This Week in MakingBetter (10 February, 2014)





Kurt Vonnegut explains drama

“But because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs! So people pretend there is drama where there is none.” I love Vonnegut and this is fun.

Your organization is already a wirearchy…? – post by @jonhusband

“In reality the interconnected world we now live in is beginning to ask for more. It is asking for more rapid and more intelligent responses, more accessibility and more honesty, but from fewer top-down policies and rules and faster, more flexible and more effective decision-making where it matters (in front of or in exchange with a customer)

Can the transitions each and every organization must go through be made easier, more valuable, more effective?” This a long, but very worthwhile read from Jon Husband. If you’ve ever gotten entwined in our discussions of the shadow organization this will be fun for you.

Designing for serendipity in food chains of everyday life creativity – presentation slides and notes from Lennart Björneborn

“Serendipity deals with finding interesting things in unplanned ways. This presentation addresses design dimensions for serendipity across physical and digital mediation spaces – like libraries, museums, web sites and urban spaces – that may enable and trigger people to find interesting resources not planned or not known in advance. Such mediation spaces enabling serendipity may be seen as important players in food chains of everyday life creativity that may feed – and be fed through – other innovation infrastructures in society”

Björneborn outlines 10 sub-dimensions of serendipity, which you’ll see in the slides with explanations. The dimensions are accessibility, diversity, display, contrasts, pointers, imperfections, cross-contacts, multi-reachability, explorability, and stopability. These are interesting to consider in a world where we try so hard to minimize interfaces.



I know Aaron told everyone how he finished a book, and I should be recognized as one of the world’s slowest readers. Still, I started and finished a book. It was Roomies, which is a teenage fiction novel by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando. It was an enjoyable break from the mind bending non-fiction that I tend to wade around in, don’t be jealous 😉 Also, hearing Tara read half of it in my head was fun.

I picked up The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by the pair who brought us Race Against the Machine, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. It’s really interesting so far. If you haven’t read Race Against the Machine, definitely start there. It’s a really short, cheap, brilliant eBook about how the economy, technology and surrounding factors are evolving faster and faster. Asking all of us to consider how we’re going to keep up or get ahead.

Meanwhile, Aaron started reading Breakthrough Thinking by Nick Souter like he’s literally laterally thinking.


Last week I recorded an episode of The eLearning Coach Podcast with Connie Malamed sharing the basic facts about working with xAPI. When this is released I will post a link to it.

This week we’re are in massive Up to All of Us design mode as we ready our participants, start finalizing our logistics and, um, order the flasks.

Meanwhile, Aaron is getting ready for the IEEE xAPI Study Group launch on February 24th. Mostly by coming up with all the terrible jokes he can to solidify his place among the standards world.