Archive for the ‘ethics/values’ Category


Anyone that has read this blog over the last few years will know that I’m basically a very optimistic person.

I believe that feeling hopeful is why I get out of bed in the morning.

And the last year and a half have provided a lot of interesting challenges and opportunities … most of which I have met with a measure of good cheer and creative thinking.

Yup – there have been duvet days and I love them.

And I’ve had fantastic support from family and friends … my love and thanks to you all.

I believe that nothing stays the same – good or bad – and part of thriving in this crazy chaos is to build your capacity for resilience and humour and patience and persistence.

Even in the worst moments I knew that it wouldn’t last.

Not being clairvoyent is a gift … I really, really, really … really … don’t want to know the future.

And many of my friends and family have faced their own big challenges this year – ill health, death of loved ones, financial woes … loss of some kind.

People’s capacity for courage and just damn good humour in the shittiest situation never ceases to encourage and amaze me.

Many of you have been my inspiration this year … thank you so much.

And now for the good news.

I heard a week ago that myself and a Dublin consultancy had won a nice contract.

It means that I will have more money guaranteed for the next 6 months.

The relief is wonderful … and the genteel poverty of the last 18 months wasn’t all bad either. It’ll just be nice to be able to pay bills and rent on time …and then buy some winter clothes.

I’ve also applied for an Entrepreneurial Internship grant with the National Digital Research Centre in Dublin. If I win one then I have to move to Dublin for 3 months and build a SKIL2 prototype.

Special thanks to my brother Marc for doing all the visual branding for SKIL2 and for agreeing to be my Brand Director.

More thanks to my good friend Margaret Lonergan who has agreed to be my Visual Interface Design Director [a bit of a coup as Margaret was Head of Visual Communications in the National College of Art and Design until feb this year when she went back to her visual communications consultancy] as we design the most beautiful + practical + affordable online learning space.

And even more thanks to Amy [one of my international SKIL2 Mentors] who read through the application form and gave me detailed and brilliant feedback that made it even better.

I gave everyone fab titles because currently they have been giving me their time and talents for free. When SKIL2 makes money they are sooooo getting a bonus.

Exciting and scary … as all adventures should be.

I’ll hear whether I am invited to pitch the idea to a panel by tomorrow.

Writing the grant application was really useful as I had to further refine and clarify what SKIL2 was all about.

And I got to do it twice!!! Lucky me.

I had to work online within their site …and when I went to save a pile of work I’d typed … it disappeared …never to be found again by the NDRC techies.

That was fun …rewriting everything. On the sunny side …I further refined my ideas.

When shit happens I tend to give myself a moment or two [or 20 … depending on the crisis] to feel angry, sad & scared.

Then I get on with it and find a solution and ask for help.

My fundamental power is to choose my attitude in any given situation.

Smiles in the sunshine are easy … smiles when crap hits the fan … well … that’s a tad more challenging.

To be honest, I really don’t like what happens when I get angry. Lots of chemicals flow thru my system and make my body hurt and I feel sick.

Calm tends to be my default state.

And things are happening in Ballinamore.

This Friday Mary from Cara Pharmacy is having a fundraiser for the Northwest Hospice at the Commercial Hotel.

It’s free entry and there will be:

  • a make up demonstration
  • Fashion parade
  • wine tasting
  • Flower arranging demonstration with Gail
  • Goodie Bags
  • Cannaboe Cake decorating demonstration from Sharon
  • Finger Food
  • Raffles

A great night out.

I’ll miss it as I’m starting work in Dublin on the new contract on Thursday and Friday and then I have 2 fully booked Blogsite Design workshops for Artists + Creative Entrepreneurs on Saturday and Sunday.

They are in Koh Restaurant and the owners have given me a private wified dining area for free – many thanks to them for sponsoring the workshops.


I  love finding beautiful places to create learning events. All the participants will be able to order food and refreshments as they learn.

koh seminar room

I hope there are fab things happening for you.



p.s Coco dog is fab as usual. We’ve been getting straight up and out walking at 7.45am every morning. Coco loves it … and I yawn my way down the street.

