Eric D. Brown, D.Sc.

Data Science | Entrepreneurship | ..and sometimes Photography

Tag: Harvard Business Review

Links for August 15 2010

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  • The Case for Listening by Rajesh Setty

    Quote: To be totally effective, you have to be doing something now or increasing your capacity to do something in the future. With that in mind, talking will NOT help in either of them. May be a little bit in the first part – if talking involves getting things done but only really. Listening on the other hand has many advantages. Here are a few of them ( all of these assume that you are listening to the right sources )

  • It’s Not About the Mic by Chris Brogan

    Quote: what you’re selling is more business. What you’re selling them is more connected business. What you’re selling them, one hopes, is human business.

  • What Does Technology Want? Change, and Lots of It by Justin Fox on Harvard Business Review

    Quote: That, in the end, is what technology really seems to want: Change. Unpredictable change. Disruptive change. And while over time these technology-induced changes in how we make our money and live our lives have tended to raise living standards, there is (a) no money-back guarantee that this will always be the case and (b) lots of pain along the way.

  • The Problem with S.E.O. Shortcuts by Olivier Blanchardon The BrandBuilder Blog

    Quote: Good content, frequently updated pages, making content sharable, building a community that will want to interact with your content and help others do the same, patience, diligence and attention to detail, these are the ways to think about S.E.O.

  • Content doesn’t Scale by Valeria Maltoni on Conversation Agent

    Quote: Original content is hard — and expensive — to create. I know from experience.

  • CoIT: another architectural disaster unfolds? by Tom Graves / Tetradian

    Quote: Yet that’s exactly what’s not happening here with cloud or CoIT: architecture of any valid kind, it seems, has all but been abandoned in the usual wild rush towards The Next Best Thing… So might it not be wise to take a brief pause for thought at this point, before we rush headlong into yet another insanely-expensive IT-disaster? Or is that too much to ask of anyone whilst the hype is in full flow?

  • Broken Trust By Mike Myatt on N2Growth Blog

    Quote: We need to keep in mind that all people make mistakes, and that mistakes alone don’t necessarily make you evil, they just make you human. While it is much easier to avoid disaster than it is to recover from it, perhaps the most important lesson is that it’s not the mistake you make, but what you do with your life after the fact…will your fall define you as a failure and disgrace, or will the event serve as the impetus to correct your thinking and actions such that you redefine yourself to become a better and more trustworthy human being?

Links for June 6 2010

  • IT’s Three Key Organizational Transformations by Andrew McAfee on Harvard Business Review’s Blog

    Quote: I see companies in all industries using computers to accomplish three broad and deep transformations: they’re becoming more scientific, more orchestrated, and more self-organizing. None of these is complete yet, and I doubt that they ever will be. This is because innovation keeps opening up new opportunities to go further with orchestration, self organization, and science, and companies keep taking advantage of these opportunities.

  • Technology goes public changing IT value by Mark McDonald on Gartner Blog Network

    Quote: Technology has gone public. Changes in the technology stack over the last forty years have changed every aspect of IT, including IT’s value.  The figure below provides a summary of the structures within the technology stack.  The model is a little simplistic, but it does illustrate some of the deep structural changes going on in technology.

  • But you’re not saying anything by Seth Godin on Seth’s Blog

    Quote: Most people work hard to find artful ways to say very little. Instead of polishing that turd, why not work harder to think of something remarkable or important to say in the first place?

  • Innovation is playing offense, not defense by Jeffrey Phillips on Innovate on Purpose

    Quote: Innovation is offensive in nature.  It assumes there are new markets to address, new customers to reach, new problems to solve.  Innovation is proactive – it forces the firm that embraces innovation to change and it forces the firms that are impacted to change as well.  Given the fact that innovation requires change, both internally and externally, you can understand why some firms would prefer to play defense rather than offense

  • Listening To What Isn’t Said by Chris Bailey on Thinking Big Thoughts on Business, Work, and Life

    Quote: But instead, how many times do businesses listen for what they want to hear from their customers? Or maybe get defensive about what is said? Or take what is said at full face value and miss out on so much of the subtext and subtle (but far more powerful) meanings behind the customer’s experience? If you’re only paying attention to what sits at the surface, your business is missing important data that could mean the success or failure of your product, service, or full brand proposition.

