How to save the company? Kill it.

original article

Kill the Company to Save the Company
Big Think
August 14, 2014

killcompany In this post and brief video Lisa Bodell reflects on how companies tend to shy away from change or have systems in place that serve as anchors, holding them back. She explains the ideas behind her book Kill the Company and how this helps staff to embrace change starting with those habits that are obstacles.

 This is a short video that might persuade you that the best way to plan your future is to think about the ways your competition could put you out of business. You might consider the technique to enrich one of those ‘strategy planning’ sessions when the thinking isn’t being bold enough. (Michalko)

 

 

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Why should you care about what makes mergers work?

original article

MIT Sloan Management Review
Making Mergers Work
September 18, 2012
Hamid Bouchikhi and John R. Kimberly

from en.wikipedia.org
from en.wikipedia.org

This article was awarded the prize for most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development. “The authors examine why mergers and acquisitions so often fail to achieve the results and synergies they promise. The article argues that much of the difficulty lies in the failure of executives of the acquiring company to seriously consider the quite different ways that not only operational but also psychological integration between previously separate corporate entities can be achieved.”

So why should you read this article about what makes mergers work?  And endure the free sign up process necessary to access the journal? Because even if you are in an academic institution you will be on one end or another of a merger. Think about the re-organizations, re-structurings and new service creation that is going on in order to re-establish the value proposition of the library to its university or its citizenry. All of those have the characteristics that come up in a merger even if the action is integrating a branch library or  amalgamating two departments to deliver a new service. This is a pretty pragmatic article that emphasizes the importance to success of managing identity integration. Which is it – assimilate, federate, confederate or metamorphose? (Michalko)

 

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The best idea ends up losing

original article

Why the best idea doesn’t always win
scottberkun.com
August 12, 2014

This is an excerpt from Scott Berkun’s book The Myths of Innovation.

In it he summarizes why we (Americans, truth be told) believe the best wins and gives a good introduction to the secondary factors influencing innovation with examples of dominant ideas that are clearly less than optimal e.g. the QWERTY keyboard.

The Tappan Zee Bridge on take-off from Westchester Airport via Jeffrey Putnam at flickr.com
The Tappan Zee Bridge on take-off from Westchester Airport via Jeffrey Putnam at flickr.com

I’m a fan of Berkun’s (even if he doesn’t like Prezi). And this excerpt is a good reminder that for all the talk about great ideas breaking through and our urge to lionize individual entrepreneurs the things that take hold are shaped by culture, politics, economics and other contextual factors. Consider the story of why the Tappan Zee Bridge was built across one of the widest parts of the Hudson River.  (Michalko)

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Want to get them out of the rut?

original article

What to Do If Your Team Is in a Rut
blogs.hbr.org
August 7, 2014

Rebecca Knight’s brief essay tells you what you can do if your team is in a rut. She suggests ways to push everyone to be more creative and where you should seek inspiration. She has advice about the best way to bring in new perspectives.

Who doesn’t occasionally feel like they are in a rut? This is a short relevant essay with actionable advice. As soon as she said ‘Avoid using the word innovation’ I thought better of all her earlier advice. (Michalko)

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Fedoras, Vahs, Smugshrug

 

Peter Griffin as Han Solo (IMG_4213) Contestant as Peter Griffin / Han Solo from "Family Guy: Blue Harvest."  Star Wars Celebration 6 Costume Masquerade via chaines106 at flickr
Peter Griffin as Han Solo (IMG_4213)
Star Wars Celebration 6 Costume Masquerade
via chaines106 at flickr

Fedoras to mullets: decades of fashion words | OxfordWords

What Your Pronunciation of These Words Tells Other People | Mental Floss

The Life and Times of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ | The Awl

Two short ones about words and one about an annoying or endearing non-word.

Fedora came from the title of a play.

I say VACE.