I let her loose at the canal at the bottom of the street and she just runs and runs and runs. I stroll and enjoy the morning quiet.


For the last 3 days we’ve seen the rare and shy kingfisher bird … tiny and a dazzling blue. It skims along the canal and yesterday it stopped and sang. This morning it skimmed twice and then we saw 5 swans fly across the sky and a rainbow.


p.s.s I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a time billionaire while I’ve been experiencing genteel poverty.

It’s given me space to develop SKIL2 and Life Dreaming as well as do a pile of probono work and fundraising.

Well, I’m at it again.

Aine Martin and I are running the Big Clothes Swap Party in Ballinamore on November 27th. As far as we know, it’s the first one in the Northwest of Ireland.

Marc has done his usual design genius job of creating a poster.

I’ve attached it here just in case you want to print it and share it around.





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I’ve been a little discombobulated the last few days.

There are changes in the wind and movement on SKIL2 …and for the last few weeks I’ve been very excited …until yesterday …when I woke feeling really irritable and tired … and started sneezing for 18 hours …and yelled at Coco.

Took me a while but I realized that I was afraid … of moving from my comfort zone …of SKIL2 falling on it’s arse …of doing this all on my own.

And yesterday I asked some people to help me with areas of SKIL2 …and I drank lots of tea …and felt crappy.

Spent the last few hours today reading blogs online …and joined up to go to an online learning conference [online and free] in November to see the current learning trends internationally.

What was even more useful was reading a blog post by a woman who cracks me up with her daily writing about her life …Jessica writes the Booshy blog.

Todays post was called ‘ Are you afraid? Of what?’ and she wrote about her dream to write …and the fear that was blocking it.

One of the things I love about blogging is that people respond with support and their own stories.

I wrote a comment to support Jessica and found myself clarifying a few things for myself.

And what if you don’t write?

What’s the payoff … the reward for staying where you are?

What’s the pain?

And …if you move forward [or sideways …wherever!] what’s the payoff …what’s the pain?

You know that voice in your head [and are you sure there’s only one? I have about a dozen, but don’t tell anyone]?

Tell it to Shut The Feather Up!

And as for fear … it’s holding hands with courage and excitement.

One step …one bite …one leap … whatever … just do one thing to move toward your dream.

your dream …not anyone elses …not society’s …or your friends …or your families …your dream.

As for FAILURE … what does it even mean?

Having a dream … a purpose …a sense of passion … makes us feel alive …that’s success,

Making promises to yourself to act on the dream …now …that’s success.

Speaking it and asking for support …that’s success.

Swearing and nagging hubby as you struggle and flow in your writing … that’s success.

Eating your body weight in yummies as you muse on your ideas …that’s success.

Finding reasons to stay in your comfort zone … that’s normal.

I know FEAR by its first name …it’s an insidious little bastard and it can wrap it’s tentacles around you in a way that feels almost comforting.

It’s voice is all the excuses for not doing and being the incredibly perfect/imperfect person you wish to be.

yeh – there are millions of books …so what?

We all have unique voices …so go sing.


p.s I’m in the middle of a 2 day fear attack about a whole enterprise I’m developing. One moment I know it could revolutionise learning spaces for charities … the next …I’m sure a million other people have done it.

So …my gut wrenches and I can’t stop sneezing [yeh – a hysterical stress reaction …except when you’ve been sneezing on and off for 18 hours!] …and I even yelled at my lovely dog Coco [i’ve apologised].

And … I’m not ignoring the feelings … I’m listening and working out new ways to focus the project and get support.

I’m also allowing myself to be afraid and excited and proud of how far I’ve brought the idea forward in a year.

And writing this to you …initially to support you …has provided a sense of support for me. Thanks Jessica.

Oh yeh … as I was writing away I realised that I’d stopped sneezing!

And I’m going to take Coco for a walk and be content.

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I woke yesterday and felt a bit blah blah.

I’ve been feeling a bit that way for a while now … and I know that part of it has to do with not having paid contracts and a tight cash flow.

I’m financially poor at the moment… and it’s been like that for over a year.

I was also getting really really bored with myself … and my cottage was just getting more untidy… all part of the blah blahs.

