OCM in the Digital Age

I was, once again, honoured to be asked to speak at the Canberra Community of Practice for Change Management, in Australia.  As the first speaker for the year, I had the opportunity to provide some context for the year, looking at tools and technology for OCM practice in Australia.

Never one to pass up an opportunity, I thought it would be interesting to look into the “Pandora’s Box of the ‘ages’ of technology and discuss how we, as the ‘new custodians’ of humanity (what ever that is!) might look into the crystal ball and find some tools to help us take people on a journey into the future.”

Well, we didnt get too detailed into some of the tools and looked at some of the potentially disruptive technology which OCM Strategist and practitioners will be expected to work in and through, in the not too distant future.

The presentation uses ‘Sway’ – a newish thing that I happened upon, and it looks like it has some good attempt at Accessibility – I would be interested in your thoughts?  I was lucky enough to also have some colleagues from the Community of Practice of Accessibilty attend the presentation event, so I am looking forward to their feedback too.

You will find the presentation on ‘OCM Practice in the Digital Age‘ at the link or below:

https://sway.com/s/hIhBC1e2oFfP0y7Z/embed

let me know your thoughts.

Tim.

The link between organisational change management and building sandcastles?

A sandcastle on the beach, with a wave approaching to wash it away

Here comes the corporate tide…

On being a Change Agent…

A while back, I was having trouble explaining what it is that I do to my peers and even more troubling – to my family.

I know now how to do it between levels 5-8 of the lift, or walking from coffee to the office, or going up an escalator:

‘Change management is the role where someone makes something, and I help people use it’;

or, in the ICT world,

‘You do the bit from the keyboard forward, and I do the bit between the chair and the keyboard’.

There is, of course, a lot more complexity to it – but earlier on, when I was struggling to put a name to the thing that I do, knowing intimately what is was, this is what I came up with – hope you enjoy the narrative, reproduced from the original, spelling, grammar and all.

T.

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My new job. Well, it is like building the most magnificent sand-castle on the beach… You never quite finish it, but it is still a beauty, and has lots of input from everyone else on the beach.

Everyone puts all their heart into it, knowing that it is something that they all contribute to, and will be great when it is done, and will represent the combined desire and needs of everyone in their sand-castle.

Alas, some didn’t make it down to the beach, or they went to another beach, or they were invited to an exclusive beach somewhere else, or even had their own private pool, or worse still, couldn’t make it to the beach, because they were working.

Some sent their friends to let you know what they wanted their part of the sand castle to look like, some sent friends with shovels and spades to help, some even sent hair-spray and glue, to make sure that the sands didn’t blow away.

There are those who are sand-castle experts, having made them before, who guide us. There are those who like digging, so they dig. There are those who don’t like digging, but can’t do anything else, so they dig anyway. Some just like fancy finishes, so they do them, some like to make sure that the moat is full, some like to make sure that the courtyard is full, some like to make sure that the rooms are big enough for what we want to do in them, and some just want to watch and provide ‘expert’ advice.

It is quite a big sand-castle, almost a chateau, so by the time we get to doing some of the work on bits towards the end, some parts need to be fixed from when we were working on it in the beginning., Some of the earlier bits, well, we didn’t really know what we wanted at the time. So we have to take some of the sand away from that bit. Some of those bits were glued harder than others, but we revel in the challenge of taking down some of the bits without upsetting the sand in the rest of the castle (or any of the sandcastle team). Some of the rest of the castle fell away when we took out the old bits we didn’t want, even though we put things in place to try and stop it from happening.

All the while, the corporate tide comes in and out, sometimes closer to the castle – and we wish we had moved further up the beach, where the sand is softer, alas it is harder to work with and to get it to stay put, and where the water is further away, making it hard to stick everything and make it stay together. Although, Sometimes we end up with the same issue anyway, as if we had of built further up the beach anyway.

