Matthew Schutte, Co-Founder of caLabs

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Cool Tools Show 47: Matthew Schutte

Matthew Schutte is a San Francisco-based big wave surfer, privacy advocate, political philosopher and innovation consultant. He’s the co-founder of Collaborative Advantage where he helps companies and communities unleash collaborative capacity through transformations in culture, process and information technology.

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Show Notes:

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iHoldBreath, $3
“The difficult part or the scary part about big wave surfing of course is that you might get held under for a really, really long time … That said it’s not that difficult to prepare. The app that I tend to use is called IHoldBreath … there’s a number of other apps out there — one called Apnea Trainer, another Apnea Diver. Each of them is essentially just a timer — the good ones will beep and maybe tell you how much time you have left … At the end of the day panic is the real enemy and because these breath hold apps give you confidence that you’re going to be able to hold your breath for a long time when you do find yourself underwater you’re able to stay calm because of the confidence that’s a result of the training that you’ve put in.”

Coherence Layers
“Coherence layers are a term that I and some of my friends use to describe this organizing pattern that you see in nature and you see in any complex adaptive system, because it’s so darn effective or efficient … A coherence layer is something that takes resources in some way and transforms them and then other things can make use of them … My organization is called Collaborative Advantage in part because we believe that the biggest advantage that any organization or community can gain, the biggest technological development is a development that improves their collaborative capacity … Probably the biggest takeaway for me from learning about coherence layers is the way that one coherence layer impacts adjacent layers.”

Pain as prioritization tool
“This came a little bit in response from a lot of the people that are in my field particularly the folks that are trying to change the Internet in ways that benefit the world. Many of them focus on abundance and they have hopes and aspirations of creating a world of abundance … They saw pain as a problem to be solved and I realized now pain is actually a really useful tool. Pain is essentially our ability to sense the world that we are in and to prioritize, things that are really painful we will prioritize avoiding those things and seeking out others … I would say instead of avoiding pain all together take it on but take it on ways where you’re constraining the size and you’re maximizing the learning.”

Check-ins and Check-outs (A magical meeting facilitation tool)
“A lot of what we do in terms of the day gig is facilitating large corporations rethinking their own organizational structure and corporate culture. For those kinds of meetings but for any kind of meeting the check-in and check-out tends to be incredibly useful. I usually start a meeting with a minute of silence and then an invitation to each of the people in the group, and this is useful up until a certain size of group. If you have 500 people you’re not going to do it all at once but you might do it in smaller groups of five or seven people. You literally have everybody just say where they are at … It both allows them to ground themselves in the moment but it also allows others to gain an understanding of where they’re coming from. It makes so that the rest of the conversation ends up being much more smooth and productive. At the end of a meeting I like to do a check-out which is pretty similar. You do a moment of silence to give some people time to gather their thoughts and then you ask them to comment on how they’re feeling, what they thought, et cetera. I generally try to ask only one question because I’ve learned from experience that humans are really bad at doing two things at once.”

-- Claudia Lamar 03/21/16