It was as if my home was starting to reflect some inner untidiness and lethargy that was building in me.

That’s both the good and bad of being as introspective as I am … I can’t hide from myself for too long … and … I promised myself a long time ago that I would tell myself the truth about what I was feeling … and why… regardless of how hard it was to hear.

I also listen really really closely to my self talk … both the internal and external.

What I realised today is that drip by drip … day by day … I was beginning to take on what I call a poverty mentality.

I could hear myself saying stuff like:-

When I get the money I’ll

  • get someone to tidy up for me
  • do up the bathroom (which is cold and damp in the winter and not terribly inviting)
  • do this … do that … blah blah blah
  • I can’t do this or that because I haven’t got the money

    Now … some of that is true.

    And a lot has nothing to do with not having money … it has to do with the creeping inertia and exhaustion and mild depression that can descend when money is tight for over a year… and it can start to erode more than your bank account.

    It can start to affect how you see yourself and your life.

    If you’ve never had money issues over a sustained period of time … then you won’t know what I’m talking about.

    Even with the most positive attitude in the world … you still need a certain amount of money to survive … there are bills … and clothes … and food.

    So today I decided to forget work and blogs and SKIL2 and Life Dreaming.

    My mission was to recreate my home and make it look abundant and clean and tidy.

    And the only person that was going to do it was me … all the cleaning fairies were off on holidays.

    I decided to do an easy room first (the lounge) and get a sense of quick achievement.


    Then I chose the hardest room … the bathroom … and spent 3 hours scrubbing and cleaning and throwing out and recreating.

    It’s now one of the loveliest rooms in the cottage.


    I was having such a good time (really!) that I did the kitchen as well … and all the floors and the dishes and 2 loads of washing.

    Took Coco for a long walk in a cloud of satisfaction.




    My house no longer exudes a kind of sad untidiness … it is bright and alive and … me.

    As soon as I realised that I had fallen slowly into a poverty mentality … I actively changed it … at a physical (my home) … and mental (my thoughts and self talk) level.

    I might not have very much money … but I refuse to develop a shrinking sense of myself and my power and potential.

    It’s waaaaaay too easy to fall into that trap.

    It’s time for abundance.

    Thanks for listening.



    And … I’ve had the pleasure of minding Mags cat Patsy this week.

    I go in for an hour in the morning … feed her … and then we play.

    Gets repeated in the afternoon.


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    I’ve always wondered about that poor camel.

    Carrying his burdens until a small thing like a straw broke its back … bummer.

    I was thinking about the camel and straw as Coco and I played in the meadow.

    I throw the stick … she runs like blazes and brings it back … I throw the stick …

    It’s a great partnership.

    I think there are different kinds of camels in each of our lives that can reach breaking point.

    For someone I love dearly … it was emotional.

    For me? It’s got to be financial.

    I went to my credit union today only to find that the money I thought I had to cover food and basics for the next few weeks … I don’t have.

    It all is now held against a loan I took out last year.

    I love my credit union and all the people that work there at the front desk and in voluntary capacity.

    I’m thinking it might be useful for them to relook at this policy.

    I need that money to buy food … pay bills … and also use it to pay my weekly loan repayments.

    Now? I can’t do anything.

    I totally understand the need to have some money held against a loan … but doing it when a customer has no other money is kind of counter productive.

    As it’s my first loan they hold back 20% of the loan amount as surety … maybe for the next 6 months or so they could drop the amount to 10% or even 5%.

    As I said … I love my credit union and maybe they’ll be able to help me … who knows?

    That was the straw that didn’t break my camels back … but certainly hurt it a lot.

    [I want to note that the lovely lady at the counter did let me take out a few euros so I would be able to buy food … they are great people … and I want to be very clear that I am not criticising them … just offering a suggestion].

    Anyone that regularly reads this blog … and I send you lots of good wishes … knows that I take a proactive … positive … and practical approach to living.

    I work out what is outside my control … world peace … global and national recession … my clients and the community sectors dwindling budgets … an incompetent Irish government … and just let it go.

