friday’s neutral finds

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

US Net Neutrality Debacle will Impact People in Canada

“It’s time to clearly and directly call for Canada’s big telecoms to be split apart so that our telecom networks can be open to a range of independent providers and community-based solutions, operating in a decentralized market. The U.K. and others have adopted this “structural separation” approach to telecom markets, where the old telecom operates parts of the network the network but a range of providers service users.

Let’s be clear – the centralization of wealth and power is increasing in many facets of our society, not just telecommunications. We can’t tweak our way out of this or hope a few enlightened bureaucrats and politicians will stand up to entrenched interests.

Let’s acknowledge the centralization of power that is under way and the deepening democratic deficit that is inherent to that kind of structure. Secondly let’s align towards a common goal of a decentralized economy based on collaboration (not competition), equal opportunity, open participation and shared prosperity.”


it’s not complicated – review

“In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” —Eric Hoffer

A major focus of my work is getting people to think in terms of complexity and understand the difference between complicated and complex systems. I use the Cynefin framework as the main point of reference. In It’s Not Complicated, by Rick Nason, the Cynefin framework is never mentioned but it covers similar territory, namely that much of business is complex and we have, unsuccessfully, been using mostly complicated models and tools to understand business for the past century. As Nason states at the beginning of the book: “Engineers, scientists, and ecologists have been thinking in terms of complexity for fifty years, and it is time that the business community considered some of the valuable and interesting lessons the field has to offer.” (more…)

networked failure and learning

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” —W.E. Demming via @DaimenHardie

@projectania: “Don’t just think hierarchy. Think networks of influence. Be prepared to switch from predictability and compliance to disruption and goal-driven surges and back again, depending on the need or context.”

The Jobs that AI will Create – MIT Sloan Review

  • Trainers: “human workers to teach AI systems how they should perform”

  • Explainers: “bridge the gap between technologists and business leaders”


self-managing for complexity

“What processes will be effective in helping people to unlearn the disposition or stance that made them successful in the ordered domains of Cynefin?
How can they most effectively learn the skills required in the complex domain?
How do leaders start creating environments that support this transition – if we simply focus on training people, but the environment remains the same, nothing will change.
Many current ‘obvious’ environments are very compliance driven with rigid constraints.
In this transitionary phase, how do we create enabling spaces within these constrained environments?” —Sonja Blignaut

Let me paraphrase what Sonja has asked. How can we prepare people to work in complex, and not highly ordered, work environments in which most problems are exceptions from which some emergent solutions can be continuously developed, learned, and shared? In a world of organizational compliance training, where following orders is the best practice, how can we get people to come up with their own creative ways of doing work? This is pretty well what many executives are saying, if you read between the lines. They want creative and critical thinkers, but saddle them with compulsory compliance training. They want people who take the initiative, then create so many rules that there is little room left to even change what time people are at their desk. Even in work environments where workers have some flexibility many are still constrained with a job description, meaning that someone in marketing cannot decide to collaborate with another person in human resources, without getting special permission through a circuitous chain of command. I wrote about this the last time I had a JOB: a four-letter word. (more…)

3000 half-baked ideas

“The commons is the only genuine alternative today that allows us to build a truly participatory economic production system. The commons can cause a global cultural revolution.” —Yochai Benkler

Starting this blog in 2004 helped me connect with a global audience and share ideas with many people who over the years have become friends and colleagues. I was more optimistic at that time because we were not dealing with constant outrage on social media, fake news, surveillance capitalism, and the extinguishing of net neutrality. Given the online land grab by the platform monopolists it is becoming even more important for individuals to have a space they control on the web. It seems fewer of us are blogging because there are many more convenient options that require less time and thought. But we need thoughtful bloggers, unconstrained by platforms and publishers, now more than ever before. An aggressively engaged citizenry is essential to democracy. (more…)

bias thwarts innovation

My recent blog post on our future is networked and feminine has had more online attention than any other post I have written in the past two years. I was even asked to change the title, something that has never happened before. For me, the topic is not new, and I have presented these ideas to live audiences many times. I just wanted to get the ideas written out and the references linked. It is a fact that many of our current institutions and workplaces are not favourable to women. (more…)

beta conversation 2017-11-28

I will be hosting the next Beta Conversation on Tuesday, 28 November at 14:00 UTC. This will be the last one for 2017.

The subject will be understanding media for professional development, management, and leadership. The Harvard Business Review article, The Best Leaders are Constant Learners, provides some background reading. Participants can add their own questions in advance.

The session will be 90 minutes long. For participant confidentiality, these sessions will not be recorded.

our future is networked and feminine

TIMN is an explanatory model of how human societies have organized: first in Tribes, later with Institutions added (T+I), and in our current society where Markets dominate (T+I+M). As we enter an era where the Network form (T+I+M+N) gains dominance, most of the previous organizational forms will evolve to adapt to the new form. The Network form puts into question our current market dominated forms, including our institutions and our families. Consider that the nuclear family is no longer the dominant Tribal form in many developed countries. Fewer people have faith in our existing institutions and our capitalist markets are seen as inadequate in distributing wealth. One example is the move to establish a universal basic income in many countries because our markets are unable to effectively distribute wealth.


reading and understanding

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.” —Charles Munger via @JimHays

@raesmaa “Don’t read everything you believe.”

“In our obscurity—in all this vastness—there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us.” —Carl Sagan via @themadstone

“We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green.”G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

@EskoKilpi “The most underutilized resource still waiting for discovery may be our ability to cooperate.” (more…)

trust emerges

Paul Zak discovered eight key factors, or principles,  in promoting trust in the workplace. In The Neuroscience of Trust he describes the research over several years that yielded these insights and gives examples of companies who implement these principles. The return on investment is more energy and greater productivity.

“Ultimately, you cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to see it through, and getting out of their way.

It’s not about being easy on your employees or expecting less from them. High-trust companies hold people accountable but without micromanaging them. They treat people like responsible adults.”

#1 Recognition: Trust improves when we are recognized by our peers and the organization. (more…)