Poets, products and porn

Billy Collins on life, death and poetry – The Washington Post On Leadership

Announcing The Winners Of The 2014 Innovation By Design Awards | Co.Design | business + design

Google and Combinatorial Innovation | Farnam Street

The first because he’s a charming man. Here inexplicably chosen to be part of a leadership series.

The second because they delight particularly the winner of the ‘Spaces’ award.

The last because it’s a good anecdote and a powerful illustration of the concept.

(Michalko)

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Fingerprints for (not on) a cookie

original article

photo via https://www.flickr.com/photos/jam_project/
photo via https://www.flickr.com/photos/jam_project/

How Much of Your Data Would You Trade for a Free Cookie?
ProPublica October 1, 2014

How Much of Your Data Would You Trade for a Free Cookie?In a highly unscientific but delicious experiment not long ago, 380 New Yorkers gave up sensitive personal information — from fingerprints to partial Social Security numbers — for a cookie.

OMG. “Cookies decorated with the Instagram logo were so popular among photographers that Puno required “purchasers” to give their fingerprints, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and their driver’s license information. Many still agreed.”  (Michalko)

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You are probably WIERD like me

original article

Mechanical Turk: The New Face of Behavioral Science?

Pricenomics October 15, 2014

By Falk, New York (photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons uploaded from the Harvard Theater Collection
By Falk, New York (photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons uploaded from the Harvard Theater Collection
Cognitive and behavioral sciences have a big problem with sampling bias. An extraordinary number of experiment participants are drawn from the US undergraduate population. This essay outlines the problem and says why Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Service (online labor market with mini-tasks and micro-rewards) might be an effective and economic way to get a more representative sample of humanity at large.

This was fascinating. Why didn’t it ever occur to me that all those undergrads who need beer money are distorting experimental results? Because I’m not a behavioral scientist and did not know the acronym WIERD. That stands for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. An article about this group – The weirdest people in the world? (pdf) – concludes “… that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans.” The extent to which the Mechanical Turk workforce has been analyzed was remarkable to me. (Michalko)

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It shouldn’t always be you in the mirror

original article

A Pattern for User-Centric Organizational Change
By Kimberly Dunwoody  UXMatters October 6, 2014

truemirror
“Comparison ordinary true mirrors” by Cmglee – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org

In this article Dunwoody on her research on how to help non-user experience employees develop a deeper understanding of user needs. She makes the case that a three-step framework—Listen, Learn, Act— can support more systematic user connectedness. She argues that it can be the basis for broader organizational change.

Anybody who has run planning, design or organizational strategy sessions is familiar with the syndrome that opens this article. Staff members assert that they are the voice of the customer when in fact they are representing their own needs and preferences. I was surprised that Dunwoody dismissed the video evidence of users asserting their own needs as inadequate to change these incorrect staff perceptions. Some years ago when we had librarians sitting behind the one-way mirror watching users struggle with designs they had insisted on I found they took it as an occasion for profound self-reflection. Although some of them took it as evidence that their users were dolts. (Michalko)

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You can have a brand preference at what age?

original article

How Millennials Think Differently about Brands
Knowledge@Wharton October 6, 2014

According to Professor Americus Reed, the millennial generation (which runs roughly from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) thinks differently about brands than its Generation X predecessors (people born between the 1960s and the 1980s) and the Baby Boomers before them.

Lego Party at Rockaway Township Library September 24, 2011 - Parents and kids working together to build with Legos and have fun! via flickr.com
Lego Party at Rockaway Township Library
September 24, 2011 – Parents and kids working together to build with Legos and have fun! via flickr.com

“Millennials tend to be very socially aware, are prone to be more public about it, and they are simply more thoughtful and forward looking…”

