I’m headed to London and the UK for a few weeks with the amazing Rose Levien, which means that my room is available for anyone looking for temporary (3 week) accommodation in Redfern, Sydney. If you’re moving into the neighbourhood, perhaps from interstate, feel free to check out my listing on Airbnb. You’ll have amazing housemates in Michelle Williams and Adam Tait, both involved in the thriving Start Up Community here in Sydney and a guarantee for good dinner conversations.
The room is available from June the 11th through till the 3rd of July. I’d like to see the room filled for the entire time, but I’m open to interesting and creative suggestions, such as…
Drop me an email (steve at thesquigglyline.com) or tweet me to find out more.
What gets measured, gets managed. This saying remains one of the key truths of management theory today. In my previous post, Matt Jones and Russell Davies talk about slow projects at the Do Lectures, but they also raise a key new idea which has become a reality in our world.
What gets scored, gets played.
This idea becomes empowering when applied to different projects going on. Some readers of this blog would be familiar with the work of Sam Sabey. This week, a slow project which Sam and Nathan have been working on came to fruition – Inspire9 was hooked up to Smart Energy Groups, which itself is another great example of an awesome project that’s been bubbling away for about 2 years now.
The fun is, we can now see the energy score of Nathan and the co-working crew at Inspire9, in real time. See the dash board if you haven’t already. You can see Nathan and Sam putting together their SEGmeter in the stop-motion video below
This is a great example of a slow project, developing right now, which allows us to score and play each other, rather than just measuring and managing ourselves. The score is what will become important, as more and more houses and businesses come on board. Imagine playing your neighbours in a giant energy saving game. That future exists in the project Sam is working on. Exciting times. When you’re next thinking about your project, think about how you can allow people to play with, rather than manage, their stuff.
What is a slow project? And why does it matter how we define it?
Russell Davies, a member of the London based Really Interesting Group (amongst other things), spoke at the Do Lectures about Slow Projects in 2008. Essentially, he theorises that there is this ‘eternal triangle’ in projects: that you can do things good, cheap or fast – but only two at a time.
As we evolve as humans, we are finding ourselves capable of doing much much more with our time than our predecessors. Clay Shirky calls this the Cognitive Surplus. Many of us are finding it obvious that we use this time to express ourselves in a creative capacity, to expand our boundaries, as it were. However, what’s different from previous times, is that we’re often doing this in a way that is beneficial to the planetary ecosystem. We do these slow projects because they are good for the soul of ones self, of others and of the planet.
The world is growing ever more complex. Many of our traditional institutions are no longer providing functional solutions to these wicked problems we find ourselves faced with. What we will find, is that people who have immersed themselves in different slow projects, will have more resilient ideas about how to manage this complexity moving forwards.
Good things take time, and some of the best things have become so good because they have been going for a while. Think about the things you enjoy doing, and think about why you enjoy doing them. Our own projects are going to take time to become that awesome. The idea of a slow project, is to be calm and ok with it taking that time. To be constantly moving closer to ones ambition is the aim.
This blog is one such example. I’m very excited that, after 3 years, I have a subscription button! Please do subscribe up on the top right, and get these blog posts delivered to your inbox!
Sometimes, when you’re trying to get started on a new (epic) project, it can be tough to get traction right away. We always have a lot of questions we ask ourselves.
“How should I think about this?”
“This is really hard. I should think about this.”
You know the ones. Don’t make starting harder than it needs to be. We face a lot of complexity in life – much of it cannot be planned for. The guys from 37signals say business plan should be called business guesses because of the absurd nature for us to expect we can rationally guess where our project will be in 5 years time. I agree – but that’s no excuse to not be strategic in what your doing.
A good way to be strategic, without writing a massive business ‘guess’, is to just use simple acronyms to keep your thinking defined, and moving. Need a PR strategy? Use ROPE. Need a social media strategy? You can’t go past POST. Need a competitor analysis? Do a Blue Ocean Strategy. You don’t need a business strategy…you just need the first mission plan to give your project momentum.
Don’t sit in your chair all day stewing over the best way to structure your thoughts. Use an acronym, and just get started.
What makes something epic? Or awesome? Or just plain brilliant? Have you ever noticed that some new initiatives seem to capture the imaginations and dreams of people – while others simply wither on a vine and never seem to get anywhere? How can you tell if something is going to be awesome, before you start making it happen? Your gut and intuition can get you started, but that will only carry you so far. Your intuition needs more along the way to keep it happy.
You need little flags, things to let people know what’s going on and let them know it’s going to be awesome. Little things you’ve done which will make it ‘epic for sure.’
This could be a key speaker at an event you’re running, the presence of your best friend at a dinner party or a special feature that makes your new offering just zing. The key is to ask yourself – “what will make this epic, for sure?” Think about that ONE thing that will make your project awesome – and then just go and do that. Whatever else happens, doesn’t matter. If you’re proud and pumped to be doing it, the universe will take care of the rest.
At futuresummit, we got 10 of the top twitter users in Australia along for the 2 days. Once that was done, whatever happened was going to be awesome…we didn’t need to worry about the outcome. As a result, #futuresummit ended up being the second highest trending topic in the world over both conference days. It was epic.
So when you next have that ‘awesome idea’ and you’re wondering how to go about making it actually awesome – think about what will make it epic for sure…and just do that.
Photo credit to Ross Hill: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cyberhill/3555090851/