I shake my head in puzzlement more than shrug. (Michalko)

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Did that stat class help? Maybe.

original article

If correlation doesn’t imply causation, then what does?
Data-Driven Intelligence
MichaelNielson.org
January 23, 2012

from Bloomberg Business Week By Vali Chandrasekaran December 01, 2011
from Bloomberg Business Week By Vali Chandrasekaran December 01, 2011

Michael Nielsen explains that correlation doesn’t imply causation. He acknowledges that this presents us with a conundrum: under what conditions, exactly, can we use experimental data to deduce a causal relationship between two or more variables? Since a lot of real world problems don’t lend themselves to randomized controlled experiment there’s an emerging theory of causal inference that helps establish the likelihood of this relationship.

Okay, this is old (I cannot reproduce how I came upon it recently) and it is difficult (at least after the first three sections) but it is also really informative. Read the beginning bits and you’ll see the kind of paradoxes that get in the way of simple assertions of causality. I had to puzzle a bit but then it made sense. Simpson’s Paradox alone is worth understanding – check out the UC Berkeley gender bias case. And xkcd(Michalko)

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Are you shocked that they are talking about scale AND impact?

original article

Social Good – Scale x Impact (Who knew?)
Stanford Social Innovation Review
July 28, 2014

This is a short essay by two social entrepreneurs pointing out that nonprofits often focus on scale while evaluators focus on net impact. They argue we need both, and we need nonprofits and evaluators to adapt their approaches in pursuit of maximum social good.

The reason this essay jumped out at me was how relevant it seemed to many of our library discussions about shared infrastructure. The values that they attribute to funders/evaluators seem very familiar in our world – and explain for me why we seem to have so many high value and low participation projects. (Michalko)

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Can Terry tell if it’s a chatbot or just a teenage non-native English speaker?

original article

Beyond the Turing Test — The Winograd Schema Challenge
h+ magazine
July 29, 2014

This article explains with some good examples the Winograd Schema Challenge which has been put forward as an alternative to the Turing Test. It aims to provide a more accurate measure of genuine machine intelligence. Rather than base the test on the sort of short free-form conversation suggested by the Turing Test, the Winograd Schema Challenge poses a set of multiple-choice questions that have a form where the answers are expected to be fairly obvious to a layperson, but ambiguous for a machine without human-like reasoning or intelligence.

from Eugene's home site http://www.princetonai.com/bot/
from Eugene’s home site http://www.princetonai.com/bot/

I love this kind of stuff. If you want to brush up on the Turing Test there’s the wiki article but I like this from the Internet Scrapbook which has some good archival stuff. I enjoyed reading the hullabaloo (start here) that erupted when the chatbot ‘Eugene Goostman’ passed the 2014 Turing jury. And don’t you agree that those Winograd schema questions will be a lot harder? And do you believe that’s really what Eugene wants to be when he grows up? (Michalko)

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Is creative destruction just stupid?

original article

Innovation: Action That Could Be Considered a Ridiculous Error in Judgement
TimKastelle.org
July 29, 2014

 

Shiva, the original destroyer creator from http://de.wikipedia.org
Shiva, the original destroyer creator from http://de.wikipedia.org

This is a report of a speech by evolutionary economist, Stan Metcalfe, at the International Schumpeter Society conference (yes, creative destructionists have their own conference).

This is a really short bulleted report that highlights some of the correlates of creative destruction that aren’t immediately obvious. And it name checks an economist   famed for his thinking about the  economics of uncertainty and the role of imagination in economic outcomes, George Shackle. (Michalko)

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Millennials – they got it shockingly wrong

 

original article

The first book written about Millennials made a lot of terrible predictions
vox.com
July 26, 2014

 

http://library.castilleja.org/reviews-recommendations/summer-reading-for-middle-school
Image from Castilleja School where my daughter had a love/hate relationship with her uniform

 looks at the first book on Millennials, Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, which was published in 2000. And it contains a sentence that in hindsight is darkly, hilariously wrong: “For Millennials, the Dow Jones only goes up, people only get wealthier, and America only fights effortless wars.”

This is good fun. I was particularly interested because my colleague, Lynn Connaway, has done a lot of work on the information-seeking habits of different generations and refers to the Millennials often. See particularly her work on Digital Visitors and Residents.  My favorite miss among Millenial predictions – the one about school uniforms. (Michalko)

P.S. More Millennial you might enjoy: No, Millennials Are Not All Libertarians | The Nation and Reborn in the USA — Matter — Medium

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