Archive for category: Gathering11

Wrapping up the Gathering ’11 Podcast

Wrapping up the Gathering ’11 Podcast

This post brings the Gathering ’11 Podcast project to an end.

Initially, I had planned a series of 10-12 episodes. For various reasons, I didn’t quite reach that goal, and ended up with 9 episodes.

Here’s a quick episode guide:

Before I go any further, I’d like to thank all of my guests for their generosity and willingness to be involved in the project. A heart felt thanks to you all!

During the interview with Matt Cooperrider, Matt suggested that I write a blog post at the end of the series, reflecting on my experiences and tying together any loose ends. I though that it was such a great idea, and immediately added it to my task list. It’s taken me a while to get around to it, but here it is …

Publishing this series of podcasts was a great learning experience for me in a number of ways. This is quite a long post, so I’ll break it down and discuss these in a couple of areas:

Interviewing

Prior to the Gathering ’11 series, I’d been a guest (and a host) on a couple of episodes of The Productivity Show on The Podcast Network. Those previous experiences had seen me through that ‘feeling awkward’ about being recorded phase. So I started off fairly comfortable and confident in the role of host.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have any stage fright. I admit to some anxiety before each show, but I also know that there’s a certain level of creativity that comes from that nervous energy. Apparantly Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five!

I had a lot of fun interviewing. It was a great way to have stimulating conversations; for getting to meet new people with similar interests and to be reacquainted with some friends I haven’t spoken to in a while.

My intention was to create a relaxed, conversational style interview — a chat really, and definitely not something that was scripted. I think (hope) I achieved that.

The decision not to be too scripted made quite a difference to the type of preparation that I did for each interview. I did some background reading of blogs and other social media, and had a list of broad topics I wanted to cover, but I didn’t do a lot of planning. I wanted the conversations to be spontaneous and emergent, and to let the conversation flow naturally.

One thing I noticed I do quite a lot, and find difficult not to do, is using verbal listening cues. There’s a lot of a-ha and u-hums as a result. It’s quite a challenge when you are not able to provide the other person with any visual or verbal clues that you’re listening to them. It’s something I’ll have to continue to work on.

I initially thought I’d have difficulty finding people who were willing to be interviewed. I found the opposite. I was pleasantly surprised to find a real willingness to be to be involved. Out of all of the people I asked, not one declined. There were a couple of people I spoke with but didn’t end up interviewing, but that was more to do with finding the right time and place, and the stars aligning, than anything else.

The more time that had elapsed since the event, the harder it was to involve participants. Ideally, I would have locked guests into a schedule much earlier. As it happened, I was recording and publishing episode by episode. Having a few “in the can” would definitely have helped ease the pressure of publishing a weekly episode. All is well that ends well, I guess.

Gathering ’11 – The Event

I mentioned in a couple of the podcasts, that in-part the motivation to produce this series was a selfish way for me to find out what happened at Gathering ’11 — an event I wish I was able to attend, but wasn’t able to.

So, what did I find out?

Overall, I sense that there are a number of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things, who attended Gathering ’11. There seems to be a real passion and positive energy towards social change and innovation. I wouldn’t quite call it a ‘community’ (just yet anyway), but there seems to be a very real sense of participants belonging to a ‘movement’, or building something bigger together that’s bigger than themselves.

As a Facilitator, I was really interested in understanding the ‘processes’ used to bring the group together: the type of activities; the format of the meetings; and how people felt about their experience of coming together.

It was pleasing to hear that Gathering ’11 was based on the principles of self-organisation, active participation, and creating conversation and building relationships between participants, because this reflects my own philosophy and approach to bringing people together. It was reaffirming to hear that participants enjoyed the format and relished having the opportunity to explore, learn and share with others in such a space.

A number of persistent themes emerged from the conversations that I had about Gathering ’11:

One broad theme was technology and the role it plays in creating social change. There is a very real sense of connectedness both online and offline amongst gathering participants. Technology clearly played a crucial role in bring people together — from all over the world — to Gathering ’11 and provides a platform for ongoing conversations and relationships.

