Book Review: From Physical Place to Virtual Space by Gwen Stirling-Wilkie

Residing in a Virtual Space

Whether you love or loathe it, virtual development would be scarce without the opportunity that technology provides. Although the technology was always available, it has now been much improved to meet today’s needs. Author, Gwen Stirling-Wilkie, has produced a helpful book and guide on moving from a physical place to a virtual space. While primarily aimed at organisational development professionals, her book goes way beyond that audience in this well-timed work. Specifically written in the context of the covid pandemic, most of us find ourselves now living in this virtual space.

Physical Space to Virtual Place

Gwen begins by identifying the move from physical space to virtual place and expertly describes essential elements to their core. The layout forms around a framework which breaks down into the chapters. This works well and aids thinking and reflection about our own practice at each stage.

Front cover of Physical Space to Virtual Place book by Gwen Stirling-Wilkie

Gwen focuses on the use of virtual spaces throughout the pandemic

The inclusion of useful models such as ‘the frame of participation’ proves this book’s worth. In no way does this book over-explain, it simply and effectively describes each element in an expert fashion. How many times have you seen a ‘lift and shift’ from a physical meeting to a virtual one?

Program managers and continuous improvement experts could easily adopt Gwen’s book even though organisational development is used as a base. Gwen instructs on important differences that will lift meetings/workshops to excellence and from preparation through to reflection, everything is accounted for.

Final Thoughts

Well thought out and timely, this book is useful for even the most seasoned of practitioners. Regardless of how many years of experience you have, this pandemic has changed the way that we facilitate. Not everyone will have the luxury to afford virtual platform frontrunners such as Zoom. This doesn’t prevent individuals from adopting key points and actions from the book to provide excellence in their approach and deployment.

With practicality and an intelligent approach, every element is accounted for in this highly recommended book. For every kind of practitioner, new and experienced, there is something. One for the bookshelf and a go-to resource.

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