    I work out what is within my control … developing a Focused Solutions info pack … staying healthy … enjoying Coco … contacting ex clients … dropping my rates … bartering … doing free stuff in the community … keeping a positive attitude … working on SKIL2 and Life Dreaming as future income streams … asking for support … consciously being grateful for my health, family & friends … writing this blog … and sorting my accounts so I can apply for social welfare {which will be almost nothing as they don’t really cater for self employed people} … and just get on with it.

    My consultancy seemed to be have been affected as early as April 2008 … nothing like being on the cutting edge of a recession!

    And … people have been fantastic in bartering and dropping in coal over the winter … and even dropping in a few euro now and again … thanks folks.

    I’m doing what I can and I know that hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland are experiencing similar financial pressures.

    Do I envy people with steady incomes … girlfriends going on sunny vacations … people with partners who can help take the financial strain?

    Truthfully? Yeh … a bit.

    And … I’m also very happy for them. I don’t wish financial stress on anyone and take a great deal of pleasure in my friends lives.

    So … Coco and I will tighten our belts a little more … no problem … and we’ll stay optimistic and hope that a call will come through from someone asking me to do some contract work … real soon … like next week … like Tuesday afternoon.

    It does get hard … and I do feel down sometimes.

    It’s no picnic working out which bill you can throw a few euro at … and not knowing when any work will come through.

    Yup … there are tears sometimes … and then I just get on with it all … another step at a time.

    Taking Coco for a walk and letting her run free always cheers me up.

    Even when she pulled stuffing out of my couch this morning … I still love her and she helps lift my spirits.

    So … to all of you who have income … are off on holidays … about to move into new homes … have partners who can help financially … I send you the very best wishes.

    And … to all those people who are experiencing real financial stress … I totally empathise and send you big wishes for:

    • a kind bank manager and/or credit union
    • a job or new contract
    • a win on the Lotto
    • a financial windfall
    • new ways to make money and/or barter
    • a kind social welfare or community welfare officer
    • lower bills

    And to those people experiencing what I call faux financial stress … where you have to cut back to 2 holidays a year and cheaper booze … get over yourselves.

    Me? I feel better just writing this.

    My life is pretty damn great … I live in a fantastic town … have good friends and family … am involved in the community … am in reasonable health … get to develop 2 social enterprises with one of my fab brothers … and have Coco.

    And I won’t pretend that 14 months of financial lean times don’t take their toll … they bloody do.

    Here’s to a phone call next week with the offer of a contract worth between 3,500 and 6000 euro.

    Appreciate it if you’d take a second and send that wish off for me ... ta.

    And whatever your camel happens to be … know that you can bend and not break.



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    A gorgeous day so far … sun is beaming down on everyone.

    I took Coco for a walk and we smiled and said hello to everyone (we do that rain or shine) as we walked down the main street … nice to see all the visitors in town.

    We stopped at the canal basin to admire the bridge and look at the boats that were moored overnight … imagine drifting along in the sunshine today … bliss on a stick.



    Then we wandered down the road to the water works … my legs are still sore from the cycle ride to Riversdale last week … pathetic!

    Coco once again went to say hello to the sheep and was puzzled why they don’t come over and play.


    I think the sheep are all standing there looking at Coco and thinking ‘ yeh right … we’re sheep …  but we’re not that stupid … no way do we want to play with the big Not Sheep‘.


    [Obviously sheep do not have an extensive vocabulary of names for other animals … so everything that isn’t a sheep is a ‘Not Sheep’]

    Coco doesn’t even bark … she just stands there smiling.

    As Coco ran back and forth smelling and checking things out … I continued my wee exercise of looking at the detail in the landscape … seeing the small things that we usually miss as we scan the big picture.


    Love all the flowers …




    and even looking at a single fern amidst all the other ferns … is kind of nice.


    As Coco ran back and forth I tried a new way to encourage her to come back to me … I stood still and called ‘ back here’ … and as she came back I raised my hand in the stay signal and then pointed my finger down and said ‘Sit … Stay’.

    To my utter amazement … she did it … and stayed.


    clever Coco

    I let her sit for about 3 or 4 seconds and then said ‘go play’ … which she was happy to do.

