Where I get my info, and how I process it.

Jan 08, 2019

 Personal and direct field experience is what many of us build and manage our business on, however what takes us from opinion to influence? From activism to systems change? Informing ourselves from validated sources, building the peer-reviewed reasoning and validation for our opinion and citing it for future-proofing our advise.


I consume a lot of information, however all through a special filter which sets me up to consult my business clients and advise government bodies on action. This is how I have informed policy, participated in regulation design, transformed organisations and enabled start ups.



  • Internal decisions
  • Client consulting
  • Government advisory
  • Academic research


Activism / opinion VS Influence / Systems Change

  1. Need a back up on why I advise or consult an opinion
  2. Has to be solid a) validated by others b) fact checked c) future-proof

I use third party validated / peer-reviewed journals or books as primary source, and government papers as secondary material. Blogger, popular media and wikipedia or googling does not count. Not reliable in future, has not been validated by a rigorous process, don’t trust something I am not sure of. I will be sued or lose my business if I do.

In a world of alternate truth, and ‘experts’ giving ‘opinions’; contributing with break-through reasoning for action is a very specific skill set.

In short, I recommend to:

1. Choose where you get the info from (decide your journals, and who is influencing you and how credible they are

2. Have a process where you filter the information in your own systemic (use your own brain, figure out what you agree, disagree with, find the gap in the opinion

3. Store your validation and source material so you can reference it in a meeting, a paper, or event.


Here are the details of how I manage this.


Giant Filter of Potential Sources

1) Where I get the info (subscriptions to peer reviewed journals)

  • Peer reviewed journals, articles, books (subscriptions)
  • Track them on https://browzine.com/ , check it weekly on an app . See screen shots of the ones I subscribe to down below.
  • Identify research / papers that I will review in my own system (download the full paper into End Note to track the data)


Short List interesting insights, and plan to review them in my own system

2) Filter it through my own set of criteria and document it (survey gizmo)

  • https://www.surveygizmo.com/ (or survey monkey is free)
  • Review my list of ‘to read’ articles and make my own notes on a survey software, review each single research within my own criteria on survey gizmo
  • Export each set of notes into a searchable document so my laptop search function will find it if I need it
  • Share and action (add to a paper, advise peers, inform customers, take action otherwise I forget it).
  • My template for that is here in a word document: https://www.dropbox.com/s/liwwj6v2q70if5j/Lyss%27_Review_2018.docx?dl=0 . You can see I ask myself how this information pertains to my work. I have different filters for if I am working on my cacao business, or my sustainable business work, or my academia.


Use software to track references and citations

3) Reference all my opinions and track the sources (End Note + Scrivener)

As a result …

In meetings at customer activities; I am highly informed and backed up with reasoning for the strategies I create. I do not have a team that does this for me, this is not outsourced. This is a very time intensive and #DeepWork oriented approach to adding value and security to my customers projects, my own business development and being future-proof. This means, sometimes if you and I are having a chat, and I question your sources, reasoning for opinion and ask for the justification; I want to learn and understand. Thanks to the liberation of information since the fourth estate and egalitarianism of information with the internet; we need to find a way to inform ourselves enough to balance out our life / business direct experience, with additional information. With this approach; I have been very fortunate to attract and retain my ideal clients for years and build a business I am proud of and contribute to systems change from farming and agriculture, to green economy and sustainable finance.


What are your systems? Do you have ideas? Love to hear about it!
And also improve mine!


Systematic thinking in approaching my work has been influenced heavily by

In closing, having my business now for a decade, and being called on to repeat, review and comment on my own advice in the the past has been a key #nudge for ensuring a responsible process for how I am forming and validating my approach. Let us all have a highly responsible, and well-validated process for paving our advise and consulting. May we be old fashioned about taking the long way, going deep and rigorous about judging information. Thus, the difference between opinion and influence, activism and systems change. I take the latter on both. Hope you do! Good luck!





Examples of journals I subscribe to, which I check weekly, and download to EverNote the specific articles I want to review.