Question the un-questionable


A thing is not right because we do it

A method is not good because we use it

Equipment is not the best because we own it

I copy those quotes from ‘The idea book’ they gave us to day as a part of the program. We had a very interesting lecture on creativity where the lecturer told us the story of this book.

He said that they had published a creative book before and wanted to publish another one, but it won’t be creative if they did it the same way, and so they tried to do it in another way. Instead of writing the book and send it to a publisher where they would get little chance of getting it accepted and printed out, and then being sold for at most as 7000 copy in Sweden with 20% royalities only for them which would generate only little money that won’t reach 10,000 euros. They decided to be creative, and so they thought that they would sell a creative book for companies instead of publishers/bookshops. So they called several companies telling them that they have this book who they didn’t write yet. They get several orders from companies and had the many to print the book themselves, and thus have 100% of the profit for themselves instead of the 20% when a publisher do it for you.

Then they thought, why why not writing half a book instead of a full one? and so you can find many blank pages in the book! It is a good idea because they left it for you to write your own ideas! Then they said why not to write a quarter of a book than writing half of it? They had an email list and sent emails to many people asking them for ideas of how to be creative, and they paid every good idea that found itself in the book 100 Euro, and so they were bombarded with many many ideas where they filtered and picked the best.

Then they thought that hotels may like to buy those books. Hotels in Sweden usually have the bible in the rooms next to the guests bed. They were able to convince them to add The Idea Book, and sometimes it became instead of the bible!

They ended up making 2 million Euro instead of 10,000 non guaranteed Euros if they followed the traditional way.

He then had this old stream train picture. He said that for a hundred of year or so, people had both horse carriages for transportation, and stream engines for industrial purposes. No one though of combining them except one man! and the result was.. the train!

You gotta draw lines and combine things up.

Question the un-Questionable!

The pluto story! I bet that most of you have studied the solar system in school, no? They have taught us that the solar system contains 9 planets. They taught us *THE* 9 planets of the solar system. They didn’t say that scientific studies or devices pointed that we have 9 planets. They taught us an absolute truth that we have all believed in.

Suddenly in one day, pluto stopped being a solar planet! In one day our absolute 100% believe that pluto is a solar planet turned into a 100% believe that it is not!

What got into that scientist to question that fact? and how did she manage to convince the world otherwise?

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Group dynamics!


It is almost midnight here in Stockholm, I just got back to my room after having a good dinner at an Italian Restaurant (Michel Angelo) in the old time. I am very sleepy, but I have several assignments to take care of. First documenting today’s activities, then researching social media network solutions trends, and finally coming up with an idea for a new solution.

Today it has been tough at the beginning, we are still having a hard time trying to regulate the communication between us the Frozen 5. We are discussing every single irrelevant detail while letting the time to pass without any real work.

It is natural in a way, as we had a lecture today about group dynamics and the need of the group members to open up to each other and put some trust in each other. It was interesting the notion of opening up in a work environment, something that I have always believed in, and is in the contrary of the spread notion that in order to be professional at work, you have to keep your personal issues out of it. A lot have got it wrong, in order to achieve better, you ought to feel comfortable and relaxed with the group you work with.

We then had another a marketer and branding guy lecturing us about new marketing trends in relation to social median. It was a long interesting presentation. One of the issues that sticked ot my mine is his saying that the world has changed, and the classical marketing methods of a source of broadcasting of a single medium to an audiance has changed to a mutual interaction between entities because indiviuals themselves became broadcast sources. Marketers are trying to re-evaluate their ad campains and build on cultural and social causes to gain more value.

I am learning a lot! I wonder how much I would be able to carry with me.

Sweden and Social Media Network Solutions


4 days passed since my last update for this blog, I wanted to document my daily activities in Sweden, actually I need to do that because daily documentation is indeed an assignment for us that we have to do, but we really don’t have much time, the program is intensive, and we barely have time for ourselves.

I will try to come back later and talk about the previous days, especially the team building activities we have gone through.

Today we had really a very interesting lecture, it was about different social media software. We gone through many many different solutions where at a point I felt that I am so ignorant in this area. The world is so much different today than 5 years ago, there are many ways to connect with people and share your information. I was happy to learn about Twitter – micro blogging, and signed up over there. It was kind of fun, I then remembered WatWet, and suggested it to the group, and signed up on WatWet as well, so now you can have The Arab Observer on both. I was surprised to learn about the different services provided by other websites as an add ons to Twitter!

We have also had a brief explanation of you tube, blogger, bambuser and seesmic! We were live from hyper island school on bambuser through a cell phone! I was on chat with my friend in Jordan at the same time, and he was able to see me on video and engage in chat! It was amazing! It is really amazing how no a days anyone can do a live broadcast from anywhere in the world!

After the team building activities we were divided in five groups. Mine is of five people, me from Jordan, and others from Palestine, Syria, Egypt and Sweden. We have an assignment of creating a group blog and document our daily work on it. We came up with a name for our group The Frozen 5! Stupid name, no? but we were actually a bit frozen trying to accept all of this work because in addition to these simple assignments, we have to start working on a big one, and which is to come up with ideas and then a prototype for a social media solution! We have to do some research and analysis of the current situation and try to figure out what would work for 2010! Any suggestions guys?

Here is our blog link: http://www.thefrozen5.blogspot.com/

It still needs a lot of work, but check it out for our updates from Hyper Island. The course is really overwhelming. The Swedish Institute guys are amazing, they are taking a very good care of us, and the Hyper Island people are excellent!