There is weed and kelp, and seagulls, and shells, and corporate rock pools.  Sometimes we take a break from our sand-castle, and in the spirit of the beach, and the ‘Australian way’ of beach life, we help other people with their sand castles, or we go surfing on the corporate waves (being mindful of sharks, box jellies and other such menaces, but where there is also clown fish, and some amazingly pretty and very useful things mixed in). Always going back to our sand-castle, because it is not quite finished – either the new stuff, or the repair work, or the remodelling of the bits that we didn’t want or changed our minds. It is a labour of love and community.

I spend my time, telling people about our sand-castle, and looking at other ones. Seeing things which would be great for ours, and offering others ideas that we have tried for ours. I make sure that the people who couldn’t turn up themselves to help with ours will be glad when they see ours, and I take them pictures, and show them parts of it, and tell them our ideas about what we are going to do to it tomorrow, and I ask them what other things they would like to see – more shell-designs, different shapes, little flags and battlements, and big welcoming porticoes and drawbridges over the moats and things.

Then I go back to our team and tell them what everyone wants, and we work out a way if we can do that tomorrow, while doing all the other things. I also make sure that the people making other sand-castles know what ours looks like, and what it is going to look like, so when we join them up to make a bigger and better sand-castle, we wont have to do too much remodelling, so that we know where we will meet neatly.

I also make sure that everyone who is going to use the sand-castle later, knows what features it will have, and how to use them the best, so that things don’t break, or we have a sand-slide, or little grains erode away, faster than we can stick them back on.

Sometimes, there are issues with the weather. We have some people helping with the sandcastles who watch the weather for us. – the sound of rumbling Crackberrys in the distance and executive storms. We like the storms, because there isn’t enough rain, further up the beach for the dune restoration, and to stop the sand from blowing away, so that we can keep making our castles. Though sometimes the storms do blow up more weed and flotsam and jetsam on the beach, and we have to deal with that, taking time from making our sandcastles, which we love.

But, mostly, the storms that bring more sand are good. At the end of the day, we look at what we have built, and we are happy. We know we have lots more work to do tomorrow, making new stuff, and doing some repair work, and some renovations, but we retire for the evening, with plans and dreams of the work we are going to do on our sand-castle tomorrow. Sometimes, the executive climate is calm and the Crackberrys are silent, while we sleep, snuggled up with our friends who help us to make the sand-castles.

Sometimes, during the night, the storms lash the coast, the Crackberrys strike from the clouds above – sometimes between clouds and sometimes bridging the heavens and the sand. Creatures from the deep are angered, and some are tossed up on shore, beached and stranded. Some gather together, and herd the little fishes close to the shore, ready to devour them in a frenzy, but sometimes, when the governing moon is just right, and the conditions turn sour, a king tide hits, and all but wipes away our sand-castle. There is a maelstrom of sand and corporate sea and executive wind.

We are sad.

Some don’t have the energy to come back the next day and start digging again. Some are frantic, and try to protect the sand-castle, but most stand on the (dry part of the) shore, and watch their work wash away, to be returned back to the sea. And then, when the sun comes up, we start again.

AND I assure everyone change is good

Digital isolation v Digital exile

A snippet from some correspondence with a dear friend:

Ooh, sounds like a blog post in the making – ‘digital isolation v digital exile in a digital world hurtling towards “technological Singularity”‘. Perhaps the government needs a change management plan to deal with those suffering from digital isolation or exile – this is a complex problem connected with their NBN mess, amongst other things – or is this more of a ‘wicked’ problem. I will think on it!

So, what do we have here?

