Posts Tagged ‘griting’

G4 — Tabletop Grawing in a Knowledge Cafe

April 19, 2010

Knowledge Cafe is a popular tool for creative exploration and brainstorming together – thinking processes which are more productive if participants’ right brains are more engaged. However, about 94% of people are left-brain dominant and it takes effort and different process techniques to engage their right brains.

A process technique to engage people’s right brains more is by making them draw instead of letting them do talking or writing. Talking and writing words are left-brain activities, while drawing and using images and symbols are right-brain activities.

In a Knowledge Cafe, drawing is encouraged by placing large sheets of Manila or kraft paper as well as several colored pens or crayolas on the table. Participants are free to draw as they talk and think together. If many participate in the creative thinking and drawing process, the evolution of the drawing on the tabletop makes visible to the group what they are thinking together. They are “grawing” (=group drawing)!

Grawing is more a right-brain activity while griting is more a left-brain activity. Tabletop grawing in a Knowledge Cafe is a right-brain activity, while live griting the minutes of a meeting is a left-brain activity. In the grawing-and-griting or G&G Table in the previous blog, the upper rows are more right-brain while the lower rows are more left-brain activities.

Below is the result of tabletop grawing where participants together drew their collective idea of what is “successful community development”. “Tagumpay” is the Tagalog word for “success”.

what is success to the community

One of the participants, Annabelle, verbalized their grawing as follows (translated from Tagalog, shortened and edited while maintaining the essential ideas):

    For us, the start of development is like making walis tingting.* [*Note: “Walis tingting” is a local broom (“walis”) consisting of about a hundred coconut midriffs (“tingting”) tied together. This coconut broom represents a well-known local metaphor for unity: one coconut midriff cannot do anything; it is powerless. But when many are tied together (unity of the community), they gain strength and efficacy.]

    First, the leafy part from each coconut leaflet is removed by a knife to produce one tingting [midriff]. This is like individual discipline: it is difficult or painful but when done, it is a small success. Then many tingtings are tied together into a broom. This is community discipline and unity – a bigger success. With a broom you can clean the seashore of garbage. If the community is united and a project answers community needs – when families get their own house, land and livelihood and they can help themselves and the community – then the project is successful. However, that is not the end-all of success.

    The last stage [see last arrow pointing to houses inside a heart] is when you no longer need the broom because every community member understands and respects or feel responsible for the environment, and no longer throws garbage. That is far greater success.

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G3 — “Track Changes” and Wiki Are Sequential Griting

April 14, 2010

ICT-mediated tools are emerging which facilitate collaborative editing and authoring among a group. By our definition of “griting” these tools are griting tools. They do help a group think together.

These tools can be grouped into two: sequential griting tools and real-time synchronous collaborative griting tools. MS Word “Track Changes” and wiki are sequential or asynchronous griting tools. Editors take turns; one editor starting only after the previous editor had finished. There are many ICT-mediated tools for real-time synchronous editing; those that are web-based can enable people in different geographic locations to collaboratively edit a paper together. Some examples are: LivePad, Google docs spreadsheet, MoonEdit and EtherPad.

These griting tools use mainly text, while mind mapping and other “grawing” tools use drawings, diagrams and other images (see previous blog post on “G1 – Group Mind Mapping”). In both cases, the grawing-and-griting tool facilitates a crucial KM process: a group thinking together.

The diagram below gives you a quick birds-eye view of grawing-and-griting tools I will cover in Blog Series G. Do you have any comments, additions or suggestions?

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G2 — Live Griting the Mintues of a Meeting

April 4, 2010

The minutes (=written record, transcript or documentation) of a meeting is an example of “griting” — it is a record of a group’s discussions and decisions. In this blog series, griting is what we call a visible representation of what a group is thinking or had thought.

The group mind map described in the previous blog is mainly “grawing” (=group drawing) while the minutes of a meeting is largely “griting” (=group writing).

The common and traditional way of writing the minutes consists of:

  1. A secretary takes notes and/or audio recording during the meeting.
  2. After the meeting he drafts the minutes based on his notes and/or by listening to the audio recording.
  3. Before the next meeting, the minutes may or may not be reviewed and corrected by one or more meeting attendees.
  4. In the next meeting, the group reviews, agrees on final corrections and approves the minutes.

