Tag Archives: sustainability

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 21st through April 29th

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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 … ?

Interesting stuff from April 18th through April 21st

The weekly round up:

  • It is getting ridiculous – The story of an Australian PM and Treasurer giving themselves whiplash holding to both sides of an argument that is based on a folly in the first place. "We need to cut Government spending because the economy is at full capacity, and more would be inflationary" AND "We need to cut Government spending because the economy is weakening and tax revenues are down" … I'm getting dizzy. Unfortunately the Opposition is just as clueless, so there is no sensible political debate
  • How Can We Measure Currencies like Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility? – Explores the availability (and desirability) of alternative metrics (currency) for non-financial outcomes like environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Some interesting projects/tools mentioned here, including the UN's Earth Dashboard project (http://earthdash.org/ – would like to see this get to the web)
  • Norms, Values, Working Agreements, Simple Rules – Groups can be created by others, but this post affirms that group will only become a team if they develop so themselves – you can' "make" a team with a set of rules, or by bringing people together. A team forms when the group accepts objectives, establishes its own norms and ground rules, and forms itself around them.
  • Oracle licensing: just say no – If you're using Oracle products, you may be interested in reading this advice on licensing and keeping it close at hand next time you speak with your account manager. Oracle's maintenance fees run at about 95% profit, and often represent "empty calories" for the customer …
  • Why Social Really, Really Matters – A slightly different perspective on why "social" matters in business. Working from the perspective that initiative, creativity and passion are by necessity voluntary, unleashing the potential of the people within the organisation means allowing self-determination and empowerment for employees, rather than subjecting them to the "organisation of misery".