jerryking + 5_w’s   20

How 5 Data Dynamos Do Their Jobs
June 12, 2019 | The New York Times | By Lindsey Rogers Cook.
[Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.]
Reporters from across the newsroom describe the many ways in which they increasingly rely on datasets and spreadsheets to create groundbreaking work.

Data journalism is not new. It predates our biggest investigations of the last few decades. It predates computers. Indeed, reporters have used data to hold power to account for centuries, as a data-driven investigation that uncovered overspending by politicians, including then-congressman Abraham Lincoln, attests.

But the vast amount of data available now is new. The federal government’s data repository contains nearly 250,000 public datasets. New York City’s data portal contains more than 2,500. Millions more are collected by companies, tracked by think tanks and academics, and obtained by reporters through Freedom of Information Act requests (though not always without a battle). No matter where they come from, these datasets are largely more organized than ever before and more easily analyzed by our reporters.

(1) Karen Zraick, Express reporter.
NYC's Buildings Department said it was merely responding to a sudden spike in 311 complaints about store signs. But who complains about store signs?....it was hard to get a sense of the scale of the problem just by collecting anecdotes. So I turned to NYC Open Data, a vast trove of information that includes records about 311 complaints. By sorting and calculating the data, we learned that many of the calls were targeting stores in just a few Brooklyn neighborhoods.
(2) John Ismay, At War reporter
He has multiple spreadsheets for almost every article he works on......Spreadsheets helped him organize all the characters involved and the timeline of what happened as the situation went out of control 50 years ago......saves all the relevant location data he later used in Google Earth to analyze the terrain, which allowed him to ask more informed questions.
(3) Eliza Shapiro, education reporter for Metro
After she found out in March that only seven black students won seats at Stuyvesant, New York City’s most elite public high school, she kept coming back to one big question: How did this happen? I had a vague sense that the city’s so-called specialized schools once looked more like the rest of the city school system, which is mostly black and Hispanic.

With my colleague K.K. Rebecca Lai from The Times’s graphics department, I started to dig into a huge spreadsheet that listed the racial breakdown of each of the specialized schools dating to the mid-1970s.
analyzed changes in the city’s immigration patterns to better understand why some immigrant groups were overrepresented at the schools and others were underrepresented. We mapped out where the city’s accelerated academic programs are, and found that mostly black and Hispanic neighborhoods have lost them. And we tracked the rise of the local test preparation industry, which has exploded in part to meet the demand of parents eager to prepare their children for the specialized schools’ entrance exam.

To put a human face to the data points we gathered, I collected yearbooks from black and Hispanic alumni and spent hours on the phone with them, listening to their recollections of the schools in the 1970s through the 1990s. The final result was a data-driven article that combined Rebecca’s remarkable graphics, yearbook photos, and alumni reflections.

(4) Reed Abelson, Health and Science reporter
the most compelling stories take powerful anecdotes about patients and pair them with eye-opening data.....Being comfortable with data and spreadsheets allows me to ask better questions about researchers’ studies. Spreadsheets also provide a way of organizing sources, articles and research, as well as creating a timeline of events. By putting information in a spreadsheet, you can quickly access it, and share it with other reporters.

(5) Maggie Astor, Politics reporter
a political reporter dealing with more than 20 presidential candidates, she uses spreadsheets to track polling, fund-raising, policy positions and so much more. Without them, there’s just no way she could stay on top of such a huge field......The climate reporter Lisa Friedman and she used another spreadsheet to track the candidates’ positions on several climate policies.
311  5_W’s  behind-the-scenes  Communicating_&_Connecting  data  datasets  data_journalism  data_scientists  FOIA  groundbreaking  hidden  information_overload  information_sources  journalism  mapping  massive_data_sets  New_York_City  NYT  open_data  organizing_data  reporters  self-organization  systematic_approaches  spreadsheets  storytelling  timelines  tools 
june 2019 by jerryking
Want to Seem More Likable? Try This
Sept. 23, 2018 | The New York Times | By Tim Herrera.

