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July 23rd, 2008

Some thoughts

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Just to keep this blog in motion also. I like warm evenings much better than cold. But there is one thing about warm evenings. It makes you drowsy. And when you get drowsy you start to think. (Atleast i do.) And when you start to think you continue to think until you`re almost overwhelmed with thoughts.

I wonder for instance why some things are so easy to think, but so difficult to say. Those words that makes you vulnerable, totally depended on the reaction of someone else.

I wonder if it is true that laughter originally was a defence mecanism, showing that everything was OK after some danger had been averted.

I wonder if i should change statusline on Facebook, but thinks that it is still relevant.

I wonder why i am writing this in my blog, but come to the conclusion that it is probably because i have always been more comfortable in writing. This is my domain.

I wonder about my contradictions.

I take a deap breath and look out the window, and notice that it is getting darker.

I wonder about small signs, and what they mean. I continue to believe that i am over-analyzing too much.

I wonder if it`s right to use the word “analyze” when the feeling is so much more emotional.

I wonder if i will stop thinking before i have to go to sleep, and look for a book to make my mind wander somewhere else.

I wonder about dreams, and how it would be possible to control them. And if you could control them, would they then be more real or just a subsitute for living?

I wonder about time-traveling and teleportation, and damn that space-time thing.

I wonder if this is it.

I wonder why i think that writing these lines makes any difference.

I get my socks and goes for a walk.

February 25th, 2008

Many, many questions

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This will be a bit long, and probably most interesting if you are active in one of the organisations where I have been active. Maybe not even then. Sorry.

I´m reading an interesting book called ”The wealth of networks” by Yochai Benkler, a professor at Harvard. It is not about NGOs or voluntary organisations, its more economics, but many of the things he writes is very relevant regardless.

His starting point is that the most advanced economies has made two parallell shifts - to an economy centered on information (financial services, accounting, software, science) and cultural (films, music) production and the manipulation of symbols.
And to a communication environment where cheaper and cheaper PCs and the Internet are central elements.

This he says allows for an increasing role for nonmarket production in the information and cultural sector, organized in a radically decentralized pattern. Nonmarket since its not the prize mechanism which regulates and motivates the participants.

”Declining price of computation, communication and storage have placed the material means of information and cultural production in the hands of a significant fraction of the world´s population”. Quite a difference from the big machines in the industrial age.
All of this should be good news for voluntary organisations. Nonmarket, that is us, isn´t it?

He continues -
The networked information economy improves the practical capacities of individuals
• It improves their capacity to do more for and by themselves (we have cheaper and better hardware and software which gives us the possibility to for instance make brochures, magazines, material or web-pages in a way not possible 10 years ago)
• It enhances the capacity to do more in loose commonality with others, without being constrained to organize their relationship through a price system or in a traditional hierarchical model of social and economic organisation (see for instance Wikipedia)
• It improves the capacity of individuals to do more in formal organisations that operate outside the market sphere.
Again – good news for voluntary organisations.

But do we use these opportunities?

Its of course different from organisation to organisation. Juvente seems to be better at using their network than IOGT, working better together inside the organisation. Being more self-contained. But even them I think have some way to go.

If we should start completely new - how would we organize our work then? Would we still be the organisations we are today?

Would we for instance be better at finding resources and competence where it is instead of being restrained by organisational borders, or even borders between countries?

Why don´t information flow just as easy between Oslo, Brüssel, Tallin and Sarajevo as between Oslo, Bergen, Hamar and Tromsø? Yes, i know. Sometime it does. But how often do we really cooperate over borders - not as a result of some project, making it something special - but just part of ordinary day-to-day work?

Why don´t we have this wiki-factbase about alcohol and drug information available? (Ok. I guess we had part of it until the server crashed. But why wasn´t it developed more than it was? Why did the work on it stop at one point? Why was it in norwegian?)

Why are NGOs being more and more ”professional” when these new possibilities for nonmarket production are present? Why does it seem that we pay for more and more of the work we want to have done? It could have some connection to where we think the competence is, but that is not the most important thing i think. (If we can´t find competence without paying for it, then we probably also have something to think about if we are going to continue being a voluntary organization)
And no – i´m not advocating geting rid of all employees. That would be like throwing stone in a glas house, and we need people who have time to do some of the work that has to be done. But maybe we should look at their tasks. Maybe competence for making people self-organize is something we should look for more, than expecting the employees to do all the work themselves.

Why do i spend more time trying to write applications, than trying to organize and motivate people to make an effort? Giving small tasks that people would be able to do?

Where do the lines of communication go? Where do they stop? Why do they stop there? Which borders and walls do we need to break?

What motivates people to voluntarily give some part of their time working for a cause? (What in its for me?, doesnt explain everything i think.) Why Wikipedia, Seti@home, Linux?
What would make people write a text, or work with layout on a brochure or do some work on a webpage without needing some decisions from a board to do it? Feeling a sort of ownership I think is very important.

How much time sitting in meetings making decisions, could be used more productively?

Do we need leaders? What is their role, in that case?

