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On hols this week: idling in Hay on Wye, following a rain-frustrated attempt to walk Offa's Dyke. Had a very good chat last night about blogging with the family we are staying with. I was arguing that everyone should blog. Here (hugely boiled down and a bit mangled for the sake of brevity) are some of the questions we talked about... Why (on earth) should I bother blogging? Writing things down, in words that other people can understand, straightens out crooked thinking and helps you learn; it develops your expression muscles so you can get your point across faster and better in the future; and it enables others to find out about what you are interested in, which starts conversations and brings opportunity you would never otherwise have had. Really.

I don't have anything interesting to write about absolutely everyone is interested in something; and capable of being interesting about it. Not necessarily because you are an expert, but because your experience is unique.

No one will be interested in what I write Maybe no one you know will be interested but, if you publish your blog publicly, it will help you come across people who are (and perhaps bring opportunity).

I don't have time to write You don't have to write very much: just a paragraph will do. A single paragraph conveys infinitely more meaning than no paragraph at all.

I can't write Yes you can. You might be a bit rusty/uncomfortable/self-conscious when you start but you absolutely can. And if you write, you will get better.

I don't believe what I write will have any effect Read about Martha Payne (for example) a 9-year-old who seriously beat up some beefy Scottish council bruisers by writing her Never Seconds blog.

For more on this, read Seth Goldin on Talkers' Block or Euan Semple on Changing the world one word at a time (written yesterday so it's nice and fresh).

You have more opportunity than ever before to shape the world around you. Euan Semple

Whether you are a corporate bod, a mum, a student, an artist or whatever else; you will get something from blogging about stuff you are interested in.

Blog all.

'Collaboration' is too good a word to waste

I have just been reading the recent Home Affairs Committee report: New Landscape of Policing. There is an interesting chapter on Collaboration and in particular I was struck by the use of the word collaboration itself.

In this report, as in many others from Government I've come across lately, collaboration is being used mainly in the context of departments sharing services to save money. Maybe I'm being a bit of a silly old word-sausage here; but, for me, collaboration is special. It's about working together to create something new. Collaboration is generative. I'd offer that the sort of working together to share services is - Cooperation - which is rather more transactional and (here, probably, is the rub) less snazzy-sounding.

Mark Elliott - Framework for Mass Collaboration
Mark Elliott - Framework for Mass Collaboration

I really like this model of collective activity by Mark Elliot of Collabforge (you'll need to click the image to read it properly)....

It offers three words - Coordination, Cooperation and Collaboration - with distinct definitions - take a look at the diagram: it explains itself.

Crucially, I believe that genuine transformation in government services, and the long-term money-saving we desperately need, will spring more from generative collaboration than from cooperation or simple coordination.  I think it will help if we have language that will let us readily distinguish these concepts.

So let's all use Mark's model.