Taxonomy (from Greek taxis meaning arrangement or division and nomos meaning law) is the science of classification according to a pre-determined system, with the resulting catalog used to provide a conceptual framework for discussion, analysis, or information retrieval.
As you may have read in my previous post, I am interested in finding a way to gently remind our passionate outspoken learning technologies community members not to poison the well of innovation adoption for the rest of us. There are many of us who need to take smaller steps to enact change at the enterprise levels where we work. Wild men howling about laggards don't go very far in this particular universe where systemic, enterprise-level change (the other 50%) happens.
To the end of channeling the power of our outspoken canaries in the proverbial learning technologies coal mine, I would like to propose a Taxonomy for Creative Abrasion. It points out different levels at which creative abrasion occurs, and makes it possible to identify points and parties for maximizing the impact of abrasion at various points in the Diffusion of Innovation adoption process.
My tongue is only sort of in my cheek (a great US English language expression for being factious) on this one. For the most part I don't give a rip when people vent online. Even when they get a little pointed. I appreciate when someone cares enough to say something. But I DO start to care when the venting - no matter how well intentioned - goes deep to negative. I care when some well-intentioned but totally clueless "industry expert" effectively yells at my software industry SVP, telling her that she is a greedy, stupid laggard. Seriously. Dude, what are you thinking?
But as I mentioned yesterday, many of my industry advisors have made a point to remind me of the value of the loud truth-tellers and oracles (at Delphi. Not Redwood Shores). And I do understand that the truth-telling needs to be loud enough that it rises above the white noise of every-day life.
So with all of these things in mind and an eye toward the absurd, I am pleased to present the Sage Road Taxonomy for Creative Abrasion:
1.0 Awareness - Awareness abrasion is barely more than a tickle. Think of the well-meaning professor who occasionally repeats himself in class. It's kind of irritating, but since it's an idiosyncrasy of someone you respect, you mostly don't notice and if you do you get over it pretty quickly.
2.0 Attention - Attention abrasion is when that tickle turns into an itch. You are a lot more than just aware. Now you are focused on whatever it is that is starting to get under your skin. It's not so bad, but you know it's there. Late night TV marketing falls into this category. It's easy to walk away to get a snack, until the one info-mercial for that one very special thing you need for fixing the garage door comes on....and you miss it. For the next 10 minutes or the next commercial break, whichever comes first, you will pay attention to every single ad to make sure you don't miss it again.
3.0 Aggravation - Aggravation abrasion is when you need to scratch - hard. The abrasion in this level is really irritating, impossible to ignore. Think of the child sitting behind you on the airplane, kicking your seat. Or telephone solicitors who call in the middle of dinner. Political solicitations.
4.0 Alarm - Alarm abrasion is the kind that focuses attention past aggravation and underscores urgency. It's when the itch is so bad that you scratch hard enough to remove skin. It's the kind of sensation that many of us in California experienced when we realized that Proposition 8 was going to pass, realizing that all those placards in church parking lots were a bad sign for members of my particular congregation.
5.0 Action - Action abrasion is the point at which there is a need for resolve, as said abrasion really needs to stop. The Call for Action is the point at which whatever has been going on has finally reached a tipping point, where the one being abraded gets up and actively deals with whatever has been bugging them.
In my next post I will talk about the points in the learning technologies value chain where different kinds of abrasion can be used to collectively positive results.