Two ideas introduced by John Hagel III, seem to resonate strongly with participants.

  • The idea of working to affect change “at the edges” rather than trying to change the established ‘core’; and
  • How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion. This is the main thesis of this book The Power of Pull. I think people instinctively know that small changes CAN make a big impact, and these small changes are something that they can make or contribute to.

Another theme that participants seem to have really connected with, was the idea of ‘thriving, not just surviving‘ introduced by Jean Russell in the video A Thrivable World Emerges. I must say, I too resonate very strongly with the idea that the lens of thrivability triggers a real sense of expanded possibility. It’s something that continues to occupy my thoughts.

Finally, there seems to be an almost universal desire amongst participants to harness the energy that was created at Gathering ’11 and to turn this into action. As Ehon says, “to make shit happen!” Let’s hope that this energy can be harnessed and turned towards positive change.

This is really only a short summary of some of the ideas and themes that emerged and that stood out for me. I could never do it justice here. There was definitely no shortage of interesting ideas and conversations. All I can suggest is that you go listen to the podcasts for yourself, or check out the Alamanac — a harvest of Gathering ’11 conversations and digital assets.

It was great to have the opportunity to find out more about the event, but there’s no substitute for being there in person. I’m really looking forward to being part of Gathering ’12.

Producing Podcasts

Prior to starting this project I had a pretty good understanding of the underlying technology used to publish and distribute a podcast.

Before this project though, I’d never hosted or produced my own show. Here’s what I did and what I learned about that:

Pre-Production

Recording

Most of the interviews for Gathering ’11 were conducted on Skype. On most occasions Skype performed well and the audio quality was quite good. However, there were a couple of times when it caused a few headaches. Matt and I had to reschedule a number of times because of difficulties with connections, and in the in last episode with Ehon Chan, we also experienced problems with the call dropping in and out. In this instance we persevered, but paid the price in terms of the final audio quality. Skype is such a great tool, but it clearly depends on the quality of the Internet connection at both ends to work well.

To record the Skype calls I used Call Recorder software. The calls are recorded in high quality (192kbps) mp4 format, using AAC Compression. It was simple to use and did exactly what I needed.

The interview with David Hood was the only one that was recorded face to face. We met at Hub Melbourne and recorded our conversation at a quite table. I had intended to use a borrowed podcasting microphone, but found it difficult to use. I should have been better prepared and done more testing prior to the meeting. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing!

After scrapping that idea, we went to Plan B, and recorded the interview on my iPhone. It worked surprising well, using the standard built-in microphone. Close to the end of the interview the recording was interrupted by an incoming call. We didn’t realise straight away and had to back track. I also had to perform a little creative editing afterward. It turns out, that I hadn’t switched into airport mode, which would have prevented this — another valuable lesson learned!

Getting the recording off the iPhone proved to be more challenging than it needed to be, but a few google searches helped resolve that problem.

I didn’t find the process of recording overly difficult, although it’s an area I think I could definitely improve on over time. Getting it right is definitely a challenge. You have to be well prepared and also be able to think on your feet when things don’t go exactly to plan.

Mixing

I have done a small amount of sound editing in the past, digitising some of my old vinyl collection. For that I used Audacity.

I thought that I’d end up going down that same path, but I ended up using GarageBand. It was already installed on my MacBook Pro, and was just easier to use.

Once recorded, I imported the call files into GarageBand where I added an Into and an Outro track.

Finding the music to use as the Intro and Outro was not all that easy. I already had a good understanding of copyright and the creative commons (from my days working in software development), which helped. I knew that I had to find something that was licensed in a manner that allowed me to include it as part of my podcast.

The Intro music I ended up using is by Sic Alps, and is licensed by-nc-sa. After quite a bit of hunting around, I found it at the Free Music Archive.

There was a small learning curve creating the fade-in and fade-out effects, but once I ‘got it’, it was very easy to do.

