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Light weight and then plain wrong

By Dave Snowden  ·  February 25, 2015  ·  Polemic

Just to be clear, the opening picture is not intended to represent the human brain. Now in my wildest dreams I would not have believed it possible for anyone to assert it did, but that nightmare was realised today.   Having delivered a workshop on knowledge mapping yesterday I had the day to catch up on email and also to tune into the conference before speaking first thing tomorow.  I decided to go to the opening keynote by an Australian speaker which advertised itself as providing insight into the use of design thinking in intranet design.  In practice all it turned out to be was a parade of web sites that had won awards, supposedly to inspire us to greater things.   Now I can look at award winning sites on the web, I don't need to attend a reading aloud story session.  If I put the time in to hear a speaker I expect to know more about how it is done as well as the odd why; but nothing was offered beyond a Ladybird Guide to the Intranet.

I wasn't the only one dissapointed.  The first question was to ask where design thinking had come in and the questioner was fobbed off.  So I asked it again but more directly and was told I had asked a good question.   Now I tried that trick on an Austraian a decade or more ago and got the fast response: I didn't ask you to rate my question you pommie bastard, I asked you to answer it.   I've been waiting to use it on an Australian ever since so I did.   Again I got nothing aside from a remarkably juvenile comment that he was sure they used a lot of hexies.  He also suggested that anyone could learn about design thinking by searching on the web and he was sure the sites he had presented had used some aspects of it.  Now I think that means he had no idea about the subject, something compounded by the fact that he had nothing to do with any of the sites, nor had he done any research as to how they had been produced.

His crowning folly was to tell people there was no excuse not to build a low cost intranet because a school had one one.  Well give me a bunch of tech savvy 16 year olds giving their time for free and I am pretty sure I could get a good outcome.   However he knew nothing of the ethics of doing that in a school and since when are there hoards for free 16 years olds avaible for corporate IT developments?  Not only theory lite, but practice lite as well.

All of that put me in a bad mood but I didn't imagine it could get aan worse, but it did in a suibsequent track session.   The presentation claimed to have the perfect Intranet architecture, designed by someone two years out of the army (as it turned out).   This bright spark claimed that humans do not like ambiguity as their brains are organised like a card index system in a library and anything else causes them stress.   I left him alone as it was pretty obvious that he was being autobigraphical and didn't realised that the rest of the world might be different.   I felt a little sorry as well, it was a track session and he was not used to speaking.   No such sympathy for the opening keynote however.  At least I am now fully prpeared for tomorrow morning when I get to speak.