How not to crash whilst Zoom-ing your way through Covid-19
Although my freelance consulting pipeline has withered due to C-19, there are some activities continuing online for which I am grateful. Like many people, I have been using online platforms like MS Teams, Skype and Zoom.
Here are my eight tips for Zoom-ing your way to success:
1/ All meeting benefit from a shared aim, a co-ordinator to steer the process, more listening than talking and a note of the key points. This good practice is relevant to online meetings too! I highly recommend Patrick Forsyth’s book published by CIPD, ‘Making Meetings Work’, particularly the introductory quote from J. K. …
Does Scale Matter?
Yes, it does, because the question is how will all the 9 billion people in the world of 2030 obtain safe, good food? The scale of that challenge or opportunity is vast and so the response should be in equal measure.
So, what do we mean by scale? In essence, it is defined by the size of the potential market. Let’s consider some examples. If there are a million coffee farmers in Vietnam and your group is working on an off-taker finance innovation that effects 10,000, that’s a start, but is it at the scale of the market potential demand? If there are 3.5 million coconut farmers in the Philippines, and your group is working to get a digital service to 15,000 farmers, is that at scale? If there are 3.4 million families growing rice on small farms in Myanmar, and your group is designing a farmer education initiative reaching about 5,000, is that at scale? In these examples, I have not made any assumption about the size of the potential market. However, if the potential demand is in the order of millions, then the market response needs to be at least in the 100,000s, and not in the thousands. …
Too hot to think straight?
This article makes the argument that after a certain point on the thermometer scale, life is no longer uncomfortable or unbearable, but causes death.
There are several global, large-scale public events coming up when the termperature may be so hot that we notice. At Mecca during the Hajj in 2012, temperatures set a new record of 51.3C. That was in October. This year it will be in August, closer to the hottest month of July. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be in that city’s hottest months — July/August.
Australia suffered in their recent summer.
We are at an impasse: we see what’s coming, know what’s causing it but struggle to act sufficiently and expeditously. The USA fights about a wall on its southern border. The UK squabbles endlessly about how to exit a club of nearby nations trying to be united. China and Russia seek global power. And through all this, the cities get hotter. …
Why do we find difference — so easily; yet find it hard to see what is in common?
In this little world that we know is so small, we tend to spot the differences between ‘me and you’ which quickly becomes ‘us and them’. Why?
The world has many people who are fleeing — refugees. Europe has seen this, and to a large extent has helped. The Middle East, Asia and Africa has seen it too and is helping. It happens everywhere. …
Son, Sam, has been erging for a while now. He used to sit in the kitchen in Islip sharing his latest PB, daring to trust me with possible targets he had in mind; afraid to mention the number for fear of jinxing his arrival at that platform.
On moving to Singapore in May last year, and finding my new active Virgin life, I gave it a go. The first 2k at lunch was horrible; I felt sick afterwards due to poor cardio fitness and no lunch. But I persevered and soon made it to a PB of 8:35. …
I’m struggling today. It’s World Food Day 2016. A day to think, reflect and consider. I remember the marble walls of FAO headquarters in Rome’s Viale delle Terme di Caracalla across the road from the Circo Massimo. The many morning espressos with lively, stylishly-dressed colleagues on the rooftop terrace overlooking the Eternal City. I just don’t remember achieving much while I worked there.
I’m struggling today because last week I stood with some little Congolese children suffering from kwashiorkor; bellies swollen, skin slack and marked, hair thin and grey. …
Interesting blog from Oxfam’s Duncan Green. See my comment that the main reason we don’t do well is we are too removed from the pain of poverty. It’s not that we don’t care enough to hustle and do well. It’s just poverty does not really touch our mornings, our parents or our children; reducing it is a job, when it could be a passion and vocation.
29–30 December 2015, Prek Thout Village, Kampot Province.
A week ago a rural family shared their hearts and home with me for a brief interlude of two days and the connecting night. ActionAid, through its partner NGO, SAMAKY, arranged this brief immersion experience and provided an excellent guide and interpreter, Meas Sopheareak.
What are my impressions of the family’s life? Three themes dominate: vulnerability, isolation from knowledge and some markets, and resolute hard work. How is the family vulnerable? The biggest example has to be vulnerability to shocks. Sen Navy, the mother of the household and wife to Seung Samai had a motorbike accident two years ago causing an acute injury to her left leg. The course of treatment in Vietnam quickly consumed the family’s savings and left them in debt to a microfinance institution. This shock caused Seung Samai to abandon fishing as his main occupation and to become a horticulture farmer on the small, half-hectare plot around their modest house; growing chilli, long bean, cucumber, tomato, eggplant, and lemongrass. Sen Navy now walks with a pronounced limp using a bamboo stick or crutch for longer walks around the sloping yard or in the nearby town’s marketplace. Despite her injury and a long, painful period of recovery, Sen Navy is vigorous as a caring mother, and supports the household from the outdoor kitchen and with her almost continuous preparation of lemongrass for the market. Her fortitude is impressive and inspiring. But in her context and to her neighbours it probably appears normal. For, poor people often have problems, big problems, but they get on with life without whining. …
Impact investing — any progress?
A final carry-over from my old blog, from April 2014: “Today, it was good to discover a world with Paul Polak in it. Thanks to the BFP I could enjoy Paul’s video interview. I liked the way he emphasised, scale, efficiency and profit. The conversation was honest enough to admit that whilst there is a lot of talk about impact investing and its other incarnates, there are only a few successful models to admire.
Learning under the mango tree
If you want to know more about the role of ICT in agriculture then I recommend you join the superlative agMOOC community at IIT Kanpur. Sure, a lot of acronyms but I hope you can find your way there. The course is over, but maybe you can find the lectures on youtube or join the next course.
Farmers still meet under the mango tree to share and learn. But they are also gaining an advantage through the use of information communication technology. Let’s help them.