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Collaboration, Education, Livelihoods and Development in a Changing World

Pamela's blog

"What I want, what I really, really want" for #dadamac and me

Starting point - Dadamac and I are inextricably entwined.

If there had not been a Pamela McLean there would not have been a Dadamac.


The question is

  • If I (or circumstance) separated Pamela McLean from Dadamac what would remain?

Sub questions are:

  • Would there be a Dadamac without me? (I hope so, but I want to ensure so)
  • Does it matter?
  • Does Dadamac have any value to anyone other than to me?
  • Is it anything more than an absorbing and extravagant hobby that has taken over my life?
  • Would there be a "me" without Dadamac? (Given how much it has absorbed me since 2000 I have no idea what my life would look like without it.)
  • if I could separate them out then what would I want, what would I really, really want, for #dadamac and for me.

A step toward imagining this

So, given that I care about the answers to those questions, how can I find out?

It's simple (in theory).

I can imagine an infinite number of "nearly-clones" of me. A "nearly-clone" is someone who knows everything I know and who can do everything I can do. In addition a nearly-clone has the skills I don't have (or is willing to learn them).

There are other wondrous subtle variations of the nearly-clone. Nearly-clones love to do things I hate doing. They also prefer to leave to someone else (me) the things I like doing.

Doh! I need a #dadamac wiki

I've finally realised that I need a wiki. Here are five reasons why.

  1. When I write blogs I often want to refer to other dadamac.net information pages and blogs (my own and other peoples)  but it takes a long time to find all the links and make them live.
  2. I often want to write stuff that "won't make sense on its own" - but it would make sense if it was able to somehow "nestle in context"
  3. I'm always being reprimanded for going off at tangents in my talking and thinking - but thoughts and ideas don't connect in a linear way.
  4. When I'm sharing something I find it hard to discriminate between the "Must know", "Should know" and 'Could know". I want to offer the lot. 
  5. I'm good at connecting things up and seeing patterns. The patterns help me to make sense of things. I want to set out the patterns and insights (and the raw materials for the patterns and insights) somewhere they can be easily explored by anyone who'd find them useful.

There are many more reason (including all the ones my wiki-evangelist friends have been trying to convince me with for years) - but five is plenty for a list.

Questions are:

  • Now I know I need one where do I find it?
  • What are the chances that if I put all my info on a wiki, it will simply vanish at some future date?
  • How would I back it up?

Any suggestions? Please sent them to me via the contact form.

Dadamac Definitions

Dadamac definitions are going to help me solve a problem with words.

The problem

Words are "slippery" things - hard to get a firm hold on for any length of time. They have different meanings in different contexts. Some have regional variations - check out the Cornish use of the words "maid" and "lover".  Meanings change over time - what about "gay", "cool" and "wicked"?

By writing a dadamac definition I'm giving myself permission to make a word mean what I say it means (while recognising that other people may have other ideas).

I'm not alone here

Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty would have understood:

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'

Quote from "Through The Looking Glass" Chapter 6 by Lewis Carroll

Definitions bring their own problems

I looked up the quote in Sparknotes - where I found more of the story, and some analysis:

"Humpty Dumpty redefines the meanings of words at will, but he must use other words that have presumably stable meanings to explain the new definitions."

Hmm - good point. Definitions are tricky too. I may rely more on illustrating the meanings of words through examples and contitual personal use than by attempting to define them.

Dadamac Connect Update "2014-09-17"

Dadamac Connect believes in doing things in the public domain as much as possible. So here goes with my personal "Connections" update - in no particular order. It will be what comes to mind first (knowing that some good stuff will get left out and that I don't have time to put in live links).


Nikki and I are working on making our ideas about Dadamac Connect become real. See our tweets #dadamac for odds and ends of progress - not just for Dadamac Connect but for Dadamac Foundation (which I connect with on a deep level - it's my unpaid "passion" work) and the wider Dadamac community (which influenced our decision to start providing the services of Dadamac Connect).

Dadamac Connect's First  Founder Member

The most exciting connection for me this week was with our first Dadamac Connect founder member - William Dyer

We met yesterday at Hub Westminster in the DIY kitchen (one of my favourite regular haunts for meeting new and interesting people). He kindly agreed to give me some feedback on the first ideas for the Dadamac Connect logo. Of course that led to more information about Dadamac Connect. 

Simplest starting points include that it's a new social business and it's a membership organisation.

Emboldened by a recent challenge to "Get rejected more often" I told William that, if he had £10 on him, he could become our very first founder member - and he did.

Kabissa-Dadamac Collaboration

Kabissa and Dadamac are exploring areas of overlap and how we might collaborate in 2015.

First connections with Kabissa

Way back in about 2002, when I was trying to find my way on how best to continue the work of the late Peter Adetunji Oyawale, Tobias Eigen (founder of Kabissa) provided support.

