Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've been working with brilliant people on interesting projects.

Recently I have the opportunity to jump in on a project during a particularly busy week. My role has involved owning a document which is to be delivered to the client within days. As part of this process, I get to talking with one of the inventors whose latest developments will be featured. This particular coworker has an especially diverse background within an environment which epitomizes interdisciplinary teamwork. He conveys to me his frustration at not being able to adequately explain, even to collaborators, the amazing work he is doing. The work will speak for itself once it has been completed, but right now, he needs his teammates to recognize the vision in order to realize it. Enter the writer*.

After spending some time with Inventor getting up to speed on the issue, I ask to see his brainchild in its current manifestation. Of course, playing with a new technology, even one still in development, offers a much better feel, tangibly, for its capabilities and possibilities. I delve into the experience which I will then try to transmit to others with words, and I want to know where he feels people struggle to grasp this work. Meanwhile, I become aware of an explanation stream starting to form in my mind. When I get back to my computer, it feels alternately like a struggle and like a flow -- the flow of words onto the page and me struggling to arrange them. We go back and forth a few times, testing how well my description matches his reality, and after several iterations, he sends this response -- "I showed it to my teammate and a lightbulb went off in his head! He finally gets it!" Yes! He is psyched to have something which solidly captures his ideas and will garner support for his cause. I am psyched to have played any role in this. Especially because I think his cause is super cool!

So -- am liking this... Participating in communicating great ideas that simply need a voice; ideas that would surely spread enthusiasm if only they were well-articulated and well-presented.

* Writing is something I have generally done for fun, and I enjoy applying the label in that context. Writing is also something I'm "forced" to do in the context of research and my ongoing dissertation process. Professional writing has entered my life accidentally; I am making space for it.