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Think-with. Charlie Leadbeater and our collective digital creativity

Photo credit: mrrullmi 

Short of time? My 4 minute chat with Charlie Leadbeater is here.

Think-you. Think-me. Better to....Think-with.

I was at a party the other day and a new friend said she admired how I'd managed to create a life around the things I'm good at and love to do.

I thought wow...I'm really flattered because it doesn't always feel like that! Isn't it amazing how people's perception of us is often a bit different than our own? In my eyes at least, and I can see the bigger picture, I think I'm getting there, but still a long way to go on this continuous journey.

Anyway, I started thinking about what my friend said.

Yes, there are some things I'm really good at. I'm blowing my own trumpet aren't I?

Well it's true, there are one or two skills I'm mastering that I know I can do better than almost anyone I've met (so far, and in my modest opinion of course!). If we look at our lives, there'll be things that, potentially, we can do exceptionally well, even if we haven't yet put in the hours to master them.

But you know what? It takes a lot more than being great at just a tiny number of things to be successful, no matter how you define success. And the uncomfortable truth is, there are plenty of rather important things that we need to get done, when building a business and a life, and we're rubbish at them!

Personally, there's some stuff I'm required to do that I've no interest in, and I don't want to spend time figuring out how to do it. Even if I had lots of time to learn, without passion or natural aptitude, at best I'd just be at the bottom end of mediocre.


Well here's some good news!

We no longer need to be alone.  We need others.  Now we can connect with them.

There are other people with the skills we ain't got! You know, the ones we need to make progress and move forward. All we have to do is find those people (that takes effort of course, but what's the alternative?) and in return, give them something we're good at that will help them.

This kind of thinking is so simple. It's been making a practical difference to folk for thousands of years! What's different now is that it is much, much easier since we're all potentially connected through digital technology.

Here's some great stuff Charlie Leadbeater, author of the book "We Think" told me at the Shift Happens 2.0 conference in York recently.


Shift Happens - Charles Leadbeater Interview from Reallygood Pictures on Vimeo.

Thanks to Erin Maguire from GetAmbITion!

Let's get together.  Create new ways to live and work.  Ask interesting questions and look for interesting people.  Celebrate, and make the most of, our connectedness to change the world for the better.

But please let's not forget.................


We need to be wise to avoid the "great seduction".

Recently, I interviewed the affectionately named "Anti-Christ of Silicon Valley" for a BBC programme.  He's the entrepreneur, writer, and thinker Andrew Keen, author of the mind-sparking book "The Cult of the Amateur".

Despite his dark nickname, Andrew's a lovely guy who says some very important things that can help us be aware of the potential pitfalls of the Web 2.0 revolution, as well as recognising its humongous benefits.

"What the Web 2.0 revolution is really delivering is superficial observations of the world around us rather than deep analysis, shrill opinion rather than considered judgement".

Andrew points out that in this "new world" where everyone has "equal voice", it's very difficult to know the difference between people who have valuable, well researched, accurate information, expertise, ideas etc., and those who are simply "popular", or appear to have important credentials or expertise but are in fact validated only by others who don't really know what they're talking about either!  This is part of what Andrew Keen means by the "great seduction".


We must be clear thinking when it comes to the "think-with" concept, and when collaborating with others.

The fantastic possibilities for connecting with people, and the culture of "think-with", must be balanced against the need to find, and work with, only those people who really do have the expertise they claim.  The "think-with" concept is going to hurt us if those we team up with are not able to deliver what they say they'll bring to the table, or if they are deceiving us in some way.

So use the possibilities of "we-think" to test things out and avoid being taken for a digital ride. 

I've been there in the real world, where I've trusted others to help fill in the gaps and do the stuff I'm not good at.  I've been ripped off, lost lots of money, energy, and got loads of stress and upset.  If it can happen in face to face business and personal relationships which have been established for years, how much more potential is there to be duped in on-line contexts where all kinds of claims can apparently be made without foundation or independent validation?


"Think-with" is still the most powerful concept.

Having said that, I do believe "think-with" is an amazing, potent, practical and essential idea.  I've written about it here too.

Let's use it to help strengthen our Reallygood Thinking, help each other "make a living, make a life", and do remarkable stuff together.


I'd love to hear from you.  How have you found the idea of "think-with" to help you?  Has it back-fired?  What have you learned from our global digital connectedness?  See you in the comments.  Much love, Ian.

Your comments:

David says:
26/09/2009 20:31:34

I think the parallels with the old world exist. It still takes time to read enough of what a person writes to build up a picture and feel a degree of trust and confidence in that person's competence and intentions. (Phew - long sentence) I think one of the most appealing things about written conversations now are how easy they are to have. So after a while you will discover whether I am a complainer, a self-starter, an activist, a talker, all wind and no water, inspirational, etc. And I will do likewise.


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  • Ian AspinLocation: Lancaster Lake District, UK
  • Bio: I’m passionate about my work:TV journalist, producer, presenter, business ideas person. I care about: family, friends, helping people, finding meaning, running