Archives For Creative Generalist

Rule 33

September 24, 2016 — Leave a comment


At a RallyEngine team meeting the other day I was reminded of something I posted over 11 years ago at my Creative Generalist blog. It was a post about the essential ingredients of teamwork – true teamwork – called Rule 33. It seems to have endured the test of time, and I still subscribe to this particular rule. I post it again here:

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Last week I presented The Herd of Cats to a great audience at the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto. Although I’d floated the premise out there before at CPRS Ascend in Banff last spring, this was the first real public unveiling of many of the ideas and cases that will be featured in the book.

This was the session’s synopsis in the program:

The Herd of Cats: Startups, Improv, and Disasters

The strange, fringe worlds of tech startups and improv comedy may offer some powerful insights for disaster managers (and vice versa). As cliche as it has become to say that the world is faster-paced and more unpredictable than ever before, many of us – individuals and groups alike – are still overwhelmed and ill-equipped to deal with this new normal. Whether it’s the massive disruption created by new technologies, the turbulent shifts in how interconnected politics and markets behave, or the severe impact of Black Swan events like “one-in-100-year” super-storms, it’s evident that our systems, enterprises, governments, organizations, and ourselves must find better ways to adapt. We are more sensitive to the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity that surrounds us. And we’re more vulnerable to the predictions, plans, tools, and hierarchies that remain entrenched in all facets of our lives. Much of what worked before simply doesn’t anymore, and we need to learn how to approach this new age with ingenuity, versatility, and resiliency. Fortunately, there’s a vanguard – a herd of cats – who have not only figured out how to endure uncertainty but how to thrive in it. Lean, Agile, Holacracy, APIs, Jobs-to-be-Done, Blue Ocean… “Yes, and”, Follow-Your-Foot, active listening, fluid leadership, play… In The Herd of Cats, Steve Hardy sheds light on the dynamic yet disparate worlds inhabited by entrepreneurs, improvisers, and disaster managers. Blend together the maxims of startup culture, the principles of an improv mindset, and the hard realities of disaster resilience, and what you’ll find is the very best approach to navigating the rapidly changing world around us. Hardy enthusiastically explores this fascinating inter-sectional space, profiling each area’s unique stories, philosophies, and best practices, while also illustrating their remarkable similarities and valuable cross-learning.

And here is a narrated video of the deck I presented:

It was an honour to be invited to speak at such a great event, and I am grateful for all of the positive feedback I received from delegates who attended it.

A Tale of Two Conferences

November 15, 2014 — 1 Comment

Last week I attended two very different conferences. Earlier in the week I was in Vancouver for the APCO Canada conference for public safety communicators. And later in the week (and weekend) I was in Austin for the AIN applied improvisation conference. RallyEngine had a tradeshow booth and a small speaking slot at the former and I had no idea what to expect at the latter; a wildcard.

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Blogging Redux

January 3, 2014 — Leave a comment


I started blogging early – April 2002 with the original incarnation of Creative Generalist – and also petered out a bit earlier than others who got into blogging later on. Blogging then was great, both for fleshing out ideas and for meeting interesting people, but the “feeding the beast” part became more difficult as other work and life commitments got busier.

Lately, I’ve wanted to restart but was unsure whether it should still be under the CG banner, which is no longer really a personal blog anymore. Opting instead for something more casual, non-committal, and personal, I’ve expanded this little corner of the internet for my random reflections.

For pithy thoughts and links, I’ll continue to use Twitter. For semi-private stuff I’ll use Facebook (or real conversation). But for longer form essays, ideas, galleries, or whatever else, I’ll post here. I have some thoughts on life and some ambitions for projects; this will be where I share those things and test for echo.