to December 17, 2011

Working smarter draws upon ideas from design thinking, network optimization, brain science, user experience design, learning theory, organizational development, social business, technology, collaboration, web 2.0 patterns, social psychology, value network analysis, anthropology, complexity theory, and more. Working smarter embraces the spirit of agile software, action learning, social networks, and parallel developments in many disciplines. Here’s how we choose the crème de la crème for your enjoyment.

The following are the top items from featured sources based on social signals.

  1. Network thinking– Harold Jarche, December 15, 2011
  2. 5 Stages of Workplace Learning (Revisited)– Jane Hart, December 6, 2011
  3. 12 Themes for 2012: what we can expect in the year ahead– Ross Dawson, December 4, 2011
  4. Open Learning Analytics: A proposal– George Siemens, December 10, 2011
  5. The connected company– Dave Gray, February 8, 2011
  6. Flip the classroom – every teacher should do this– Donald Clark Plan B, March 17, 2011
  7. What if Flickr fails?– Doc Searls , January 12, 2011
  8. Losing interest in social media: there is no there there– George Siemens, July 30, 2011
  9. A sense of bewronging– Doc Searls , April 2, 2011
  10. 2011 Top 100 Tools List and Presentation finalised– Jane Hart, November 14, 2011
  11. The Fallacy of Digital Natives– Dan Pontefract, October 17, 2011
  12. Recording can improve a bad lecture! 7 surprising facts about recorded lectures– Donald Clark Plan B, September 17, 2011
  13. Ten ways to create a knowledge ecology– Euen Semple, June 27, 2011
  14. 7 objections to social media in learning (and answers)– Donald Clark Plan B, June 11, 2011
  15. “Alone Together”: An MIT Professor’s New Book Urges Us to Unplug– Marcia Conner (FC), January 19, 2011
  16. E-portfolios – 7 reasons why I don’t want my life in a shoebox– Donald Clark Plan B, March 31, 2011
  17. The “Big Five” IT trends of the next half decade: Mobile, social, cloud, consumerization, and big data– Dion Hinchcliffe, October 2, 2011
  18. Review: The Edupunks’ Guide, by Anya Kamenetz– Stephen Downes: Half an Hour, August 8, 2011
  19. We are the medium– David Weinberger, January 31, 2011
  20. Earthquake turns TV networks into print– Doc Searls , March 11, 2011
  21. 5 Reasons Why Activity Streams Will Save You From Information Overload– Luis Suarez, May 4, 2011
  22. Anticipating the Next Wave of Experience Design– John Hagel, March 28, 2011
  23. Reddit and community journalism– David Weinberger, August 13, 2011
  24. Agile eLearning – 27 Great Articles– Tony Karrer, April 6, 2011
  25. Gladwell proves too much– David Weinberger, February 4, 2011
  26. Social media & learning – note taking on steroids– Donald Clark Plan B, June 20, 2011
  27. Social Learning doesn’t mean what you think it does!– Jane Hart, September 12, 2011
  28. World wide puddle– Doc Searls , April 1, 2011
  29. Resolving the Trust Paradox– John Hagel, June 27, 2011
  30. A big question– David Weinberger, May 1, 2011
  31. SEC opens the gates to crowdfunding and a new structure of capitalism– Ross Dawson, April 9, 2011
  32. Introducing the Digital Learning Quadrants– Dan Pontefract, October 20, 2011
  33. The top 10 reasons your mobile learning strategy will fail | Dawn.– Dawn of Learning, April 13, 2011
  34. The Pull of Narrative – In Search of Persistent Context– John Hagel, May 23, 2011
  35. Examples of eLearning–Ten Great Resources– Tony Karrer, January 11, 2011
  36. Social learning for business– Harold Jarche, January 20, 2011
  37. Why E2.0 and Social Business Initiatives Are Likely to Remain Difficult– Jon Husband, September 12, 2011
  38. Abandon lectures: increase attendance, attitudes and attainment– Donald Clark Plan B, May 15, 2011
  39. Time’s Up – Learning Will Forever Be Part Formal, Part Informal and Part Social– Dan Pontefract, February 6, 2011
  40. This will be fun: Mother of all MOOCs– George Siemens, May 19, 2011
  41. The Social Learning Handbook is now available– Jane Hart, January 24, 2011
  42. Google+ – fundamental misunderstanding of networks?– George Siemens, July 10, 2011
  43. Avoiding Half-baked Personas– Adaptive Path, January 11, 2011
  44. Learning With and From Others: Restructuring Budgets for Social Learning– Dan Pontefract, January 6, 2011
  45. Enterprise 2.0 the Indian Way– Andy McAfee, April 7, 2011
  46. The Horizon Report 2011– Jane Hart, February 9, 2011
  47. You are the Collective Wisdom of both Strong & Weak Ties– Dan Pontefract, April 24, 2011
  48. It is the structure of social networks that shapes influence… and the structure is changing– Ross Dawson, February 5, 2011
  49. Alternate Pedagogies and Experiences– Clark Quinn, May 18, 2011
  50. The Networked Workplace– Harold Jarche, May 22, 2011
  51. Learning 2.0 is Dumb: Use ‘Connected Learning’ Instead– Dan Pontefract, May 23, 2011
  52. Reinventing Management: Part 4: Coordination: From bureaucracy to.– Steve Denning, January 23, 2011
  53. What is Google+ for?– David Weinberger, July 8, 2011
  54. Fresh Made Biz Card for FlasyYourVGadget [Flickr]– Nancy White, June 5, 2011

Other Sources

The following are the top items based on social signals.

