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1 Colleen Burns commented Permalink

Great comparisons, Femke!

This story reminds me of Rawn's blog about creating serendipity: http://ibm.co/FOexTM He retold this story: "...when Mr. Jobs was at Pixar, he specifically designed the building space to put the cafeteria and the bathrooms in the center of the building, and involve a circuitous path that had employees moving past many of their peers’ desks to get there. Inconvenient, but what it did was to encourage serendipity and sharing of ideas as people stopped to chat with each other along their way back to their own desks."
Maybe the Dutch Circle Party just needs to be introduced to a favorite American children's party game "musical chairs"!

2 Lisa Duke commented Permalink

Pretty sure I created this one night in Kimono's - perhaps I have Dutch ancestors. That's why I looked so cute in my yellow klompen. :)

3 Bernie Leung commented Permalink

Interesting. Chinese also sits in a circle during meals. And yes, Chinese loves to eat and it is a social event. The table sits 10 to 12 so conversations are easier and often shared. Ever notice how loud Chinese restaurants are? It takes a little volume to yell across the table.

When the group gets larger than 10 or so, a new table will be set up. But getting up to go to a different table to visit is not uncommon and encouraged because it shows respect to the other guests. So this offers the opportunity to get to the one you want to be with...like getting introduced to the pretty girl.
But your point is well taken, breaking down the social barrier can reap benefits that we might not realize right away. However, in the long run, it's the communal knowledge and interaction that indivIduals can benefit.
So do you think we still subconsciously observed these cultural traditions even in the Internet world?

4 Femke Goedhart commented Permalink

@Bernie: Interesting to read about the Chinese dinner culture. Especially that 'a litle volume' is allowed & needed. Yelling in the Dutch situation is often frowned upon as it immediately claims all attention and disturbs other peoples conversations. Moving around is certainly not prohibited but as seats are usually scarce and all seats are often taken it can be hard to move.

I used this as an example to show how communications sometimes are steered by cultural concepts but I do feel that we still often are restricting our communications to those close to us. Be it physically or in role.
Having multiple conversations going on around you at the same time means that you often miss what is going on. Social Business tools can help give people access to these conversations and information close by as well as further away BUT we need culture chances that give people the opportunity and confidence to listen to and partake in other conversations to really foster innovation and new relations.
How many businesses are there where it is perfectly acceptable for the operator on the shop floor to talk directly to the director? Intellectually - yes a lot, but in reality - when you ask that operator....?

5 Colleen Burns commented Permalink

I like your point Femke, and it's one I have heard many times. Social really can level the playing field. As you say, a young employee may be intimidated to knock on the VP's office door. However, that same employee could very easily engage in a LinkedIn forum chat with the VP -- and exchange thoughts, sparking a brand new, collaborative idea.

So this also goes back to the serendipity - party idea. Perhaps Bernie didn't consider that getting stuck next to an old distant relative could be serendipitous blessing -- because it may just be they know an available, beautiful, rich woman to introduce you to! (or maybe that relative will bore you to tears with stories - you have to take your chances!)

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