Unlocking Human Potential

Unlocking Human Potential

I’ve often felt frustrated to the point of distraction when in the company of people with what I guess to be potentially great ideas, and yet no opportunity to share and explore them.

This bugs the hell out of me.

AndI don’t have any kind of solution.

That bugs the hell out of me, too.

Dream The Impossible

But I’m resolved to believe something can be done. Indeed, for the past few years, at conferences, and in other opportunities for conversation, I’ve shared my frustrations and sought others’ sentiments, opinions and suggestions.

Could an online solution work?

I’m sceptical. Worth an experiment or two perhaps, though.

If not online, then face to face?

Which raises the question of frequency of meeting up, locations, travel, people’s schedules, and that whole nine yards.

In the (shared, physical) workplace, most of those issues go away, or at least diminish.

Yet even then, I rarely see folks engaged in discovering what ideas, experiences, etc. their peers possess that might be interesting, enlightening, valuable or otherwise useful.

I guess learned helplessness and the status quo both have some part to play in that.

And the sheer act of doing something, anything to help those folks who have a need to see their ideas aired can contribute to much joy for all concerned.

Are such “meaningful conversations” (as opposed to more or less idle chat) something you need? And what about your friends, colleagues and peers? Do they have similar or related needs?


Is there anything you could be doing today that might help air these ideas, provoke meaningful conversations, and attend to these kinds of folks’ needs?

For what is human potential if not the latent ability to have great ideas, individually and together, and see them impact the world?

– Bob

  1. Corinna said:

    Hi Bob!

    Not sure if this addresses the situations you see (Is it lack of possibilities to share, or rather implementing any of the ideas, or something else) but after about 3 years of rightshifting we’ve come up with a solution that works well for us (120 people, Telecommunication, all co-located in Germany):

    First half is 10% slack time – Every other Friday everybody (not just developers) is free to work on whatever they think is best for the company
    Second half is an Open Space during that time – Which allows everyone to present ideas and find supporters.

    This has been working very, very well for us the last 2 years. However, getting there wasn’t easy. A lot of trust built up through the years. A lot of encouraging people showing initiative.
    I guess you could start really small. 1 day per quarter or so. That’s a manageable investment.

    Is this going into your direction?

    Cheers, Corinna

    PS: I wonder if that’s possible with distributed teams via hangouts, etc. Probably won’t have the same magic to it.

  2. rutty said:

    I regularly attend Software Testing Club meetups where a bunch of engaged testers discuss all manner of ideas related to testing, or software development in general. We have talks, and beer and pizza, and it’s lots of fun and we fill each other’s minds with great information that we can then attempt to include in our own work.

    Quite a lot of my peers at work are interested in improving how they work, but the built-in processes kind of make it difficult. It’s easy to become a ‘resource’ and do as your bid when you work for a large corporation I guess.

    We have a Slack discussion group that is used for various topics too. It’s not all doom and gloom and inevitable Taylorism 😉

  3. daveatigence said:


    Oh so much I share your frustration, it certainly bugs the hell out of me too. So much wasted talent.

    Corinna’s 10% time is a great idea (others go as far as 20% time as you know) and I admire that they have managed to implement it. I find that our challenge (as a micro company) is how to break out of the seemingly desperate need to keep the fees coming in. Take you eye off the ball for a second and you could end up with nowhere to actually have the “meaningful conversations”.

    We used to hold a regular “camp fire” meeting (everyone gathers around the figurative camp fire to have a chat). It degenerated into just another meeting. Really very frustrating.

    Curiously I think we still get a lot of improvement done in the kitchen! Talking whilst making the tea gets a lot of thoughts aired.

    I have no suggestions for you (yet?) but just wanted to support you, or make you feel worse, in your frustration with this whole crazy thing.

    Keep raging.


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