Playful Inquiry – TEDxNavesink Talk and Video

“What is the best thing that happened to you today?” opened up playful inquiry at TEDxNavesink recently. I had the great honor of giving a talk entitled:

“Playful Inquiry – Try this Anywhere.”

The idea worth spreading in my talk is to build connection and relationship with people in a positive way by paying attention to the very first question we ask. We know that the very first question determines what we find, and with this particular positive question we find what works, and what gives us joy. In my interactive talk, the audience paired up to ask the question and within a minute the theater was abuzz with people in conversation about the best thing that had happened to them so far that day. As a result of experiencing Appreciative Inquiry principles in this very short time frame, we were able to tap into 14 positive emotions.  Please watch the video to see what I mean.  I hope you will enjoy it. It was such a fabulous opportunity, and perhaps you also might like to respond below to:  “what's the best thing that's happened to you today,” and share it with others.


Appreciative Inquiry – Unintended Consequence of App Development

It's been 1.5 years now since Juergen Berkessel and I co-founded Polymash, a creative agency with a focus on strategy development, app design and marketing for the mobile world.  Juergen is an artist and a technologist.  He comes from a professional photography background, graphic design and a long stint in IT and product development.  My career has been in human and organization development.

In combining our talents, I am noticing the impact we are having on our clients as we work with them to help them make the shift to mobile devices.

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“The Optimism of Uncertainty”

imagesI'm reminded increasingly these days of this quote by Howard Zinn, (1922 – 2010) historian, activist, professor.  It comes from his article, “The Optimism of Uncertainty”. If you do a search on this article, you'll find it referenced in a number of places, for example:  The Nation on September 2, 2004.

“We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don't “win,” there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope. An optimist isn't necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time.To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.

If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however a small way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

Optimism of Uncertainty – Choosing What to Emphasize

Collectively, it might seem, we need to be reminded that the smallest acts of human interaction and dialogue, for example:  kindness, acknowledgement, appreciation – a smile, a hello, holding the door for someone, telling a child how good she/he is, a wave to the neighbor can have a profound effect and made a big difference.  it seems we are choosing not to emphasize these civilities in the most public arenas.

It is the compounding effect we can't anticipate. You never know how far positive kind work or action will travel and for how long. What we can do is to make those little acts of kindness a more conscious behavior. The moments will add up to hours and days and months and lifetimes.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.

What are you choosing to emphasize in this complex history we are co-creating?

What are our news media choosing to emphasis, our nations choosing to emphasize.  We determine our history.

Shift Technology Mindset from “I don’t need an iPad” to “I LOVE my iPad”

My-iPad-225x300From “I don't need an iPad” to “I LOVE my iPad”

How often I am witnessing that shift!  And, I wouldn't mind $100 for every time I've influenced a friend or colleague to invest in an iPad.

It's a year since the iPad came on the market. At first, I admired it vicariously via my partner, who is an early adopter with most things technological, especially computers, cameras, music and bikes.  Once I got my fingers on it,  (I did resist for a week or so), I changed to “I want one.”

Since then, I am increasingly loving my iPad.  It goes where I go: into every room in the house, the car, the plane, the boat, the doctor, the dentist, the hair salon, the beach, the park, the local coffee shop, bars, restaurants, and workplaces, of course.  My iPad is with me, everywhere.

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