This common method is prone to many errors:

  • Days or even months pass between meetings. If no audio recording was made, the minutes is based on error-prone recall.
  • Reconstructing what was said and decided from an audio recording takes 2-3 times longer than the duration of the meeting.
  • If no audio recording was made, meeting attendees may have different recall of what was said and will have to spend extra time to decide what should appear in the minutes.
  • The speaker can change his mind since the previous meeting.
  • In the end, the minutes is a poor record of what had actually been said.

In live griting of the minutes of a meeting, the above errors are reduced.

In courts, special stenographic skills and machinery are employed to produce real-time transcripts of court proceedings as verbatim as possible. The main aim of a certified verbatim reporter is 100% accuracy of reporting. However, in griting the main aim is to make visible to a group what they are thinking. Griting is a tool for thinking together.

Live griting the minutes of a meeting can be implemented as follows:

  • A secretary, using a laptop attached to an LCD projector, records the minutes of a meeting while the meeting is going on.
  • The meeting attendees see on the projector screen the minutes as it is being written a few seconds after a statement is made or a decision is reached.
  • Any meeting attendee can immediately correct the record, if needed, and the secretary immediately implements the correction.
  • As the group goes through its thinking processes, the minutes gets written; constant interaction of the group with the secretary assures that the minutes evolves in a manner that reflects the result of the discussion with accuracy acceptable to the group — this is the essence of “grawing-and-griting” or G&G.

By the time the meeting is done, the minutes of the meeting is also done!

Furthermore, technology has now advanced to the point where the tool for G&G can be placed and collaboratively worked on-line. For example, an on-line meeting can be conducted among attendees from different geographical locations where everyone is talking and thinking together via a conference VoIP call and synchronously co-writing/editing an online minutes of the meeting as the on-line meeting is going on!

An inexpensive combination is conference VoIP call via Skype, and on-line co-writing/editing of the minutes using Google docs — a G&G technology within reach of most everyone to enable a geographically-dispersed group of people to think together!

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G1 — Group Mind Mapping

March 28, 2010

A group mind map is a picture of the consensus of a group about an idea or topic. The example below is the product of a group mind mapping exercise that I facilitated for a class of Malaysian educators in 2005 on the topic “How Do We Learn” (click on the map to see a bigger and better image in another tab). This sample mind map follows the basic structure of Tony Buzan’s mind maps: the topic is stated in the central oval and the sub-topics are portrayed as main branches and sub-branches. This mind map is an image that communicates the consensus of the group on what are the components and scope of the topic.

A group mind map is the product while group mind mapping is the process of producing it. The group process is interactive discussion to reach group decisions such as:

  • Consolidating ideas from individual members of the group
  • Clustering or re-clustering of ideas
  • Naming or labeling a cluster
  • Deciding what are the main branches and what are the sub-branches
  • Adding or removing branches
  • Collapsing several branches into one
  • Disaggregating a branch into several branches
  • Discussing differences in thinking and arriving at a consensus on the above.

What is essential in the group-drawing or “grawing” process is that the group mind map must constantly and immediately reflect every group decision. I implement this using a flexible mind mapping software (I use ConceptDraw Mindmap Professional) in my laptop which is connected to an LCD projector so that the group sees how the mind map is changed to reflect their decisions, such as:

  • Creating or deleting branches or sub-branches
  • Changing the label of a branch or sub-branch
  • Detaching a branch/sub-branch and re-attaching it elsewhere
  • Changing formats: mind map shapes, colors, text fonts, etc.

In this way, the mind map projected on the big screen in front of the group is an immediate reflection of the current thinking of the group. As the group revises its thinking about the topic, the group mind map in front of them changes accordingly. This is the essence of “grawing-and-griting”.

Last Friday, I formulated and showed the “First-Pass DRR-CCA Mind Map” below to a group of government executives from around 25 Asian countries, multilateral and bilateral donor agencies, international NGOs and various UN agency representatives (click on the map to see a bigger and better image in another tab). My purpose was to show them an example of how a single image can (a) convey the wide scope and different components of DRR-CCA or Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, (b) serve as a means for leveling off understanding of DRR-CCA among numerous stakeholders, (c) show a person any “blind spots” he may have on the broad field of DRR-CCA, and (d) provide an initial consensus that can be the basis of a knowledge taxonomy in DRR-CCA.

Because this mind map is the product of thinking alone by one person (me), this is NOT an example of a grawing-and-griting. Grawing-and-griting is the process and product of a group thinking together — the topic of this G Series of blogs.


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