Tribus temporales

Revisando los posts del blog de “Project Shrink” me encontré con este artúculo que habla sobre trabajo en equipo, la influencia de la comunicación y la cultura. Me pareció excelente.!

Temporary Tribes.

Posted: 27 Feb 2011 02:16 AM PST

People get together to accomplish things.

Starting a movement to create a change in law. Developers and designers working together to implement a new system into an organization.

They get together. Accomplish stuff. And split up. A group is created. Their thing is done. A group is dissolved.

They are all on a Big Adventure. They are trying to find a treasure. They are going to retrieve a stolen secret document. They are going to set the princess free. They have a goal.

In his book “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us“ master marketing blogger Seth Godin popularized the term “tribes”. In Godin’s view “... tribes are groups of people aligned around an idea, connected to a leader and to each other.” The central elements of a tribe are the leader and the idea.

I want to focus not just on an idea, but more on a result. A goal. Groups that together pursue the fulfillment of a certain outcome. And after they reach their goal, they stop being a group.Temporary tribes. A good example of temporary tribes are project teams. People working together to accomplish a desired outcome.

This temporariness creates an interesting challenge. If people have never met before, have only a short period of time to produce a result, how should they collaborate together?


Trust and Digital Communication

We all know that trust in a team is important. But how does trust evolve when you don’t know a person and almost have no time to bond? If you work in the same department for years, you know who to go to for certain problems. IT? You need to go to Bob. Difficult customer? Go see Heather. How do you know who to go to in a temporary tribe?

An important element of a temporary tribe is the communication infrastructure they work on. It’s digital, it’s mobile and it is global. Communicating over the Internet is different from talking face-to-face. In our current environment the best we can have is a bit of both. A hybrid mix of online and offline interaction. Good or bad. Whatever your opinion is. It is the situation.

What does that do to our collaboration when the temporary group is interacting on a hybrid infrastructure? If you have communication problems in your tribe and you are located in the same building, consider yourself lucky and please, train your communication skills. Simple techniques, we all know for decades, can improve your face-to-face communication immensely.

But what if we move our interactions into cyberspace? What if we throw out physical collocation and what if everyone of us has an entire different frame of reference? And now you run into problems.

According to famous studies by Albert Mehrabian, words just form 7% of our communication, the rest is 38% tone of voice and 55% body language. So the “standard” communication is not going to cut it.

Here we are. Having no time to get to know each other. Interacting through digital straws.

Oh. And to raise the stakes. These tribes create change. They change something in an existing social system. A country. An organization. Society maybe even. And where you change the status quo for some, some will push back. Stakeholders might block the project. Opponents might vote against your proposals.

Temporary tribes must be resilient. They must be able to handle disturbances in their environment while still maintaining their function. Their focus on the goal.

So. Temporary. Digital. Resilient.

Check. Check. Double check.

How do they do it?

Interactions and Collaborations

A temporary tribe is a bunch of people working together to achieve a certain goal. During this endeavor to laugh, cry, pull pranks, play dirty tricks and have all other kind of behavior towards each other. If you are lucky they even work to reach the final goal.

For example if you take everything away, and put people in the center of what a “project” is, you will see a group of stakeholders interacting with each other, just like any other group of people would do.

Just to make things easier on our lives, we call the result of all this behavior “the project”. In this sense it is nothing more than an abstraction. If we say “the project is late”, this doesn’t mean that some creature or entity from outer space showed up later than expected; it is the result of the project people working together that wasn’t finished on the time we predicted.

In this sense the word “project” is the same as “economy”. If our economy is improving, there is not some kind of energy force that is doing better than before. The whole system of people working, people buying and people living that is better off in some way than in the past. We need this kind of abstraction, just to be able to cope with it; it is easier to talk about the economy than about 100 million individuals.

Interesting is that this abstraction influences the people that make up the underlying system; if the economy is doing better, people will spend more, if a project is late, people will work harder.

The interactions of the tribe members should result into a productive collaboration that produces the desired end result.

