Tag Archives: politics

Interesting stuff from August 8 to May 13

After too long a break, we return with the periodic roundup:

  • Bringing order to complexity – Paradoxically, “simple” is hard, and “complicated” is easy. We often end up with complicated business processes not because they are dealing with a complex problem, but because we haven’t taken enough time to design them properly. Design thinking, particularly human-centred design, is offered as an approach that applies multiple perspectives to the problem to understand the implications (upstream and down) of any changes made. One key suggestion: separation of process steps from the business rules being applied, which increases the re-useability of both. This is the stuff of business architecture …
  • Why Meetings Are Often Ineffective – Meetings have (quite rightly) garnered a bad reputation over time, mainly because they are used for the wrong reasons most of the time. Have you ever wondered why we often only schedule interruptions to our work, not the work itself? In this post, Johnnie Moore describes meetings as “action theatre” and “commitment ceremonies” where “we sit for too long, arguing with what we think is great cleverness when in fact our rational brain is already worn out and running on empty”. Fortunately he also has a couple of ideas about how we can make them better and more effective.
  • Business Models in Business Architecture – A very useful attempt from Nick Malik to describe the distinctions between business DNA (values, mission, etc.), business strategy, business models and business capabilities … as well as the relationships between them. Of particular value is the recognition that enterprises that are non-trivial in scale will often have multiple business models, each with its own strategy; and that these strategies may not co-exist happily. This is a problem when senior people don’t understand the interactions between business models and their related strategies, because it leads to turf wars, confused prioritisation and no idea what capabilities could be shared. This also is the stuff of business architecture …
  • Party politics is slowly dying. So what will take its place? – While the locale for this piece is the UK, Australia’s major political parties should take note, as the symptoms are similar here. We can recognise thoughts like “ … describes a draining away of authority from the main western parties, which, since the end of the cold war, have become increasingly bland: dangerously similar when it comes to ideology, and incorrigibly controlling” and “The mainstream politicians have forgotten that they are here to represent, not govern … We’re sick of being lied to”. The article describes the rise of single-issue movements, something increasingly echoed here in Australia. If the major parties seek a return to relevance, perhaps they should pay more attention to what issues people engage with, and “represent” rather than “govern”.
  • A Corporate Coup in Disguise | Alternet – Despite some raucous objections in the small, the TPP hasn’t hit the public’s consciousness to any great extent. This is partly due the excessive secrecy that cloaks its discussions, but also to the seeming lack of interest from the general public. This article, although slanted to the US, suggests there’s a number of reasons we should be paying attention, and why we shouldn’t let it happen …

 

Interesting stuff from April 3rd through July 11

The periodic round up:

  • Henry Farrell – On post-democracy – “Post-democracy is strangling the old parties of the left. They have run out of options. Perhaps all that traditional social democracy can do, to adapt a grim joke made by Crouch in a different context, is to serve as a pall-bearer at its own funeral.” The dilemma facing centre-left parties the world over is one of irrelevance. This poses a problem for democracy in general, as meaningful social democracy withers. While the Australian Labor Party is not mentioned here, it is recognisable in the description …
  • The Calm Before the Solar Storm – For some time we have been given the impression that domestic solar power generation has been A Good Thing. But in a system designed for power flowing in only one direction, in an industry populated by business models that don’t fit with widespread independent power generation, there is a collision pending.
  • The Great Disconnect – As Warren Buffet commented: “there IS a class war going on, and the rich are winning”. Buoyancy in financial markets is increasingly disconnected with real well-being, a situation that is politically unsustainable. The widening gap between the very rich and everyone else is the stuff of revolution …
  • Steve Mann: My “Augmediated” Life - “Until recently, most people tended to regard me and my work with mild curiosity and bemusement.” Steve Mann’s wearable computing gear has come a long way in 20 years. Google Glass now has people taking his work a lot more seriously (although Google hasn’t caught up to him yet). Life, augmented and mediated …
  • What the NSA Sees in Our Gmail - MIT runs a little exercise in metadata gathering from your GMail traffic … a sobering reflection on our loss of privacy which by now should even be worrying those of us with “nothing to hide” from the NSA

Interesting stuff from December 9th through December 14th

The periodic round up:

  • How to Beat Terrorism: Refuse to Be Terrorized – It's what some have termed “security theatre” – the fact that by far the most effective weapon that terrorists have used to date is our own governments …
  • The role of informal social networks in building organisational creativity and innovation – Creative businesses often find that who leads to effective innovation and collaboration is not found at the top of the organisation structure. Network analysis of how communication actually happens in the business can unearth your creative “leaders” regardless of their official position.
  • 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.

Interesting stuff from June 6th through June 16th

The weekly round up:

     

  • TEDx Talk on the Open Enterprise – “We live in democracies, but work in dictatorships” … a simple statement of the issue of HOW we work (particularly in Western economies) – the structures and practices of business are thousands of years old, and aren’t necessarily a good fit anymore. This contributes to an estimated 75% of workers (number is from the US, I believe) being disaffected and disengaged from their efforts. Do we REALLY think that 3/4 of the workforce under-performing against their own will is the best way of organising our companies?
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  • Rory Sutherland makes a change – Every now and then, it’s good to be able to give bouquets to a bank, and not brickbats. Kudos to Westpac (in New Zealand – how about Aus!?) for doing something a little out of the ordinary – making it easy for customers to impulse SAVE, rather than impulse BUY … just hit the big red button.
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  • Influence Measurement Optimization – There’s a lot of noise around social networks about “reach” and “influence”, as players like Klout and Peerindex attempt to translate numbers of followers/friends and the depth and breadth of conversation (and some other black magic) to estimate how much social currency you might be able to wield. Of course (as Google continually struggles with) any system of algorithmic ranking will get gamed, and (more subtly) just observing something changes what is observed …
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  • Breakup of the euro? Is Iceland’s rejection of financial bullying a model for Greece and Ireland? – It’s clear that national sovereignty in the Eurozone is subservient to the interests of bankers – the EMU insists that the PIIGs should repay failed loans to speculators by mortgaging their economies for two generations. Iceland still has a sovereign currency, and so far has thumbed its nose to protecting private profits … do Ireland and Greece have the cojones to leave the Euro and re-establish currency sovereignty? The pain will be sharp, but will last two years (cf Argentina) rather than two generations.
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  • Take your SharePoint implementation to the next level – In which it is demonstrated that it IS possible to turn a Sharepoint implementation into a social business tool … but it’s still lipstick on a pig. There’s a whole lot of good reasons for not using Sharepoint as your social tool of choice – and this is a pro-Sharepoint post! Biggest issue – Sharepoint is document-centric, not people-centric; it is structurally non-social. If you’re interested in Enterprise 2.0/Social Business, there’s a lot of stuff that works better – but hey! – it COULD work.
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Interesting stuff from April 21st through April 29th

The weekly round up:

  • 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 … ?