America’s Economy Is Officially Inside-Out – “But when growth rises and living standards fall? That begins to hint that there is something wrong—very wrong, perhaps terribly wrong—with the way things are. It suggest that what is happening to this society is not merely a simple, passing, self-healing ailment; but a chronic, possibly permanent, definitely debilitating condition. Not a flu—but a cancer.” As always, Haque’s language is quite forceful, but it doesn’t invalidate the points he makes … that this may not be part of a familiar economic cycle that will ultimately right itself, but be a permanent change to our economy.
Hierarchies were a solution to a communications problem – “The high-value work today is in facing complexity, not in addressing problems that have already been solved and for which a formulaic or standardized response has been developed. One challenge for organizations is getting people to realize that what they already know has increasingly diminishing value.” … the ability to learn new things (where networks are very useful) is, for a lot of work, of much greater value than existing knowledge. Knowledge is power no more.
Entrepreneurs or the state: Innovation comes from public investment. – This is one reason that disinvestment in research & development by the Australian government is a bad thing. Contrary to popular belief, most innovation comes off the public dollar rather than the widely-lauded tech entrepreneurs we hear so much about. Now, commercialising innovation is an extremely useful and necessary step … but we should recognise where the ideas come from, so we don’t kill the golden goose by mistake.
How politics makes us stupid – This is why more facts and better logic aren’t as persuasive as they should be; our ideology actually prevents our brain from working properly … “As a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values”. Doesn’t augur well for a world that needs to come to its senses.
IT as Manufacturing – Commoditisation, modularisation and small bets … this is a long way from “IT as we know it”, but right where it should be (even if it DOES upset a few large vendors )
How is social business like urban traffic? – Stowe Boyd again exploring the benefits of subordinating personal productivity to network productivity, drawing parallels with research into traffic management that indicates that forcing drivers to think more selflessly (and not seek the most personally efficient outcomes) actually improves traffic flow. So too, at work we may be collectively better-performed if we think less of our personal productivity and more of our network’s.
Alain de Botton’s 10 Commandments – for Atheists – Is religion required for morality? Atheists would contend not, and de Botton’s list is a good start for developing /nurturing our morality independent of a belief in gods … “We are holding on to an unhelpfully sophisticated view of ourselves if we think we are above hearing well-placed, blunt and simply structured reminders about goodness. There is greater wisdom in accepting that we are in most situations clunking and rather simple machines, with only a few moving parts and in want of much the same firm, basic guidance as is naturally offered to children and domestic animals. ”
America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead – An interesting, and somewhat disturbing look at what lead has done to society, and still is. It’s probably not the whole story, but the statistics suggest it’s a large part of it … and there’s still plenty of petrol-related lead in our soil, and still plenty of old places with lead paint.
Why IT Should Be on the CEO’s Agenda – Is enterprise architecture’s time about to arrive? Now economic observers are beginning to notice that just thinking seriously about IT isn’t enough – there has to be a bridge between the CEO and IT’s strategic potential. Enter the enterprise architect. As this article says: “Enterprise architecture can be understood as a change and transformation framework to provide open and flexible business architecture for change management under conditions of high uncertainty.”
Sorting things – Shades of “be the change you want to see” and “to change the world, change yourself” … the way the world is comes from the accumulation of small, individual decisions we make every day. Improving the world will come from improving THOSE decisions.
9 Reasons Why Failure Is Not Fatal – A collection of stories illustrating that failure is not something we should avoid in fear, but relish as an opportunity to learn. My favourite? “Failure doesn't suck” from the inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner …
Australian Exceptionalism | Pollytics – This data gives the lie to a number of furphies: that our economy is struggling, that labour needs to get cheaper for growth and profit, that this is the "worst government in Australian history" …
It also goes some way to explaining why the “Occupy” movements didn't get so much traction here. It also gives a hint that if we follow too closely in the US' footsteps to austerity and neo-conservatism that won't always be the case. Signs already exist that the gap between richest and poorest Australians is widening.
Reinventing the Technology of Human Accomplishment – Think about it – the management tools we still use today were almost all developed at the end of the 19th century (you know … 120 years ago!). The problem those tools were designed to fix: how do we turn human beings into semi-programmable robots? How do we make them repeat the same action over and over again?
