Looking Good Apple

Angela Ahrendts

With recent news of Angela Ahrendts move to Apple, finally we are seeing shift in senior leadership to social.  Along with it is the long overdue arrival of a woman in visible senior role.  Today’s launch of new and updated products at Apple bringing more visual and social capability into the hands of a wider consumer base is thrilling.

Apple iPad Air Launch 10-13

I only hope that we get the long wished for drawing capability in Keynote to allow for more freehand visual thinking and collaboration.  I am excited again for their future and how it will impact ours.  Kudos Apple, for shining on!

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Collaborative Spaces Research Live

At last the document accompanying the visual on evolution of collaborative spaces is live. You can find it here just click here You might notice while navigating around that this and further research will be posted under the “Research” header on this site. Keep an eye out for good things to come! Hint, next up, a follow up on Co-Authoring Strategies.

Visualising the Rise of Collaborative Spaces

Visualising the Rise of Collaborative Spaces

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10 Steps to Successful Co-Authoring

collaborationMy doctoral journey is full of new experiences, each its own journey into learning.  Most recently, and cause for my “silence” as of late: co-authoring scholarly work. Since completion of the piece, I have taken time to reflect on my own experience and hear the stories of others’.

To be clear, this was not the first time I have collaborated, and in many contexts I prefer working with others.  What makes or breaks a co-authoring experience and why was this one so challenging?  I came up with 10 factors to consider in the process that apply to co-authoring but also other forms of remote collaboration.  Some of these may be obvious, but I felt it was important to provide a framework from the baseline.

1. Know your co-author. Take the time to learn about them.  What are their interests, the skills that can contribute to the collaboration?  What is their availability and their life beyond the paper to create context?  This helps build trust and rapport as creates a baseline for understanding when “life happens.
2. Know yourself. Consider the same for yourself.  What are your interests and skills? What you can contribute and your availability.
3. Shared purpose. Understand the motivation for each contributor; both for the piece and why and how the piece will be used.
4. Define roles and responsibilities at the start.  These can be flexible as things come up in the process, but changes need to be agreed upon and clear.
5. Cloud Sharing. Determine where documents and supporting materials will be shared and accessed.
6. Regular meetings that are recorded with action items and deadlines.  Just like any process, knowing the next steps helps maintain the flow.
7. Define a clear outline / framework to work from.
8. Know where you are at. Determine structure for tracking changes and saving versions.
9. Readability. Writing styles can vary greatly; grammar, vocabulary, use of metaphors and images.  Determine the best way to have a shared voice that allows the styles to work together without disrupting the flow.
10. Humility on both parts.  Let the shared purpose determine the editing process, not personal opinion.  Respect others work, but also their revisions if they feed the shared purpose.

I welcome your thoughts on what makes or breaks a co-authoring experience for you.
Note: The two co-authoring projects completed recently are quite different. One is to be presented at a conference in July by my co-author and the other will provide the research component to a documentary film.

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FCEM Congress in Cairo part One


I have just returned from Cairo at the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs (FCEM) annual Congress. As I sit to begin my follow up with all the wonderful and inspiring women entrepreneurs I feel I must take brief moment to reflect (more specifics to come). There was such an air of optimism, of generosity and kindness, of curiosity and cooperation and of interest in collaboration for mutual benefit. No matter their origin or circumstance, from established multinational business owners to local craftswomen, from the developed and the developing, peaceful and war-torn. They each had a story and a passion for their business and their people that I have never before experienced. The true spirit of women’s networking took place in “what can we do together” or “what can I do to help you”, rather than (the all too often) “what do you want from me.”

The work has only just begun. Now we have much greater penetration into new markets around the world after this conference. With advocates in Libya, Bahrain, Cameroon, South Africa, Egypt, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Ghana, India, Romania, Iceland, Cyprus, Korea, Afghanistan and more. Each of them wanted to know what they could do to help. I challenged them to take action, spread the word and encourage others and other networks to participate. It has been incredibly inspiring and exhausting. I am still reeling from it all. I am thoroughly encouraged and re-energized by the validation of the need for and potential impact of 2BalanceU. Connecting supplier to distributors, consumers to products and services, connections to other women. Now we just have to keep the momentum on the build and get cranking on the fund raising for growth and support of regional networks and sponsors.

Lessons from Cairo. It is a city that you must visit. Belly dancing is truly a sport and an art form. Egyptians like to stay up all night and party (starting dinner around 10pm). The pyramids are incredible, despite the hawkers and the camel pushers. You just need to learn to say “No” and mean it. “Around 7” is more like “some time after 8.” “Right away” means, “sometime in the next bit of time, not sure how long, as I might get distracted on the way.” “No” means “maybe if you give me a better price”, which means that if you say no, they think you want to bargain with them. It is cold in November, which is nice, if you plan for the weather, instead of reading about it in the guidebook on the plane coming there. The people are wonderful and friendly and full of smiles. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute and cannot wait to return to bring my family to explore more.

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Fuelled by Grassroots Intitiatives to Connect

Meeting with the founders of grassroots networks continues to validate the need for a tool to connect them to resources from similar networks and women involved in them for collaboration. Building and growing networks is a challenge. The value of and need for them is understood, but most take for granted that they exist and are self sustaining. It is vital to recognise the efforts of the few who are willing to, in most cases, volunteer their time to maintain and build. Much can be learned from shared research, dialog and group collaboration.

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