A new direction

My plans for this summer vacation has changed.

My first version of the summer vacation plans was: Amsterdam, Brussels, Warsaw, Krakow, Milan, lake Como area, and finally back home to Oslo. Three weeks solo travel.

My second version of the summer vacation plan was: Amsterdam, Brussels. Warsaw, Krakow, eastern Czech Republic, back home.

But yesterday night, during a conversation at the summer party at work, I decided on the spot to change my summer vacation plans completely.

I will instead go to Tanzania for the entire summer vacation.

It is linked to several things, basically.

Mostly, it is linked to my wish to get first-hand experience on the ground in an African country. How can I do my job properly as leader of the expert group for IT and digitalization at Engineers Without Borders Norway if I do not have any field experience?

Also, this summer, when I have my summer vacation, I would feel better if my vacation is conceptually linked to something larger. And if I now spend 4 weeks in Tanzania in this summer, both to relax and recharge my batteries, as well as doing field trips, and talking with locals, questions related to Their life, their situation, their hopes, dreams, opportunities; I will feel better afterwards.

Also, I have the intuitive feeling that this trip will mark a new direction for me. The trip marks, cements, my dedication to a new urge to challenge my comfort zone. To see new things. To find new threads.

To weave with new threads. Weave the next phase of my life with new threads, and based on new designs.

Of course, this sudden change in my summer vacation plans has consequences, including economically. But I will now start to conceptualize ways I can apply for funds for my field trip this summer. And I will also find/invent new threads related to this that will aid me in this process.

I will begin by talking about the trip with others, and ask for feedback. I will explore the Existing links, and seek new ones. The links are the threads; while the…

Let me explain my weaving process.

Data points are of several types: Facts, intuition, emotions, analysis.

Threads are of several types: Cognitive links, emotional links, intuitive links.

My weaving is combinations of these elements; an interplay between them. My instrument for the actual weaving is myself, in all my aspects.

I create internal «heat maps» as a part of my process. I scan my field of vision, which as I mentioned includes different sources and processes. And in this scan, I have started to use my intuition as my «sensor» much more often. I look at the picture, the field, the different elements with my intuitive sensory system. I reach deep inside myself, within seconds or hours, and I see the heat map-like. I see it visually with my mind.

Image by DALL-E 2, prompt by author

So, «heat map» is an image of my mental processes, just like the «litmus test» is another.

And I listen to the results of my heat map view.

Yesterday, I did a scan, in the middle of my talk with the other person. It took 2-3 seconds. The scan revealed this new heat map, where there was the huge red/orange new spot, it almost blinded me. It said: «Skip Europe this summer. Go to Tanzania. Go to Dar es Salaam.»

So, in a month, on July 3rd, 2023, I will be in Dar es Salaam. I will write about this process under the tag «Tanzania 2023».

New seeds need good conditions

Seeds, water, soil. Minerals. Sunshine. Components to create something, materials needed for optimal conditions.

What happens if the conditions are not optimal?

What happens if quality is less ideal?

Well, the outcome may not be what it Could be. And then, in reports and in narratives, excuses come up. Reasons for why the outcome was not ideal.

But what if we then do not work out the missing elements? What if we just point to something not happening, but we don’t look at the conditions in a proper manner?

Image by DALL-E, prompt by the author

We have seeds. We know that some of them will not grow. Some will not bear optimal fruits. But some Will grow well. Some Will give good outcome.

My new seeds, my new projects, also need their own good working conditions. Energy level. Time. Commitment. Love and labour.

The EWB project, and my making videos project. Two spare time projects. And of course my work, and my son’s development (he is 12).

I am aware of what I need for this, and I am conscious of my own role as leader for the group at EWB, and also my reporting to others, etc.


A new creative process

In December 2004, when I started videoblogging, I had no previous experience with putting my own face in front of the camera. But my drive was so huge that once I started out, I quickly scanned the scene, and I also made a decision: I need to be in NYC for the world’s first videoblogging conference. So I did, and one output from that process, which I keep referring back to in my own thinking, is this interview which “Human Dog” did with me, which mostly was about weather:

In this creative process, I got through a tough time in my personal life; after my father had died in March 2003, I went really far down into the series of basements, mostly because I did not get to know him before he died; he denied me this, and my mother denied me this, and they both just blamed each other without taking responsability for their actions. And when he died of cancer in 2003, when I was 25, he told me before he died that he not for one second regretted not having contact with me. That hurt. But the creative process of making videos helped me through that.