There’s an easy way to simultaneously coming off as more likable while working to build a deeper, more genuine connection with someone: Ask questions.

A study published last year in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology analyzed getting-to-know-you conversations between platonic conversation partners, along with face-to-face speed-dating conversations, and found that in both settings “people who ask more questions, particularly follow-up questions, are better liked by their conversation partners.” (It even led to an increase in second dates among the speed-daters.)

Those follow-up questions, the study found, are especially helpful to increase how much we are liked because they show that we are listening sincerely and trying to show we care.
Communicating_&_Connecting  conversations  howto  ice-breakers  likeability  questions  listening  5_W’s  second-order  small_talk  follow-up_questions 
september 2018 by jerryking
Review: ‘The Book of Why’ Examines the Science of Cause and Effect - The New York Times
By Jonathan A. Knee
June 1, 2018

“The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect,”..Prof. Judea Pearl and the science writer Dana Mackenzie

Three ascending rungs of what he calls the “ladder of causation” serve as the central metaphor driving the narrative of “The Book of Why.” The “revolution” charted in the book, and in which Professor Pearl and his disciples played a crucial role, is what has allowed researchers across a vast range of disciplines to move beyond the first rung of the causal ladder, where they had been perennially stuck.

This lowest rung deals simply with observation — basically looking for regularities in past behavior. Professor Pearl places “present-day learning machines squarely on rung one.” While it is true that the explosion of computing power and accessible deep data sets have yielded many surprising and important results, the mechanics still operate “in much the same way that a statistician tries to fit a line to a collection of points.”

“Deep neural networks have added many layers of complexity of the fitted function, but raw data still drives the fitting process,” according to Professor Pearl. The causal revolution is what has enabled researchers to explore the higher rungs of the ladder.

The second rung of the ladder of causation moves from seeing to doing. That is, it goes from asking what happened to asking what would happen based on possible interventions. Professor Pearl notes that “many scientists have been traumatized to learn that none of the methods they learned in statistics is sufficient to articulate, let alone answer, a simple question like ‘What happens if we double the price?’” “The Book of Why” provides a detailed explanation and history of how and when a model alone can answer such questions in the absence of live experiments.

The top rung of the ladder involves something called “counterfactual” questions: What would the world be like if a different path had been taken? These are “the building blocks of moral behavior as well as scientific thought.” The ability to look backward and imagine what could have been governs our judgments on success and failure, right and wrong.
books  book_reviews  counterfactuals  causality  Jonathan_Knee  5_W’s  think_threes 
june 2018 by jerryking
Fine-Tune Your B.S. Detector: You’ll Need It - WSJ
March 19, 2018 | WSJ | By Elizabeth Bernstein.

HOW CAN YOU SPOT B.S.?
Check the source. Is this person an expert or in a position to know the information? Why is he or she telling me? What does the person have to gain?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that we all suffer from confirmation bias—we’re more likely to believe something that confirms what we already think or want.

Ask questions. Research shows people are more likely to B.S. when they feel they can get away with it. “Ask them simply: ‘Why do you think that? How do you know that is true?’” ......“This will get them thinking critically.”

Don’t trust your gut. People who pause and think about whether information is true are better able to detect false information, research shows. “Rely on your prior knowledge,”

Ask for evidence. This is different than an explanation, which people can continue to spin. Facts don’t lie—but check them to make sure they are real.

Pay attention to people who discount evidence. “I don’t care what the experts say” is a red flag that the person is using B.S.

Stay offline when you’re tired. Research shows we’re more vulnerable to false claims when our cognitive resources—that is, brain power—are depleted.
infoliteracy  Elizabeth_Bernstein  confirmation_bias  misinformation  howto  skepticism  evidence  critical_thinking  questions  gut_feelings  unshared_information  5_W’s  bullshitake  pay_attention  power_of_the_pause 
march 2018 by jerryking
The Great Questions of Tomorrow: David Rothkopf: 9781501119941: Books - Amazon.ca
“Asking the right question is the biggest challenge we face. People typically let the immediate past shape their questions—how do we avoid another shoe bomber is an example, when that’s not a risk that we’re likely to face. Or they let their area of expertise and their desire to be useful shift their focus. This is kind of the when-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail problem, and it leads people who feel the future is drone warfare to ask questions that end in answers that require drone warfare. Or, to choose an example, it leads people who have spent much of their adult lives fighting Saddam Hussein to ask questions after 9/11 about his role, even though he didn’t have one. And that did not turn out well.”