  1. The Smart Worker’s Guide to Social Media, December 16, 2011
  2. EmbedPlus : enhanced YouTube embedding, January 4, 2011
  3. Are We Wired For Mobile Learning? (Infographic), March 5, 2011
  4. 100 things to watch in 2011, January 4, 2011
  5. My Top 10 Tools for Learning 2011, September 5, 2011
  6. Why can’t we build something like this for “Objects Used for Learning”?, March 29, 2011
  7. The Horizon Report 2011, February 9, 2011
  8. Read “Designing Social Interfaces” if you are involved with humans at all., March 31, 2011
  9. $70 for a book published after the author dies. WTF?, April 23, 2011
  10. Learning Tools Directory 2011, February 7, 2011
  11. The State of Digital Education, August 18, 2011
  12. How to create social buzz at a learning event, June 28, 2011
  13. The Year of Social Media 2010 Infographic, January 3, 2011
  14. Alternatives for Dimdim, January 9, 2011
  15. My Guides to using social media, March 3, 2011
  16. The Social Learning Handbook is now available, January 24, 2011
  17. The 2011 Top 100 Tools for Learning is emerging, February 28, 2011
  18. Summify – the answer to information overload?, March 31, 2011
  19. How to use social media to work and learn smarter – in 30 days, February 14, 2011
  20. WhatsApp – cross platform mobile messenger, February 22, 2011
  21. Leading Learning Forward, July 12, 2011

Hot Topics

Blogging (4228)

  1. Lean or Agility?, May 5, 2011
  2. Let’s Rename Micro-blogging to Chatting, April 12, 2011
  3. A grain of sand: Innovation diffusion, January 11, 2011
  4. Let’s move tweeting off Twitter, April 19, 2011

Blog (4228)

  1. Lean or Agility?, May 5, 2011
  2. Let’s Rename Micro-blogging to Chatting, April 12, 2011
  3. A grain of sand: Innovation diffusion, January 11, 2011
  4. Let’s move tweeting off Twitter, April 19, 2011

Information (3751)

  1. Informal learning is a business imperative, September 13, 2011
  2. Time’s Up – Learning Will Forever Be Part Formal, Part Informal and Part Social, February 6, 2011
  3. Fuelled by Informal learning, March 15, 2011
  4. Information fertiliser, August 22, 2011

Change (3317)

  1. Change or die., January 13, 2011
  2. Data Change Everything, April 22, 2011
  3. Changing the mechanistic mindset, February 28, 2011
  4. How tablets are changing how we use tech, May 5, 2011

Technology (3097)

  1. Better Education Through Technology, January 10, 2011
  2. New Horizon Report: Alan Levine – Mindmap, April 20, 2011
  3. How technological and social change are feeding on each other in an accelerating spiral, July 26, 2011
  4. Curating our personal technology configurations, May 10, 2011


AT&T breaks guitars

One of the key tenets of Unmanagement is DELIGHT CUSTOMERS.

Companies that fail to delight customers will soon face a Customer Spring. Rather than gather in the main square, customers will take their business elsewhere. Many corporations will disappear not just from the Fortune 500 but from the face of the earth. I won’t shed a tear when this happens to #12, AT&T.

On Monday AT&T  installed their Uverse package (television, phone, internet) at my house.  In the process, they cut off the home phone number which I’ve had for more than twenty years. Too late to do anything about it, said the installer. He placed a new order for someone to come out to reinstall the number on Friday.

I waited all day yesterday for AT&T to arrive. They never came. They haven’t called. Or emailed.

When I try to reach AT&T by dialing 611, the automated phone tree won’t deal with me because it thinks the service order was completed yesterday. Trying to talk with a human put me into a holding patten because they are “experiencing heavier than normal call volumes.” After a while I took their advice and turned to the web.

The page ATT.COM/service responds with “Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider for more details. (1)”

After a while, I found another way in; the service request page told me, “Your request can’t be processed online. Our records indicate this account has a pending or recently completed service order.”

I went to the Uverse support page and tried to get something out of Charlie, my “AT&T Virtual Expert.”

Charlie was no help.

“You: No one came. I am without service.”

“Charlie: U-verse is an exciting product that combines digital TV, voice and Internet service. AT&T provides these services to your home through your existing wiring. To learn more, please click here.”

I returned to the main myAT&T page and found a button for Troubleshooting and Repair. I thought I’d found it. Alas, that service is down.

The number they list is the 611 line with its interminable waits. I’ve tried that six times now and I’m not going back.

All I can think to do is go one-to-many on this. Maybe they’ll read my Tweet. Or this rant.

Oh, the guitars? It’s a reference to United Breaks Guitars. After the song went viral on YouTube, United’s stock dropped $180 million on the Big Board. Perhaps I’ll write a song.


Isn’t this a wonderful time of the year? The weather can be a bummer, but the death of another year makes you reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re headed. Then friends, family, and emotions come out of the woodwork. Celebrate.

This card I just received from my pal Eileen Clegg captures precisely what I was feeling. Be calm. Take a deep breath, reflect on your past, and envision a future that rings your bells. Dream up a 2012 that brings a smile to your face.

More personally, since you’re obviously someone who reads me, thanks for being you. I appreciate you and wish you abundance of everything that matters. Forever.