6 dimensions of optimisation

Pinched with gratitude from Bob Lewis and stored here for future reference:

[To improve] organizational effectiveness, [rank these six dimensions] in order of importance for each business function targeted for attention:

  • Fixed cost – the cost of turning the lights on before any work gets done
  • Incremental cost – the cost of processing one more item
  • Cycle time – how much time elapses processing one item from start to finish

Raising kids – the reality

A diversion from my usual content, but on a topic I am very passionate about.

We know that women still face pressure (often self-inflicted) to "stay home and be a good mother" to their children, and consequent discrimination in the workforce. And men tend to face implicit pressure to spend more time at work and less at home since only "committed" workers can be promoted. But this solo act of heroism is not only really hard to pull off, it's also unnatural.

Why the idea of complex systems matters

The difference between complex systems and ordinary systems is that complex systems are fundamentally indeterministic. A while ago, Joe Firestone explained why to me using our current understanding of quantum mechanics. Paraphrasing, the key point was that:

complex systems are deterministic on a multiverse level, but indeterministic from the point of view of any single universe.

Everything old is new again: the 7 models of selling things

Over at Club Troppo, Ken Parish tentatively flagged the question of micropayments for access to online information (and specifically, news) and promptly got shot down for his troubles.
However, he did make me consider that the nature of most successful online business models are not some "brand new sales model". Rather, they lean on the oldest principles of commerce in existence.

Knowledge enables purposeful action

UPDATE Nov 2015: If you are interested in an ongoing conversation about Knowledge Management and how to apply it, please check out our newly launched online magazine RealKM!

Back in March, Seth Godin wrote a post which really resonated with me. The key quote:

We always make [decisions] based on what we know and believe. That's a tautology, based on the definition ... a decision is the path you take based on what you know and believe, right?

Why CEOs that aim maximise shareholder value ... almost certainly aren't

‘Imagine a [football] coach holding a press conference on Wednesday to announce that he predicts a win by 9 points on Sunday, and that the current spread of 6 points is too low ... While it’s laughable to imagine coaches ... doing [this], CEOs are expected to do both of these things.’ – Roger Martin

All organisations are pathological

David Griffiths wrote a provocative article about how predator-prey relationships enable the rich biodiversity of complex ecosystems, and the need for predators in organisations.

I would argue that organisations differ from ecosystems in the important respect that most people have the ability to leave whenever they wish. (The word "most" is significant here, as will be shown.)

Bah humbug

So, a couple of days ago I asked Google to delete my Google+ account and Google Profile. I got sick of Google assuming that any "friends" I had in my circle should be integrated with my Picasa Web Albums and other Google properties. I feel ... less encumbered now, it's a nice feeling. (Aside: I will give Google kudos for making this process (a) possible and (b) not painful.)

I've logged into Facebook only once or twice in the past 6 months, and that was just because I didn't have another contact mechanism for some friends of mine.

Running a complex project successfully

A great piece of investigative reporting from Bob Lewis. He discovered the Loch Ness Monster a SAP implementation project that finished ahead of schedule by the Japanese company Daiwa House Industry.

The lessons are entirely relevant to any complex project implementation.

Maximising utility of content stores

On actKM, Richard Vines recently posed a question on how we can maximise the value of ICT investments in content/metadata management systems. All too often systems are implemented without a view to their eventual decommissioning or integration with other systems. This inevitably leads to expensive, error-prone and disruptive data synchronisation and/or migration projects down the track (and often not as far away as people imagine).