As I have previously written, this spring was when I finally came out of a lengthy depression. One concrete result out of that process was that I decided to get involved with EWB here in Norway, and I now am having an active role there. Ok.

Inspired by Asbjørg

But I have also been inspired by Asbjørg, who is a Norwegian artist who has been putting out videos for some time on Instagram. Here are two of them that touched me, for this or that reason: 1: Går i ring, 2: Kjære veps. I don’t know why, but the tunes, the videos, the creative output touched me deeply. I have also commented directly to Asbjørg that her output has meant a lot to me, inspired me; because I believe in giving others feedback. And now, inspired by her, I have today on May 25th 2023 decided to try things out myself. Creating a creative output where I also control the music. Or let’s just call it what it is: The sound track.

And here I am. I have my work at an organization where I deal with professional networks. I have my life with my son during the weekdays while he stays with his mother in the weekends. I have my spare time engagement at EWB Norway. And now I am keen on exploring the creation of videos again, but where I also create the sound.

What type of videos?

Well, I don’t know yet, but I will take one step at the time. First of all, I want to find a format. I think I will go for the same as Asbjørg. Instagram. My own main Instagram account (@dltq42) is locked down and I only have 15 followers there; an inner circle. But I can create a separate Instagram account for my explorations. And, like always, I like to share my process. So I think I will create two new accounts, which will be public. Now they are created: @dltqoutput, and @dltqprocess.

Output is, well, the output. The things I consider results. Process is my process getting to that output. Since both are public, they will work off each other as well.

May 25th 2023. It starts.


I was at hone; I am now out again. My son and I had dinner together. I am going to my cery first CouchSurfing event. It is here in Oslo, my own city. Organized by an «ambassador» at CS in Oslo.

Earlier today I received the email that I have been selected to be the leader of a subject matter group at Engineers Without Borders here in Norway.

The subject matter group is «IT and Digitalization»; the members are different IT professionals from different sectors and with different backgrounds who are spending some of their valuable spare time to volunteer at EWB. I think about that; their time, energy, other commitments.

I am just starting out; I will get introduced to the other members. I will meet some of them – I guess – at the General Assembly of EWB Norway on Wednesday; in teo days. I will also think about how I want to act in this role. A coordinator. A servant for these five members. To serve; it sounds weak. But I think all leadership is about serving those you are «leading». To really figure out what they need to succeed. And how you can help them get that. It’s also about being a good «host». Hosting the meetings, hosting the structures and procesures. As a host you offer, you try to make things easier for the one(s) being hosted.

My first leadership role came in 1999, when I became head of the new «media outreach team» at the student culture house called «Kvarteret» in Bergen. I learned a lot through that process. In 2000 I became President of a European network of student unions from different countries; there were 34 universities in total in the network.

I am excited, but I am also aware. Aware of my own strengths and weaknesses.

I took this picture before.

I take this picture now, 18:10:

A new trajectory. Orbit.

A new arena

Today, I had my first meeting with EWB Norway – Engineers Without Borders Norway. I decided to become an applicant to a position in their organization, a voluntary position. We will see how the application goes.

But I am new on this arena, and I hope that I will have a good time in this space. I really feel that the world needs more engineers, and more smart solutions. We need solutions that are practical, and often frugal technologies is the key.

I will attend the general assembly of EWB Norway next week, to get a firmer understanding of how it works and who the main players are, as well as the different sections and groups.

I hope that this new interest in this field; well — it is not really that new.

Actually, I have for a long time been interested in North-South collaboration. But the closest I have been to it is my 2010-2013 involvement with a Norwegian NGO that created home schooling opportunities for girls in eastern Afghanistan in partnership with an Afghani NGO.

So, it is about 10 years since I finished that project, and other things have been on my mind since. But now I want to get into the north-south collaboration (NSC) on engineering projects.

Here is another ChatGPT Prompt:

I am now a candidate for a position as head of an expert group for IT and digitalization in the Norwegian branch of Engineers Without Borders. The expert group is involved in different projects in different countries, and if I get the position (which is a voluntary position), I will be a coordinator between the Head Office of the Organization (In Norway) and the Members of this Expert Group, who are different IT professionals. What are the top 10 things I should consider in my campaign to get this position?


