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Awesome post..


“……In fact, at some basic level, opportunity based narratives are profoundly hostile to “Grand Narratives’’.’’

Interesting, we seem to share similar narratives but using different words for it.

Ideas (narratives) are verbs (process), ideologies (grand narratives/stories) are nouns (descriptive). Our ideas have for most of them, become nouns; ideologies. The main difference between the two is simply a question of emphasis, ideas as verbs are dynamic, they are process, they flow, are open and open minded, they are opportunities, and require that the emphasis be on this openness, on the dynamical aspect. In ideologies, the emphases has lost touch so to speak to the dynamic aspect of ideas and now focus or emphasize either on what we look from (the subjective, viewpoint) or what we look at (the objective, view). As nouns, an ideology is an ideology, no better or worse than any other ideology, they tend to have equal value and status one to each other, and thus the leveling down. They tend to bend whatever is being look at to that by which one is looking from and some go even as far as negating any content or reality to that by which they look from or at.

An idea (narratives) gathers what we look at with what we look from into one flowing coherent and meaningful whole. It is verb, process, open, a whole vista unfold and as one walks along, the vista opens up, bringing endless opportunities. As narratives, the viewpoint is the view, what you look from is what you look at. But this is, isn’t the is of identity, it is the is of a process.

The conflict between narratives and grand narratives seems to me to be a conflict on where one put his emphasis,on what we look from (subjectivity, viewpoint, within), what we look at(objectivity, view, without) or on the is, this is of process, in such a way that ; what we look from is what we look at, unfolding.

What we have here is a structural duality (within/without) and a unity of process (endless opportunities).

John Hagel III

Alain - Interesting question - I would say it begins as the former but then, as the person is drawn into the narrative, it becomes the latter. Even then, though, the person deeply believes that the resolution of the narrative hinges on their actions. It never becomes a viewpoint in the sense that the resolution is a given, independent of the actions of the individual. Thus, it contrasts with another use of narrative, the Grand Narrative as I discuss here http://bit.ly/1feDPg1


Hi John,
One simple question, are narratives that which we look at? Or is it that by which we look from? Is it view or viewpoint?

Fenia Petran


Here is information about the design concepts of the learning platform.

a) The PC technology

The design of the learning platform is based upon and takes advantage of extremely important features of the computer technology, which are common for the PC family as a whole:

• The open-system hardware and software architecture, the intelligent operating system, the programmable components and interfaces, the standard way in which our PC communicates with the world around it.

The design focuses on Microsoft Windows, de facto manager of the PC.

Emphasizes, illustrates and demonstrates in a practical way:

* The basic concepts behind Microsoft Windows - the industry-standard PC operating system and the many advantages Windows provides to users and programmers.

* How Microsoft Windows works as the manager of the environment in which all other programs work and as the server of users applications.

* How Windows defined the standard for all the applications that are launched from it, the hardware-independence of the Windows environment, how application programs work with Windows, and ask Windows for services from standard hardware.

* The device-independence of the Windows environment which makes it possible for the same application program to run identically on a variety of hardware configurations.

* The object-orientation of Windows as a major feature of Windows programming and how most important technologies in Windows object-oriented programming work.

* How the PC and external devices in the PC world "talk" and "listen" to each other, according to internationally agreed standards and communication protocols which are main industry standards in the PC world.

* How computers communicate and collaborate in a standard mode, independent of the technology and independent of the hardware equipment.
- Across different communication media,
- Using different computer configurations
- Using different types of networks and
- Implementing different communication protocols.

b) Behind all the computer-related technologies

Just as the PC has become a part of our everyday life:

* So have computer data communication, IP telephony and telecommunications, LAN, Internet, video-on-demand, desktop multimedia, e-marketing, e-business, audio and video streaming across Internet.

The real essence of modern computer-related technologies resides in a few things that you should always remember:

* Behind all the modern and sophisticated technologies is found the computer technology and the related applied sciences – computer science, applied physics, applied math, computer communication.

* The important thing with the PC and the PC-related technologies is that it doesn’t really matter which hardware is actually being used to perform a specific task.

