Share, Exchange, (Re)Create

One of my colleagues at the University of Canberra, Peter Copeman, has introduced me to the concept of Ganma from the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land.

Ganma:

describes a situation in which a river of water from the sea (western knowledge) and a river of water from the land (Aboriginal knowledge) mutually engulf each other upon flowing into a common lagoon and becoming one. (Timothy Pyrch & Maria Castillo, 2001:380)

As the waters mix, “foam is created at the surface so that lines of foam mark the process of Ganma … the foam represents a new kind of knowledge”. In this sense of the word, “Ganma is a place where knowledge is (re)created”. (Timothy Pyrch & Maria Castillo, 2001:380)

Dr Marika, a Yolngu leader has observed:

Water like knowledge has memory. When two different waters meet to create Ganma, they diffuse into each other, but they do not forget who they are or where they come from.

In October, I am participating in a Knowledge Exchange conference in Dublin (HPX 2017). To my delight Waterville is to the south west of the conference venue … and the National Acquatic Centre is not far away. The hosts, the Institute of Sport, have since 2013 sought to:

to create and stage compelling knowledge exchange events in order to create a debate on current concepts of world class practice while building relationships in order to enhance multi-disciplinary teamwork in the field.

Conference presenters in 2017 are coming from all over the world to exchange and share.

Two posts this week have connected Arnhem Land and Dublin for me.

The first is by Leigh Blackall. He discussed a decision to install a new content management system (CMS) in his university. His post starts with this observation:

the process for selecting that new CMS was appalling, and the process for implementing it has been just as disappointing. Through the now typical pseudo-consultation events of cafe-style workshops where people with varying levels of ability and experience gather around butchers’ paper, getting a “facilitated” 5 minutes in a noisy room to try to channel through a scribe any competing idea into coherent hand written sentences, that are then randomly selected to create single keywords to stick on a wall, all in some strange gesture toward crowd sourced, sticky-note wisdom.

He concludes with this summary:

What I’ve witnessed in the new CMS is a massive refocusing on a single point, at the expense of all other concerns to do with teaching and learning. Many new people have been employed centrally, overwhelmingly configured to develop that managerial dashboard. This redistribution of resources ultimately comes at the expense of teachers badly in need of employment certainty and more agency in what they do – the time to understand what they’re doing.

All of which brought me to reflect on how organisations can be like water with a sensitivity to difference and an understanding of what can be co- and re-created.

The second post was titled The New Class of Digital Leaders. In it Pierre Peladeau, Mathias Herzog, and Olaf Acker discuss how organisations are addressing digital transformation. They point out:

When it comes to implementing a digital strategy, the new class of chief digital officers (CDOs) often encounter several key obstacles upon assuming their role: ad hoc digital initiatives spread throughout a large organization, lacking central oversight; a traditional culture that resists change; a gap in the talent required; and legacy systems and structures that threaten to derail their ambitions.

The Ganma concept has a great deal to offer these organisations as an epistemological foundation for engaging with the meeting of different experiences. It provides a fascinating opportunity for an ecological balance in leading and following in organisations that can aspire to share, exchange and re-create.

Photo Credits

Rock painting Near 7 Spears (C Steele, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Desmond, Arnhem Land (Rusty Stewart, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

#abbotsthon17: some fledgling ideas

I have been invited to participate in the HPX 2017 Knowledge Exchange Conference in Dublin in October.

This is the first time the Sport Ireland Institute and Sport Ireland Coaching have joined together to co-host the HPX conference.

The conference web site has been launched with a link to the program. I have an opportunity to share some ideas in a presentation on the first morning of the conference (6 October) after the morning tea break. My working title is Performance Analysis and Data Analytics: Are We There Yet?

Thanks to Alan Swanton, I am also facilitating the #abbotsthon17 on the day before the conference. It is my take on a hackathon to explore how a community of practice of performance analysts might come together to share their experiences.

This is a fledgling idea at the moment but my aspirations are that the hackathon might be:

  • an open invitation
  • free
  • an opportunity to explore a different approach to sharing experiences

I trust the conversations will take us in directions participants agree are of interest.

My hope is that the day provides the psychological oxygen Lars Johannesen describes. As a group we might be “supported through recognition, the sense of belonging, of being a part of something bigger than yourself” … and “being pushed out of your comfort zone regularly and in an appropriate manner”.

I am going to be discussing open sharing so I hope the day is available to as many people as possible who have an interest in the observation and analysis of performance. I am hopeful too there is no fee for the workshop. Participants have to meet their own travel and accommodation costs and I am keen that they do not have an additional cost.

I aim to support the workshop and my presentation with resources shared in advance.

As I get older I hope to share with others the fallibility of practice and the possibilities that emerge from appreciative inquiry. I do feel confident about this approach … particularly as my experiences as a volunteer firefighter in Australia have encouraged me to think about agile responses to dynamic situations.

The #abbotsthon17 event will have this edge. I am excited where it might take us and how it might become a reflection on the way each person acts in their daily environment.

The starting idea for the day is What is so important we have to share it?

I have another three months to develop and share these fledgling ideas before they take flight.

Photo Credit

Real-time monitoring (Firstbeat)

Technocracy and Transparency

Last weekend, I had an opportunity to listen to Radio National’s Saturday Extra program. One of the items was a conversation between the presenter, Geraldine Doouge, and Parag Khanna.

Their discussion about the characteristics of governance in Singapore and Switzerland encouraged me to think about how sport might benefit from a sensitive merging of enlightened investment in and engagement with technology with transparent discussions about decision-making and civic engagement.

Parag calls this merging ‘direct technocracy‘. He points out:

This approach combines the virtues of direct democracy with the benefits of meritocratic technocracy, which leverages data to make long-term, utilitarian decisions. Simply put, a direct technocracy marries good ideas and efficient execution.

I think the marriage of ‘good ideas and efficient execution’ is made possible by transparent discussion of the kind evident in ‘the hyper-democratic Switzerland’. Parag says of Switzerland and Singapore:

their records are impressive: both countries boast good health, ample wealth, low corruption, high employment, national military and civil services, and massive state investment in innovation. They respond efficiently to citizens’ needs and preferences, apply international experience to domestic policy making, and use data and alternative scenarios for long-term planning.

There is an interesting blend occurring here: ‘responsiveness’, ‘international experience’ and ‘long-term planning’. All of which encourage me to think about how we adapt better practice to local circumstances.

It seems to me that given the opportunities sport has to generate data, a ‘direct technocracy’ responsiveness to long-term performance should have immense appeal.  I sense that this requires us to re-imagine how we lead and follow in sport organisations.

Photo Credits

Singapore Night (Bailey Cheng, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Switzerland (KP Tripathi, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)