Archives for posts with tag: Industrial Revolution

Artful Agilists is a group multimedia exhibition intended to demonstrate one of the intrinsic rewards for working in an Agile way: bringing more of ourselves to work.  The success of this demonstration rests on the vulnerability of respected Agile practitioners sharing who they are as creative art makers and practitioners. It is scheduled for Saturday, February 21, 2015 in the Agile Leader Hall, a virtual space in Sococo .

Fractal Cylinder, Artist Dan Gries (middle)

Fractal Cylinder, Artist Dan Gries (middle)

The venue is the online home of Bill Krebs’ Distributed Agile Study Group.  Offering workshops to help Agilists gain fluency in virtual worlds, this is a global community of practice for what Fast Company columnist Scott Anthony calls “associational thinking.” Associational thinking is defined as the ability to make surprising connections. Members are co-present in the Agile Mindset across distance, methodologies and domains.

Here is the rationale behind the exhibition:

During the Industrial Revolution, people in the workplace distinctly separated what we think of now as “art” from “technology.” Though engineers held the well-oiled machine in high esteem, it was in a realm far from the bright ornaments with which the Victorians populated other spaces. Thus efficiency was divorced from beauty. Engineering was divorced from craftsmanship.

We suffer when we reinforce this false split while trying to accomplish knowledge work. The boundaries hurt because they no longer apply.

As Agilists, we want to hone our aesthetic senses and re-integrate art and technology. This is one path to healing the wounds of an inhuman workplace. We seek to apply artfulness to our roles as makers and users of technology. We also respect and promote art’s function as an embodiment of culture.

Artist Robert McDougal, Yale

Artist Robert McDougal, Yale

This is an online gallery where you can interact with the viewers in real time. If you’d like to participate, here’s how:

MANY THANKS to Lyssa AdkinsDoc List and Paul Sutton for their early commitment to participate,

to the members of New Haven Artful Agilists for their continuing on-the-ground inspiration,

and to Esther Derby for providing valuable insight and moral support.

Intrigued but not yet ready to contribute? LEARN MORE about the platform of Sococo and check out Elinor’s mentor Lee Devin, co-Author of Artful Making and The Soul of Design.

It appears that “getting to be human again”* tops the list of intrinsic rewards for working in an Agile way.  Putting people at the center instead of the usual – process at the center – enables the creation of platforms for visibility so experts can practice more of what Fast Company columnist Scott Anthony calls  “associational thinking,” that is, the ability to make surprising connections.  Inviting people to step up onto this platform so their work can be better seen and they can claim a more effective vantage point from which to see the work of others is key to the Agile mindset and workspace.  In fact, in the Agile framework the workspace reflects the mindset, and vice versa.

I’ve written before about the concept of unrepeatability, but yesterday in conversation something clicked.  Every task to which today’s knowledge workers apply themselves truly is, in essence, unrepeatable.  There will never be an exact set of problems like the one you’re facing today.  Documenting the story of how you define, approach and tackle this unique set of circumstances, not by checking boxes on a form but by setting up transparency so that the narrative is evident to all stakeholders creates a culture of shared meanings.

The freedom to follow an idea from concept to prototype and then improve upon it in a close-knit group is the natural high of innovation.  Access to a tribe of people who either contributed with you to solving commonly-identified problems and/or understands the effort that it took to study and innovate and make an attempt is the trade-off when you give up working in a silo.

The opportunity to create – and partake in – culture as we work is the opportunity to heal from the Industrial Revolution.   I see that Agile is, at its core and throughout its DNA, artfully human, and I am glad.

*More on this coming in an interview on Stealth Agile with Devin Hedge of Big Visible Solutions – stay tuned Friday for TGIF!

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