So, in the end, Hamlet had it wrong. “To be or not to be” is not the question. The question of questions is, “What is the question?” In this respect, history tells us to start with the basics, the foundational questions that we have for too long taken for granted. There are questions like: “Who am I?” “Who rules?” “What is money?” “What is a job?” “What is peace?” and “What is war?”
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Podcast : http://dcs.megaphone.fm/PNP5814408937.mp3?key=6548e439290ceeb43bb04f17f90d55bf
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"The biggest problems with Trump is that his daily melodramas are distracting us from the big challenges of our age," says David Rothkopf, whose book, The Great Questions of Tomorrow, seems to have bypassed the White House. "You cannot tweet or bully your way to leadership in complex times." [29 April/30 April 2017 | FT Weekend pg. 4 | by Edward Luce]
5_W’s  Amazon  asking_the_right_questions  books  David_Rothkopf  distractions  Edward_Luce  existential  expertise_bias  foundational  metacognition  podcasts  questions  recency_bias 
april 2017 by jerryking
Being John Ibbitson
August 1, 2006 | Ryerson Review of Journalism | Barry Hertz.

What his columns lack in personal detail, he makes up for in research. He is one of the few columnists who actually reports rather than simply sitting back and spouting his opinions. He noticed a weakness of his colleagues – too much analysis, not enough research – and began to emulate his favourite drama critic, Nathan Cohen. “He offered a good recipe for analyzing public policy as he did for theatre, which was just asking three questions,” explains Ibbitson. “What are you doing? How are you doing it? And, is it a good idea in the first place?”
John_Ibbitson  questions  worthiness  public_policy  columnists  discernment  think_threes  5_W’s 
april 2016 by jerryking
Small words make a big difference: how to ask incisive usability questions for richer results | Loop11
abbreviated “ASK” – which helps me to focus on crafting constructive questions. Here it is:

A. Avoid starting with words like “Are”, “Do”, and “Have”. Questions that start with these type of verbs are a surefire way to nip insights in the bud. It can lead to what’s called a closed question, i.e. something that can literally close a conversation with a “Yes” or “No” answer. While it may be useful to gather this sort of data at times, try instead to open it up. Using open questions, as Changing Minds notes, gives us time to think, reflect, and provide opinions.
S. Start with W. The 5 W’s – i.e. who, what, when, where, and why – are the building blocks for information-gathering. It’s a tool from rhetoric, historically attributed to the Greeks and Romans. Essentially, the 5 W’s help us pull out the particulars. The magic behind them is that none of them can be answered with just a “yes” or “no”, so we’re always going to get a bit more of an expressive answer from subjects.
K. Keep it short. As researchers, we can often let curiosity get the best of us. Excited, we may list out a string of questions, asking more than necessary. By asking more than one question at a time, we ruin the focus of a conversation. We should try to keep our questions short and sweet, so that they may be digested more appropriately.
questions  open-ended  brevity  howto  insights  rhetoric  Romans  Greek  focus  incisiveness  5_W’s  small_moves 
december 2014 by jerryking
Surprise business result? Explore whether it is a hidden opportunity
June 18, 2007 | G&M pg. B8 | George Stalk Jr.

What does it take to capitalize on anomalies systematically?

For starters, you need to have metrics and information systems that are sufficiently refined to identify anomalies in the first place. Knowing the average margins and market share isn’t enough; look at the entire range of outcomes—across customers, geographies, products, and the like. This allows you to surface out-of-the-ordinary results for closer inspection.

