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Art of conversation


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Recent research into the power of conversation, and how it makes us more intelligent, creative and innovative. Presented at trampoline, 16 April 2011.

Recent research into the power of conversation, and how it makes us more intelligent, creative and innovative. Presented at trampoline, 16 April 2011.

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  • Talk about conversation The importance of conversation How it can actually make us smarter
  • Zeldin English historian & author W don’t just exchange facts, we transform them reshape them draw different implications from them, and engage in new trains of thought
  • Conversations where we prepared to change The way we talk shapes what we do If we talk differently, life and work can be more interesting Conversations are intrinsically creative
  • Groups can have a consistent ability to perform tasks Independent of the individual intelligence of group members The whole is greater than the sum of its parts Based from how the team works together
  • Collective intelligence was found to correlate with Social sensitivity of group members Absence of domination by a single member Equal distribution of conversational turn-taking
  • Teams with more women had higher collective intelligence Demonstrated greater social sensitivity Not a designed part of the study Socially sensitive people better - regardless of gender Some may not find this surprising
  • Talked here before about “The Idea Monopoly” The group intelligence here does not sit well with individualists or within hierarchies Requires facilitation, not control
  • Conversation is important to innovation The sole brilliant inventor and the “eureka” moment are rare Johnson writes that good ideas happen - by sharing and recombining unrelated ideas Needs conversations by groups of people Connectedness makes us more creative
  • Johnson talks about the ‘adjacent possible’ Some discoveries depend upon others The printing press first needed invention of paper ink movable type Don’t isolate the sole genius in a laboratory
  • Further research has been done by psychologist Oscar Ybarra This shows that certain types of conversations actually improve individual mental function. This is simply talking to other people - The way you do when you're making friends
  • Only needs to be brief – 10 minutes Friendly conversations Looked at one aspect of mental function - executive function - Working memory Self-monitoring Focus Competitive conversations have no effect
  • The aspects of these conversations that helped were – Trying to understand the other person, Putting yourself in their shoes
  • Expand the range of your possible next moves by conversation Communities of Practice
  • Many conversational knowledge sharing tools The Gurteen Knowledge Café open, creative idea sharing World Café
  • Other conversational tools: Peer Spirit Circle Open Space Technology The Art of Hosting - combines a number of these for different outcomes
  • The conversation may not only be face to face; it may be virtual Microblogging tools like Yammer let us carry on the conversation What are you working on?
  • Other tools like Facebook can add to the conversation Here we can tell when people are around to chat at any time – ambient awareness With social media, we can expand our networks
  • So where does this all take us? Conversation can create new knowledge It helps us work together better It helps us to innovate It even makes us smarter individually
  • It is also through conversation that we can address the complexity we find in today’s organisations It’s how we engage people in organisations Conversation and story help us to understand emergence
  • Conversational test
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Art of Conversation: All of us are smarter than any of us Keith De La Rue
    • 2. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards – Theodore Zeldin
    • 3. Prepare to change What we say shapes what we do Conversation is creative
    • 4. Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups - Woolley et al, 2010
    • 5. Collective intelligence
      • Sensitivity Equality
    • 6. Women and conversation
      • More sensitivity
    • 7. The Idea Monopoly?
      • Not a top-down business meeting
    • 8. Conversation and innovation
      • Progress is more about one door leading to another door
      • - Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From
      • Sharing and recombining ideas
      • -> Conversation
    • 9. The adjacent possible … Don’t isolate the genius in the laboratory!
    • 10. Talking to others can improve individual mental function Friends with cognitive benefits - Ybarra et al, 2010
    • 11. Brief, friendly conversations Improve executive function – Working memory, focus
    • 12. Put yourself in other shoes
    • 13. Get people together in conversation Community
    • 14. Conversations for knowledge sharing and innovation – the café concept
    • 15. Conversational tools
    • 16. Microblogging
    • 17. Networking, awareness, chat
    • 18.
    • 19. Facing complexity in organisations Engaging people
    • 20. The meeting test
      • Have we all been introduced ?
      • Is everyone open and willing to change ?
      • Are we all taking equal turns ?
      • Is the talk friendly and constructive?
      • Do we have sufficiently diverse viewpoints?
    • 21.
      • Let’s talk about it…
      • The Art of Conversation
      • Thomson-Reuters Online Currents
      • (2011) 25 OLC 55 – April
      @kdelarue 0418 51 7676 [email_address]