Lessons from a #LinkyBrains event no one else came to

The LinkyBrains movement is purely accidental. It has gained and is gaining momentum primarily through small groups of people meeting to have coffee, some lunch or just a walk. What brings them together is the idea of different mindsets, curiosity, meeting kindred spirits – whatever.

Messy.Pexels / Pixabay

These ‘coffees’ are shabby-chic. There is often no structure, no theme (beyond being Linky). They are just people with pretty broad common ground, holding space to give their linkyness a chance to conenct. They are nicely messy and vague.

They are also super easy to setup. This is deliberate – the easier and lower risk something is, the likelier it is that the hesitant will try it.

 

But there is risk. People might simply not come. What happens then?

Here are three lessons I learnt from that experience.

Risk very little

Reduce what you could lose. The only real things at stake here were time and money.

It took me all of 10 minutes to find a location that was central, create the event on Doodle and share it on my channels. That’s almost no time at all.

I didn’t book a table at a posh restaurant. I hadn’t hauled post-its, markers and other collaboration tools. I certainly had not paid for anything. So, absolutely no money lost.

Of course, one could argue there was an opportunity cost – what are those things I could have done instead? Great question. I’ll get to that further down this page.

The only thing that stung in all this was my ego and any lesson that helps control that beast is worth almost any cost.

Be OK with no one coming

This was in Malaga, it’s not London or Berlin or Barcelona. LinkyBrains is new, the buzz has not been that well shared in Spain and certainly not in Malaga. Yet, two people had said they would come. My expectations were low, but not zero.

But no one showed up. When I prodded one of the people I was expecting, he apologised and said he was currently in the US!

I was disappointed. Even after 15 years of being involved in conferences, meetings, open space technology, lean coffees, world cafe and most kind of other formats for people getting together to collaborate. I was still disappointed no one showed up.

Then I remembered one of 4 principles I live by. They come from the Open Space Technology framework for running large group conversations

Openspace principles and law

Whoever comes are the right people

The openspace principles are designed to create psychological safety and the single law is a reminder of personal responsibility.

With mojito in hand and view of Malaga port, I quickly accepted that I was the ‘right people’ – this was precious time for me to ponder and converse with myself about neuro-diversity (the core of LinkyBrains) and to reflect on my collaborations in the space.

The two and half hours I spent were some of the most productive of the week. Headphones on:

  • I agreed a deal for some work and got halfway through the Statement of Work draft for it,
  • had 3 chat conversations in parallel with some really cool people,
  • drafted three blog posts (including this one),
  • launched some features on the LinkyBrains.com site,
  • and wrote some code on my side project.

It was OK that no one came. I was there and that was all that ultimately all I could be responsible for.

Do it Better Next Time

When you are learning to ride a bike and you fall off , your instructor encourages you to get back on as quickly as you can – so that your bruised ego and sense of failure do not succeed in convincing you never to try again.

So I got back on. I booked the next event that same night and I’ll do it differently.

I’ll share more regularly leading up to it – via email and socially, in English and Spanish. I’ll prod colleagues and friends to prod their Malaga based friends to check it out.]

I’ll give luck a helping hand.

So – go ahead, if you are curious about LinkyBrains or simply want to get together with other LinkyBrained people, create an event – it will be fine, whatever happens.

Three thoughts on April 14.

I probably could have had a better, more clicky title.

Can the crowd save the world?

My wife and I had a BBQ today. It started out as my idea and it worked beautifully, the end, it was ‘our’ BBQ – everyone who attended.

At one point there were going to be 50 people coming to it – our friends their families.

Catering would be expensive for one person to shoulder. So we said –

bring some food for you all and a little extra for the table.

And that’s what everyone did – some folk brought more than a little and some brought less. But there was plenty for everyone without a strain on anyone.

Even better was lots of people offered to help with this and that, it became a group BBQ.  Very few of them knew each other and I didn’t know everyone that came either.

Might a model like this work for the world – could a simple thing like “do your weekly shop and spend 10% more towards the weekly  food needs for the homeless” transform localised food inequality?

What would happen if for every €10 spent to educate a child in the wealthiest countries, €1 was contributed to a practical, effecient fund to educate a child in the less wealthy countries.

You see where I’m going with this.

Should we be removing dents in the world instead?

I read this by Fred Destin and it made me think ‘dent in the world???’

It’s a reference to Steve Jobs’ famous ding / dent in the Universe quote

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?

Perhaps we aren’t here to put a dent in the Universe.

Perhaps the universe is already dented – blasted by human, environmental and ecological assault. Dents that lend to our World’s broken-ness.

Corruption, wealth inequality, man-made ecological and environmental destruction, slavery, the disconnection of humanity from itself all seem like major dents to me.

Perhaps we are each here to smooth out the dents or at the very least not make them worse?

Can we get to a new world by using the same thinking that got us to this one?

My friend Doug Scott and I chat alot about “Kansas has been destroyed”.

The ‘Kansas’ we mean is in reference to The Wizard of Oz – where Dorothy is swept away from Kansas by a powerful hurricane, and taken to the magical land of Oz and all she wants to do is get back to where she came.

Doug and I speak of a New ‘Oz’ like world, significantly different from this one (which is Kansas) – operates on radically different principles, structures and purpose.

I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that this world of the pursuit of unlimited growth, profit is entirely unsustainable, that a new world is possible and urgently required and the strongest possibility to create it is by discovering, connecting and empowering more #linkybrains in our population.

If you don’t know what a LinkyBrain is – go read this.

Now imagine a world with 100 Elon Musks (Elon, being as Linky as they come!), each working on 3 of the most pressing challenges facing our world, with the urgency, creativity  and resources of the Elon Musk we currently have.

Imagine 1000 or 10000 or 10 million Elon Musks.

But can we get their with the structures, language, rules, motivations and processes that we currently have?

What do you think?