Digital Isolation.  What is this? Is it new, or is it something that we didn’t have a name for, but now have a whole pandemic of? Now this is interesting… imagine actually running a crowdsource to understand what people understand of their current state of digital isolation – does the quality, speed, availability, cost and ‘capability of using’ (thinking literacy and that famous quote: Choose your Authors like you choose your friends) contribute to varying degrees of isolation?  What about those who choose to isolate themselves [digitally] from others, by CHOOSING not to engage using social media, online tools, mobile devices or ‘my’ accounts?  Are they ‘digital hermits’ or suffering from some socially technological dysfunction?  Are these people our odd-uncle-at-the-family-picnic ‘pod-mates’ or dinosaurs in the next ‘village over the hill’ along in the pod-farm of comfortable, home-like acoustically pleasing partitioning?  Of course, running a crowdsource activity which didnt also feature the ability to participate in offline activities would of course limit the participation to only those who were =/ Digitally isolated.  So the activity would measure the degree of digital isolation, not being 100% digitally isolated… and would also have flaws in the science, not considering the [analogue?] socially isolated (even harder to ferret out than those ‘digital, but not isolated’) as being part of the 50th percentile, juxtaposed with the ‘digital’.

How digitally isolated are you, at this very moment?

Digital Exile. What is this?  Is this being ‘grounded’ and Mum turning off the WiFi after 10pm, when all the homework has been done? Is this something that happens when you move away from a fast-food outlet that delivers free wifi, or are unlucky enough (socioeconomic night-breed or zombie-apocalypsed) not to have 24/7 access?

Technological Singularity? Well, we all know what that is, yet, we choose not to do anything about it.  At least, from a public policy perspective – there isn’t any money left to think about the future, we are too busy trying to fix the problems of yesterday. Or at least, too busy trying to get reelected, so that we can consider yesterday’s problems. Is the technological singularity connected with the rise of Homo Evolutis?

Change management plan for the government? Why should they start thinking ahead, now? Did you notice that I am being nonspecific about which country, party or level of government?  I thought you noticed.

Careening into a ’24×7 Society’

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How can a society be anything other than 24×7?

There was a recent doco that I watched, looking at cognitive ability-enhancing drugs (Horizon; Pill Poppers. BBC). The initial part of the documentary focused on how drugs are ‘discovered’ and then looked more closely at some of the therapeutic uses of various drugs, specifically Ritalin.

(Incidentally, it is estimated that the average ‘healthy‘ person will consume more than 14 000 over the counter pills in their lifetime…)

The documentary touched on the benefits to the lives of those children and younger adults with behavioural and other cognitive issues, where correctly identified and treated.

Here’s where it gets absolutely fascinating!

The next part of the documentary looked at those professionals (specifically surgeons, but other professions as well) using medical supplements and pharmaceuticals to maintain concentration and alertness during complex procedures. Specifically ‘Ritalin’, a product traditionally used to treat behavioural and concentration disorders, but included other prescribable drugs too (incidentally, seeking to provide the sort of concentration and focus seen in aspects of the Autism spectrum and Aspergers’ Syndrome, though in less debilitating [sic] circumstances).

The ‘new’ uses of these drugs for people ostensibly without behavioural and concentration issues is bringing astounding results, including the reduction [sic] of some risks associated with surgeries requiring patients to be under anaesthesia for many hours, where the handoff to a ‘fresher, but different’ surgeon introduces a risk to the patient which could be higher than the risk of the primary surgeon soldiering on, or a less experienced surgeon to take over, to rest the primary surgeon

Don’t get me wrong – I am the first to want the best doing my neurosurgery (touchwood!) with the lowest amount of risk! However, what happens to these ‘cognitively enhanced’ professionals when they stop taking concentration and performance enhancing drugs?

What is the effect of a future organisation who is ‘cognitively enhanced’?

What are the ethics, and how does this apply in an organisation that isn’t surgery, but simply seeking a competitive edge? Does this mean that people with attention or cognitive underperformance can now be gainfully employed, or does this mean that healthy people are now expected and encouraged to be even further ahead of the curve, or worse, frowned upon if they aren’t!

Does this mean that only the wealthy (those that can afford) or executives can be cognitively enhanced, and therefore the divide between exec, management and operational front line becomes wider, leaving a bigger void in-between, and much harder to make the leap across? The Australian Public Service already has programs addressing the (widening) gaps between APS, Executive Level and Senior Executive Service, so it is reasonable to think that non-government organisations have the same issues, because the APSC is not renowned for its ability to move fast, or being on the leading edge of career progression and staff development.