    I think we are growing up a bit together.

    I saw the meadow full of flowers and wanted to get a closer shot … so climbed a wee rise … and put my hand in some sheep poo … lovely … and got the shot.


    And as we walked along I saw a barge floating down the canal.


    I bless every day that I live here in Ballinamore … there is beauty everywhere … if you stop and look.

    Coco kept running and I enjoyed all the flowers snuggled into the ferns.



    I was thinking about when I gave blood yesterday … fear is an interesting beast … it can freeze you … and it can make you bold … motivate you to move forward.

    I’m (and my family) are really afraid of needles  … and … I decided that giving blood beat my fear of needles.

    Having said that … my heart was racing when I went to the donor centre in our Community Centre … I went there as soon as the doors opened.

    It takes a wee while to fill out forms … and get asked questions and have your finger pricked to check your ok … and all the while I’m trying not to think about the needle.

    I get escorted to the donor area … I think I may have looked like I was going to bolt … and they check my blood pressure … all fine.

    Another nurse comes over and they have trouble finding the veins in both my arms … my heart starts to race as this usually means that they have to move the needle back and forth between my arms … scarey.

    I explained my fear of needles and how the last time I went to donate they jabbed the needle into a muscle … yup … I have good reason to fear the bloody things.

    Anyway … they found a vein and I looked away with my eyes shut … trying to relax and breathe … and they put the needle in … and it stings.

    I kept my eyes shut as I got used to the needle being there … and the  nurse asked me if I was ok … I couldn’t speak as tears of relief were wandering down my cheeks … I just looked at her an nodded.

    They were really sweet and said I was very brave for giving blood even though I was soooooo scared.

    All done … and thank goodness I don’t have to give blood again for 4 months.

    All the staff there are dotes and seem to be on the road a lot … often away from home for weeks on end.

    After I finish writing this blog post  I’m focusing on my lovely long To Do list … this is a week of focusing on the details.


    I did my fab mind map yesterday to give me a sense of what was a priority … and because I love ticking things off when they get done.



    delighted to see what I’ve already done  … and it’s only 11.30am.

    • walk Coco – √ done... may do another walk if the sun stays out
    • take pictures … upload & resize – √ done.
    • write blog post … √ done.
    • email my wonderful sis … √ done.
    • type up SKIL2 info pack I wrote on the train
    • clean kitchen … part of my One Room a Day campaign
    • write brothers birthday cards and post them … √ done.
    • go say hi to Mags
    • drink a litre of water … √ done.… and will drink another before the day is out
    • say hi to Dee … √ done.
    • do up window boxes … today or tomorrow
    • prepare dinner … lovely baked chicken breasts covered in yoghurt and have with coleslaw I made yesterday
    • do one hour of Scribus (open source design software) learning

    That should do it … and I’ll find time to loll in the sun … wearing SPF 40.

    Hope you have a great day.




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    I took Coco for a 1 hour walk yesterday to one of our favourite places … the meadow at the back of the convent … one of the few places close to town where she can safely run around.


    you can see the canal from the meadow

    I decided that I wanted to take photos of the small features of the landscape … get really close up.


    It got me thinking about how important it is to see the forest and the trees and the leaves … in my work and life.

    The forest for me are the core values that drive everything I do and am … the larger landscape and vision I have for my life.


    The trees are the dreams I have for the next few years … SKIL2 … Life Dreaming … getting fit and healthy … being a part of Ballinamore … seeing my family in Singapore & Oz … leasing land to build my own natural build home … go to Paris etc etc


    The leaves are the day to day … week by week … activities that move me towards the dreams … the myriad details that need to be done and researched and organised.

    Quite literally … the blades of grass … the grains of sand.


    This week is a Leaves Week for my work… lots of details … lots of learning … lots of discipline (in a fun kind of way) … steady and consistent progress and work on … SKIL2 & Life Dreaming & getting Fit and Fab.

    And when I feel exasperated and too caught up in the leaves (I call it the trenches) … I’ll sit back … take a few deep breathes … and remember why I am developing the two social enterprises (Trees) … what I hope to achieve with them globally (Forest).

