COVID, Creativity and Death By Zoom: The Most Read Posts of 2020

Happy New Year everyone – these are the five most popular posts I wrote in 2020.

Thanks for subscribing and reading

Best wishes

Paul

Pandemics, it turns out, may not be so great for creativity, but they are kind to bloggers.

This was the best year in terms of readership of this site by some way, with nearly three times the visits of 2019.

I began the year (again) aiming for 52 posts, and managed 36 – which isn’t a bad haul given I had to have medical treatment for nearly 8 months. Social media and the digital world get a lot of stick – but it’s been a genuine lifeline for many this year. I don’t think I’d have made it through the other side without some of the support and inspiration I’ve found online. I should give a fair bit of credit to the NHS too, I saw up close and personal people doing simply incredible work in the early stages of the pandemic.

That said, this year has really been about rediscovering the power of close human connections and the relatively small circle of people who sustain us at a hyperlocal level. This has been one of the highlights amidst the many lowlights of 2020 and is what we need to build upon in the coming year.

Rightly or wrongly the narrative of COVID-19 has become one of fear. Of being afraid of personal contact, of the dangers of human connection, of social groups being a potential petri dish. The effects of this narrative , for the greater public good some would argue, will linger in the long term and are not conducive to the types of community many of us want to foster.

So let’s focus on the positives, which are largely reflected in the most popular posts this year (in reverse order)

5 – Ending Our Obsession With Leadership

The only pre-pandemic post on here built upon a report from the World Economic Forum  stating that 86% of people say that ‘we have a leadership crisis in the world today’ with an alarmingly weak correspondence between power and competency. In a year that called for a completely different leadership model, a reader noted we should ‘dump leadership in favour of diverse relationships, dump leaderism in favour of widespread participation. Time to move on.’

4 – Death By Zoom: Have We Failed The Mass Home Working Experiment?

After the initial optimism about remote working (arguably the ‘honeymoon period’ in terms of disaster response) people’s experience became decidedly mixed. This post outlined the ‘disillusionment phase’ as we yearned for a return to normal – despite the fact we never really liked normal in the first place.

3 – Why Are Remote Workers Facing Burnout?

Some teams are thriving during the pandemic and some are failing. Why is that? This post looked at three factors that alter the experience for remote or hybrid workers: their household complexity, their role complexity and their (social) network quality.

2 – People Aren’t Sick Of Change. They’re Just Sick Of Change Programmes

We all know large-scale transformations become too big to fail – resulting in a ‘wall of silence’ when objectives don’t get met. They simply cannot deliver on what is promised. So what’s the point of doing them? This post offered a couple of solutions.

1 – Why Do So Many People Want Us Back In The Office?

This one has become the most popular post of all time on here by a huge margin mainly due to being featured over on Ycombinator where it got over 600 comments and generated thousands of views.

The death of the office is overstated, but there’s sure going to be a lot of Office Space To Rent signs going up in January.

Thanks to everyone who has read my posts this year and particularly those who have shared and commented on social media.

Remember you can also never miss a post by subscribing at the top of this page.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2021!

Very Best Wishes,

Paul x


Cover photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Collaboration, Creativity and Crap Offices: The Top Five Posts of 2019

The word blog is a conflation of two words: Web and log.  This blog is essentially a diary of what I’m thinking; albeit a diary that is meant to be read by others, and that hopefully inspires some creativity.

I started the year with an intention to post each and every Friday – something I managed just 34 times this year. We all know consistency is the key to successful blogging so my New Year’s Resolution is clear:

Be. More. Consistent.

I know that what is most popular is not always what is best but it’s always interesting to see what people come looking for on your blog.

Here’s the five most popular posts in 2019 – in reverse order with the link to the original in the title.

5 – The Danger Of Listening To People Who Talk A Lot

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One of the problems we face , according to this piece, is that we are drawn to extroverts. Those who talk well and talk lots command attention in meetings – and they get an unprecedented amount of airtime in modern organisations. This obsession with leadership – the loud and the powerful – is something we need to rebalance in 2020. Can we let the introverts in a bit more?

4 – Why We Don’t Collaborate

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Despite the hype – collaboration isn’t easy and isn’t the way most of our organisations operate. In fact – if we don’t teach, measure, encourage or reward collaboration it doesn’t tend to happen. This post helped bag me a couple of speaking slots and the contacts I’ve made/ conversations I’ve had since have convinced me that when we do collaborate we tend to collaborate on projects not best suited to collaboration! Watch out for an early January post on that.

3 – If We Want Different Relationships, The Doing Must Be New And Different Too

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In 2019 there’s a been a lot of talk of giving communities more power but precious little evidence of it. Perhaps next year we’ll see some of the resources that are meant to trickle down finally have some impact.

As the post says – you can’t change a relationship without actual changing your behaviour.  So let’s change it. As I said in my last post, the most important thing all organisations could do right now is simply demonstrate that we see ourselves as equal partners with communities rather than as supreme rulers of the vulnerable.

There’s a once in a generation opportunity here if we are brave and bold enough to embrace it.

2 –  Five Ways Social Media Can Inspire Creativity

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The second most popular post this year was actually published in 2016 – when almost no-one read it! It exploded in popularity in 2018 and continued it again this year.

The central message – break out of your bubble and actively follow people you don’t agree – is one that a lot of people still aren’t hearing. To quote Nick Cohen – never mistake your Twitter feed for your country.

1 – Why The Death Of The Office Can’t Come Too Soon

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The most popular post of 2014 is also the top post of 2019 – by some way.

I guess this demonstrates the power of a catchy title but also the stresses the need for us bloggers to not neglect older content that could be still relevant.

I think this post is popular because a lot of people are still frustrated with crappy workspaces and what comes with them . When and where we are productive is as individual as our genetic code. Five years on we are still waiting for a radical review of the purpose of offices and that means having to think very differently about what it means to “go to work” in the next decade.


 

Thanks to everyone who has read my posts this year and particularly those who have shared and commented on social media.

Remember you can also never miss a post by subscribing at the top of this page.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2020!

Very Best Wishes,

Paul x

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