A new year of fun, focus, feedback and some new ideas

Happy 2012!

I wish you a year of great health, love, success but particularly of fun, focus and feedback! This has been my mantra for the past two years and I’ll stick to it for another year. And this year’s full of more than just fun focus and feedback.

More fun, focus and feedback in 2012 (photo credit: ILRI/Peter Ballantyne)
More fun, focus and feedback in 2012 (photo credit: ILRI/Peter Ballantyne)

But before looking at some ideas for change, what’s in a mantra, really? What’s in this mantra? Time to explain perhaps…


We spend so much time at work that we might as well have some fun, especially when we work on complex and/or complicated issues. Since learning and knowledge management are a lot about changing behaviours, we’re much more likely to change them through fun. This is the extremely compelling argument behind the fun theory. And perhaps, contrary to what Cindy Lauper used to sing, not just girls want to have fun. I do too! How about you?


Now if we were just having fun we might forget what we’re having fun for. So this is the balancing factor to fun; the filling that makes the cake not only beautiful but also exquisite and memorable; the compass that brings the cool boat to its destination… You get the idea.

So fun is perfect, but it’s only an instrument that should be used to reach an objective, a purpose. Learning is all the more effective as it is consciously aiming at a specific objective.

Focus is also about dealing with only one thing at a time. While it makes sense to do strategic multi-tasking (keeping different balls up in the air, or keeping your eggs in different baskets, to avoid depending on one initiative/partner/client only), it is counter-productive to do operational multitasking – dealing with emails, yammer, blogging, talking on the phone, writing an article at the same time. This is the key point of Leo Babauta in his Focus manifesto. And I believe he’s right.


Now this one sounds perhaps less obvious and yet it is perhaps the most powerful of the three pillars in this mantra. If we are to learn, we need to continually adjust what we are doing towards the intended focus. This is the powerful effect of feedback loops that among others Owen Barder has explained in a blog post about improving development policy.

Feedback has value on both sides of its coin:

  • Given possibly negatively but constructively, it informs us on what we do not so well and need to question and readjust;
  • Given positively it confirms that we are on the right track and reinforces good practices. Not insignificantly it also boosts our confidence in ourselves and in the feedback giver, it builds trust. And it liberates energy, which can be channelled to more fun and focus…

So give feedback relentlessly, either for learning and change or just as a token of appreciation to the others. In a way, the only truly great present you can give others is your presence. And feedback is a great way of manifesting your presence, as a result of observing, listening and caring. Here are some tips for feedback that works.

So I wish you all three in 2012 and also the powerful combination that they make and personally ignites me all year long.

Now, for the new ideas of 2012, here are a few things around this blog I want to give a try in 2012 – your feedback is much appreciated, as ever:

  • Write more but also some shorter blog posts, the tumblers that echo what John Tropea does with his TumblR posts;
  • Interview people about KM, learning, communication and perhaps occasionally invite guest blogging;
  • Feature more videos and presentations that I have prepared or fished around on the internet;
  • Continue with my stock-taking series. One is due on facilitation basics soon;
  • Do more event and publication commenting;
  • And perhaps overhaul the design again. Time to shake off the grey and black frames, don’t you think?

And I have a few other ideas in petto but hey, let’s keep this rolling little by little…

Have a wonderful 2012!

Related blog posts:


Published by Ewen Le Borgne

Collaboration and change process optimist motivated by ‘Fun, focus and feedback’. Nearly 20 years of experience in group facilitation and collaboration, learning and Knowledge Management, communication, innovation and change in development cooperation. Be the change you want to see, help others be their own version of the same.

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  1. Thank you Zerihun!

    Good idea to do some photo-blogging, I might need your expertise to turn this idea into a more powerful way to communicate, share, engage and learn.
    Many thanks again for your very nice comment!

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