These aren’t the problems businesses have today (we actually HAVE robots to do those tasks now!). As Gary Hamel points out in this video, businesses need flexibility, adaptability and innovation to keep up with accelerating change … these are the very things our management styles make difficult. The first change has to come in our management tools and models …
David Eagleman and Mysteries of the Brain – Do you ever get the feeling there’s a whole lot of clocks ticking different beats in your head? You may not be so crazy after all – this is a real interesting take on how we perceive time and why …
Why Telstra is wrong on VoIP – Internode boss Simon Hackett gives Telstra a well-deserved serve for their attempt to put lipstick on their VoIP pig. This sort of exercise from Telstra (and they have prior form as well) is an example of the need for structural separation of wholesale network provision and retail competition – now Telstra might have to innovate for real.
Software and the Complexity Excuse – Given that software is just an abstracted model of business (and life!) complexity, perhaps instead of complaining about how complex our business is, we should be looking harder for a better, simpler model
The Great Ephemeralization – Among other things, this post highlights that increasingly our existing measurements of prosperity (in this case GDP) are inadequate and misleading. All the examples mentioned represent a DECREASE in GDP, but an INCREASE in quality of life – so we become better off and live better while production drops – how do we measure that? Certainly GDP doesn’t cut the mustard any more …
Why is surprise the permanent condition? – All our political, financial and business systems strive to reduce variability and unpredictability, which is sometimes a good thing. But in times, circumstance or environment that is naturally "noisy", an enforced calm merely hides the variability from view so it is never considered in our planning. When it finally breaks through, as it almost inevitably will, it comes as a shock, and at a larger scale than when it was suppressed – but it could have been foreseen if we hadn't covered it up.
People Power – A glimpse at the way our lives might change for the better when we learn how to leverage the fact that we are more and more connected than we ever have been before. Using health care as an example, this post talk about using what we already have to improve effectiveness of existing facilities.
Patient-driven health care – Nowhere is our personal data more "personal" than our health records; and nowhere is there a more committed participant than when someone is told they are seriously ill. Why is it then, that "patients are the most under-utilised medical resource"? Because we don't have easy access to our own data, and we don't control its use. If we're lucky, we've had the same doctor for a long period – but the doctor shouldn't be the aggregator of our health data, we should. Why? Watch the linked video from TEDx Maastricht and find out …
Same Old New World Cities; or, the missing vision for Australian cities; or, asking the right questions in the first place – A response to the Australian government's National Urban Policy discussion paper (http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure/mcu/urbanpolicy/index.aspx), this is a biting criticism of the lack of decent thinking and debate about not only what our cities should look like, but more importantly, what sort of cities we really need in Australia. Our love affair with McMansions in the outer suburbs and pervasive home ownership are no longer consistent with having sustainable and resilient living spaces that make us richer: socially, environmentally, intellectually, culturally and economically.
The Management Myth – One for all the MBAs out there – maybe you should have studied philosophy. A neat précis of management theory, and how the same themes get recycled under new names in a regular cadence, and how they seem to do so little of value. Consultants! Who needs them … ?
Musing about sharing and social in business – confused of calcutta – "Businesses exist to create customers" (Drucker). "They are organised into firms in order to reduce transaction costs" (Coase).
JP explores the potential of social media to reduce business transaction costs within the trust frameworks found in social networks, and adds some substance to the arguments that networks are increasingly the "business structure" that will be most effective in a cognition rich working environment.
Australia: Get Real! | winehero – Some interesting points from Paul, formerly head of Wine Australia, specifically aimed at wine marketers, but probably applicable more generally. Couple of things I particularly liked: "value" is determined by the customer, not the producer (and it's not directly related to price); and "over-deliver" probably means you have failed to position and price your product appropriately …
Driving Change: Eight Learnings. | Reinventing – For all that we preach the necessity of change, we usually sugar-coat the process. But change is messy, scary and uncomfortable, so how we approach it has to acknowledge those things, and is critical to effecting change.
You Have the Power to Choose Prosperity – Next time you buy a Big Mac, think about the future you're creating, and the past you're squandering. We make our future with the small decisions we make every hour of every day – maybe it's time we thought just a little harder about them.
Implementing Social: don't use the C-word – In which Martijn sounds off about the "silver bullet" nature of most of the current crop of "Social Business" advocates, and the distinct aroma of wagon-jumping hanging around them. I'm a little less cynical than Martijn about social business, but agree there's a lot of snake oil being sold, and a lot of baseless promises made.