Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.
@Tom_Peters: “Networks increase your ability to get things, especially complex things, done. Period. And if well developed, they do make you more powerful. Period. Like anything else on earth, they can be used for good or for ill.”
“Pressure and crisis tend to open up adaptive space naturally – I often hear stories of how cross-silo collaboration happens spontaneously when a crisis occurs. The problem is our natural tendency to impose order when under pressure. Organisations that have healthy adaptive processes respond from a complex paradigm and enable adaptive space where the tension between exploration and exploitation is productive even in the midst of external and internal pressures.”
“Also AI and Big Data still only work in the realm of documents, information and data, and in the processes of analysing and retrieving; they don’t help with the transfer and creation of knowledge through conversation, or with tacit knowledge. So AI will be a massively powerful tool in the KM toolbox, but it won’t replace the toolbox. We will need the roles and the processes and the governance to interplay with the technology. KM shifts up a gear, but still will be needed.”
“On the other hand, while the humanities and the sciences are essential as we go forward, we should also not pretend that we are talking about something other than an engineering effort of unprecedented scale and scope — society is aiming to build new kinds of artifacts. These artifacts should be built to work as claimed. We do not want to build systems that help us with medical treatments, transportation options and commercial opportunities to find out after the fact that these systems don’t really work — that they make errors that take their toll in terms of human lives and happiness. In this regard, as I have emphasized, there is an engineering discipline yet to emerge for the data-focused and learning-focused fields. As exciting as these latter fields appear to be, they cannot yet be viewed as constituting an engineering discipline.”
Smithsonian: The Wizard of Schenectady
“[Henry] Ford, whose electrical engineers couldn’t solve some problems they were having with a gigantic generator, called [Charles Proteus] Steinmetz in to the plant. Upon arriving, Steinmetz rejected all assistance and asked only for a notebook, pencil and cot. According to Scott, Steinmetz listened to the generator and scribbled computations on the notepad for two straight days and nights. On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.
Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice from General Electric in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.
Steinmetz, Scott wrote, responded personally to Ford’s request with the following:
Making chalk mark on generator $1.
Knowing where to make mark $9,999.
Ford paid the bill.”