How do we manage the change management plan for that? How do we support operational staff (have nots), management (want to haves) and the executives (haves) to work together (which they are less and less if you read recent treatises on ’employee engagement’) and to support career progression?

Does this phenomenon already exist, or does this make way for individuals to be identified to be ‘enhanced’ and become better strategists, better ‘somethings’ and the role of change management is to console those not ‘tapped on the shoulder’ or left behind or at least, divert the attention of those not fated for meteoric stardom?

Socially, are we expecting people to function at a very high rate for the whole 24 hours – not just at work? If we only do this professionally, what happens when we are returned to our ‘dull selves’ after work? Or perhaps even, on the way home from work (while driving)? What will this do to our relationships and our families?

Does this mean that the risks of the interim state are the responsibility of the individual or the organisation?

Or do we just stay ‘turned on’ in our 24×7 society and ‘expire’ sooner? Is this a cost we are prepared to bear?

Messy business, this…

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Getting Jacked in

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Or: How to be part of the future, when living in the technological past:

So, welcome to the 20th century. Dont I mean, the 21st century? Nooo… I currently live outside of the city limits. This poses some problems, most of which revolve around ‘patience’.

Patience to wait for tradespeople

Patience to wait for news

Patience to wait for visitors

Patience to wait for technology.

Its a virtue. I’m told.

At times like these, my mind considers a 12-step program, but then, I don’t have the patience for more than 3 or 4 steps. Got anything shorter?

When and how did I become an instant gratification monster? As a Milenial I shouldnt have this driving need; I should be happy with Betacord, Cassette tapes, ‘life before the interwebs‘, landline phones, travelling to the corner store for some bread and milk, and stopping for a chat with the woman in the pet store, who asks after my dogs (which she names in order of age), and enjoying a coffee, sitting on the porch watching my horses feed.

So, why the guilt? Why do I feel somehow ‘less’ without something smart or ‘i” in the palm of my hand or lap? Why do I nurse technology to see just how far from the house I can walk before the wifi starts to fade – why am I considering getting a more powerful wifi modem? Do I really intend to watch TED Lectures from the stables, and hook up wireless, wifi, infra-red cameras (which I will barely check) on the boundary fences and select paddocks? I live in the country – why am I so suspicious of my neighbours with the attack-dogs (one with only three legs)?

Is this particular post, an ironic, oxymoronic attempt to seek absolution for my technical guilt, when I thought that I had put all that ‘confessional farce‘ behind me years ago?

I wonder, in today’s age, why it takes:
*more than 15 hours of telephone complaints (resolved by 1 online complaint to the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman)
*10 hours of telephone technical support
*repeatedly refusing offers of mobile connectivity (there IS no mobile reception here, why do you keep offering it to me when you KNOW your own provider doesn’t provide reception here?!?)

to feed the obsession that I feel I *should* have to get reconnected, when I have a sublime coffee in my hand, and an Australian Shepherd who keeps bringing me a ball to throw?

Shouldn’t I remember life back in the dark ages (or am I thinking of the FUTURE Digital Dark Age?) when there was no personal or professional digital identify – or at least, there will be no discernible distinction between a personal and digital identity, in a Technology Singularity, post-human world? Does this still make me human, or am I transitioning to a higher state?

Instead, I seek to get my family ‘hooked’ – I am so concerned with perpetuating the ‘digital virus‘ at home and at work: I ‘drop round’ to make sure my mother’s wifi works at optimal speed, ensuring the laptop and iDevice that I got her has constant connection; that everything is ‘virus free’ (who would want to plant a data virus on my mother’s ‘Smurfs’ app usage?); I make sure that my FaceTime and Skype connections to my father are working; I video chat with my niece on her birthday; I facebook my cousin while she is in the waiting room, while her son is in surgery in a hospital.

