One week ago

Management, Simple and Wrong – Semantics, Systems, and Self-Correction

Simple responses to complex situations are both seductive and dangerous. The difficulty in juggling lots of variables tempts us to employ abstraction so as to avoid being overwhelmed. Abraham Maslow’s observation, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail”, applies. […]

1 month, 22 days ago

Innovation, Intention, Planning and Execution

  Convergence is an interesting thing. Greger Wiktrand and I have been trading posts back and forth on the subject of innovation for almost eighteen months now (forty posts in total). I’ve also been writing a lot on the concept of organizations as systems, (twenty-two posts over the last year, with some overlap with innovation). […]

3 months, 10 days ago

Disruptive Decency

Well, this turned out to be very much a different post than what I’d first thought. Last Thursday, CIO published an article titled “Your Pebble smartwatch will live on when Pebble’s servers shut down” that had good news for owners of the Pebble smartwatch: But now that Pebble has been acquired by Fitbit and is […]

3 months, 16 days ago

You can’t always get what you want…

You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometimes well you just might find You get what you need When it comes to systems, you can’t always get what you want, but you do get what you design (intentionally or not), whether it’s what you need or not. In other words, the […]

4 months, 1 day ago

When One System Fails Another

Ten days ago, when I wrote the post “Uber and the Cost of a Culture of Corruption”, I said that assuming there will be negative consequences (both legal and financial) from the incidents in the news, then it is in Uber’s best interests to fix the problem that led to them in the first place. […]

4 months, 11 days ago

Uber and the Cost of a Culture of Corruption

Even before I hit the “Publish” button on Monday’s post, “Regulating Software Development”, I had already started composing this post in my head. In that post I had used the words “corrupt culture” in passing. I needed to expand on that, because I believe that’s what lies at the heart of Uber’s cascading collection of […]

4 months, 20 days ago

Fear of Failure, Fear and Failure

Some things seem so logically inconsistent that you just have to check them out. Such was the title of a post on LinkedIn that I saw the other day: “Innovation In Fear-Based Cultures? Or, why hire lions to be dogs?”. In it, Michael Graber noted that “…top-down organizations have the most trouble innovating.”: In particular, […]

7 months, 16 days ago

I fought the law (of unintended consequences) and the law won

Sometimes, what seemed to be a really good idea just doesn’t turn out that way in the end. In my opinion, a lack of a systems approach to problem solving makes that type of outcome much more likely. Simplistic responses to issues that fail to deal with problems holistically can backfire. Such ill-considered solutions not […]

7 months, 20 days ago

What Customer-Centric Looks Like

My last post, “Defense Against the Dark Art of Disruption”, went into some detail about notable failures in customer-experience for 2016. This week, however, I ran across a counter-example (h/t to Tim Worstall) showing that a little social media awareness and a customer-centric culture can make magic: A baby products company is launching a special […]

10 months, 30 days ago

Learning Organizations – Shooting the Messenger All the Way to the Fuhrerbunker

Unless you’re living under a rock, it’s a near certainty that you’ve seen at least one Downfall parody video (although I hadn’t realized just how long these had been around until I started working on this post…time flies!). There’s a reason why they’ve managed to hang on as a meme as long as they have. […]

1 year, 1 month ago

Managers and leaders

Many organisations talk about ‘developing new leaders’. What they mostly mean in practice is ‘developing new managers’. Which is unfortunate, because they’re not the same… The blunt reality is that most organisations I see have an absurd surplus of managers,

1 year, 1 month ago

Barriers to Innovation

  Is innovation inevitable? Greger Wikstrand and I have been trading blog posts on innovation since last November. In his latest post, “Credit card fraud and stalled innovation”, Greger discusses the relatively slow pace of innovation in credit card security. Those best placed to increase security neglect it because they don’t own the risk (a […]