driving blind

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

“I do admin exactly like I clean vomit: Hold breath, enter without looking, do something, retreat, retch, wipe eyes, breathe, repeat.”@ChristoMove

“Most doctors are rather good with healthcare of individuals, but not that good with mathematics & large scale human behaviour analysis.”@autiomaa

“You catch highly contagious new-variant Covid-19 when you INHALE air that an infected person has EXHALED. This is more likely with CLOSE CONTACT, CROWDED PLACES, and CLOSED SPACES (3Cs).”@TrishGreenhagh (more…)

not remotely working

Watching the return-to-office efforts starting around the world is a fascinating exercise. Not everyone wants a return to the old normal.

“But as office returns accelerate, some employees may want different options. A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. The generational difference is clear: Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%, according to the poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News.” —Bloomberg 2021-06-01

Some people are quitting rather than going back to work in the office full-time.

“When you average out some of the bigger surveys you discover that 39% of an organization’s employees say they will consider quitting rather than returning to the office full time. Companies that have been among the first to attempt returning their people back to full time office work are discovering that half of that 39% are doing more than considering, they are in fact quitting.” —Steve Keating 2021-06-06


finds for focusing

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

“If you focus on sickness, you’re going to end up with doctors as the key actors. If you focus on well-being, you’re going to end up with communities as key actors.”@CormacRussell

“Collaboration is a necessary technique to master the unknown. Academics are slow to explore and understand the process. For now, practitioners provide the best laboratory to learn the complexity of collaboration.”@EdMorrison (more…)

connections trump expertise

A recent research paper — Orthodoxy, illusio, and playing the scientific game — looks at why it took so long for the mainstream medical community to accept that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is predominantly spread as an aerosol and not through surface transmissions.

Three fields—political, state (policy and regulatory), and scientific—were particularly relevant to our analysis. Political and policy actors at international, national, and regional level aligned—predominantly though not invariably—with medical scientific orthodoxy which promoted the droplet theory of transmission and considered aerosol transmission unproven or of doubtful relevance. This dominant scientific sub-field centred around the clinical discipline of infectious disease control, in which leading actors were hospital clinicians aligned with the evidence-based medicine movement. Aerosol scientists—typically, chemists, and engineers—representing the heterodoxy were systematically excluded from key decision-making networks and committees. Dominant discourses defined these scientists’ ideas and methodologies as weak, their empirical findings as untrustworthy or insignificant, and their contributions to debate as unhelpful. —Wellcome Open Research 2021-05-24


addressing wicked problems

Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, and author of the popular book, Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, has recently published a new book — Noise: A flaw in human judgment.

Noise in general is unwanted variability. That is, when there is a judgment or a measurement or a decision, and there is variability, and the variability can be across occasions. When the same person judges the same object many times and reaches different conclusions, that’s one kind of noise. And the other kind of noise is what we call system noise. So we have the judicial system, and it passes sentences on defendants and criminals. And you want it to function so that the same crime should be punished the same way by different judges and not be affected. And it’s not, it’s affected by the judge’s tastes, by the judge’s ideological position, by the weather. —NYT 2021-05-17

I came across an interesting counter perspective from Ed Morrison, author of Strategic Doing. (more…)

the worst of both worlds

Some countries are slowly emerging into a post-pandemic mode. The nature of work, or at least where it is done, has changed for many people. Zoom, like Google before, has become a verb. The video conferencing company commissioned a report on the future of video communications.

“Most countries heavily favored a hybrid business environment, with about two-thirds of survey takers preferring a mix of virtual and in-person working environments. Many cited the fact that they didn’t have to leave their homes and could stay safer virtually, but the main downsides were the lack of a personal connection as well as a poor technical connection or other tech issue. When asked about the future of business travel, most countries expect to travel for business purposes about the same or less than they did before the pandemic.” —Qualtrics Report 2021

The term ‘hybrid work’ is increasing in usage. It seems this is what many people prefer — an optimal mix of commuting, office camaraderie, and working from anywhere. But is hybrid the best way to organize work in the network era? (more…)

surviving the post-modern transition

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

@DavidBoxenhorn“The most important thing is the ability to survive until you get lucky.”

@ProfCharlesHaas“I am glad to be in a field that is enriched by assimilating knowledge from other fields, rather than one that tries to maintain a monopoly of wisdom on the basis of credentials.”

Right now, it’s hard to imagine that any global pandemic could ever fade into a routine fact of history.

But Esyllt Jones says that is what occurred with a previous worldwide disaster, the Great Influenza of 1918.

That pandemic faded despite a death toll in the tens of millions, and the loss of entire families and communities.

The public health historian notes that: “There are decades of almost complete neglect of (the 1918 influenza) as a historical subject, during which many of the survivors died.” —CBC Ideas


PKM at seventeen

Seventeen years ago I was introduced to PKM by Lilia Efimova.

To a great extent PKM is about shifting responsibility for learning and knowledge sharing from a company to individuals and this is the greatest challenge for both sides. Companies should recognise that their employees are not “human resources”, but investors who bring their expertise into a company. As any investors they want to participate in decision-making and can easily withdraw if their “return on investment” is not compelling. Creativity, learning or desire to help others cannot be controlled, so knowledge workers need to be intrinsically motivated to deliver quality results. In this case “command and control” management methods are not likely to work.

Taking responsibility for own work and learning is a challenge for knowledge workers as well. Taking these responsibilities requires attitude shift and initiative, as well as developing personal KM knowledge and skills. In a sense personal KM is very entrepreneurial, there are more rewards and more risks in taking responsibility for developing own expertise.


What skills shortage?

Has an enormous skills gap developed since 2016?

Researchers Dave Swenson and Liesl Eathington identified several factors contributing to hiring challenges, but a widespread lack of skilled workers was not one them … The Iowa researchers’ conclusion? “When employers say there’s a skills gap, what they’re often really saying is they can’t find workers willing to work for the pay they’re willing to pay,” —Marina Gorbis, GE Reports

Four years later and Irving Wladawsky-Berger reviews sources such as MIT and the WEF which conclude that upskilling is now a global necessity. (more…)

focus on the system

I recently wrote that with increasing complexity and interconnectedness, we all need to be better detectives in order to make sense and understand our world. The field of human performance improvement is a systemic method of doing detective work to find out how people perform in an organization. W. Edwards Deming stated that, “I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this: 94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management)”.

Yet most organizations put the responsibility for workplace performance solely on individual competence, focusing on training as the solution to all performance issues. For example, compliance training is a standard response by industry regulators when dealing with human performance issues. This fails to examine the entire system, which is bad detective work, because — it’s the system, stupid.

“Over the long haul, even strong people can’t compensate for a weak process. Sure, some occasional success may come from team or individual heroics. But if you pit a good performer against a bad system, the system will win almost every time.” —Rummler & Brache