Life has this propensity of bringing lots of things to our attention, more or less unfiltered, and/or filtered in ways we at first don’t recognize, nor easily can make sense of. As we go through life, we develop this knack of filtering so as to get to, and get to keep the good bits. For an organization, it is essential to remain in touch with all kinds of input, intelligence, market conversations and whatnot, and remain on top of what to filter, what to sift and sort, and out of the things deemed important, what fractions to throw away and call market research, and what to keep, and call business. Most of the hard work involved, most of the action, consists of being mindful of what language is used, and how to put it to good use. A common approach, is to throw a lot of these distilled findings all together in a big bucket, and call a theory, a model, and/or a method. This is all good, fine and proper, as long as we remember that other people go around carrying their own buckets. The capability to bring water to others, and the related knack of helping others with wayfinding, charting paths to reliable wells, while avoiding most of the tigers, that’s what matters.

Usually, things that matter are embedded in situations that most of the time are rather complex.

This is one of the reasons why ConversationLab is offering Method Cards for Storytelling. Through using them, you can begin to make (more) sense of your own situation. This typically results in time saved, headaches reduced, and the ability to better tell your own, and listen to others stories. At times this also means you will get better at sharing knowledge with others. Here’s where the distillation comes into play, among a couple of other words that will follow in later blogposts. Through knowing what you and others have distilled, your game will improve. Oh, and speaking of play, the method cards are playable, a bit like a card game. But it is really a tool. A tool for working and playing well together.

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4 Responses to Distill

  1. Fascinating as always, John. I’ve been peripherally (extremely on the fringe) following you through your comments about this project and am most interested in learning more about it in coming posts.

    I related late last night in my LS item how a huge kerkuffle occurred when in Veterans For Peace — an organization I’ve been connected with for many years — four separate email lists inadvertently became intertwined revealing snippy backchannel email conversations people were having.

    Serendipitously, this morning I came across this online article about a potential Wikiarguments. This reminded me of Orson Scott Card’s SF novel, Enders Game, where one of the chief character’s, Valentine, dedicated to peace engages in huge online discussions among the common people to influence politics.

    I’m wondering with their be an online way to play Method Cards for Storytelling?

  2. John, do you have anything on the Web for ConversationLab yet?
    I’d love to play w/those cards.

    To your first point, I wonder if the sheer scope and ontological nature of what you describe is why it’s so challenging for many people to build their own information filters today.

  3. johnkellden says:

    Hi Thomas, thanks much! Maybe the inadvertent email intertwine, provided a learning experience? No doubt in part a painful one, but better to know. And as a veteran, you already know firsthand that it is better to live to fight another day. Better not apply the Distill gamerule to war though, since that might prove both depressing, and grim fun!

  4. johnkellden says:

    Hi Bryan, there was briefly a web version prototype, but I couldn’t quite get it to work the way I wanted. However, hope springs eternal, so fingers crossed, there will be an iPhone app out in the not too distant future.
    Your experience serves you well Bryan, one of the more important uses/benefits of such an app, would be to help sort out the ontological muddle, and provide some sort of provisional ontology, if only to help users get more, and more enjoyment, out of the game. In this case, the iPhone app, the face to face device, and hopefully, provide an insight or three, applicable to what other games, what other moves we’re in the midst of playing.

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