The next step is to separate wheat from chaff: those anomalies that signal a potential business opportunity from those that are merely one-time events. The key is to examine the pattern of unusual performance over time. The customer who consistently buys high volumes or the market that outperforms the average year after year are, by definition, not random. Is there an underlying cause that can be identified and then replicated elsewhere?

Finally, you need to understand the precise mechanisms that animate the anomalies you identify. Why is the unusual pattern of performance happening? What specific features of the product or the local environment or the customer experience are bringing it about? Don’t accept the usual first-order explanations. It’s not enough to know that a particular customer has been loyal for years; find out precisely why.

It’s up to senior management to create the forum for asking why and to persist until the question is answered with genuine insight.
metrics  George_Stalk_Jr.  BCG  anomalies  growth  opportunities  customer_insights  surprises  systematic_approaches  quizzes  ratios  pattern_recognition  insights  questions  first-order  second-order  OPMA  Waudware  curiosity  new_businesses  one-time_events  signals  noise  overlooked_opportunities  latent  hidden  averages  information_systems  assessments_&_evaluations  randomness  5_W’s 
january 2013 by jerryking
Everything I know I learned at Western, plus a little extra
From a chemistry prof whom I will not embarrass by naming him — my career as a chemist was short, lasting about halfway into
second year, and its trajectory was none of his fault — I learned a set of procedures for solving complex problems. Write down what you know. Write down what you’re trying to figure out. Write down the tools you’ve mastered that might get you from here to there. It’s not a technique, really, just an attitude toward the known and unknown, which is why it’s all I’ve retained from my failed years as a science student.
I’ve learned that politicians who approach problems with the same attitude — What do you have? What do you need? How can you
get from here to there? — are likelier to succeed than the ones
who hope to coast on “charisma” or “electability” or, Lord save us,“vision.” At school, the kids who sat at the front of the lecture hall and closed the library every night actually did better. The same is true in life.
Paul_Wells  UWO  problem_solving  unknowns  information_gaps  charisma  attitudes  politicians  visionaries  electability  5_W’s  complex_problems 
january 2013 by jerryking
You Should Have Asked - The Art of Powerful Conversation
No matter what you want from life you need people. It’s people who lead us to our next big adventure, dream job, important sale, long lasting business relationships, and the incredible ideas that shape our lives. They choose to do these things based on the way we make them feel one powerful conversation at a time. After speaking with you, do people feel interesting, important and appreciated? Do they feel connected, empowered and enlightened? Or was it just another moment where two people exchanged words, while missing out on the opportunity of what comes from a blazing dialogue? You Should Have Asked – The Art of Powerful Conversation will transform your daily interactions into moments that will give you greater wisdom and deeper meaning, while building exciting relationships with the people in both your professional and personal life.

Give eye contact. make other people feel as though they are being heard.
Being vulnerable. Telling people how you truly feel. being authentic encourages other people to meet you half-way. This opens the door to powerful conversations (opportunity to talk about something truly meaningful).
(1) Discover something new about the individual.
(2) Allow the person to share something meaningful about their life.
(3) Find out what you have in common.
(4) Make it memorable to that person.
(5) Make yourself likeable and have fun.

ENTER STAGE LEFT:PART TWO QUESTIONING
Part Two Questioning
is the quickest way to get to the core of who a person truly is.It’s the easiest and one of the most effective things you can do to create powerful conversations. Are you ready for the secret? All you have to do is ask questions on the answers you have just been given.

These questions are normal and in fact I use them myself to start a conversation. The problem arrives about one second after the person has answered the Stock Question. After asking a Stock Question, most people make one of two mistakes. The first mistake made is they ask a mediocre follow-up question. The second mistake made is they ask a brand new question entirely.The smallest shift can make the biggest difference. Talk to women about the female orgasm and they will confirm this to be true!
conversations  Communicating_&_Connecting  mistakes  questions  quizzes  second-order  small_talk  5_W’s  Stuart_Knight  small_moves  follow-up_questions 
november 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Why ask why?
"Why?" is the most important question, not asked nearly enough.