I wonder if I should be feeling some sort of guilt about secondary and tertiary bullying to ensure that my 90-year old grandparents become hooked; and that we can all participate in digital e-Health (lightyears before the government) so that my grandfather can videochat with any of his 8 children, 47 grandchildren and exponentially increasing great-grandchildren and 5th generation offspring with his third generation iDevice tablet and 5th generation smart phone, if he or my grandmother become unwell? It seems that we trust our private family technology network before we trust the phone to call an ambulance!

And yet, we still insist on printing documents at work.

In thinking about this, making the choice to quit my last job when my boss didn’t trust the technology that he had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in ensuring existed to facilitate virtual connectivity and productivity, because he wanted me to remain geographically located with him, instead of with my stakeholders, doesn’t seem like such a bad decision. Except when I am interrupted checking my email, on the way to getting milk and bread by the pet store owner, asking after my dogs.

However, this seems to be a common bullying tactic by dinosaurs to remain surrounded by their food, in their lair – the resistance to allow employees to actually use the technology that they spend 15 hours per day designing, planning, installing, training and patting each other on the back for achieving would seem significant. Have *I* failed in implementing the change management plan which gives my former boss the comfort to evolve, or did we reach the limit of his genetic, professional predisposition to transition into the universe he chose to create (over spending time with his family)? Was I really seeking to ‘un-plug’ myself, create a digital sabotage event and identity schism between my actual and digital personalities; to create a scenario where I would not be able to reconcile with my digital self in a healthy multiple-personality disenfranchise, breaking the cycle of personal violence between my actual and digital self; seeking some solitude, a good coffee and a pat for the dog?

What would you miss? Asking my grandmother of 92 years, of all today’s ‘mod-cons‘ (many of which I could not possibly do without), which does she think she could not bear to part with? Every time, she says, without hesitation and a wry smile: ‘Running water’.

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The Plan (Planning v Execution)

‘The plan is only good for the first step’

‘The second step in a plan should be to look at what happened after the first step and plan a new step’ (???)

I was watching TV today, and noticed the new strategic plan of the Liberals – Our Plan. I was asked to ‘download the plan now from … ‘

Interesting, given that I cant download the plan, because I can get neither mobile nor hardwired internet service where I live. The only provider is Telstra, and they wont lease the infrastructure to a reseller in my area for a competitive price, nor does any mobile service provider reach into the nooks and crannies of the valleys and dales of where I live. Its been 7 weeks and ongoing since Telstra assured me (and continues to) that if I sign here, I could expect that my services would be now more than 14 days away. Well, at least they sought to start charging me within 14 days at least.

Anyhoo… putting aside the beating up the partially sold off public asset (helloooo liberal government of the past), or rather, simply sharing my experience, and you can make up your own assumptions about service provision; AND the fact that I CANT actually download ‘Our Plan’ to actually look at how, having sold off my ability to connect with the world (in the interests of balance, the Labour government’s NBN is no good either – my location is not in any future delivery location mentioned by the plan, during the life of the implementation – but I still gotta pay taxes to make sure that everyone else around me will get it – thats the nice kinda guy I am – while taking up their offer of moving into the country and keeping the farming industry alive, in a manner of speaking – at least keeping the ‘equine belt’ around Melbourne alive), I was wondering about the ‘plan’.

Regardless of what the plan actually says, and the policy changes that it proposes (interesting, that we finally see a policy, rather than a statement that ‘your policy wont work’), I do have a concern about the change management effort that will go into delivery of what I assume are multiple, interconnected strategic and tactical legislation, regulation, policy and operational changes across a 5-pillar society – or at least thats what the television add promises, anyway. Or at least, promises to ‘give it a crack’ if I* vote them back in. ‘Our Plan’, being the Liberal’s plan, certainly not MY plan (Am I the only one who is sick of the tendency of agencies at the moment, to make every online service ‘my’ account, or some variation of?).

