@CelineSchill – “We’ve hired & promoted generations of managers with robust analytical skills & poor social skills, and we don’t seem to think that matters.”
@flowchainsensei – “At all levels “leaders” have no answers for our problems. We have to find our own solutions, together.”
@DocOnDev – “People cannot both follow orders without question and take responsibility for their own actions.”
@JohnRobb – “You can either compete with technology for a job, or use it to help you make a living outside of a job. Your choice.”
Psychology Today: Thinking Outside the Box: A Misguided Idea
After all, with one simple yet brilliant experiment, researchers had proven that the conceptual link between thinking outside the box and creativity was a myth.
Liz Ryan: ‘If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It’: Not True – Forbes
Luckily, humans are very good at reading energy and responding to it. It’s always been human energy and mojo that have powered everything good that’s ever happened in business or institutional life. We delude ourselves when we pretend that the yardstick and the milestone matter … More measurement won’t do anything except clog the pipelines through which your company’s mojo flows.
If you can’t write the action points and learnings down on a postcard then you have too many. The key point is lessons have to be acted upon; otherwise why bother capturing them!
@SeriousPony – “Curse of Expertise is not that experts forgot how they learned; it’s that they don’t really KNOW what they know & use”
But new research has led biologists to a different view. We didn’t adapt to a particular Stone Age environment. We adapted to a newly unpredictable and variable world. And we did it by developing new abilities for cultural transmission and change. Each generation could learn new skills for coping with new environments and could pass those skills on to the next generation.
As the anthropologist Pascal Boyer points out in his answer, it’s tempting to talk about “the culture” of a group as if this is some mysterious force outside the biological individual or independent of evolution. But culture is a biological phenomenon. It’s a set of abilities and practices that allow members of one generation to learn and change and to pass the results of that learning on to the next generation. Culture is our nature, and the ability to learn and change is our most important and fundamental instinct.
Freelancers often work independently, but being “on your own” doesn’t mean “going it alone.” Freelancing successfully means building a network to line up new gigs, passing assignments to others when things are busy, and getting referrals from friends when they’re not.
In the information-and-hyperlink saturated workplace social networks we now inhabit, clarification, confirmation, and collaboration are but a click or two away. It’s mission-critical for individuals, groups, and organizations to be able to discern what kind(s) of personal learning strategies are necessary to survive and thrive in our new world of permanent information whitewater.
There just isn’t any choice other than continuous learning because ongoing change—permanent whitewater—is our only remaining constant.
In the past, media provided a filter. If something was on the front page or the evening news, it was considered important. If not, it wasn’t. Yet today, anyone can broadcast—whether it be a distraught mother or a crusading journalist. Nobody needs to ask for permission, even in a corrupt, authoritarian country.
And that’s why social media is playing an increasing role in shaping events. A small group of passionate people can influence others that are slightly more reticent, still others take notice and also join in. Before you know it, a movement ensues …
You have to wonder how the world got to where it is today where we have to FORCE people to be INDEPENDENT. Two words that look weird together in a sentence. It’s come to this – you have to force people to be independent? Isn’t that something that would create mistrust or curiosity in people?
@flowchainsensei – “Even when companies don’t pay peanuts, seems like they still mostly want monkeys. If I’m gonna be a monkey, at least it’ll be a Chaos Monkey.”
@hreingold – “In 5th grade, I tried to drop out. My teacher regarded me as a problem and I hated school. My parents moved me to a new school … On the first day of my new school, the new teacher praised my writing and asked me to interview the principal for the class newspaper … Is that why I became a writer? I don’t know. Obviously, it made an impression on me. The right word and the right time can go a long way.”
Networks are not a rejection of hierarchy. Networks are a rejection of rigidity. A hierarchy is an efficient form of decision-making, as long as it’s the “right” hierarchy. Powerful networks allow the right hierarchies to emerge at the right time.
An obvious way to expand our range of responses is to develop our skills and capabilities, and to connect with others whose knowledge complements our own – as well as connecting to inspire and trigger-off new ideas together.
And this was Stafford Beer’s influence on me. He developed W. Ross Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety. He uses variety as another word for complexity. And Ashby said that “only variety absorbs variety.”
This is what I mean by complexify yourself and others. It’s about making sure that your skills and capabilities are up to the job of dealing with complex and uncertain situations. They need to be equal to the context – complex situations need diverse, agile, collective and creative thinking.
Matt Mullenweg (of Automattic):
This is where open source gets really interesting: it’s not just about the legal wonkery around software licensing, but what effect open sourced software has on people using it. In the proprietary world, those people are typically called “users,” a strange term that connotes dependence and addiction. In the open source world, they’re more rightly called a community.
As a final note, here’s an image representing the impact of openness on innovation in society:
“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.” – Marshall McLuhan – via @gcouros
“Information is shared within the murder so that group decisions can be made” Crow Brains Reveal Secrets of Their Intelligence
If democracy becomes plutocracy, those who are not rich are effectively disenfranchised. Justice Louis Brandeis famously argued that the United States could have either democracy or wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but not both. The political equality that is required by democracy is always under threat from economic inequality, and the more extreme the economic inequality, the greater the threat to democracy. - Angus Deaton
It’s not about marketing, or SEO, or “going viral”. It is not about internal “enterprise social” or external “social media” It is not even about the platforms or tools on which you choose to write. It is much simpler and much more powerful. It is about developing our awareness, our communication skills, and our collective intelligence. It is about thinking harder and writing better. Blogging is a means by which to rediscover your voice, to learn to share your thoughts with others, and by doing so to help us all get smarter faster.
PEW: Social era challenges: trust, focus, coordination, loyalty, managing complexity; institutional memory.
The new social operating system is affecting the world of work as well. It’s not about being in one small bounded group in a hierarchy. Many people are now doing simultaneous work on multiple projects, in multiple, distributed teams and with multiple “bosses” and heavily reliant on technology for communication and coordination. Rainie characterized this as moving from a traditional ‘fishbowl’ of shopfloor or cubicle cities to a networked switchboard model – where the individual is the orchestrator of things.
The Leadership Paradox – Leadership is … an activity or behavior that can arise anywhere in a human system.
The overall conclusion of this research was that the leaders of successful organisations did play a key role in radical transformations of those organisations, but not by specifying it or directing it but by creating the conditions which allowed for the emergence of such change.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
Over nine months, 500 people in Booz Allen were initially given three types of training:
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
What an anonymous British sheep farmer can teach us about the power of Twitter: “though it took me a while to realize it, I had the tools to connect to thousands of people around the world” – via @mathewi
“Twitter gives you an amplifier for your voice… It cuts out the middleman (I don’t need you to interpret and translate my life and my work for other people – sorry journalists but I’m a shepherd not an idiot). It lets you find your niche (and that niche can be massive). It lets you sell things … and it lets you connect with weirdly interesting other people.”
But, ultimately, whether a new company continues growing and creates self-sustaining jobs is a function of the company’s customers’ ability and willingness to pay for the company’s products, not the entrepreneur or the investor capital. Suggesting that “rich entrepreneurs and investors” create the jobs, therefore, Hanauer observes, is like suggesting that squirrels create evolution.
@Kasparov63: “21st century democracy needs to adapt to 21st-century technology. The gap between information to public & government response has grown too big.”