    It all links and you need to create and reflect and plan and action on all three levels … or you’ll just get really confused and frustrated.


    There’s no point in imagining a great forest (values) and trees (dreams) … if you aren’t prepared to deal with the leaves (the actual work of making it happen).


    And … there is nothing more frustrating than getting caught up in the day to day actions of life (leaves) … if you have no real idea of what your dreams (trees) and values (forest) are.

    That’s what I started thinking as I was taking all the close up photos … yup … I’ve got a brain that doesn’t stop.


    Coco meanwhile was being Zen Dog … and just being in the moment.


    I think her forest, trees and leaves are all the same thing.

    If this was my default expression and feeling … I’d be a very happy person.


    I sat in the meadow enjoying looking at the detail of everything … the small things … and then looking up as Coco came gamboling straight at me with a stick.


    She had a great time and so did I … win win … and … she came back when I called her … good Coco.



    We bought 2 ice creams and gave one to Dee in the Forge … Coco loves visiting her.

    Now it’s Monday … and I’m off to immerse myself in a pile of SKIL2, Life Dreaming & Getting Fit and Fab … Leaves.

    Have a great week.




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    Big Reminder before I start the main post from Sharon Sweeney

    Just to let everyone know that the Blood Donation Clinic returns to the Community Centre in Ballinamore on Monday 8th June 2009.

    Clinic times are 3.00pm to 4.45pm and 7.00pm to 9.30pm.

    We were below the 100 donations at the last clinic so we really need to get above this number at the next one or we may lose it to another town.

    Thanks to everyone who attended the previous clinics.  Please try to get to this one and if you can get there please bring a friend.

    From Liz – My blood is RH O Neg so I’m going to be very brave (I’m needle phobic … runs in the family) and go down there on Monday. I’ll be the one whimpering in the corner … and staying the longest. My blood takes forever to come out … and I sometimes have to have the needle moved around between my arms … I feel dizzy just writing this … don’t want to do it  … fear fear fear … but the blood is needed.

    Love Sunday … a lovely slow day … street is quiet.

    I read until 3am this morning and was still up at 7am to let Coco out … and then … back to bed to sleep for another few hours.


    I’ve been uploading and resizing photos from my Dublin trip this week and Coco is sitting in her chair … looking at the photo and around the office I see I’ll be doing some tidying tomorrow morning.

    The Dublin trip was a great success.

    I went over there on Thursday by train … very comfortable and I love seeing the countryside go by … lovely and sunny.

    My meeting wasn’t until Friday so I had a great wander on both the Northside and Southside.

    They are separated by the Liffey and connected by a heap of bridges.

    This photo shows one of Dublins favourite bridges … the Ha’Penny Bridge.


    I used to live in one of the apartments in the red brick building on the northside (the left) … 1 minute from the bridge.



    Some of my favourite streets in Dublin city include:




    Dame Street … at one end is Trinity  and at the other is Christchurch … and my Juries Hotel. Temple Bar runs off Dame Street and faces onto the Liffey.


    Off Dame Street is Georges Street and the beautiful Georges St Arcade … a covered market. Great little streets run off it and you end up on …



    Grafton Street … which is a key pedestrian area with a lot of shops. Stephen’s Green Park is at one end.


    Parliament Street runs into Dame street on the South side and then you go across a bridge to the northside and one of my favourite streets … Capel Street.



    It has some great pubs and really old shops.





    One of the main shopping streets on this side of the river suns off Capel Street … it’s a mix of Mary Street and Henry Street … and there are heaps and heaps of shops as well as open markets.



    It ends up at O’Connell Street which is a major part of Dublin history … a little run down but always full of character. The O’Connell St photos were taken on Saturday morning when I was on the LUAS train to Connolly train station … it was bucketing down after days of sunshine.



    I was in Depaul Ireland nice and early on Friday for my 11am SKIL2 Team meeting to set everything up. I keep meaning to take a photo of the team but we just get so engaged in our chats that I forget.


    The meeting ran from 11am to 2pm and I organised for sandwiches, fruit and cheese to be brought in so we can eat and talk.