Balances for Resilience

When the sea is calm, it easy to steer and navigate. It gets a lot more difficult to keep course when a storm hits your boat. When stress is put upon you or your tribe interaction and collaboration can be different. In order to have a tribe that is able to cope with disturbances while still being able to perform its function, in my view three balances must be taken care of.

Balance One.

The balance between homogeneity and cognitive diversity among tribe members. Cultural diversity can provide different interpretations of situations resulting in creative problem solving.Homogeneity makes sure the group operates as one. In a resilient tribe you need both.

However, if you put stress on this balance, people either lean towards diversity (“not being like them”) or homogeneity (“being among your own people”). This is just a matter of time. The balances are unstable. You can only make it last a little longer. It will not last forever.

Balance Two.

The second balance is between a closed mind and an open mind. If we are putting stress on ourselves, if we put fear in your mind, if you are exhausted, we will lock into one dominant mindset. This is great for focus. An easy reference frame to make decisions against. But it also makes a bad problem solver and communicator.

Having an open mind, being able to switch context, to use other mental models or mindset helps you to be more creative in problem solving. You are looking at the same problem from multiple perspectives. It also allows you to see other peoples perspectives faster and with that improving your communication effectiveness. An “open mind” also has drawbacks like a lack of focus. Lack of opinion. Unable to make decisions.

Balance Three.

And that leaves us with the third and final balance: private and public information flow. If everybody has access to the right and real information, better and faster decisions would be made. So all information should be public. But throwing all our stuff into the open also has a drawback.

Transparency makes sure people’s behavior will be noted around the globe. Although with a good reputation a lot is to gain, having a bad rep puts a lot at stake. So people will play things save. When stress is on the system, when changes occur and resilience is required, transparency leads to mediated information flow and “playing-it-safe” behavior.

Identity and Culture

At the heart of these three balances lies my conviction to focus on culture and identity and their role in interaction and collaboration as mechanism for resilience.

Identity is about how we view ourselves in respect to others. During your life you are a member of a lot of social groups, by default, by choice or by force. I am a Dutch white male, member of a no-child double income household, blogger and web aficionado, to name just a few of my own treats. The Dutch white male is something that I am by birth, by default. All other affiliations are more or less done by choice.

The group memberships determine how we see ourselves in the whole of society, it determines our identity. Actually, we have more than one identity. We can choose, we can switch depending on the situation. You have been dealt a lot of memberships, you can emphasize or down play each affiliation to create your identity.

Identity is about inward reflection and outward presentation. It determines which cues we decide to put out and how we perceive ourselves. Cues are expressions of a group that identify the group and can be seen by others. Others associate a person with the social group when recognizing the cues. If wearing party hats is a big thing in your group culture, the party hat becomes a social cue.

This affects all three balances. Not only does the outward presentation allow others to see what you are about, it is the inward reflection that determines how you view the world. To quote Anais Nin“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”.

Culture operates on the group level. It’s the collective sense of “how we do things around here”. Rituals, language, badges, protocols. They are all part of a group culture. Culture is the element of a temporary tribe that keeps its members together, committed to a shared cause. It takes care of bonding and protection from outside influences. It also sends out cues in respect of this group. Badges. Rituals. Language.

It’s the personal identity, the mental perception of an individual that can determine the boundaries of an entire group. A team. An organization. It’s the culture of a group that can enhance and nurture a persons identity.

Let us reflect on where we stand.

People don’t know each other. There is a short period to create the desired outcome. Interaction is largely digital. Stress is put onto the tribe, so resilience is required.

We need a mix of cognitive diversity for problem solving and homogeneity for operating as one. The members need to be able to operate with multiple mental models without reducing their own convictions. We need enough transparency for decision making while still providing the members with enough comfort.

This will require that the purpose of the tribe and the rules are easy and fast to understand. You cannot just assume that everybody knows for example Project Management practices. Nor should they. It will require that there is a healthy bonding between the members but still enough safety to express your individual identity to broadcast your strength.

On the level of collaboration I focus on the use of metaphors, storytelling, co-creation, visualization and game play. This is to enhance communication, social bonding and creativity for problem solving.

The reasoning behind this is that:

  • Metaphors stimulate creativity and communication.
  • It provides a shared vocabulary and mental model (part of a culture)
  • Different way of looking at things
  • Less intimidating than more “official” language
  • It is a vehicle for explanations
  • Reframing. To avoid people answering in ways they assume is expected, you can use a metaphor for your endeavor and frame all activities in an entirely different setting. One where there are no rules about how people ought to behave.

Before we can examine these elements in collaboration, we have to look closer to the underlying interactions first. Central here is this question: how we determine the reliability of our communication channel?

The effectiveness of interaction is determined by the quality of the channel, the quality of the interaction, if you will. If there is noise on a channel, the effectiveness of communication reduces. How do we detect this noise? This is about trusting the channel. Without too much personal knowledge of the communication partner. How do we determine “trustworthiness” by association and similarity?

When we understand the mechanisms of interaction within temporary tribes, we can see how the infrastructure and environment should be facilitated for resilient collaboration.

Temporary Tribes. is a post from: Project Shrink



5 Exercises To Bootstrap Culture. | Project Shrink

5 Exercises To Bootstrap Culture.

February 6, 2011 4 Comments

Bootstrappingrevealing a group culture.

A culture is the element of a group that keeps its members together, committed to a shared cause. And as creating a culture can be creepy, bootstrapping uses storytelling, metaphors and visualization exercises to, well, bootstrap the process in a non-creepy way.

Happy Bootstrapping.

1. The Story Of Your Quest – Multi-media Storytelling.

The reason why your project exists, is because it has to fulfill a goal, create an end result. In bootstrapping lingo that is The Quest, the pursuit of something worthwhile.

The goal of your project or organization is a powerful mechanism for alignment. Everyone is working towards the same result. But first you have to make sure they all have the same understanding of what “done” looks like.

In this exercise every team member must be involved. This means basically that everyone gets together and is involved in the “creation” of, in this case, the goal. If people are involved you get acceptance and engagement, multiple point of views, and alignment.

I don’t think redefining your organizations goals are feasible, but that’s fine. Important is to create a common understanding, a common view of these goals. One story. Preferably a visual one. Because pictures still say more than something else. Or video says more. I am not sure.

With all new gadgets available, and low tech solutions, your team will create a multi-media representation of what in their opinion is the company, project or department story. They can use their mobile phones to take picture or record short movies, use magazines to create a visual collage or interview their coworkers and write a short story.

Core is the question: what do you think is Our Quest?

Discuss the results with the group and create a collective story of The Quest.

What does “done” look like?

2. Your Project As An Adventure – Using Metaphors.

Metaphors are useful to get a common understanding, a common narrative of a project. By using fun and accessible stories it is easier to understand and less intimidating than flashing Excel grids and plans around.

Metaphors can also facilitate the emergence of a group culture. If you talk about your project in the context of The Wizard of Oz, some common phrases might stick among your team members. They might keep calling you Dorothy. Or refer to The Plan as The Yellow Brick Road.

A good starting point is to focus on the sequence of events in a project. Following a chronological timeline. The events that lead up to The Quest.

I suggest two metaphors for this purpose: The Project Adventure Map and Movies As A Metaphor.

They focus on the sequence of events, their relationship with The Quest, and the roles of the individual team members. Why are you part of this team, or in bootstrapping language, this ragtag crew?

For those who need more structure to the storyline, The Hero’s Journey can be of great help.

Follow these links for more information about The Project Adventure Map and Movies As A Metaphor.

3. The Stakeholder Adventure Map

The normal Adventure Map has a focus on events, the Stakeholder Adventure Map does focus on, you’ve guessed it, stakeholders.

Stakeholder analysis is a technique to identify and analyze the stakeholders surrounding a project. It provides information on stakeholders and their relationships and expectations. A proper analysis of the stakeholders will help you to construct a project approach suited to the situation and will allow you to negotiate better with the stakeholders.

In this exercise you draw a line that flows towards the goal. Not a straight line. Create the suggestion that the Big Adventure is one that includes obstacles and challenges. The openness and flow stimulate creativity. It suggests you have room to think.

The next step is concerned with the question “Who are the stakeholders?”

For this, you basically draw people or smileys along your project road map. What is the first time they pop up? That’s the place where you draw them on the flow. If you draw them closer towards your path, they have more influence, are more important. Often you start with the obvious stakeholders, and the longer you talk about it, the more crowded the whiteboard gets.

Click here for more information about Stakeholder Adventure Maps.

4. The Yellow Brick Road – Are We There Yet?

The trip along the Yellow Brick Road from the Wizard Of Oz is long. Just like your project. With a lot of turns and twists. And mountains that block your view. From where you are standing you cannot see the end. How do you know you’re on the right track?

You don’t want to travel a long distance to notice in the end that you went the wrong way. And people tend to get nervous when they have no idea of how far they are. Like stakeholders in a project.

For this exercise, on a white board you draw a yellow road, with turns and twists and obstacles blocking the view from one turn to another.

Ask your stakeholders what they are expecting “to see” along the road. Start with the end in mind and work your way back. Before they go to production, what are they expecting to get? (Did someone just think “acceptance criteria”?) Use project phases to indicate “checkpoints”. Use absolute calender time. Use budget scales. What are you’re expectations when 50% of the budget is gone? How do you know you’re expectations are met?

The Yellow Brick Road is not about creating a firm committed plan. It is about the stakeholders current perception of the journey.

Click here form more information about The Yellow Brick Road.

5. The Tent – Your Temporary Comfort Zone.

Your ragtag crew needs some kind of protection. If you’re on A Big Adventure you need a support structure. Projects create change. Change makes waves through the organization. And change creates stress for people. Your project is a temporary structure within the host organization.

Think about it as a hospital tent set up in a field. It allows the doctors to perform surgery isolated from what happens around them. It provides focus and shelter. It’s not a fortress. The walls are thin and allow for surrounding noises to enter. It’s put up when needed and taken away when it has served its purpose.

In this exercise you discuss with the group how the ideal tent would look like. What kind of material? What information can get out, or what information should stay in the tent? What would you pack? How do you make sure you can get along on a small confined space for a period of time?

Click here for more information about The Tent. Notice some great suggestions in the comment section.

5 ejercicios narrativas metaforas y visualizaciones para mantener una cultura y trabajo en equipo

La Cerveza

No se si porque unos de mis alumnos de la maestría están haciendo su proyecto de innovación relacionado con la cerveza, o porque tengo a un amigo que acaba de abrir un expendio de cervezas, que últimamente me he estado fijando en la creveza y como diría mi amiga Chabe, “está durisima la creveza”.

Bueno pues el caso es que en este post les pongo el origen de su nombre que me llegó via: Ricardo Soca en su sección la palabra del día 

El caso es que ahi les va:


Documentos sumerios datados cuatro mil años antes de Cristo muestran referencias a esta bebida fermentada hecha con granos de cereales en Mesopotamia. En Babilonia, el consumo de cerveza llegó a ser tan grande que obligó al rey Hamurabí a reglamentarlo. El código de Hamurabí tendía a proteger a los bebedores contra las maniobras de los taberneros deshonestos, lo que lo convirtió en la primera ley de defensa del consumidor de la Historia. Entre los caldeos, la cerveza era ofrecida en tributo a los dioses. 

Según narraciones de algunos cronistas de la Antigüedad, cuando Nabucodonosor se aburría de sus concubinas, solía matarlas ahogándolas en cerveza. Ya en el Imperio Romano, Plinio relata que los galos llamaban cervesiaa la bebida y brasce, al grano usado para fabricarla. Brasce dio origen en francés a brasseur, (fabricante de cerveza) y a brasserie (cervecería). 

Durante la Edad Media, los monjes fabricaban las mejores cervezas, conocidas en bajo latín como cerevisiae monacorum (cerveza de los monjes) que se elaboran hasta hoy en algunos países europeos bajo el nombre de «cervezas de abadía». La cervesia de los galos se derivaba del céltico korma y se derivó posteriormente a cervoise, nombre por el que fue conocida esta bebida durante varios siglos en francés antiguo, por lo menos desde el siglo XII. Las primeras referencias en español datan de los siglos XV, como cervesa y XVI, ya con la forma actual. 

El francés bière, el italiano birra, el inglés beer y el alemán Bier provienen del latín bibere (beber). 

Por otro lado en el blog de tipografía de la UAM-C un colaborador mandó una liga sobre el diseño de Cervecería Hacienda y el trabajo de un diseñadore australiano llamado Andrew Rose, en el blog la liga no funciona muy bien, pero me mandó su trabajo que me gustó mucho. De hecho como que parece que este Andrew Rose podría ser mexicano o no?

Aquí tienen algunos ejemplos de este trabajo:


Que disfruten.





Ejemplos de museografía

Este agregado es una exploración a un sitio de publicidad de una empresa española que se llama Visión Creativa que me encontré el otro dia en internet
dan servicios de decoración de espacios, museografía y pueden encontra muy buenas ideas. Me gusta como muestran su trabajo y dan información de los materiales usados, fijense en la forma de resolver el espacio sencillez y manejo tipografico. No se siente uno saturado de información.




La liga:

Logo Design Proposal Template for Download


Following up on my previous post Logo Design Contracts, Proposals and Invoicing – Share your Methods I have made a number of significant changes to my proposal and have made it available as a template download.

Although I have been in this creative business for many many years, it has only really been the last few years where I have gone freelance. This move to being solo and having to deal with all aspects of running a home based studio has been an incredibly tough learning curve.

I have made many mistakes both personally, privately and professionally over the last few years, I have let clients down and I have let myself down, and will no doubt continue to make mistakes and bad judgement calls. All I can hope is that each time I learn a bit more and limit the scope for bad things to happen.

Creating a more watertight and descriptive proposal has been one of the main changes.

To share

I thought it might be useful for others, to see the sort of things that I have felt important to include, so I have made version of my proposal availble as a InDesign Template and PDF file for you to download.


This is a variation of the one I use, some information I have changed for personal reasons, other bits are just relevant to me. I am sure aspects can still be improved and added to, but this is a huge improvment over the last version.

Firm in context

This style of proposal is quite ‘firm’ in tone, maybe more ‘firm’ than some of you may want or feel comfortable with. If this is the case, then reword and restructure to your own liking. It gives you the foundations to work from and sculpt into your own voice.

The reason I have opted for ‘firm’ is simply down to my own experiences and being let down by a few clients. In order to rebuild and retain a sense of control, firming up the context has been an important step. I realise some clients may be spooked by how I ‘come across’ in this proposal, but if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear.

If someone has issues with any portion of this proposal then I encourage them to make contact, to discuss their concerns, initial firmness is balanced out with stressing that it’s ‘good’ to call and make contact via phone. This shows I am a person open to discussion – if you do call me, you will see how easy to talk to and how down to earth I really am.

I set a clear message from the start with this proposal, that I wish our business and relationship to be open and clear, to reduce doubt and confusion by setting clear targets and communicating what we both expect from the relationship.

I feel much more secure and in control with this revised propsal, so I hope it is of use to someone. I would suggest that you don’t use it completely as it is.

This isn’t a perfect design, it’s here for you to base your own design and content from, so please do alter the design, change the tone, add or remove aspsect to suit your own way of working.


I am sure this wouldn’t hold up well under a lawyers blood lusting eye, so please do not assume what you read in this proposal is legally watertight, frankly I have no idea. It’s purpose is more about sending a clear message to the client, the proposal sets the all important first impression, when the client first sets eyes on this proposal, they will hopefully see that I plan to conduct business. It’s not a scrappy quote or proposal, I clearly mean to conduct business in a clear and open mannor, this can actually be quite reassuring for some people. Not everyone, but some.

Open to feedback

If you have any suggestions or improvements on this revised proposal, please let me know in comments below, I am totally up to hearing your thoughts.

Consider this a ‘work in progress’. Any updates I make to my proposal, I will reflect in this post.

If you change it, add details etc, I would love to see an example of it. Maybe I’ll take a leaf from your book.


I have provided a few file versions and bundled them up in a ZIP, so hopefully one or some will be useful.

Download Logo Design Proposal via Dropbox*

* file revised 21st February


The Seven Deadly Sins That Choke Out Innovation | Co.Design

The Seven Deadly Sins That Choke Out Innovation

Even companies serious about innovation can fall victim to their own, well-meaning creative process.

In most companies, there’s a profound tension between the right-brainers (for lack of a better term) espousing design, design thinking and user-centered approaches to innovation and the left-brained, more spreadsheet-minded among us. Most C-suites are dominated by the latter, all of whom are big fans of nice neat processes and who pay good money to get them implemented rigorously. So often, the innovation process is treated as a simple, neat little machine. Put in a little cash and install the right process, and six months later, out pops your new game-changing innovation — just like toast, right from the toaster. But that, of course, is wrong.

Last night, Ryan Jacoby, the heads of IDEO’s New York practice, gave a talk at NYU/Poly with just that tension in mind, titled Leading Innovation: Process Is No Substitute. Jacoby’s point: processes are all well and good, but they don’t guarantee innovation, and in some cases they might even provide a false sense of security. Ryan outlined what he described as the Seven Deadly Sins of innovation, which I’m sure will ring true for most people who’ve worked on such projects. They are:

1: Thinking the answer is in here, rather than out there

“We all get chained to our desks and caught up in email,” he said. “But the last time I looked, no innovation answers were coming over my Blackberry.” You have to get outside of the office, outside of the conference room and be open to innovation answers from unexpected places. Ryan makes himself take a photograph every day on the way to work, as a challenge to remember to look around him.

2: Talking about it rather than building it

This one related to the last. At least here in the U.S., we live in a land of meetings and memos and lots and lots of discussion. Sometimes it’s more than possible that all this talk might prevent us from, well, actually doing anything. He gave a great example of an idea to bring “fun into finance”, and showed a mocked up scenario of a guy buying a pair of sneakers, at which point a virtual avatar danced on his credit card. Practical? Not the point. The unpolished prototype motivated the team and got them thinking differently.

3: Executing when we should be exploring

“This is huge for management types,” he said, going on to warn of the problem of trying to nail down a project way too early in the timeframe. “Who’s exploring? Who’s executing? Where is everyone in process?”

4: Being smart

“If you’re scared to be wrong, you won’t be able to lead innovation or lead the innovation process,” he said. This is huge. Innovation is all about discussing new ideas that currently have no place in the real world. If you’re only comfortable talking about things that *don’t* strike you as alien, chances are you’re not talking about real innovation.

5: Being impatient for the wrong things

Innovation takes time, but too often executives expect unrealistic results at an unrealistic clip. Be explicit about the impact that you expect.

6: Confusing cross-functionality with diverse viewpoints

IDEO is an inter-disciplinary firm, mixing up employees with a whole host of backgrounds. That’s critical to ensuring a better chance at innovation — and it’s far different from teams that simply mix up functions. “Diversity is key for innovation,” said Mr J.

7: Believing process will save you

Here, Ryan showed a great image of vendors touting their wares at the Front End of Innovation conference in Boston. His point: you can’t simply buy your way to a soaring innovation strategy. Some of these products might be useful, sure, but they’re no substitute for real thought leadership. Having an innovation process is fine, but it’s not a guarantee of success even if it does produce some tangible product at the end. Or, as he put it, “learn the process, execute the process, and then lead within it.”

[Image by Bob Jagendorf]

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Helen Walters

Helen Walters

Helen Walters is a New York City-based business and design journalist with experience writing, editing and publishing content across multiple platforms, online and offline. Th… Read more






Muy recomendable para hacer una checklist de en donde no debemos caer.