Way back in 1993, during my final year at Curtin University, I joined the Computing Students Association Committee. We had a quite a driven bunch of people on that committee who wanted to make the association at lot more fun for us and the students.
I had a spark of an idea/vision to produce a newsletter or more lie it a magazine. I was inspired by the Computing School’s Head at the time, Steve Kessell, who wanted the University experience to be more than just a training experience. He was all for having a degree supply tools for life. I don’t think he totally succeeded in all of his goals, but he did have an effect on me. I started a magazine called Eye Palindrome Eye or IPI for short.
I got to say it was the most valuable experience I got at Curtin. All the other subject material you can throw away. Why was this. Well I really had nothing to do other than edit the stories and provide seeds for stories that inspired others to take part.
Right at the start I had support from my sub-editor, Jo, who instantly signed up to help out. Our first issue we got out with a hotch potch of stories which we put together in MS Publisher and printed by rapidly using up the quota of free photocopying we had at the schools photocopier. We slotted copies, after Jo’s idea, under key lecturers doors and handed then out to students with a call out to help out with articles. (I’ve archived the issues in a previous blog post)
Page1, Issue1 (all pages here)
I was really quite surprised with the positive response we had. We had all sorts of people submitting articles. Some lecturers encouraged and that no doubt helped. We had a librarian from the University Library request a copy be sent to them for archival there. Eventually the School of Computing gave us an account at the campus printer as well. For the following year the Head of School organised an office for the IPI editor in the new computing building that was due to be finished.
Personally I felt we had triumphed immensely. The way people organised themselves to write articles was a revelation to me. I could not be happier with that. We just supplied a vision and people just jumped on board. I would gladly throw way my degree for this experience again. It just seemed like the natural thing to do, and who was I to tell smart people what they should write!
Unfortunately my working life has not been that rewarding. Subjugation to hierarchical and arcane and soul destroying reporting structures has not been pleasant. But I think the world is turning. With the works of Drucker, Deming and Ackoff preceding modern day works by Daniel Pink and L. David Marquet and movements and organisations like Holacracy and ADAPT By Design (I’ve written about ADAPT in a previous post) things we be looking up.
It’s slow going but we will see other companies join the likes Semco, SouthWest Airlines, W.L. Gore and Associates, Zappos, Spotify and a few others in making work a rewarding and enriching experience.