Best of Friday’s Finds 2013

Every second Friday I review what I’ve noted on various social media platforms and post a wrap-up of what caught my eye. I do this as a reflective thinking process and also in order to take some of what I’ve learned and put it on a platform where I control the data. These are my Friday’s Finds.

Here are some of the best finds I made in 2013, on the topics of creativity, complexity, hierarchy, innovation, leadership, learning, models, networks, organizations, work, and the workplace.


@TimKastelleWhat is the Best Organisational Structure for Creativity?

So why doesn’t everyone organise their company in this way? [like W.L. Gore & Associates] There are a few reasons. One is that it’s hard. It is a lot easier to put up some inspirational posters on the subject of creativity, and hope that works. But it won’t. Restructuring a company to reflect the fact that everyone there has creative skills takes a lot of work. Gore has been built this way from Day 1.

The second reason is that many people still don’t believe that everyone can be creative. The Breed Myth is powerful, and widespread. If you believe it, then you hire special people and put them in special rooms. If you don’t, you have to figure out how to put everyone in your firm into a position to be creative.


How Complex Systems Fail [PDF] Complexity, swiss cheese and failure. The classic 1998 article by Richard Cook – via @commutiny

Complex systems contain changing mixtures of failures latent within them.
Hindsight biases post-accident assessments of human performance.
Human operators have dual roles: as producers & as defenders against failure.
All practitioner actions are gambles.
Human practitioners are the adaptable element of complex systems.
Human expertise in complex systems is constantly changing.


The genesis of a new way of looking at business: Flow is everything – by @sig

The Organisational Hierarchy is kaput – as single purpose executor of the Business Model it requires reorganisation every time you need to get better, an utterly futile exercise most of the time. Replace it.

Managing is a waste of time. Leadership I need, getting out of bed in the morning I can do myself.


Deconstructing Innovation: a complex concept made simple; by @ShaunCoffey

So it is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all philosophy in terms of successful innovation. The one constant is that you have to be open to change and new points of view. Innovation is continuous.

Successful innovators and entrepreneurs all embrace change and the risks that they pose. In fact, innovation is the poster child of the mantra that there are no rules. Only by trying out new things, by failing, by discovering what works and what doesn’t, do you gain answers to the innovation question.


“By the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else.” – Henry Mintzberg – via @flowchainsensei

“Everyone is a born leader … We were all leaders until we were sent to school to be commanded, controlled, and taught to do likewise.” – Dee Hock – via @Jan Höglund

Knowledge Leadership in the Era of Convergence – via @JonHusband

In an environment where speed, access, and tools allow workers to seamlessly collaborate across time zones, store massive amounts of data, and crowdsource the answers to difficult organizational issues, organizations that trend toward openness in the knowledge management arena will be better able to use new technologies and react to cultural and business changes. This makes leaders responsible for developing an open, collaborative culture, and suggests that inspiring these attitudes toward knowledge management will have positive individual and organizational consequences.


@DonaldClark : Failure led, spaced practice is better than training

Over nine months, 500 people in Booz Allen were initially given three types of training:

1.       Placebo
2.       Page-turning
3.       Interactive

All three groups were then given surprise:
Three simulated phishing emails with remedial help if they failed i.e. spaced practice, learn through failure exercises.
>Based on actual simulated attacks, they discovered no significant difference between training and no training!


@DavidGurteen – “PKM is actually what KM is really all about.

World Bank: Knowledge Management is not mere dissemination:

KM should be conceived less as a purely technical information-based area and more as a communication and behaviour-change area, because putting knowledge to practical use needs a certain degree of behaviour change on both sides. Knowledge producers need to package the product in a way that can be easily applied, [e.g. PKM & Curating] while the users need to be “persuaded” to conceive knowledge as a practical tool that can be applied in their field. In other words, KM should close the gap between the theoretical and conceptual constructs and the practical applications.


“Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful.”George Box [1919-2013] via @fhuszar


“Networked minds” require a fundamentally new kind of economics – via @eprenen

Networked minds create a cooperative human species

“This has fundamental implications for the way, economic theories should look like,” underlines Professor Helbing. Most of today’s economic knowledge is for the “homo economicus”, but people wonder whether that theory really applies. A comparable body of work for the “homo socialis” still needs to be written.

“While the “homo economicus” optimizes its utility independently, the “homo socialis” puts himself or herself into the shoes of others to consider their interests as well,” explains Grund, and Helbing adds: “This establishes something like “networked minds”. Everyone’s decisions depend on the preferences of others.” This becomes even more important in our networked world.


Peter Kruse: Transforming Organizations into Social Brains | sense-making strategy – via @toughloveforx

Organizations that do not develop connectivity, arousal (or engagement) and collective valuation facility will have a poor chance of survival in the competition with organizations that do.  That includes the organizational approach to strategy, leadership and communication, whose main task will be to enable neural facility (or at the very least not stand in its way!)
Success in the neural world will depend strongly on social empathy and an ability to work with social resonance phenomena, that steer and focus attention and energy through the net (Kruse—part 4).


TechCrunch: America has hit peak jobs – via @sardire

Paul Kedrosky recently wrote a terrific essay about what I call cultural technical debt, i.e. “organizations or technologies that persist, largely for historical reasons, not because they remain the best solution to the problem for which they were created. They are often obstacles to much better solutions.” Well, the notion that ‘jobs are how the rewards of our society are distributed, and every decent human being should have a job’ is becoming cultural technical debt.

If it’s not solved, then in the coming decades you can expect a self-perpetuating privileged elite to accrue more and more of the wealth generated by software and robots, telling themselves that they’re carrying the entire world on their backs, Ayn Rand heroes come to life, while all the lazy jobless “takers” live off the fruits of their labor. Meanwhile, as the unemployed masses grow ever more frustrated and resentful, the Occupy protests will be a mere candle flame next to the conflagrations to come.


I found the best ever review of standing desks from Wirecutter, via @robpatrob. As a result of what I learned via social media, I had a standing desk built in March 2013, that I now use as my primary workstation. The desk was made from locally sourced yellow birch, by John Crawford. Desk surface is 36″ x 24″ and stands 42″ high. The monitor stand is a locally made box built from century-old recovered wall laths.

harold jarche standing desk


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