You can use many types of standard hardware, from many different manufacturers, and you'll get basically the same results. This is because hardware specifications are defined in internationally worldwide agreed standards and communication protocols, which are main industry standards in the PC world.

* The power behind the PC and PC-related technologies is on the software side, in the intelligent communication protocols and application software they support, and the programmable interfaces that allow software developers to combine the strengths of major high-technologies

- Internet, multimedia, TV, LAN, telecommunication, robotics, smart homes, smart cities, smart health, smart cars and all the other new and innovative technologies within the Internet of Things

with the PC technologies and to create applications that are meaningful and fruitful for the user.

c) The Microsoft model

The PC works and communicates in a standard and compatible way with the whole world around it, according to internationally-agreed open standards and communication protocols, commonly accepted worldwide.

The PC world belongs to Microsoft, “de facto” manager of the PC.

Microsoft’s model is to put innovations and creativity in the operating system software.

With this strategy Microsoft simplifies things they we are doing today and there is also where we get the opportunity to move forward with new hardware and new applications.

That's how Microsoft generates advances in Information Technology (IT), which serve as a basis upon which developers can create a new generation of applications.

d) Learning science and technology

Learning by these systems does not require:

* Any additional software, hardware or literature material and
* Any preliminary knowledge in either computer sciences or related technologies

Students can not only learn a lot about the computer and the world around it, but they can learn science and technology in a comprehensive, professional and interesting way.

e) Looking ahead

Microsoft is betting on the fact that the new Information and Communication technologies will make the distinction between PCs and phones and tablets completely irrelevant.

Microsoft is doing this its way, by protecting the past while making a huge bet on the future.

The next version of Microsoft Windows will be called Windows 10 to emphasize advances made toward a world centered on all PC end-devices and Internet services.

Microsoft Windows 10 will make convergence across desktop PCs, laptops, notebooks, tablets, smart phones, cell phones and gaming consoles which will share all the underlying technologies.

The same version of Windows will run on desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone.

And that means developers can write one app and it will work on all of them in the same way, a concept called "Universal Windows Application".

For the past fifteen years "convergence" has been the operative buzzword when it comes to technology, telecommunication, entertainment and entrepreneurship.

This was an acknowledgment that one day in the future these would no longer be separate industries.

Rather, they would become a mutually reinforcing cluster of companies and services that could make your desktop computer, laptop, notebook, smart phone, LAN, TV or cell phone just one of the many machines that connect people all over the world to information, entertainment, education, business and commerce, and one another.

Well, that future is now and it is already here, ahead of us.

Fenia Petran


Here is more information about our learning platform.

a) The infrastructure: Overlay networks

Overlay networks are an important way and a mechanism of choice for introducing new functionality and new technologies into the Internet, independent on the standardization process.

An overlay is a logical network implemented on top of a physical network.

According to this definition, the Internet itself is an overlay network which was initially implemented on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Each node in the overlay also exists in the underlying physical network and it processes and forwards packets in an application-specific way.

The links that connect the overlay network are implemented as tunnels through the underlying network.

Many different overlay networks can exist on top of the same underlying network, each one implementing their own application-specific behavior.
As well, overlays can be layered one on top of another.

Overlays are often used to deploy new network services since they do not require the cooperation of the existing network infrastructure.

The tunnels implement virtual private networks (VPN).

The nodes on either end of a tunnel treat the multi-hop path between them as a single logical link, as if they were connected by a direct point-to-point line and are not aware of the actual real physical path existing between them.

Using overlays is a way to develop and deploy experimental disruptive technologies in the industry which have the potential to take over existing technologies sometime in the future.

So for example the multicast backbone of the Internet Multicast Backbone or MBone is an overlay network that implements IP multicast and runs multicast applications, such as multimedia conferencing.

MBone is a virtual network built on top of the Internet which uses a network of routers that support IP multicast and enable access to real-time interactive multimedia on the Internet.