Kabissa enabled me to publish a newsletter telling the unfolding story of Oke-Ogun Community Development Agenda 2000 Plus (OOCD 2000+) and the  Information Centre at Ago-Are. I felt we'd been given the Kabissa "seal of approval" and I was greatly encouraged.

Learning support online

I remember logging on to Kabissa and being very uncertain of how to set up an account and post my first newsletter. I made mistakes and asked for help. I remember the patient and supportive emails from Tobias as he helped me through the process. (I was somewhat in awe of him because of the reputation of Kabissa, so I was doubly impressed by his help.) That was probably my first experience of one-to-one learning support via the Internet.

When people talk about e-learning my first thought is always about this kind of practical, when-it's-needed, individual support (rather than traditional set courses and the one-to-many approach of MOOCs  - "Massive Online Open Courses").

First Thursday Meeting Updates

Updated monthly

September  meeting update

Something completely different. The problem of using the etherpad has not been resolved (see note below for August for more information.)

Last month I tried facebook and it was a fruitful expereiment - as evidenced on my facebook page. 

This month I'm taking a similar low key approach. i.e. no reminders sent out about first Thurs but I'll go visible somewhere in the cloud at the usual First Thursday time and see who I connect with. It may be a total failure regarding making any contacts as I'll be on the move and trying out my new smart phone which is still very unfamiliar to me, but it will be good use fo teh time as a learning experience. 

I'll see how I get on with Twitter, or Facebook or Skype, and that will help me decide what to do next First Thursday, and for the rest of the year. In 2015 we have various plans for a new look Dadamac, and as those firm up they will have an impact on how First Thursdays will develop, so I'm happy to just experiment a bit for the rest of this year if the etherpad is not available.

Dadamac Connect - first announcement

This first announcement about Dadamac Connect is aimed at people who are already in contact with Nikki Fishman and/or me (Pamela McLean) in some way. Others are welcome to read this of course, but it will make more sense to people who know us. 

A new enterprise

Nikki and I are setting up a new enterprise called Dadamac Connect.

As individuals, inside and outside of Dadamac, we have a track record of "connecting the dots" in various ways. For years, in a comparatively informal way, we've been:

  • Bringing together new combinations of ideas, individuals and organisations.
  • Introducing people and helping them to do useful stuff together. 
  • Enabling people to collaborate despite communication barriers (such as separation through distance, and belonging in different cultures).
  • Building people's skills, confidence and connections as they face new challenges and opportunities.

Connecting the past and the future.

Now, in Dadamac Connect, Nikki and I are creating a point of connection for all the things we've done in the past and all the things we'll be doing in the future.

Dadamac Connect is going to be financially sustainable, earning its living through the services it provides. It may do some pro-bono work, especially while it is developing its client base (and later when it's rich enough to do generous social corporate responsibility projects) but it is being set up as a business. If we can't see a way to make something pay, then we won't do it.

Organisational issues of 21st-century systems and #RSA

This was first published (August 27, 2010) as an open letter on posterous. I'm reposting a (slighly shortened) version here as posterous no longer exists and I need to refer to it.

Hi Kellie.


A year or two back, I was involved in a workshop relevant to your interest in 21st century organisations. It was organised by a group connected to the RSA, and the day involved exploring issues related to the formal, long-established, RSA and a complementary informal network.

It was definitely not a typical talking shop. I think it would have appealed to you. We were divided into three or four groups and started in a fairly normal warm-up way of telling our neighbour what we knew about the RSA. In theory we had all brought with us an object that was in some way was representative of the RSA, so those objects were included in the discussion. Then we had to express what we had described using Lego and plasticine - and our brought objects.

During the course of the day we developed our ideas about the RSA and about the network, their similarities and differences, their present relationship with each other, areas of difficulty, and how these difficulties might be overcome. At various points in the day the groups got up to visit the models forming on the other tables, and to have them explained. (There were photos and video recordings – perhaps they still exist somewhere.)

In appreciation of "The Evolution of Trust"

"The Evolution of Trust" by David Brooks is a helpful and clear explanation of how things are changing regarding trust. He writes

I’m one of those people who thought Airbnb would never work. I thought people would never rent out space in their homes to near strangers. But I was clearly wrong. Eleven million travelers have stayed in Airbnb destinations, according to data shared by the company. (snip).

And Airbnb is only a piece of the peer-to-peer economy. People are renting out their cars to people they don’t know, dropping off their pets with people they don’t know, renting power tools to people they don’t know... (more - "The Evolution of Trust").

Open letter to Matthew Partovi #ResponsiveOrg

The Responsive Organization is a movement of people who want to help their organizations become more responsive to a world that is very different to that of the Industrial Age. Together, we can support and influence each other to make this change happen faster.

Hi Matthew

As you know I appreciated attending the #ResponsiveOrg - London unconference (and I appreciated your encouragement to attend in the first place because I don't belong in a 'normal organisation' so I wasn't confident that I should be there).

This post is rather long for an email (or even for a blog) so I've inserted numbered headings: