Three Reasons Writing Is Your Most Valuable Skill

About one person in a hundred can write well. That generous estimate is based on twenty-five years of working with executives, managers, government officials, academics, researchers and professionals in disciplines ranging from agriculture to veterinary science in nearly a hundred organizations in over thirty countries. A reasonable sample I think. I  am not criticizing or [...]

Courage and the Psychology of Writing

A writing synthesis workshop offers up some surprising insights into the writing process.[1] Writing is a complex cognitive process I find endlessly fascinating and the subject of renewed interest among psychologists and neuroscientists. Attending a weekend writing synthesis workshop as a mentor offered up an insight: it takes courage to write. The courage of commitment [...]

Ten Tips for Managing Multi-author Documents

Multi-author documents are the norm in business and the professions. Most multi-author documents take far too long to complete, not because of the number of people involved, but because too often the team leading the project doesn’t take time to make the process explicit and get buy-in from everyone involved at the start. What multi-author [...]

How I learned to love my Kindle

I’ve always been a print guy. I love the physicality of books as much as the content. I love the heft, the texture of the pages, the creativity that goes into page layout and design, the subtlety of font. So purchasing a Kindle was a big step for me, one driven more by necessity than [...]

Reinventing the workshop

Imagine a workshop where people come together for five days with the stated aim of producing a range of specific documents designed to carry forward a body of work ten years in the making. No PowerPoint sessions. No orchestrated exercises involving small group discussions and reportbacks. No scheduled coffee breaks. The walls remain bare of [...]

Information is beautiful

CPWF Mekong Communications Coordinator Terry Clayton reviews a recent publication and finds it—beautiful. When was the last time you pick ed up a beautiful book? I don’t mean a book with beautiful pictures, there are lots of those. I mean a book so beautifully laid out and illustrated that it seduces eye and mind into [...]

Are you ready for the nexus?

In development circles, everything is suddenly a nexus. Nexus approach. Nexus perspective. The A-B-C Nexus. Welcome to the new buzz word. According to my trusted Oxford, nexus means: 1. connection; a connection or link associating two or more people or things.2. connected group; a group of series of connected people or things.3. center; the center [...]

Hydro Power and Chauvinism a Bad Mix

Apparently all that is required these days to be lauded as a “strategic thinker” is an opinion and a good supply of scary adjectives. I have both and I will employ them on deconstructing the esteemed Professor Brahma Chellaney’s recent newspaper article “Regional ties threatened by China’s dam drive“. I will argue the article is chauvinistic, [...]


I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of having my awareness raised. It seems every other paper, report or project proposal I pick up is invoking “awareness raising” as rationale, output, outcome or impact and sometimes all four at the same time. Can awareness raising really be all those things, or is it just [...]

More or Less Connected

The more connected you are, the less you are connecting. I am at a conference. I am so busy rephrasing what the speakers are saying into 144 characters that I am not really listening to what they say. If I’m not Tweeting, I’m checking my email because of course there is a wireless Internet connection. [...]