The 6-Bone is also an overlay backbone that is used to systematically deploy IPv6 and uses tunnels to forward packets through IPv4 routers.

b)How it works? Each LAN is an island

The Internet is built from many networks, thousands, hundreds of thousands of networks.

Let's assume that you live on an island in a huge ocean. There are thousands of islands around you, some close to you and others far away.

Well, the Internet is much like the huge ocean. And each local area network (LAN) on the Internet is like an island.

When you connect your browser to a Web server or to another device through the Internet you do it on the regular way, and this is much like traveling by ship between the two islands.

The ship will choose the best route between the islands, which means the shortest and cheapest path, just in the same way routers select the best path between source and destination in the official Internet.

Traveling from your island to any other island by ship is a straightforward solution.

However, this makes you visible and transparent to all other people around you.

You have no control over the wires and the routers connecting the two networks on the Internet, just as you don't have control over someone else on the ship.

You have another option to connect the two LANs by a bridge, and this is a more direct way of connecting.

However this solution is good enough only if the two islands you want to connect are close to each other.

Otherwise, it could be very expensive.

This solution is like having a leased line. The bridges are separated from the ocean (Internet) and are private (dedicated), but their cost may be prohibitively high.

Instead of this, we can give each computer user and host on the island a private submarine that they can take it with them wherever they go.

This solution will enable inhabitants of the two islands travel back and forth whenever they want and communicate in a reliable way, using the Internet as a medium to connect the two private LANs.

This option is called a virtual private network (VPN) and has many advantages over a regular leased line.

A VPN is scalable and can grow to adapt many users and many different locations.

As a matter of fact, the geographic physical locations of each local office do not matter at all.

A private network running over the Internet infrastructure allows interconnect different corporate network sites, allows remote users to access the corporate network, allows controlled access between many different types of networks.

The technology is tunneling using overlay facilities and sharing the common infrastructure using the TCP/IP protocols.
This corresponds to the island metaphor.

And so computer hosts at the edges of the network can "talk" with each other directly, as if they were connected by a point-to-point line.

Where does private go? Wherever their designers had in mind

And so our training systems can build different types of networks, both physical and virtual, connecting computers and users at the edges of the Internet networks, by using communication protocols and dedicated communication software, developed according to industry standards, standard PC communication hardware and smart serial interface hardware, ISO 9002 certified.

c)The narrative enables to build open-ended products

Our “narrative” is like an open-ended dialogue and includes an unfolding time sequence.

This continues into the future and makes participants in the ecosystem active creators of additional sequence events.

This behavior develops and encourages the development and extension of the learning platform. It also enables customer engagement for this platform through open-ended customizations, adds-on, new apps and social networking.

When a product is delivered to a customer, this is only the start of a long series of interactions with this product, related products, the developers behind the product, other users or customers of the product and other people who can be interested in it.

Such a product can be customized, personalized, and enhanced by people related to it.

Businesses can add their own specific training-on the job content and new apps and add-on can be added during the time. Users interactively use the system and answer questions, get feedback, select options and insert user-defined parameters, as needed.

And so they create their own part for the narrative.

They connect and work together with other users in the workgroup, with users in other workgroups and with users in other networks.

De facto, users and customers join the narrative and extend it, too.

These people can then share their experience with other users and customers, and learn about their experiences with the product through social, community networking.

d) The passion of the explorer

This narrative connects to the elements of passion, creativity and institutional innovation.

1) First, there is a long term commitment to the science and technology domain. This is a long-term opportunity.

2) Second, there is a questing disposition. The narrative invites the participation of each of us to overcome the challenges that stand before us on the way to the long-term target opportunity.

3) Third, there is a connecting disposition towards connecting with others who share our passion for the domain or can help us overcome the challenges ahead.

In one sentence: the narrative amplifies the passion and the creativity of the explorer.

e) The open-ended products

The learning platform enables to define open-ended products which are like an open-ended dialogue with people in the ecosystem.

* Enables to create a standardized brand that can span over a wide variety of new, emerging content and over a large range of customers, all over the world.

* Enables to create a wide variety of add-on and apps that support customizations and further enhancements that follow new developments and extensions in technologies.

