imagesIt’s a poor workman who blames his tools…

This adage conjures an image:

  • a Singer sewing machine
  • my frowning, 4’10” Italian grandmother and
  • a judgment that if times got hard, my earning potential doing “piece work” would be pitiful.

Good that I’m better equipped for 21st Century “piece work”! Probably because the “tools” are more like “toys”.

My favourite new toy is Wordle. Their copy calls it: a toy for generating “word clouds”.

And I had been playing with it as directed – until…

Collaboration, cooperation, and a circle of like-minded souls changed all that!

Complete #SS14 Wordle

Something extraordinary happened when Carol Conway, Freelance Catalyst didn’t use Wordle “as directed”.

She’s the dynamic facilitator who was directing, coordinating & tracking the content, tenor & tone of a  Summer School I attended this week. She employed Wordle to help.

The gift was not in this visual which highlights the output of 25 speakers, but rather that it was a key part of the process. Each day we submitted on post-its – words and themes that resonated with us as they came up.

In the evening, via the magic of the word cloud, she’d create and share an image.

That was powerful enough – but having slept on it – our breakfast conversations were even more enlightened.

Here’s why it mattered:

We think in images. Carol pointed out that we are exposed to thousands (did I hear 50,000?) of bits of information a day. We remember or focus on only a tiny fraction. In a crowded room, the attention of individuals was on different bits – and we all experienced those differently – through our individual filters.

This image of our collective process was a brilliant way to encourage reflection on what had percolated to the top of the group consciousness and encouraged some to bring their voices and passion to other issues that hadn’t been heard.

I delighted in the power it brought to the introverts in the room.

Their voices are empowered by reflective time. This allowed the extraverts to then could see what they may not have heard.

The visuals will speak for themselves!


Days1+2, Day 3 Diptic

Day 1, Day 2 Diptic