Hawking On Talking

May 24, 2018

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.” – Stephen Hawking

I think (active) listening is the key point, not just talking. Something that is a lot harder to do!

Interesting graphic below that goes into this in more detail. If you google ‘levels of listening’ you’ll find lots of articles on this model. The challenge, of course, is to go from theory into practice…

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On Blogging Today

May 20, 2018

From the blog of Mark Bernstein, Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems and designer of the powerful note taking app Tinderbox, on the evolution of blogs:

“Weblogs promoted conversation. I warned (at Blogtalk Downunder) that comments kill weblogs, and I was right. Facebook and Twitter are platforms for comments that dispense with the weblog; they give us all the disadvantages and keep all the profit.”

A while ago he wrote 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web which is still worth reading today.


A Playbook for Innovation Learning

May 18, 2018

Sample page from (free) NESTA Innovation Playbook

Interesting collection of innovation practices from NESTA:

Over the past four years, we’ve had numerous conversations with colleagues, partners and practitioners about how to build innovation capacity within both the public sector and development sector. We’ve often found ourselves quickly sketching a model or pulling out a diagram to support the conversation, and so we have collated these in the ‘Playbook for innovation learning’.

The playbook includes 35 diagrams, each with a short description explaining its purpose and background and how we use it to help others think about and discuss learning for innovation. We see this playbook as a collection of learning ‘design patterns’ that can be used in a non-linear, interactive way by combining and ‘mashing-up’ different tools to get the job done.

The playbook is aimed at innovation practitioners with several years of experience, but we believe that newcomers might also find it useful.


Gerald Scarfe Touring Exhibition

May 7, 2018

View from inside the Winchester Discovery Centre

Whilst visiting Winchester on the weekend, I called into the Discovery Centre (aka the old city library reimagined) for a look around. They had an exhibition of some of the works of Gerald Scarfe, who is mainly known as a political cartoonist (see below).

Political cartoon by Gerald Scarfe

The aim of the exhibition was to show some of his wider achievements, covering film, opera and ballet (see the impressive example below).

Costume design for Pluto from Orpheus in the Underworld (ENO)

See here:

“Gerald Scarfe is the UK’s most prominent political cartoonist, known for his acerbic and uncompromising satire – his work has appeared in The Sunday Times for 50 years. Scarfe’s unmistakable characters and worlds have also been given life on stage and screen. From Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979) to English National Ballet’s The Nutcracker (2002), this is the first UK touring exhibition to explore his extensive work in film, opera and ballet design.”


How To Achieve Great Things

May 6, 2018

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

Regarding the latter point, it’s insightful that when a tight deadline is sprung on you, it’s easy to figure out what’s critical and what isn’t (OK we’re not talking about great things here, but often quite important things).

Sometimes you can actually have too much time to get things done, as you end up looking at all sorts of possibilities that are merely ‘elaborate procrastination’.

Unfortunately, I’ve never found a way of tricking myself into believing that I had a deadline to work to when I didn’t!


Potential for Growth

May 2, 2018

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This quote reminded me that you often need to let people know what you have done (some of which they may be blissfully unaware of) but not overegg it. They can’t read your mind and, if they have not known you long, will naturally presume very little.

This is not a matter of boasting or status but diversifying conversations to encourage serendipity.


Trip to Cadiz and Gran Canaria

April 23, 2018

View from the Tavira Tower showing Cadiz Cathedral

Looking at my blog, the last post was quite a while ago, about 3 months in fact. A lot has happened in between, however I’m now hoping to get back to writing on a more regular basis particularly as quite a few interesting topics have cropped up.

To start with, and something that conjures up pleasant memories, a 2 week trip to Spain in late Feb/March this year. Southern Spain was chosen as it seemed to be the best bet for good weather and we decided on a twin centre trip (Cadiz and Gran Canaria).

Cadiz

We flew from Bristol to Malaga and then drove along the coast to Cadiz which we assumed would be out of season and somewhat sleepy. The route we took meant that we arrved in Cadiz via the imposing La Pepa Bridge (see picture below).

To our surprise it was actually the last day of Cadiz Carnival so the town was jam-packed (the decision of where and what to do was fairly last-minute so we had little time to research).

One of the Cadiz Carnival singing groups

The only real drawback of the timing was that after the exuberance of the Carnival, most of the restaurants were closed in the evenings whilst we were there (to compensate for the long hours of the previous week). 

Here’s a selection of photos:

Typical street in the Old Town

From the Puppet Museum

View from the Tavira Tower with the La Pepa Bridge in the background

General impression of Cadiz: delightful city, great to wander around and quite varied. Good place to make some excursions, such as visiting Jerez de la Frontera, by car or train, which we unfortunately had no time for.

Sardina, Gran Canaria

At the end of the stay we drove back to Malaga to get a flight to Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria. We started in Maspalomas in the south but the area wasn’t to our liking, being too crowded and touristy.

Leaving Maspalomas, we drove to the north west in the vicinity of Sardina. The apartment we’d booked was right on the coast with impressive views (see photos below). We took walks in the local area plus visited the nearby towns of Puerto de las Nieves, Agaete and Galdar.

Desolate roundabout at Sardina

View of the coast from the apartment balcony

View from the study (what a place to work from!)

Lunchtime view at Sardina

Lunch in Sardina featuring Canarian potatoes

View from Mirador, towards Agaete and the coast

View inland from Mirador

A bar in Agaete, still celebrating the local Carnival

We had Storm Emma for a day or two, howling winds, spray everywhere and the sound of nearby crashing waves.

Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Moving to Las Palmas, we stayed just outside and explored the city centre plus surrounding inland areas.

Christopher Columbus House (Casa de Colon)

Exhibit at the Modern Art Museum

Beach area at Las Palmas

View inland from Pico de Bandama (popular viewpoint)

Typical street in nearby Telde

General impression of Gran Canaria: I really liked Gran Canaria when you were able escape the very busy touristy areas. The bewildering road systems in the main towns, presumably due to rapid expansion, are not for the faint-hearted.