Now, I don’t really consider myself part of a 5-pillar anything, let alone a 5 pillar society. Certainly not part of a society that affords me the same basic rights at law, including marriage, adoption or general rights of inheritance (but I digress into the same-sex marriage issue, so I will turn back to stay the course). The fun part here is ‘how’? How are these policies going to be implemented? They are fully connected up. They are wholly and totally interdependent. They promise to dig into the top 5 ‘wicked problems’ of Australian society, spanning beyond our own borders, and addressing issues over which our government has NO control and no ability to address the cause (so I presume, they will be addressing symptoms – not a good start for any policy upon which one wants to wager the life and death of ones’ constituents and ones’ relationship with near and far global neighbours).

So, in summary, no Australian government (of any persuasion) has been able to address these issues; they are complex, ‘wicked’, interconnected, critically dependant, and the government has (at best) the ability to control 15-20% of the causes, so ostensibly, has to address the symptoms. That is what I get from the television add, but have yet to be empowered to get to the detail – which i presume is written – hopefully, it has more multimedia than that!

I hope I will be pleasantly surprised (and a little excited for a potential job prospect) to hear that there has been proposed a new ministry for the ‘management of change to our society’ – or something like that. How comforting would it be to know that there was someone (other than ourselves, since we don’t control the resources to do it ourselves) accountable to ensure that the dependencies were managed, the risks were being addressed, the resistance (from internal or external ‘forces’) to change were being addressed, and people were being ‘taken along with the change’. That those of us who arent 24×7 digital citizens (I must do something about that – or rather, poke the person who is accountable – AGAIN, the Right Hon Minister for Digital Identities and Engagement, you know who you are) – the itinerant, the homeless, the illiterate (nearly 50% of us), the newbies (nearly 50% of our population growth and more than XXX% of our workforce over the last 10 years has come from migrant workers, either temporarily or permanently) with ESL (LINK) issues – these (lets call them, ‘stakeholders’ or ‘end users’, to really ram home the point) differently impacted people, inheritants of the ‘5-pillar policy positioning which psephologist will ponderously pour over in times to come’: how will they be helped, coached, encouraged, even simply ‘made aware’ of the detail of how they will experience and contribute to (if at all) a future world that they will become the custodians of (them, and their illiterate and innumerate children) AND have the confidence that ‘this bit’ they get get on one side, doesnt mean they have to give up ‘this essential bit’ that they have to give up on the other hand, in the comfort that ‘things will be better if they do’?

How will they get this assurance, given the experience is that this has NEVER been able to be delivered in the past, by any government, so there is no experience on which to base any hope?

Project managers, program managers, change managers, organisational psychologists and C-suite executives of large organisations know that this hasnt happened without HUGE cost – usually significantly more than proposed at the time of ‘the plan’.

Consider the Education Ministry in China as an example of a ‘large organisation’ with very little diversity (a generalisation I know, but I am making a point): School Superintendents of a district, covering a number of headmasters and their schools often span more than the entire population of Australia in the number of their students, with a budget of more than the federal Education Ministry in Australia – and they aren’t even at the Provincial Government (essentially, our state government) level in terms of policy and implementation, and they arent even considering this sort of sweeping, societal change – but you can bet, they have an overarching view on what is going on, and how they plan to do it.

Consider also, the red herring: Australia is a proud multicultural society.

We value diversity. We value individuals (unless they want to marry someone who is the same gender as themselves – stop me now!). We value the fact that we have all types and all shapes. We are a nation of red herrings, with limited commonality in our membership. However, ‘the plan’ seeks to address that – or at least cater for that.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to apply for the role of CEO of the Ministry of the Changing Society – oh yeah, that position is currently held, under another title – Prime Minister. The question that is going to ‘bake your noodle’ is whether I would be able to do a better or worse job than the current and previous incumbents. However, the issue remains – there is diversified accountability for the operational delivery of each of the policies so they remain undelivered in a connected, dependant, risk-managed way, when looked at, as part of a grand ‘plan’. Incidentally, NO Prime Minister in the history of Australia (or any other country that I can think of, offhand) in the history of democracy has been able to deliver.