* Creates an ever expanding ecosystem of business partners, distributors, users and customers, teachers and other people who could become customers in a future stage.

* Creates social engagement that lets customers and users not only use the product, but also interact with the developers behind the product and with other customers and users, as well.

* By using tracking, assessment and smart analytics on both the course and curriculum of the product, as well as the user and customer activity will help close the gap between the expertise and the skills employers seek and the skills students possess upon graduation.

* And we can further expand the creative environment by using integrated social media and tools and building a social learning community, for example with Twitter or Google+ and WhatsApp

f) Building a social learning community on Twitter

We can create a professional learning community on Twitter that will have a common purpose and a shared vision.

The values and goals are focused on learning science and technology and this is a collaborative environment with focus on learning by real-world applications and experimentation.

In this community:

You choose whom to follow and allow others to follow you.

You tweet the highest quality information, thoughts, ideas, questions or links to resources.

You follow tweeters who offer information and resources you can use and who cause you to think, ask questions and explore.

Participants in this creative space can also establish private communication and use the WhatsApp mobile messaging service to chat, share stories, stay connected no matter who they are and where they live. And they can join every time other participants as they go on in this very special journey.

The best contribution of this online community is that it is interactive and collaborative, and this means that people can ask for resources or assistance and their followers will return information accordingly.

And so professional development needs are created and met simultaneously by various people they might have never met face-to-face.

Using such an online community is like a continuous technology conference twenty-four hours a day.

You get so excited at a conference and want to go at work and explore more deeply what you learn.

But instead you go back into your regular work and get away from this motivation.

Having your Twitter community you can continue the talk outside the work, with people who learn the same topics like you and are experimenting new things and want to share their passion and excitement with you.

And so you are taken every day to new places you didn't even know you needed to explore.

Among people who can actively use this online community are teachers who need to know about the technical stuff in our learning platform and how they can use these resources to go far beyond the textbooks.

This will enable them close the gap in the new Information and Communication Technologies.

This will also make them better educators and more able to understand their digital native students.

James Ray

"Action without Vision is stumbling on the dark, and Vision without Action is poverty-stricken poetry."
-- Warren Bennis

Both are necessary to achieve meaningful change...

Fenia Petran

I'm sorry. I made a mistake.

The name of the article in the previous post is "A Better Way to Manage Knowledge".

Fenia Petran


Your article: "Three Elements You Need for Successful Creation Spaces" http://blogs.hbr.org/2009/04/ three-elements-you-need-for-su/)

explains clearly what creation spaces are and how they are built.

And also highlights the difference between creation spaces and knowledge management systems. This is very important because there is a lot of confusion in the learning management industry regarding this term.

As you say:

"The last thing the world needs is another knowledge management scheme focusing on capturing knowledge that already exists.
What we need are new approaches to creating knowledge, ones that take advantage of the new digital infrastructure’s ability to lower the interaction costs among us all — ones that mobilize big, diverse groups of participants to innovate and create new value".


Fenia Petran


As you so wisely think and say, it's now time to drive a meaningful change.

We need and want to become more active makers of the products and the experiences that shape our lives.

And we want to feel the passion to do meaningful work that empowers us, enables us to connect to something that excites us, interests us and makes us explore on a magnificent quest.

The two things that can enable us to generate a real movement for change are narratives and creation spaces.

"Let's (build the Internet of skills and) learn science and technology by real-world applications" is definitely an opportunity-based narrative that can catalyze and amplify the passion of the explorer.

As you defined it, this means a long-term commitment to making a significant contribution to a domain, a questing disposition that is excited by new challenges and a connecting disposition that seeks to collaborate with others in addressing these challenges.

This narrative is combined with already existing creative spaces, in some Latin America countries and in Portuguese-speaking countries.

They provide each one an environment to accelerate learning, to communicate and collaborate with other people who acknowledge the narrative, and share the quest to learn from each other and to collaborate.

One of these creative spaces is very special to me and I'd like to tell you about it.