Once ‘editing’ was done, exporting the file in the correct format for publishing as a podcast was also quite a simple task. Using GarageBand’s ‘Share’ functionality, I exported the file, compressing it using the MP3 Encoder and ‘Good Quality’ (64kbps) settings. I’ve had a number of conversations with people about the best settings for quality etc., and while a higher bit rate is often used these days, I decided that 64kbps was best suited for this series to create small files, which download relatively fast.

As a general rule, I would recommend recording in the highest quality possible, and mix down to what’s appropriate for your audience.

I found this part of the process the easiest.

I want to qualify the last statement by saying that I made a conscious decision to produce the series with minimal editing and fairly low production values. This is from personal taste and a strong belief that the mistakes, the background noises, and the um’s and ah’s are what (often) makes podcasts a more authentic, genuine and interesting medium.

As a consequence, I spent very minimal time editing the interviews. There are a couple of instances, where I had to splice some conversations due to technical hitches, but other than that, they remain unedited and as recorded – mistakes (mostly mine) and all!

Post-production

As you’ll see, even before I had started recording an episode, quite a lot of thought and planning went into the the post-production process. I found that getting this right was the most technically challenging part of the whole process.

Hosting

I’ve been self-hosting my own website since 2005, but I decided to host the podcasts for Gathering ’11 elsewhere because of the potential issues (and cost) associated with hosting large media files, and ensuring the hosted media is preserved somewhere safer than my blog.

I could have used a commercial service such as Libsyn. However, I decided to host the files on the Internet Archive, whose audio and MP3 library contains over two hundred thousand free digital recordings. The free archives, seemed to be a nice fit with the ethos of the event and because I had decided to release all of the recordings under a Creative Commons license (BY-SA).

Publishing

The podcast series was published here on my blog, which is powered by WordPress, and the Thesis theme (with a few customisations). I’ve been blogging since 2004, so the publishing part of the process came relatively easy.

I used a few services and plugins to add functionality and to make the process a whole lot easier.

I use the Blubrry PowerPress plugin, which adds additional podcasting support to the blog. The features I use include: the media player, simple iTunes integration, and delivering category feeds (meaning I can publish multiple podcasts, each with its own RSS feed).

The other plugin that proved to be invaluable was Twitter Tools. It provides integration between the blog and Twitter, allowing each episode (or blog post) to be tweeted automatically when it is published.

I use Feedburner to deliver RSS feeds. I also added the podcast series to iTunes to provide another channel.

Adding a podcast to iTunes, is an experience in itself. Once I had published an episode, I filled out the appropriate forms online and registered with Apple. A couple of weeks later, it just shows up in iTunes! Strange process, but it worked.

One thing to be aware of with listing on iTunes is the rating of your podcast. I learnt from my friends Melbourne Podcast Meetup Group, that Apple has been known to pull a feed if it doesn’t comply with its guidelines, including language and ratings. I found this out after I had published the episode with Ehon, where we talked about the Soften the Fck Up campaign. I had to go back and re-publish, making sure I got the metadata right. I didn’t want to jeopardise the whole series of podcast just because of a little swearing.

One last thing about the publishing process: It takes a lot more time than you think! Uploading media, adding meta data, writing or editing a blog post and adding show notes is time consuming. It’s definitely a labour of love.

So, as they say in show business, “That’s a wrap”.

A big thanks once again to all of my guests on the show, and also to David Hood, Matt Cooperrider andChristine Egger who supported me and this project in so many ways.

~ Much metta.

1 October 2011 0 comments Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #09 — Interview with Ehon Chan

Gathering ’11 Podcast #09 — Interview with Ehon Chan

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

In this episode I talk with Ehon Chan. Ehon is a social entrepreneur, social innovator and digital branding professional. He is the founder of a number of social start-ups and is currently working on a campaign to challenge the stereotype of a what it means to be a “real man”. Ehon spends a couple of days a week in Melbourne, Australia and the rest of his time traveling.

We talk about new media and social change, curation, co-creation and getting shit done.

Read Ehon’s blog or follow him on Twitter: @ehon.