And there is no real understanding, at least by me, of what happens if we set off in another wrong direction, or how we will find out (until its too late) that the direction is NOT the right one. Nothing gives me comfort that we have more than a plan – a way to check on how the plan is going; who needs more or less support; who’s holding up their part, and who isn’t; and, how much of the budget they are spending. Lets hope (against hope) that the plan to fix everything doesnt boils down to ‘oh, we couldn’t afford that, even though it is a critical dependancy of this other thing’ – despite the experience. Just read the Hansard (you could try and get it from your digital society peer citizenry) or simply turn up to Question Time at parliament, and make a tally of how often ‘we don’t have the resources to do that, so we cant be held accountable’ comes up.

However, I hold onto hope, despite the evidence, experience and history that I have to base that hope on, whatever ‘The Plan’ is, that the ‘end users’ have a voice and can actually participate in their own society.

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*I, being us, or at least the ‘us’ of democracy. Interesting enough, regardless of whether I am a millionaire or living below the poverty line (which I feel like, but thankfully am not, yet, not being a consistent, 24×7 plugged-in member of the digital society) I only get one vote… maybe, those who need help more should get a more ‘worthy’ vote, and those who need government help less should have a differently-weighted vote. How much fun would THAT be?

Its the door!

My mother emailed this to me, I presume, as something that seemed amusing:

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Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was?

Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what’s known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next.

Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

So it’s not aging, or senility, or old age, it’s the damn door!

Thank goodness for scientific studies like this!

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My mother thought this was amusing, but there is actually some truth in it, which nicely fits into the jigsaw puzzle with what we know now about memory, sight/vision and the ‘power’ of narratives (especially ones with have chapters with beginnings and ends).

I have always wondered about ‘chapters’ and books – as an analogy of walking from one room to another, with the ‘expectation’ that there will either be continuity or thematic continuity, if the rooms are in the same house, for example. From a VERY young age, we (at least, where I went to primary school) were taught about paragraphs with beginnings, middles and ends, and the power of writing that had a very strong first paragraph and last, or first sentence and last in a paragraph – to the point where we were told (my memory of just this example has kicked into gear!) that the paragraph should be able to ‘stand on its own merits’ with only the first and the last sentence, as the middle bits are simply clarification of the latter and former.

I am wondering if the fact that memory is ‘chunked up’ into chapter-like portions, similar to below, naturally, or it is some sort of continually self-reinforcing, pan-cultural, meme – a question of nature v nurture.

Do we chunk our memory because that is the best way of using it (the argument *against* gets stronger, particularly by the Homo Evolutis scientists, who argue that our offspring are changing they way they consume and manage ‘data’ – similarly those who are looking at the Autism and Aspergers’ Syndrome spectrum) or are we ‘taught’ to do this, because it is something that we have always done and it worked for us (note, use of past tense)? Is this meme of ‘memory chunking’ breaking down in transmission capability, because of the demands that modern society is placing on the brain to assimilate more and more data and/or information, at the ‘cost’ of the capability to turn that data and information into knowledge that can be used or applied, through the process of wisdom?

Doing what we always did may not get us what we always got – it may get us extinct!

I find it interesting from the change management perspective, because much of how we seek to engage with people is from the comfortable position that there is commonality in the way we construct memory, vision etc (translating into ‘experience’), when it is likely that the opposite is true and becoming more prevalent. Is the intergenerational divide getting wider, simply because of the way that our grandchildren’s brains are evolving faster than we can change our behaviours and underlying assumptions/values to accommodate? How will we bridge the gap, and are we too busy to do it ourselves, and have to pay a change practitioner to tell us how to do it, and hold our hand while we do (at least at work, anyway)?

My head hurts… time for a glass of wine…

Poster with a crossed out picture of a velociraptor, claiming that there has been 25915000000 days since the last dinosaur 'incident'

Phew!