23 years ago a group of Israeli businessmen, Mitrelli/ LR Group started building business in Angola, with the goal to bring their professional and life experience to this Africa country in order to help developing it.

And they are still there today, as active partners in the development and growth of Angola providing with investment, business solutions and management of innovative, groundbreaking industrial projects which make a real big difference for the life of the people and the country, as well.

They believe that impact investing has the potential to lift people out of poverty in ways that philanthropy and humanitarian aid could not.

They want to generate a social impact and teach people how to work and how to build a profession and sustainable life for themselves.

They are convinced that quality technical and professional education are key to personal and collective development and are ready to invest in educational projects that use science and technology as real drivers for development and growth.

At the basis of their development strategy is the idea of Haim Taib, the visionary CEO of the global Mitrelli Group to create villages shaped on the model of an Israeli "moshav", where each family has a house and a private piece of land of their own.

At the central location or gathering point of the moshavs are located agro-industries and a joint services system, with each farmer keeping his own personal account.

The whole system is based on the concept of micro-credit, where each family receives a limited amount of credit for purchasing production equipment and inputs and pays for them with the sale of the agricultural products.

This project also comprises educational and social assets, such as: supplying professional training, laboratories, health services and a marketing set-up.

There are also government-owned agribusiness assets, such as greenhouses, a slaughter house, dairy operations, chick hatchery, grain elevators and others.

Each village has a variety of shared community features, including a medical clinic, high-school, transportation means and community and administration buildings that are high-level by rural, African standards.

This project, called Adama is based on a novel and innovative concept which is changing the face of agro–industrial farming communities in developing countries.

Another project, Kora is building whole towns from the ground up and also creates the complete infrastructure including water, sewer, roads, connection to electrical power and telecommunication infrastructure.

A project exclusively dedicated to education is ADAMA JUNIOR, an innovative educational program that creates agricultural villages to serve as a home for orphans and homeless youth (14-18 years old) and their teachers.

These Youth villages serve as their home until they find their place in the work force and integrate educational activities with work and science and technology learning.

LUSIS, the Portuguese subsidiary of Mitrelli Group is responsible for all the educational projects.

LUSIS and its subsidiary Sistef are managing in partnership with the Ministry of Education the national-level Technical and Professional Reform (RETEP).

I am thankful for the opportunity to take an active role in the development of the e-learning educational concept in Angola.

I was especially fortunate to work with Jose Paiva, the very talented and experienced president of LUSIS, a visionary leader in higher education, who combines commitment, dedication and professionalism and is always looking forward to next professional challenges and opportunities.

LUSIS is partner of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Angola, and is also responsible for implementing innovative educational projects in the field of Science and Technology in Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique and South Africa.

Their education model is high-level by African standards, providing children and young people with a genuine opportunity for education.

They are continuously working and actively contributing to the development and growth of Angola and are providing the best solutions for education and training, both in terms of equipment and training.

Kirsten Sandberg

Thank you for sparking my thinking, as always, John. For kicks, I looked up "infomediary." http://goo.gl/KaZUbJ

Fenia Petran

So, what is a creative space?

As you so smartly explain us, creative spaces are environments with a set of characteristics designed to scale learning so that the more participants join in and collaborate, the faster everyone learns.

A music-sharing community based on technologies such as Gnutella, KazaA, BearShare, Skype or Spotify that enables to find your favorite songs, to share music files with your friends, to listen to music wherever you are on whatever you have is a creative space.

A gamers community such as the World of Warcraft community or Innogames community is also a creative space.

Now it is the right time to build a new community - the TMT learners community which lets you learn and build practical skills in computer and computer networks technologies and the related sciences.

TMT - Technology, Media and Telecommunication is on the top of the high-tech today and at the core of the business, industry, enterprises, entertainment and education worldwide.

The TMT learners community is a type of creative space based on overlay peer-to-peer networks built over the Internet.

Overlay networks consist of a series of virtual or physical computers layered on top of an existing network.

The purpose of an overlay network is to add new functionality in a network without a complete network redesign. Typically, these networks link to the existing network through virtual or physical nodes.