This summary article of the featured podcast squares with my personal experience. I think Millennials do have an ‘identity loyalty’ where the brand becomes part of who a person is, no matter what the product. And all of us with children in this cohort will affirm his observation about the very early age at which they expressed a brand preference. My daughter rejected the generic plastic building blocks that could be bought cheaply by the bagful asserting they were “definitely not Legos”.  According to the company Lego is an adjective and the phrase “Lego brick(s)” is preferred. Good luck with that. Furthermore the bloody things only get more expensive. See this disturbingly thorough analysis by an MBA Lego enthusiast.  (Michalko)

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Machines, Art Criticism, Dead Frogs

 

from wikimedia.org
from wikimedia.org

Should the Laborer Fear Machines? – The Atlantic

How Copyright Law Protects Art From Criticism – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society

Can frogs return from the dead? BBC.com via Nautilus Three Sentence Science

The first because it’s longform and Nicholas Carr.

The second because this is my week for geeking on copyright. (see added note)

The third because I couldn’t resist the headline and the frog pictures are wonderful.

(Michalko)

Note: I was poked a bit about the verb ‘geeking’. My colleagues at OCLC have popularized it in a widely-accepted library advocacy campaign. And the OED declares that the original meaning of geek – a carnival or circus performer of bizarre or grotesque acts – is now rare.

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His idea of cheap is not a library idea of cheap

original article
Search
The Innovator’s Hypothesis: Michael Schrage Tells Us How to Take the First Step
The discipline of innovation blog October 12, 2014

Tim Kastelle summarizes some of the principles in Michael Schrage’s book The Innovator’s Hypothesis: How Cheap Experiments Are Worth More than Good Ideas (find in library). For example, ” Experiments will help you bridge the gap between doing nothing and doing something.”

I’ve always found Schrage interesting and often enough provocative. I need to read more about this recent effort since the review isn’t capacious enough to be a RILR. (Michalko)

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If you can’t invoke authority for your idea then…

original article

Getting People to Believe in Something They Can’t Yet Imagine

HBR.org October 10, 2014

The Xerox 9700 in 1977 via www.digibarn.com
The Xerox 9700 in 1977
via www.digibarn.com

The authors summarize some techniques for socializing and selling a new idea or approach in the face of big company inertia, resistance to change, fear of failure, financial disincentives, and the tendency of people and organizations to favor what has worked in the past.

There’s a few good examples in this short piece. I liked the story about the Xerox 9700 laser printer and the way they created a pilot project. It’s always useful to acknowledge that you have the responsibility to successfully position your good idea. They rarely win on their own.

(Michalko)

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The Archimedean moment is overrated

original article

Breakthroughs Belong to No One
MISC Magazine (Will Novosedlik) via 99U

“It’s not the raw creativity or herculean intellect of an inspired individual that solves problems. It’s the interaction between that individual and others that leads to epiphany. Most scientific and artistic innovations or breakthroughs emerge from joint thinking…”

This is a brief but impassioned exhortation to work across silos. “Contextual juxtaposition’ is the fancy phrase for bringing together different disciplines around a common problem. If you’re organizing group work addressed to strategy or problem-solving it might be worth scanning the paper referenced in this essay – Social Creativity: Making All Voices Heard (pdf) (Michalko)

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Can you overreact in regard to copyright?

original article

Harvard Law Review Claims Copyright Over Legal Citations; Now Challenged By Public Domain Effort

TechDirt October 8, 2014

from publicphoto.org
from publicphoto.org

“If you’re not a copyright geek, you might not be aware of the copyright saga revolving around the Harvard “Bluebook.” The Bluebook is basically the standard for legal citations in the US. It’s technically owned by an organization that is effectively made up of four top law schools. For a variety of reasons, the idea that citations can be covered by copyright is troubling to a lot of folks, but the Harvard Law Review, in particular, has stood by the copyright in The Bluebook (for which it makes a pretty penny each year).”

I am not a copyright geek but I have moved among them including working with Harvard on the release of their bibliographic data. And this is pretty interesting. Well, it’s actually interesting and complicated and not quite as internally inconsistent as the author of this post represents. Existing revenue streams are a powerful shaper of perspective.(Michalko)

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