Congratulations on your candidacy for the position as head of the expert group for IT and digitalization in the Norwegian branch of Engineers Without Borders! Here are the top 10 things you should consider in your campaign to increase your chances of securing the position:

  1. Understanding the Organization: Familiarize yourself with the mission, goals, and values of Engineers Without Borders. Demonstrate your knowledge and passion for their work in IT and digitalization.
  2. Research the Expert Group: Gather information about the current projects, ongoing initiatives, and past accomplishments of the expert group. This will help you identify areas where you can contribute and make a difference.
  3. Showcase Relevant Experience: Highlight your previous experience and expertise in IT and digitalization. Emphasize how your skills align with the needs of the expert group and how you can effectively coordinate with IT professionals.
  4. Leadership and Coordination Skills: Clearly articulate your leadership qualities and your ability to coordinate between the Head Office and the expert group members. Provide examples of how you have successfully led teams or projects in the past.
  5. Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial in this role. Highlight your ability to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing. Discuss how you can facilitate effective collaboration and information exchange among team members.
  6. Networking and Relationship Building: Engineers Without Borders is a collaborative organization. Illustrate your ability to build and maintain strong relationships with team members, stakeholders, and potential partners. Emphasize your networking skills and how you can leverage them to benefit the expert group.
  7. Cultural Sensitivity and Adaptability: Given that the expert group operates in different countries, emphasize your cultural sensitivity and adaptability to different environments. Showcase instances where you successfully worked in diverse settings or demonstrated cross-cultural competence.
  8. Strategic Thinking: Present your ability to think strategically and identify innovative approaches to IT and digitalization projects. Demonstrate your capacity to envision long-term goals and develop actionable plans to achieve them.
  9. Passion for Social Impact: Engineers Without Borders is dedicated to making a positive impact on society. Express your passion for using IT and digitalization to drive social change and improve the lives of communities in need.
  10. Commitment and Availability: Voluntary positions require dedication and time commitment. Assure the selection committee of your availability, willingness to invest the necessary time, and commitment to the role and the organization’s objectives.

Remember to tailor your campaign to address the specific needs and priorities of the organization and the expert group. Good luck with your candidacy!

Source: ChatGPT 3.5 based on my own prompt.

Well, all those 10 pointers were pretty standard in my thinking, not much new. But it was interesting anyway to get my strategy confirmed in this way.

New prompt:

What would be the biggest growth for me in this position if I get it? I have a lot of experience with networks in different contexts from before, and also international projects. My goal is to – over time – become an expert in North-South collaboration, and to have an expertise in projects in such organizations.

If you secure the position as head of the expert group for IT and digitalization in Engineers Without Borders, there are several growth opportunities that you can pursue:

  1. Enhanced Leadership Skills: Leading an expert group will provide you with valuable experience in managing a team of IT professionals and coordinating their efforts. This will further develop your leadership skills and ability to guide and inspire others.
  2. Project Management Expertise: You will have the opportunity to gain expertise in project management within an international context. As you oversee various projects and initiatives, you will learn how to effectively plan, execute, and monitor IT and digitalization projects in different countries, further enhancing your project management skills.
  3. North-South Collaboration: Given your goal to become an expert in North-South collaboration, this position offers a unique opportunity to engage with projects involving different countries and cultures. You will gain firsthand experience in bridging the gap between diverse stakeholders, understanding their needs, and facilitating collaboration for sustainable development.
  4. Network Expansion: Engineers Without Borders operates globally and has a broad network of professionals and organizations. Through your role as head of the expert group, you will have the chance to expand your network and forge connections with individuals and organizations working in the field of international development and IT. This network can provide valuable insights, partnerships, and future career opportunities.
  5. Holistic Approach to Problem-Solving: Working on projects in different countries and contexts will expose you to a wide range of challenges. This will enable you to develop a holistic approach to problem-solving, considering technical, social, and cultural aspects in finding sustainable solutions.
  6. Expertise in Development Projects: As you engage in IT and digitalization projects within an organization like Engineers Without Borders, you will gain specialized knowledge and expertise in the context of development projects. This experience can be highly valuable if you aim to pursue a career in international development or work with similar organizations in the future.
  7. Cross-Cultural Competence: Collaborating with professionals from different backgrounds and working in diverse settings will enhance your cross-cultural competence. You will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for cultural differences, which is crucial for effective North-South collaboration.
  8. Knowledge Sharing and Learning: Through your role as head of the expert group, you will have the opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences with other professionals while also learning from their expertise. This exchange of knowledge and ideas can further enrich your understanding of IT, digitalization, and international development.

