Saturday, December 26, 2009

facing the swarm: the coming obsolescence of the big idea

Educated people in business love The Big Idea. Generally this is a heroic idea that will change everything. I am falling out of love with the Idea of The Big Idea. I think the problems were face as a species are so complex, are so wicked that just a few Big Ideas won't do.

We need a swarm of lots of Small Ideas small ideas. Micronotions that propogate across the memescape. Like any small, fast-breeding creatures, many are poorly adapted for their environment and doomed to die but many will reproduce and mutate and colonise.

Of course, careers are not built on small ideas nor are awards won. But the world is changed by small ideas.

I call for a profligacy of conceptulets.

Think small!

muhammad yunus - strategic doer

MY: See making money is an exciting thing. You can find a lot of pleasure in making money. Changing the world is the most exciting thing in the world. We have to make a decision that I will not live my life in a way that will take away the enjoyment of life for another person - that simple decision, that's all.

AD: It's a powerful thing that you are talking about. I mean I am just thinking probably one of the most popular shows on television round the world is called "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", it's about the desire for money.

MY: There should be another show, "Who wants to change the world?" But that show you are not promoting, because those who made the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" makes million out of it.
I absolutely love this interview with Muhammad Yunus. A high-point of my year. As I read it, tears of joy are streaming out of my eyes.

There are many smart people in the world. But very few genuinely strategic doers. People who not only see the fine grains of detail but the big picture, the whole globe floating in space. And who not only see it but choose to act in a positive way to change it. Whatever your feelings about Grameen Bank, Yunus counts as one of those strategic doers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Have you ever met a victim of Post ERP Implementation Traumatic Stress Disorder?

How can you tell if someone has PEITSD? Here are the signs:
  • A belief that IT salespeople are liars and only want to get as much money out of you as possible.
  • A belief that all IT consultants are sadists and only want to get as much money out of you as possible.
  • A disbelief in RoI figures based on headcount reduction through efficiency gains.
  • A morbid fear of consipulation*.
  • An overwhelming sense of process-based persecution.
What other symptoms have you noted?

*consipulation = consultation + manipulation

Friday, December 11, 2009

book review: sharepoint roadmap for collaboration

I have been recommending Michael Sampson's book Sharepoint Roadmap for Collaboration to everyone I know who is working with Sharepoint (and that's a lot of people). It's a down-to-earth, practical guide to using Sharepoint to support (rather than hinder collaboration). I prefer it to Seamless Teamwork because that book was mostly aimed at end-users of Sharepoint rather than us poor bastards collaboration experts who have to manage the overall implementation*. This second book is much more for us.

One gripe: No pictures. Not a single one. Something for the visual thinkers in the next book please Michael.

*Apparently SP 2010 will solve all the problems that have bedevilled previous releases. My advice: Trust but verify.

blokes n babies

We have an ergobaby carrier and at the moment it's not only handy for supporting the young chap in strolls & promenades, but also strapping him to my torso seems to be the one thing that settles him down from hardcore tantrum mode.

However the marketing to men for the ergobaby is wetter than the contents of a straining nappy. Pictures like this with effete male models really aren't winning me over. More meatless SNAGs than a vegan sausage sizzle.

May I offer up this alternative aspirational image instead?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

master chefs or drama queens?

The TV sen-sa-shun of 2009 has been Masterchef. And to begin with, I was a fan. I like food (as even a cursory glance at my waistline will evidence). And I like the notion of the Australian public being turned on to food. The three grumpy, chubby judges seemed OK as well. N.B. The one thing that annoyed me was the music. They might was well have had signs saying "applause" or "cheer" or "boo". It had all the subtlety of a chicken vindaloo. Try too hard to be dramatic.

So Masterchef begat Celebrity Masterchef and a few weeks ago I was watching the celebs ham it up in some kitchen somewhere. One of the grumpy, chubby judges was exhorting the contests: "This is the most important day of your life!!!"

And I thought: Hang on. Some of these people have had kids. Some of these people have buried loved ones. They've hit sporting heights or wowwed tens of thousands of people in a stadium somewhere. And this is the most important day of their lives? What drugs are you on chubby, grumpy man?

And then it struck me that Maserchef might actually be harming our appreciation of food. Because food should be enjoyed in a context. The best meals have a culinary component but they also have a big human aspect too. Banter + Grub = Awesome. Grub on its own = Food wanker. The music had infected the rest of the programme.

And in focusing too much on the grub, Masterchef is in real danger of making cooking a bit stressy & tedious. So you can't make a ****ing Croche en Bouche? Who cares? Can you slap down a nice cake & tell us a funny story & make us feel loved? Yes? Then we'll come back to your table.

Preparing food should be a pleasure. It should not be stressful. Unfortunately the currency of a TV show like Masterchef is drama & stress. Fine in its place. Just don't mistake it for culinary reality.

book review: opening up - remain in light?

I read Opening Up by Andrew Rixon (words) & Simon Kneebone (pictures). about a month ago. It's an immensely charming book that applies the world of fairy tales to organisational life & personal development. I have a lot of time for both author & cartoonist but I also have a challenge for them.

Fairy tales are not all nice. Many pre-modern fairy tales are dark & shocking affairs to modern eyes & ears. People die horribly. People do terrible things to each other. Virtue is not always rewarded. Evil is not always punished. Life lessons are not always learned with a happy smile.

As uplifting as Opening Up is, I was left feeling as though I had been told a version of the world that was not quite true. The world is full of chiaroscuro and we cannot always remain in the light.

I would suggest Neil Gaiman as a contemporary writer who understands the power of fairy tales. And I would challenge Andrew & Simon to encompass both the light and the dark in their work.


Fin contemplates if he has the numbers in the leadershship spill on Twitpic