Tag Archives: psychology

Interesting stuff from May 26th through August 22nd

The periodic round up:

Network v. node …
  • 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.

 

Interesting stuff from February 27th through March 10th

m4s0n501

The periodic round up:

  • Making collaborative work work – Is “social business” necessary for collaboration? No – ALL business is collaborative. But three simple “social” principles can make collaboration in your business BETTER. Simple in principle, that is … execution is the trick. You’ll see what I mean when you read the post!
  • Why Connect.me? – My piece on connect.me, a site which tackles the thorny issue of trust on the internet. If you know someone, or something about them, you can vouch for them on that topic. Over time, and multiple vouches, a reputation can be made evident, and trust can be built. My point is that trust is one of three things that needs to be in place before we see the missing 90% of the internet’s potential. The other two? Read on …
  • But are they working hard? – A look at the problems managers get themselves into when they concentrate on inputs (hours worked, “busyness”) rather than outputs (actual results); and when they try and attribute team results to individuals … most performance reviews completely ignore that individual achievements in a business context are extremely rare – most, if not all, results are a collective effort.
  • Edging toward the fully licensed world – So who owns what on the Internet? Doc Searls looks at why we need to think now about what sort of “ownership” we want for the Internet, before corporations turn it into a shopping strip, and we lose the freedoms that make the Internet valuable. SOPA, PIPA and ACTA are just the tip of the iceberg  
  • Right versus pragmatic – Note to big media: don’t fight demand; address it. A pragmatic approach to piracy illustrated by men’s bathroom habits …

 

 

Interesting stuff from July 30th through August 3rd

The weekly round up:

  • The mind is for having ideas not holding them – [Video] The “Getting Things Done” guy, David Allen, talking about creating clear space for your brain to do creative things. “Getting things done” isn’t about getting things done – it’s about making space in your head for more important things.  
  • When Employees Misinterpret Managers – “What gets measured gets done” – but you need to beware of unintended behaviours driven by poorly-thought-through metrics. And another caveat: managing by numbers only is a bit like painting by numbers: for amateurs and pre-schoolers.
  • Bored People Quit – And who gets bored quickest? Your smartest people. How do you stop them getting bored? Give them interesting tasks. What if I have no interesting tasks? Prepare for a slow and tedious extinction …
  • IT Outsourcing: How Offshoring Can Kill Innovation – A cautionary look at the dangers of outsourcing, particularly as it moves up the value chain from “grunt” work to “thinking work” – once you outsource your thinking, and your unique capabilities, you have no business. And as the interview points out, it’s broader than a single organisation – it means countries lose the infrastructure and network of suppliers in an industry, so the outsourcing becomes a continuing death spiral.
  • Empowering Leadership – Leadership doesn’t necessarily mean having a leader: “On teams that function well, every member of the team leads.  Each person takes responsibility for helping the team move forward.”
    Rather than trying to discover leaders, we should be developing leadership …
  • The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value – Michael Porter suggesting that there is a way to build economic value that provides societal value as well – it’s just that we might have to think outside of out-dated business models to achieve it: “The purpose of the corporation must be redefined as creating shared value, not just profit per se. This will drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy. It will also reshape capitalism and its relationship to society. Perhaps most important of all, learning how to create shared value is our best chance to legitimize business again. “
  • Hierarchy and Network: Two Structures, One Organization – Kotter makes the valid point that hierarchies are optimised for repetition, stability and efficiency. Which means they don’t change or adapt well. He explores the possibility of a simultaneous network structure to handle change … an idea that strikes me as unlikely in practice. What I CAN see happening is a continuous flux between network (for periods of change or instability) morphing into hierarchy, and then back again through the cycle. What I PREFER to see is network structures for operation, and hierarchy for administration – suit the structure to the purpose.

 

Interesting stuff from April 29th through May 16th

The weekly round up:

     

  • 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 …
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  • 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 …
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  • 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.
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  • 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
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  • 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 …
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