Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Spreading or sharing? Chicken or Egg?

If you share something with someone, then the idea will have a greater likelihood of being passed on to someone else than if you didn't. This must be a basic premise. Then is the dynamic of sharing the same as basic communication? Let's assume for now that it is. Sharing also encourages new discussion, new ideas, feedback, creativity etc. This can provide a fertile context for the growth and dissemination of ideas.

The language used for spreading changes, scaling up improvement, making large scale impact - whatever you want to call it - comes across as an all powerful notion, with someone in charge, coordinating activity. Yes, if you're responsible for a large organisation and there are benefits to be had from having all departments operating at the industry benchmark, then you may have a right to sound like you want to start coordinating some improvement activity.

It feels a bit like the second example is the chicken (no jokes about headless ones, please...) and the first, sharing example, is the egg. Sharing requiring giving something of yourself, revealing an inner centre. It also works well when true collaboration takes place - to get lost in the analogy, I'm thinking omelettes now.

However, what puzzles me most is if I want good practice and ideas to spread around my organisation then which of the chicken or the egg do I want to encourage the most, and which would I start with?

Without sharing, without breaking eggs, there's unlikely to be any impact whatsoever. Without structure and some force, chicken processing, the impact will most probably be limited to small areas and marginal, at best.

So thinking this through, I'm going to want to draw up plans for scaling up of ideas that take both perspectives into account. And I need to find a way to figure out which one comes first.

What do you think? Chicken or egg? Spread or share?

Creative Commons 2008 Sarah Fraser Attribute-Non-Commercial-No Derivative

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