The early Internet was a government-based research network built on top of the physical infrastructure of the Public Switched Telecommunications Network (PSTN).

The Internet started as a series of linked computers connected via the country's phone lines to share data files and information between governmental offices and research agencies.

Adding the Internet layer to the underlying voice-based telecommunications network allowed the transport of data packets across the same network infrastructure without changing the public telephone system.

As a matter of fact, the Internet is a huge network of networks and an infrastructure in which new applications are continually invented and deployed on hosts at the edges, which can exchange data and smartly interact with each other.

Just as the Internet uses phone lines as a backbone, the learning peer-to-peer networks use the standard Internet protocols to prioritize data transmission between different remote computers.

These peer-to-peer networks use the physical network's topology, but outsource data using specially developed applications.

Not only these applications enable to learn and build skills in computer and computer network technologies, but they also build dynamically a variety of communication networks, from the bottom up, according to open-standard layered communication models.

It makes a big difference I think, to learn about the communication layers from a textbook or to really see the communication layers arising one after the other on your computer, setting up the connection at all the communication levels, establishing communication between network users, with voice, video and Internet access, just as it happens in the real world.


sorry all, I mangled that link, so here's the correct one: http://rollyson.net/how-social-networks-change-strategy-prediction-and-decision-making/


John, thanks for a refreshing post! Digesting a bit, I perceive that creation spaces enable people to act with less friction because they are more [local] and personal, yet networked to a larger whole. Narratives, I think, are most poignant when they help critical people realize something they feel but may not understand, so the narrative becomes very powerful because it explains. If this understanding is correct, I can see how they work together to empower change.

Whether a narrative will galvanize a group of motivated people is largely up to chance, according to Duncan Watts' research into "influencers" and social network dynamics. He emphasized that inter-connected networks are so dynamic and complex that it's virtually impossible to "predict" behavior with any certainty. He also debunks the concept of "influencers," who have at best a tiny incremental advantage in influence. I reviewed his book, Everything">http://rollyson.net/how-social-networks-change-strategy-prediction-and-decision-making/">Everything Is Obvious, and commented at length.

Therefore, we can't predict which narratives will spark people to seed creation spaces, but that mustn't stop us from trying! Change instigators can improve the odds somewhat by listening, considering and communicating crisply and often. Carpe diem.

Heather  Bewers


For me this has real resonance with the principles of positive deviance http://www.powerofpositivedeviance.com which I think has demonstrated the two elements of movements and narratives brilliantly. Great post - I love it when something fires off so many connections with other literature and thoughts

Fenia Petran


Your approach regarding movement, narratives and creation spaces is really groundbreaking. The way you think,work and write are far away ahead.

I am a systems analyst and software system developer, with wide experience in the development of industrial computer-based products and systems, and medium-to-large scale projects in the field of homeland security and defense, aircraft, missile tracking and guidance, satellite communication and other similar issues.

To be a systems developer is a profession. Not everyone can be.

To be project manager and product manager in projects abroad is much, much harder.

Your whole world moves around your products and your team.

And you represent your customer in front of your organization leadership and work on behalf of the customer, because you know that actually, your success depends on him.

As your product will be better and your customer will be more satisfied, so you will also succeed.

And you also represent your country in front of the customer, and this is a very challenging task.

But with all the difficulties on the way, this is also a very rewarding, important and worth doing work, because this is an environment where you can learn a lot, a once in life opportunity and you can develop yourself much faster and better.

This important part of my own career enabled me to understand how much very important is to work, improve and learn continually, and really built me up professionally.

There is no room for shortcuts when it comes to work, and you must do the best you can to acquire knowledge and skills and to convince the right people to work with you.

By working on industrial projects, on complex subjects in science and technology, with real devices in field conditions and a lot of research and development and experimentation around, enabled me to understand that the right way to learn is by means of real applications.

That's why "Learn by real-life applications" is the narrative of my company.

Today, I think that we can expand this narrative further on, to make it:
"Let's build the Internet of Skills and learn science and technology by real-world applications".

And I very much need you to make together a real movement for change for it.

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