Why are many of our organisations still so hierarchical when there is lots of other ways of actually completing tasks. Why this hierarchy of status based on age or experience? Some of the most fun tasks i have done last couple of years has been done without anyone really telling me to do it. But the company i´m doing it in is important.

Oh, well. This was just a lot of question. I need to find some answers. Or maybe there were some answers here. Maybe what IOGT-I and Active are trying to do with Actio is some of the answer. Atleast some of the borders are being teared down there. The idea of individual membership in an international organisation I think is interesting, even though I also think we still need national presence. That is still where policies is being made. And in the end - everything is local.
But maybe thinking like that is what we need to make us think really new. Because i do believe that we are still prisoners of our tradition and history, and its difficult trying to think really radically new about how to organize ourselves.

For those of you, or maybe only you, who are still reading, thanks. And sorry for the length. Just a bit frustrated about all the possibiities out there.

Bike

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This spring i think i`m going to buy mysef a new bike. The old one is really getting old, and much of the things on it doesnt function very well any longer. Well, atleast it didn`t last time i used it two years ago or something. Then i lost the key...

Yes, i know. it`s a lousy excuse for not biking for two years. But i havnt`t got as far as to cut up the lock yet. But this spring i`ll start anew. Biking is quite nice actually.

February 24th, 2008

Walking

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Today i did something i seldom do. I went for a sunday walk. It was 10 degrees outside, and i thought i should look if spring was on its way. I dont think it is, even though birds were singing and the fresh smell of mud was in the air. Unfortunately i forgot my camera, have to remember tht next time.

I noticed that i have some mental images about how this town look like, which arent quite true anymore. Like my old secondary school which has been teared down and rebuilt since i went there. Houses that suddenly arnt there anymore, or have been reconstructed and of course trees that have been cut down.

I was walking on roads that i was walking on almost every day when i was little, but now walk on very seldom, even though it is just one or two hundred meters away. My roads are leading other places now. Its a bit strange feeling at home in one sense, but as a stranger in other ways.

January 15th, 2008

It´s a fact

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Love is a very unpractical thing. Just in general. One should fall in love with the neighbour at 13, and marry at 20. And let that be that. That would be practical.
Else its just being at the wrong place at the right time, or at the right place at the wrong time. Or even so - at the wrong place at the wrong time. I dont know. Teleportation? Time-traveling? Someone has to fix this space-time thing soon.

January 10th, 2008

The start of a new year

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I need to write more in this blog, or else i might loose a place on another list. It´s the start of a new year, and i´m in a kind of melancholic "where do i go from here"- kind of a mood. Not really getting started with the new year. At work i havn´t really started either, since i´m still cleaning up the old. Things would be a lot easier if everyone just had big signs over their head telling eachother what they wanted. That way we could just adjust after that. So should i jump, walk, run, back into the new year. I´m not sure. But atleast i have written in my blog.

September 2nd, 2007

Motivation

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I came across a survey from the US where employees and leaders in several buisnesses was asked to rang a list of 10 factors that motivated them in their work. The leaders had good salaries, job security and possibilities of promotions on their top three, and to be shown compassion and understanding, involvement and recognition on their last three. The employees had recognition, involvement and to be shown compassion and understanding on their first three.

Sounds a bit stereotype, but maybe it's true. I don't get very stressed by having much to do. Well, not usually at least. What stresses me is if i feel that things are done wrong and i don't have the authority or possibility to say anything against it. And when i feel that i'm not working with anything that is really "my project", but when everyone tells me what i should do.

You have to have some dicipline on every workplace, of course, but i think it is important that every employees get the opportunity to work with at least one project that is their own, and which others doesn't interfere unless asked to. I think that will give the needed development that NGOs need also, even if some of the projects might fail eventually.
But happy employees are more productive employees also on other areas. Well, it's a theory at least.

June 5th, 2007

Summer

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Finally summer. Going barefeet in the garten. And smelling common lilac (Syringa vulgaris says wikipedia). It's my favorite flower. Unfortunately it doesn't bloom very long, and it has started to fade away already.
At work it's cold though, since they have turned off the heat. The ventilation system works all to well, so i have to take a blanket over me when i am working. That also part of this time of year - take more clothes on when you go inside. I can't understand why they can't fix a higher temperature inside when everyone agrees it's too cold. It would be ok if we were in more activity, but after all most of the time we sit at our desks. Not much to keep us warm there.

May 16th, 2007

Old and new friends

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One of the interesting parts of facebook is suddenly "meeting" again friends i havn't seen for 10 og 15 years. It's not that many from my old high school there, but i've added some of them. And more seems to be coming. That make me a bit more aware about what i am writing too. Suddenly i have new friends who knows me from the last year, and old friends that know me from many years ago. I guess others also can meet bosses or family members on facebook, and have to think about that also when they are making their profile or writing notes. No back rooms to hide in anymore, except this one perhabs.

May 10th, 2007

Hedgehog

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I've always thought hedgehogs are nice animals. Now we have one who is crossing our yard after dark. The dog is not very entusiastic about him, and the feelings are probably mutual. hedgehogs make a strange tf-tf-tf-sound when they are angry, btw.
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