Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Swedish art of Reflection

A few weeks ago an excited clutch of RKCR-ers attended a three-day course run by Hyperisland, the Swedish digital university.

It’d taken me six months to organise the thing.

And it didn’t disappoint.

They opened our eyes to a load of cool stuff.

Around social media, data, analytics, APIs, hacking, crowd sourcing, Swedish schnapps…

But there was something else they exposed us to that was nothing to do with new technologies.

Or, indeed, digital.

It was something far more profound.

Hyperisland practice an exercise they call ‘reflection’.

And they’re pretty dogmatic about it.

Each morning, before we flung ourselves into the day’s learning, we were asked, or rather forced, to sit and think about the previous day.

About what we found most interesting and useful.

It was a simple, but strictly followed process.

We’d each be given 15 minutes to go over our notes individually.

Then we’d be split into groups of five and we’d be given another 15 minutes to each discuss our learnings amongst ourselves.

Finally the whole room would share their thoughts one by one.

(At this point anyone who’d been anywhere near group therapy found themselves squirming just a little bit.)

The result was astonishing.

We’d start the process each believing that our perspective on what we’d experienced was the only truth.

Believing that, surely, everyone would have taken what we had out of the day.

We’d end the session with 30 different interpretations of the same thing.

Each just as valid as ours.

Group reflection is a type of crowd sourcing.

A fantastic way of generating thoughts, perspectives and insights. 


It's something we could all utilise in many ways. 

If we carved out the time to do so!

The experience also powerfully confirmed something we all know already:

Never ever presume someone else’s perspective is the same as yours.

We so often assume that everyone can see our ideas for the brilliant things we believe them to be.

And we get frustrated when people - agency, client, or punter - can’t see what we see.

Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

And if we want others to understand ours we need to do more than simply presume they already do.

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