Play

Please note: We had a few technical glitches recording this episode. Apologies in advance for the less than perfect audio continuity.

Subscribe to the Gathering ’11 Podcast via Add to iTunesiTunes.

Episode Links

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

 

 

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

2 September 2011 0 comments Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #08 — Interview with Jean Russell

Gathering ’11 Podcast #08 — Interview with Jean Russell

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

In this episode I chat with Jean Russell. Jean is a facilitator, social ecosystem designer, and founder of the thrivability movement. She is currently writing a book: Breakthroughs for a World that Works. Jean lives in Bloomington, Illinois.

We talk about ‘thrivability’ and moving beyond sustainability; breakdown and breakthroughs, social ecosystem design, themes from Gathering ’11 and messy moments.

You can follow Jean on Twitter: @nurturegirl.

Play

Subscribe to the Gathering ’11 Podcast via Add to iTunesiTunes.

Episode Links

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

27 August 2011 0 comments Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #07 — Interview with David Week

Gathering ’11 Podcast #07 — Interview with David Week

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

In this episode I interview David Week. David is an architect, and Director of community development consultancy, Assai. He blogs about international development assistance on his blog: Architecture for Development. He lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia.

We talk about structure versus self-organisation; the narrative of a new economy; moving from ideas to ‘putting rubber on the road’, social entrepreneurship and the opportunities presented by generational change.

You can follow David on Twitter: @davidweek.

Play

Subscribe to the Gathering ’11 Podcast via Add to iTunesiTunes.

Episode Links

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

19 August 2011 0 comments Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #06 — Interview with Matt Cooperrider

Gathering ’11 Podcast #06 — Interview with Matt Cooperrider

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

In this episode I interview Matt Cooperrider. Matt is a serial collaborator and co-conspirator of Gathering ’11. He works for Collabforge, specialising in organisational collaboration, social media & Government 2.0. He’s from New York, but lives in Melbourne, Australia.

You can follow Matt on Twitter: @mattcoop.

We talk about his role organising Gathering ’11 and the experience of co-creating the event with others; the tension between participating and organising; core themes of the event and future developments such as the Anthology project.

Play

Subscribe to the Gathering ’11 Podcast via iTunes Add to iTunes.

Episode Links

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

12 August 2011 0 comments Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #05 — Interview with David Hood

Gathering ’11 Podcast #05 — Interview with David Hood

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

In this episode: David Hood. David is a social entrepreneur and instigator of Gathering ’11. He runs Doing Something Good, an enterprise fostering the development of impactful and resilient networks for social good. His vision is to support similar initiatives around the world. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

You can follow David (if you don’t already) on Twitter: @davidahood.

Yesterday, I met with David at Hub Melbourne to talk about the conception of the Gathering ’11; the experience of co-creating the event with others; his personal experience and learnings from the day and from developing the event; and future developments. There is some exciting stuff ahead folks!

Play

Subscribe to the Gathering ’11 Podcast via Add to iTunesiTunes.

Episode Links

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

6 August 2011 1 comment Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #04 — Interview with Ralf Lippold

Gathering ’11 Podcast #04 — Interview with Ralf Lippold

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

Ralf Lippold blogged his reflections of Gathering ’11. I thought I’d explore this further with him.

Ralf is a Consultant in Lean Thinking and System Dynamics and ‘boundary spanner’. He is passionate about sharing and connecting people and their ideas. He lives in Dresden, Germany.

You can follow Ralf on Twitter: @RalfLippold. He shares his thoughts on a number of blogs and platforms. The best starting point is his ‘Blogger’ profile.

During the interview, we talk about making small changes, quickly; connecting people and ideas across networks and countries; the social change scene in different areas of the world — and penguins!