Sweden, second day, dinner at the Noble Museum


The second day of the program, today, friday, we had to wake up at 7 am Sweden time, 8 am Jordanian time to have breakfast before leaving to the Swedish Institute (SI) an hour later. Normally, in Amman, I would wake up around 10 and have some little chat over a cup of coffe with my parents in their bed before our breakfast (miss you dad and mom). I didn’t change my time so that I fool myself that I wake at 8 instead of 7! But eventhough, when I woke up, it was still dark! The sun wasn’t over yet and I was like what the hell!! How can I wake up like this?!

We had our breakfast and left to the SI where we had a brief introduction about the program and were everyone presented himself. The head of the SI gave a small speech about how Sweden is connected to the world, and how little they are connected to the middle east, and how much they like to share Sweden with the world. They start this program this year in an attempt to build stronger relationships with the countries presented. He pointed out the freedom of speech has been established in Sweden since 1766! Yes, 1766! and they never had a censorship case since then! (We are so behind in this deparment, arent we?), but he also said that democracy came late to them as they started to vote on 1948! (not so late to us? hehehe)

We then had 5 minutes each to present ourselves. We had 7 questions about ourselves as guidlines. I was impressed with the achievements and passion of the participants, all in his field of media and social development, all young and are looking for a brighter future for them and their communities. I got nervous while giving mine for I still don’t feel comfortable in public speeches!

At 7 pm we had to go to the Noble Museum for a dinner and opening ceremony. It was a wonderful evening. The museum from his nambe is to honor people who won the Noble prize. We had a special presentation about Alfred Noble himself. It was interesting to know how he created the dynamite and how he established many factories all over the world and then specified that he wants his fortune to be dedicated to honor people who achieve something for humanity.

I am trying to upload photos and videos but it is not working :S. I will try later!

My flight and arrival to Stockholm


It is funny, blogger has detected me in Sweden, he turned the menus to default Swede!

It has been a long journey today. We had a transit flight to Stockholm passing through Frankfurt. We left Amman at 3 am in the morning. It was nice meeting the other 2 jordanian participants and the 4 palestinian participants. We had only an hour to catch our flight from Frankfurt to Stockholm, unfortunatly it wasn’t enough! Frankfurt airport is so large and it was so busy. We arrived 10 minutes late, and the plane was off! We had to wait for two hours for the other flight. They said they would arrange for our luggage, but they didn’t seem to arrange it well! We ended in Stockholm’s airpot Arlanda the last people waiting for their luggage without any hope! We looked around for officials to help us. They checked and said that they should arrive in a late flight today. They had our hotel address and gave us a save survival kit! An underwear, tooth brush, shower gel, ….etc! I would like to see something like that implemented in Jordan.

The Swedish Institute people were worried on us for being late. They had two taxi’s waiting for us at the airport, and when we missed the first flight, they contacted our families to check on us. We tried to inform them through email and sms but it didn’t work out very well.

Anyway, it was a spectacular view from the airplane as we reached Stockholm, the city is built on several Islands, it is beautiful to see the merge of land and sea this way. Through our way to the hotel, I enjoyed the landscape of the beautiful shades of yellow and green leaves of the autumn trees.

I had few photos so far which I wanted to upload here, but couldn’t find the camera cable, it seems to be in my bag that hasn’t arrived yet. There is no plan for tonight. I have my heavy jacket in the bag as well so I am not sure if I can go out without it or not! The weather was surprisingly sunny! It was a bit cold when we arrived like a morning sunny day in January in Amman, the night seems to be much colder. I didn’t check it out yet.

They welcomed us at the hotel with a welcome kit of several booklets about Sweden and its culture. It seems to be an interesting read. One starting paragraph caught my attention, I loved it and so I copy it here for the end of this post:

The nice thing about customs and traditions is that they are constantly changing. When no longer in use, they are either forgotten or re-cast in a different mould.”

I am going to Sweden…


I am heading tomorrow to Stockholm/Sweden for 3 weeks to attend the Young Leaders Visitors Program. It is a cultural program organized by the Swedish Institute. They aim to build a network of people from different Arab countries (Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt) and Sweden who are actively working through social media to infleuence social change.

The program is intensive. It is tailored to give the participants the required tools and skills to shape public opinion. There would be different classes and lectures forcusing on cutting-edge media whilte strenghthning intercultural and leadership skills.

I would be required to document my daily experience in Sweden and giving feedback about the program. It should be fun. I guess, I would be able to right my impressions and feelings over here for you to read.

The whole promise of the trip and meeting all those people excites me. I am just concerend about the cold weather over there! My winter would start early this year! The average temprature in Stockholm in November is between 1-5 c! I guess, I will be staying in my hotel room!

Will let you know how it goes!

A muslim wants to get baptized!


Mom: A muslim friend of mine wants to get baptized. She seeked me and your father for an advice. He told her that from a Christian point of view, if you want to follow Jesus, you don’t care about anything else, but then again, his personal advice for her is to think carefully so that she won’t lose all what she cares for in life.

Observer: shekelha enjannat! (she must have gone insane!). A sane person wouldn’t leave a religion for another one!

Mom: NO! She is very sane! Jesus has been appearing to her for a while!

Observer: hai akeed enjannat ezan! (She most definitaly lost her mind then!).

Hallucintaions anyone??