By actively engaging in the role and seeking opportunities for growth and learning, you can develop into an expert in North-South collaboration and gain substantial expertise in projects within such organizations. Remember to set goals, seek mentorship, and continuously expand your knowledge and skills throughout your tenure in the position.

Source: ChatGPT 3.5 based on my prompt

The cross-cultural competence is something that I aim for. I particularly want to get experience from Africa as well as Middle East.

I am 45 now, and single. My son is 12 years old, and even though he is with me during the weekdays, he is pretty independent. So if I spend the next 3-5 years working voluntary in this organization in my spare time, I could get a lot out of it perhaps. And in either case, I feel like this kind of work is more interesting, long-term, for me than many other things I might be going for or spending time/energy on.

We will see how this goes. I guess the result from my candidacy will be clear in a few weeks.

[Video of process; 14m28s / 84MB]

Vision || Barriers || Next Step

Image: Dall-E 2

In 2015 I started to think about iterative processes; I had been studying project management at the BI business school spare-time for a while, and I was finishing my bachelor’s thesis. My paper, written with a fellow student, was called “Uncertainty Management in Outsourcing Projects”.

Around then I also thought about all kinds of projects. I had been doing projects in different contexts since 1998. First as a project member, then a project manager / leader. And in 2015 I came up with this new triplet of questions:

  1. What is your vision?
  2. What is really stopping you?
  3. What is your next step?

The first question is long-term or idealistic, or it is something quite concrete and perhaps something you are working on Right Now. So, when my vision is formulated (and remember it has to be smart as well; I guess my version of vision is more concrete, oh well).

The second question is mostly about asking “why” over and over. “Why can I not reach my vision?” “Why is xx stopping me?” “Why is yy stopping me?” “Why is zz stopping me?” And at the end, I come up with a root cause. The root cause may be very different to the excuses I give myself in my primary conscious way of thinking.

The third question is really easy: What is the next step? Not 10 steps ahead, no project plan with 30 milestones. Just: What is the next step?

I very often ask myself these three questions, like a mantra. And I may do them over and over. Last winter, during the deepest part of my depression, I asked myself this a lot (“Vision = Be filled with energy and happy”), and every time I ended up giving myself a ton of slack, and saying to myself: “A time of more energy will come, sooner or later”. So in that case, every time, the “next step” was simply “be kind to yourself”

Right now, I may say that my “Vision” is to find a girl-friend. What is stopping me is that no girls seem to have a romantic interest me. But then I ask why some more, and some more, and some more, and it turns out that I am really not That interested in finding a new girl-friend / romantic partner. So that is really what my issue is. My next step then is to evaluate the idea of having a romantic partner some more, and perhaps seeing that in a more positive light.

Or, I may say that my “Vision” is to do something extraordinary at work. Or that my “Vision” is to have a new job for 2024 which is really giving me a lot of new challenges. My “barrier” for those visions may be different, and I may also have variations of answers, depending on where I am on my own energy cycle. My next step is often just to do x or y the next moment, or the next morning at the office, or something else.

But, here is my Current Core Questions triplet (I need to give it a specific name…); one that I have had for a few weeks now. It is not about finding a gf or a new job or even in my current job doing extraordinary work (I know already that I am good at my job).

Since April, when my energy level started to rise, I started to get curious about what I should fill my spare time with. Games, reading, staying with my son and blogging just doesn’t cut it. So I ended up being curious about “EWB” – engineers without borders. And I may find a way to get involved in that organization here in Norway. I like working internationally, and I like NGOs. I am kind of “done” with politics as such, and I am not interested in doing the same stuff as before; a new cycle would bore me too fast. But EWB is interesting. If I was a doctor, doctors without borders would be my thing. Well, I am not Really an Engineer, but I am enough of one to be able to be useful in such an organization. We will see.

I am scanning the organization now, and looking at the ways I might fit in. I guess I will have news before the end of May.

These questions are often with me. And now, I want to read some more in my current book, to move closer to my vision of reading 50 books also in 2023 (I am waaaaay behind on that target; I have only read 9 books so far this year)

[Video of process; 13m31s / 82MB]