  • How to Discover Your Core Values and Why it Matters by Donald Miller on Donald Miller’s Blog

    Quote: What was most interesting, though, is that the stories I tell out of my core values are going to be better because they are taylor made for me. If I work on books and projects that set people free from manipulation and lies, from bullies, my projects will be fueled by who I am and my story will be authentic. And the opposite is also true. If I work on projects that are not out of my core values, the work is sluggish and hard and feels like, well, work.

Links for May 9 2010

Agility & Business

Michael Hugos had a really good post on CIO.com titled “Agility Means Simple Things Done Well, Not Complex Things Done Fast” that provided the best definition of “agility’ that I’ve found.  He writes:

Experience shows me (again and again) that agility is not about working fast but about finding elegantly simple solutions to business problems. You’ll know you’ve found an elegantly simple solution when the business people agree it solves their most important and immediate problems…

…because people can’t find these simple solutions, they mistakenly claim that agility itself doesn’t work. They come to this conclusion because they attempt to be agile by cramming complex solutions into short development cycles through working harder, longer, and faster…

…An elegantly simple solution (a robust 80% solution) doesn’t do everything (there isn’t time for that), just the most important things.

I found Michael’s article via George Ambler’s The Practice of Leadership Blog (great blog…check it out) in a post with the same title as Michael Hugos’.  In George’s blog post, he says (emphasis mine):

We spend too much time complicating our lives by trying to do too much, too fast! There seems to never be enough time to do something correctly, but always enough time to do it over again! Given to complexity of managing business, we’re prone to think that complex solutions, are better solutions. Instead we need to focus on implementing good enough solutions, solutions that bring about small wins. Small wins, if continually applied, in a thoughtful and strategic manner, quickly add up to significant results. Small wins are more manageable and have less of an impact if they fail. Seeking big wins are extremely difficult, prone to failure and require significant political will! Focus on the small wins…simple things done well… repeatedly provide true competitive advantage.

Hugos and Ambler have some amazing insight in these two passages.

The original intent of Michael Hugos article was to describe Agile development methods but I think it can be easily transferred to any piece of an organization, which is what George Ambler is pointing at in his post.  This is also what I’ve been trying to say in previous posts (see Simplicity equals Success, Is Perfect Worth It? and In Search of Perfection for examples).

Agility isn’t just needed for competitive advantage…it is required for survival.  Organization’s without agility will not survive…so why then do organizations and people still rely on heavy handed processes and bureaucracy?  I think it’s because they don’t know any better.

In order to bring agility into the bureaucratic organizations, a value must be placed on the ability to be agile…hopefully some of the research occurring today and in the near future will help.

How would you show the value of agility to your organization?

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Currently Reading: Does IT Matter?

I found this book last weekend at the local Half-Price Books and thought I’d give it a read.

This well known book, and its author Nicholas Carr, has been at the center of a debate in the IT academic world for some time and I figure I should peruse it to see what the hubbub is all about.

Carr started a firestorm with his original 2003 article titled “IT Doesn’t Matter” in Harvard Business Review (see some rebuttal arguments here) and this book (written in 2004) takes the argument further by comparing IT to the railroad, telegraph and other technological innovations in years past.

Carr’s main argument seems to be that IT is a commodity…which I agree with somewhat. Services such as Email and Web hosting are exactly that…a commodity. The problem is that most organizations treat IT as a whole as a commodity instead of viewing it as a way to gain strategic advantage.

Once I finish the book, I’ll post my thoughts.

[tags] IT, Does IT Matter, IT Strategy [/tags]

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