Nuggets of knowledge

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Knowledge in little packages in which I shared some of my favourite aphorisms and quotes.  I keep a collection of these little nuggets to inspire myself, to share with others via micro-blog posts in Twitter or LinkedIn and to underscore a key idea in a presentation or writing.  Sometimes I value such nuggets for triggering a thought that generates new knowledge; sometimes they just make me feel good – and if I’m feeling good, I’m probably more likely to have energy to be generative with knowledge.

Here’s a few more that have made it into my collection recently:

When you write things down, they sometimes take you places you hadn’t planned.
~ Melanie Benjamin

You’ll increase your creative potential once you begin to value your own thoughts.
~ Doug Hall

Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind
comes we can catch it.
~ E. F. Schumacher

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult
~ E. B. White

When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost – and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl.
~ T.S. Eliot

An engineer is one who can do with a dollar what any bungler can do with two.
~ Economic Theory of Railway Location (1887)

To be a designer is to be an agent of change.
~ Barbara Chandler Allen

Designers are the alchemists of the future.
~ Richard Koshalek

Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.
~ VISA founder Dee Hock

What quotes have been inspiring you or stimulating new knowledge lately?

Advertisements

Mixing business with kindness (a ‘new knowledge’ recipe)

Growing or developing in a business context is usually about skill and performance of vocational ability. How about extending this attention to emotional or psychosocial ability like the character and practice of kindness?  How might you mix a cocktail of business with a strong serving of kindness?

Here are strategies for how an individual, or an organisation, can be an example and a contagion for the Practice of Kindness.

1. Imagination and intent. Imagine a kinder workplace and set out to intentionally create it. This is a task for leaders as well as followers. It has to be believed to be seen. (Why not write a ‘kindness policy’ as an exercise in crystallising your intent? Draft document available.)

2. Cultivate a community around kindness theme. Good attitudes spread. Give the kindness ‘infection’ a host environment where it can incubate and spread. Provide place and time for people to commune in kindness.

3. Foster conversation. Find ways to introduce Kindness into the conversation. Ask questions like: What is the kind thing to say here? What is the kind response? How can I speak kindly?

4. Tell stories of kindness. Find the small everyday deeds and tell others. It’s content for the conversations and ‘infectious’ material. It fuels the imagination of others. Share these inside and outside our organisation.

5. Design for kindness. In every action consider, what is the kind thing to do? How can we make this a kinder experience? Make Kindness a fundamental design principle for products, services and processes, even messages that we write.

6. Overwhelm the negative. It can take 5 positive actions to overcome a negative action. Don’t let a negative action go unattended without overwhelming it with at least one kindness response. Make this an imperative for everybody.

7. Forgive and learn. Create conditions where it’s okay to make a mistake; and where mistakes are always an opportunity for learning. Be the type of person that forgives mistakes and helps with the learning. Such a Kind attitude can enable quicker growth and innovation.

8. Be disciplined. Be mindful and purposeful about developing the habit of practicing kindness. Discipline and regular practice creates results. Kindness is not a soft option; an attitude of kindness is sure to be tested in trying circumstances. Know what you will do or who you want to be in a crisis or conflict before it strikes.

9. Catalyse goodwill. One way to show goodwill is to be thankful, and to say Thanks. A kind word can create goodwill that immunises against future unkind acts.

10. Make connections. Partner with others outside our organisation in doing kindness and promoting kindness. Work with others worthy of our socially responsible activity. Leverage the events and campaigns of organisations like World Kindness Day (Nov 13) led by World Kindness Movement.

Your help is sought to create and mobilise useful knowledge on mixing kindness with business: Add your ideas in the comments below and share this post.

 

Helen Palmer is Principal Consultant at RHX Group. She thinks critically about knowledge work, and how to create conditions where knowledge is created and mobilised for business and social good. With her colleagues at RHX Group, Helen helps teams make better use of their people, knowledge and information.

 

Knowledge in little packages

Knowledge, from experience and of insight, can be powerfully distilled into a few words.  There is a large published knowledge-base of sage words in the form of aphorisms available to humanity. With famous and unknown composers, these pithy phrases are a handy package for disseminating memorable thought.

Some favourite aphorisms

I curate a personal collection of aphorisms and quotes. Here is a small selection of favourites from historical figures.

It is insufficiently considered how much of human life passes in little incidents.
~ Samuel Johnson

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. All progress depends upon the unreasonable man.
~ George Bernard Shaw

If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.
~ Mark Twain

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
~ Abraham Maslow

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Tweeting

Tweeting, with a maximum of 140 characters, is a publishing medium that lends itself to cultivating and disseminating the common person’s insights. I choose to follow a small group of Tweeters, as I am interested in insightful and stimulating content rather than the mundane. Here’s some of my favourite recent tweets.

@CreatvEmergence Michelle James
Be vigilant with your mission. Be exuberant with your passion. Be gentle with yourself.

@CreatvEmergence Michelle James
Resonance: a time-saving way to make decisions, connections and purposeful choices

@CDEgger Christine Egger
Time to build this into every day: putting the laptop aside for a 15-min #deepdive

As a new Tweeter, I decided to focus on composing Tweets that aim to be insightful and stimulating. Here’s some of my recent compositions (@helenrhx).

For many ‘truths’, there is a true ‘opposite’: Paralysis by analysis. Fools rush in.

Einstein said: “Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” Was he wrong?

Don’t stand there, do something. Don’t do something, stand there. Same words. Different meaning. Order matters. Semantics!

Wondering: If we had to pay postage for each email, would we write/receive better quality email messages?

Written by Helen Palmer, Principal Consultant at RHX Group.