Participant portrait: Daniel

AI is taught at many different Schools and Universities. Daniel Richardsson from Sweden is a teacher at Mid Sweden University. His AI course runs at the Quality Department at the Faculty of Techical and Sustainable Development. He is also AI consultant and…. an athlete. What brings him here, to #2012WAIC?

Forest orienteering and AI
“In 2006 – I was working for an NGO back then – I was given the ‘Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry” by my manager. He asked me to study it and see if it was anything we could use. I was so surprised when I read it. Because it gave words to a mindset that I already knew…”

“In my spare time, I do orienteering in the Swedish forests. A solo sport, where you have to find your way in the woods with just very little tools. You have a compass, and coordinates marking the point where you have to go. Your mind is constantly on that goal, the finish. Whenever you encounter a mountain, or a big lake, or some other insurmountable obstacle, you don’t focus on that. You are only thinking of the way around it. Towards your end point. How can I get there? And how do I use what I’ve got? These are your basic questions. I find that very much in tune with what AI is about. The question itself is more or less the method.”

A community
“Discovering that it was a way to look, gave me language, a lot more tools, and – very important – a community. With other people who are in this field. In orienteering, you are always on your own. So you don’t talk with other people about what you see, or the choices you make. You don’t get help or tips. That is why it is also so wonderful to be here, in a place with so many enthousiastic, positive people. To learn.”

New experiences
Daniel is sure that the conference will bring him things that he can use in his daily work. ‘But don’t ask them what they are right now!’ He laughs. And then explains how he sees the benefit of hearing all other practitioners’ stories. “By listening to the stories of others, I have experienced these events a little bit myself. The mirror neurons in my brain were triggered, so it is almost as if I were there. I almost feel like I did it myself. So I will use parts of those experiences with me. I am curious to see how that will turn out! What I will do in class, questions I will ask. After ‘experiencing’ an AI summit in Brazil with thousands of people – which was one of the stories I enjoyed – working with my small class will be a piece of cake … “ Smiling, he is off to the next workshop.

By Saskia Tjepkema

This is the fourth and last in a small series of participant’s portraits. Just to give a glimpse of the great diversity of people who attended and their range of stories. Other portraits are of Rafael, Grace, Jean & Perla and Shelagh.

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