There are a couple of things Ralf mentions during our chat, that are worth noting here:

  • The ‘opening’ video discussed is ‘Thrivable’ featuring Jean Russell by Alan Rosenblith. This was launched at Gathering ’11.
  • He mentions attending a previous conference, which was The 3rd SoL (Society for Organisational Learning) Global Forum in Muscat, Oman.
  • He also mentions a trip he took to Finland to visit a ‘management school without teachers‘. That is Team Academy: the Entrepreneurship Centre of Excellence of the JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, Finland.
  • CoOrpheum: is a co-working space in Dresden.
  • Ralf is currently on a mission to establish a new hightech institution to fuel the innovative entrepreneurship eco-system in Dresden. That project is InnoBay.

Play

Subscribe to the Gathering ’11 Podcast via Add to iTunesiTunes.

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

29 July 2011 5 comments Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #03 — Interview with Helen Mitchell

Gathering ’11 Podcast #03 — Interview with Helen Mitchell

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

Last night, I interviewed Helen Mitchell — a Knowledge Manager intrigued by the possibilities that social media creates for collaboration, learning and knowledge sharing. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.

You can follow Helen on Twitter: @helmitch. She shares her thoughts (occasionally, she tells me) on her blog: Musing the universe.

During the interview, we talk about working at the edges; making small changes to make a BIG difference; being in the now and the importance of serendipity.

There are a couple of things Helen mentions, worth noting here in the show notes for clarity:

  • The Creative Performance Exchange (CPX) is a Melbourne-based meetup group designed for the exchange of creative ideas and methods that are at the intersection of multiple disciplines.
  • A Knowledge Cafe – is a conversational style meeting process popularised by David Gurteen.
  • The reference to Even Chuck Norris Gets Sad is about Ehon Chan‘s Soften the Fck Up — a campaign to challenge the stereotype of a “real man”. Hopefully, I’ll get him on the show to talk some more about this.

I hope you enjoy listening.

Play

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

22 July 2011 0 comments Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #02 — Interview with Marigo Raftopoulos

Gathering ’11 Podcast #02 — Interview with Marigo Raftopoulos

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

This morning, I interviewed Marigo Raftopolous — Owner and Director of Strategic Games Lab. Marigo is working with social technologies, game dynamics, collaboration & innovation to reshape the world for the better. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.

You can follow Marigo on Twitter: @marigo. She shares her ideas on her blog: Tales from the Casbah.

Marigo presented a lightning talk at Gathering ’11, on the topic of Gamification and how game mechanics can be used to build community and influence change. I thought I’d follow up with a conversation about this.

During the interview, we talk about challenging the status quo; building momentum for change through positive action and reinforcement; and the importance of taking action. As a nice segue from last week’s episode, we also talk about the importance of play and fun to engage and involve people.

Play

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

15 July 2011 2 comments Read More
Gathering ’11 Podcast #01 — Interview with Viv McWaters

Gathering ’11 Podcast #01 — Interview with Viv McWaters

Gathering '11 LogoGathering ’11 was an event that brought together leading thinkers, change-makers and collaborators from across Australia and around the world to explore and develop ideas on how to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, together.

In this series of podcasts I interview the attendees about their personal experiences of Gathering ’11, as a way of exploring these topics further, and of continuing the conversation.

Today my guest is Viv McWaters — freelance facilitator, world traveller, and disruptor from Bells Beach, Australia.

You can follow Viv on Twitter: @vivmcw.

Viv wrote a blog post of her Gathering ’11 experience. In it, she talks about John Hagel, author of The Power of Pull, and the idea of ‘chipping away at the core’. She also describes a technique introduced by Heather Gold called tummeling, or UnPresenting. I thought I’d follow up with a conversation about these topics and more.

We also chat about:

  • Being a participant (as opposed to being a facilitator)
  • The importance of connections, particularly for introverts
  • The role of social media at Gathering’11 and other conferences
  • Improv wisdom (Commit – Make your partner look good – Being ordinary: putting down your clever).

Play

Credits: Intro music by Sic Alps / by-nc-sa

Please consider donating via the Gathering ’11 website. Your contribution will ensure the team can pull together Gathering ’12 and continue to share what they learned from Gathering ’11. They greatly appreciate your support!

8 July 2011 0 comments Read More