The first step toward better collaboration in Europe is to visualize the network. I’m calling it the BigList. It will be a list of everyone in Europe who is 1)a connector of people, 2) a producer of ideas, and 3) living in Europe. The list will contain authors, bloggers, speakers, conference organizers, and others involved in sharing ideas about Agile and Lean.
As a first step, Olaf and I have compared and merged our contact lists. I will be contacting many people in many countries this week, and I will ask you all to give me more names. Next week I will publish the first version of the BigList, and I will ask everyone to give feedback on it. I will probably have missed a few important names, and I’ll be ready to get some flak for that. (No better person to do this than a Dutch guy, I suppose.) We will probably need a few iterations to get a decent full picture of all idea farmers in Europe.
The BigList should help conference organizers, speakers, and authors to get in touch with each other across European borders. It will also be helpful to get new initiatives off the ground for which we need contributors from multiple countries.
Examples: When the BigList is somewhat complete, I will ask people to come up with a better name for the network (ALE is still a placeholder). I also would like to see a gathering or unconference in 2012 where many people from that list will be present.
Step 2: Create a ShortList
For some activities we will need a shortlist of the best thinkers we have in Europe. They may call themselves “thought leaders” or “gurus”, but that’s not important. What’s important is that I will ask the network to decide who they are. It will be a real meritocracy, instead of a selection of people who select themselves. (I have some experience creating ”best-of” lists, so no problems there.)
This ShortList should be a list of a few dozen (maybe 50 or so) idea farmers who are the best in Europe in terms of producing ideas and connecting with people. I like the name ShortList because it sounds less important than BigList. And that’s exactly how it should be in an Agile world. The network is more important than the elite.
Examples: The ShortList will be very useful for publishers, conference organizers, European institutes, and others who want to know who the leading thinkers and doers in Europe are. The people on the ShortList can act as the hubs in the social network.
Step 3: Get Together
Face-to-face communication is the best way to get things going. And so I will gently push the network to meet and take action. One thing that I want to achieve is to get some 20 leading idea farmers together at the XP2011 conference in Madrid. I might ask the people on the ShortList to select representatives from their group. We could call them the TinyList. (They would be even less important than the ShortList…)
At XP2011 I will ask this TinyList to come up with a better vision for the network, some more ideas, and actual support to turn vision into action. But it’s too early for details now. As Olaf showed me at the Play4Agile conference, we can defer such details to the Last Responsible Moment.
Of course, I will need your support.
I’m not going to do all the work. My job is to energize the network, to let people self-organize, to set a few minor constraints, and to let things grow while I’m tending the garden.
I won’t be a Director, President or CxO, because we won’t be launching a new alliance, consortium or institute. We already have plenty of those. There will just be a flourishing network. I would like to be the network’s Singleton for a while. I will be available for bootstrapping, instantiating and connecting stuff in the network.
This is how you can help now:
Create awareness of what we’re doing (blog, tweet, or talk about it).
Give me names of Agile and Lean people in Albania, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, or Turkey. Because I don’t know anybody there. (You get extra points for naming agilists in Vatican City.)