    The major part of the meeting was spent standing around the SKIL2 learning space design that I have developed … commenting … questioning … adding … changing.

    P1060613 P1060614 P1060615

    My design mantra is


    butterfly butterfly butterfly

    So … that mantra informs every design decision and discussion and the Team are very aware of it … to the extent that they are now commenting on other sites I show them in those terms.

    After 2 meetings I feel we have captured the key design elements and the Team has been of invaluable assistance in making it even more user friendly.

    This week I’ll be transferring the paper design to a new open source design software called Scribus … which I have to teach myself to use first!

    As we are standing looking at the design it raised all sorts of great questions, ideas and comments from the Team:

    • how can we engage people to use SKIL2?
    • SKIL2 will be a great way to capture organisational memory
    • what if we ….. they have heaps of ideas
    • here’s how we can link it into existing systems and processes
    • it’s a great tool for challenging good practice and sharing our knowledge
    • how do we deal with people who abuse the space? [my response … the same way as you do in face to face encounters … link back to your policies on best practice, bullying etc … have clear written codes of conduct …]
    • let’s open SKIL2 to our volunteers as well
    • how can we eventually include service users?
    • etc etc etc etc

    The discussions are amazing and I facilitate in a way that makes people feel safe enough to be challenging and excited and unsure.

    We also started our Elevator Pitch exercise … where we will develop a 60 second SKIL2 pitch.

    I asked people to throw in their thoughts and ideas on the following questions:

    1. who is SKIL2 for?
    2. what problems/needs does it solve?
    3. what opportunities does it seize?
    4. what values/benefits does it offer to an organisation and individual?
    5. what are it’s key features?
    6. what calls to action do we need to develop?

    We got to number 4 and we’ll finish it off via a group email.

    Over lunch I showed the Team a range of interesting sites … a social media for non profits site ... a cool tools for schools site …a site that shows you alternative open source software to the paid stuff … and open course ware sites [I gave the links in my last post].

    At each meeting over lunch I will be showing the Team different aspects of social media … online learning … open source etc.

    It’s like a literal and figurative Bite Sized Learning session … their knowledge, skills and confidence in these areas will grow as I show them more and more ways that it all works.

    flower flower flower

    SKIL2 and everything I develop is based on an interesting mix of conceptual models and my own experience:

    • adult learning theory
    • social justice theory
    • social media and Web 2
    • community building
    • change theory
    • group theory
    • facilitation theory
    • knowledge management
    • learning organisation models
    • learning styles theory
    • communication models
    • a range of learning models
    • social action research
    • organisational development theories
    • feminist and power theories
    • structure and process systems theory
    • psychology
    • neuro lingusitics programming
    • sociology
    • design theory
    • art
    • information architecture

    It all informs the way I work with people … and the kinds of things (products, processes and services) that I want to develop and share with the world.

    And at the end of the meeting as we were setting a date in September for the next Team session … I apologised for having to convene 2 three hour long meetings in 2 weeks and I explained that I wanted to get key feedback from them on SKIL2 design before the summer holidays.


    I promised that the next meeting would be shorter … maybe 90 minutes to 2 hours … and they all said they wanted the meetings to be longer and stay at 3 hours … they really want to learn and discuss and build SKIL2 into Depaul Ireland.

    First time in 25 years people have asked me to make the meetings longer … they are really engaged in the whole SKIL2 process … and … I facilitate meetings that are always results oriented … and fun.

    After the meeting I went to stay with a good friend Mary and chatted into the night … love that.

    Then back on the train in the rain on Saturday … thanks William for picking me up.

    Now I’m off to walk Coco and begin a new pattern of health  living:

    • cycling to Riversdale (10min each way) and swimming for an hour … 2 to 3 times a week
    • walking Coco every day … at least an hour 4 times a week … and shorter on other days
    • eating healthy … which I’m doing anyway
    • 4 to 5 alcohol free days a week
    • try the You Tube free personal trainer sessions … twice a week

    I intend to be Fit & Fabulous for my 50’s … coming up in 47 days.

    I will enter that age fitter than I have been in over 30 years.



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