The Ten Most Important Questions I Heard at Northern Voice 2010

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I‘m at NV10, the annual bloggers’ conference in Vancouver BC, and what has impressed me most so far is the questions I have heard. With dozens of rapid-fire simultaneous sessions, there is not enough time for thorough answers, but the social networking is great, and the questions sometimes are more important anyway. So here are the ten most important questions I’ve heard (or overheard) at this year’s conference:

  1. If you want to start doing something new that you’ve been putting off because you didn’t have time, what are you going to stop doing in order to make time for it?
  2. How can we do a better job of identifying and inviting the ‘right’ people to meet and engage in conversations on subjects that matter?
  3. Why do we always end up focusing way too much on tools, instead of on processes and relationships?
  4. How can we create enough space and time to listen to substantial stories, enough so that we really understand what’s going on and why, and really learn from them?
  5. Why do so many people still talk about “creating community” and “building a culture of x” when these things are organic and evolutionary and cannot possibly be created or imposed?
  6. How do we set boundaries (spatial, temporal, and psychological) for, and balance energy spent on, individual vs group vs network vs community activities?
  7. Why do we feel so compelled (aesthetically and commercially) to ‘enhance reality’ by retouching, photoshopping, and otherwise making things larger and ‘better’ than real life?
  8. Why is the gap between traditional educational institutions and those in the educational vanguard, those using new technologies, processes and ideas, becoming wider and wider?
  9. Why has nothing come along to make blogs obsolete, or to significantly update/improve them?
  10. Is self-directed learning (unschooling) only for kids with good genes and/or devoted parents, or can it be effective for anyone who hasn’t been damaged by institutional education?
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7 Responses to The Ten Most Important Questions I Heard at Northern Voice 2010

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  2. John Graham says:

    How often is the supposed question “why?” used to imply wrongness? And how often is it heard that way?

    Question 9 is quite unusual – quite unusual….there’s something in the asking of it, about how “obsolescence” fits into the “myth” of technological progress.

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  5. vera says:

    My key irritation with the blog format is the difficulty of getting an overview of what’s there. A web site can have a map or a table of contents… Dave’s blog makes a big effort to create something similar but most blogs just pile posts on top of older posts and digging around is unbelievably tedious.

  6. Ivor Tymchak says:

    Vera, your comment suggests that you know what you are looking for. I sometimes wonder if I look for articles in blogs to confirm my beliefs, when really, I should be testing them. This means finding stuff that makes me re-evaluate my beliefs and adapting them, if an opposing polemic is better presented. The problem is finding such material. Sometimes, digging around can prove fruitful.

  7. Item number one (getting around making time for what matters) really strikes home for anyone whose whole focus has been on their career, rather than on doing what really matters to them. Too often, the career happens by sheer accident and it continues because of outside and self-imposed pressures to become and remain financially autonomous. In the end, keeping oneself gainfully employed mostly manages to steer people away from what truly matters to them, for their whole lifetime, often resulting in those mid-life crisis when people suddenly make “irrational” choices to drop everything and completely re-invent themselves. What others perceive as irrational is simply someone coming to their senses and focusing on what matters TO THEM, rather than focusing on fulfilling everyone else’s expectations.

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