Hint: "Because I said so," is not a valid answer.

Why does it work this way?
Why is that our goal?
Why did you say no?
Why are we treating people differently?
Why is this our policy?
Why don't we enter this market?
Why did you change your mind?
Why are we having this meeting?
Why not?
Seth_Godin  questions  say_"no"  change_your_mind  5_W’s 
may 2012 by jerryking
Tips for asking better questions
Converse, don't interrogate - distinguishes how to exchange with a mentor vs a peer. Offer my own thoughts as away of encouraging a real conversation. Give intelligence to others as this will nudge them to reciprocate.
Adjust the lens - when trying to make a decision, ask wide questions to identify the criteria to be used (5 W's), ask narrow questions to identify the weight to be assigned to each. Narrow questions invites specific, often factual answers about the specific area of inquiry--and nothing else.
Frame and prime - construct the question in multiple ways for high quality intelligence
Follow up and probe - to gain better intelligence beyond a single question
Reid_Hoffman  tips  LinkedIn  Communicating_&_Connecting  questions  conversations  follow-up_questions  adjustments  generosity  wide-framing  narrow-framing  5_W’s  from notes
march 2012 by jerryking
Tackling Canada's thorniest issue
Dec 21, 2001 |The Globe and Mail. pg. A.19 | Jeffrey SimpsonJohn Stackhouse's magnificent series on Canada's aboriginals deepened his reputation as one of the two or three best journalists in the country.

Here was a series in The Globe and Mail crafted by an inquiring mind, written with a rare clarity of expression, and based on wisdom's first principle -- an appreciation of complexity.

Mr. Stackhouse was an eyewitness rather than an "I" witness. He invited readers to understand what he saw and heard rather than what he ate for lunch. The best journalists are shoe-leather sociologists who ask, listen and observe.

Mr. Stackhouse displayed a rare gift as a foreign correspondent for asking the right questions, understanding the answers and conveying the complexities of what he found. What worked for him in the developing world was perfectly suited to tackling Canada's thorniest issue: relations between aboriginals and the rest of us.

His series seemed effortlessly written, the way people at the top of their game make whatever they do appear easy.
5_W’s  aboriginals  complexity  curiosity  first_principle  Jeffrey_Simpson  John_Stackhouse  journalists  journalism  wisdom  developing_countries  asking_the_right_questions 
october 2011 by jerryking
Voice of Influence
Oct. 07, 2010| TIME| By Richard Stengel. Fareed's worldview
comes in part from being a naturalized American citizen who was born in
Bombay and grew up outside the U.S. in what was then decidedly the
developing world. His academic background — a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D.
in political science from Harvard — also gives him a set of analytical
tools that few have. "Most journalists ask the 'what' question very
well," he says. "My training is to ask the 'why.' "s. "I'm not in
journalism to play parlor games with elites. I want to help people
become more thoughtful and engaged about the world." ...Fareed is one of
the foremost public intellectuals of our time. He connects the dots on
foreign policy, politics, the economy and the larger culture to make
sense of the world's most important ideas and trends. And he does it
with a subtlety that is nevertheless clear and accessible. For him,
politics and international affairs are complex and gray, not black and
white.
Fareed_Zakaria  profile  sense-making  foreign_policy  politics  economics  trends  popular_culture  public_discourse  journalism  public_intellectuals  connecting_the_dots  engaged_citizenry  worldviews  5_W’s 
october 2010 by jerryking
A dizzying world of insight lurks beyond the averages
Aug 27, 2007 | The Globe & Mail pg. B.6 | by George
Stalk Jr. "A gloriously rich world is hidden from us by "averages." We
manage our lives and our businesses with averages....But as soon as we
choose an average on which to make a decision, we cut ourselves off from
more nuanced information that might lead to a better
decision....drill[ing] down behind the averages can yield rich insights.
What businesses are we in? Where are the opportunities to raise
prices? How fast can we grow this business? How much time does it
really take us to do things? Other intriguing, insightful questions
include: How much money does it take to run this business? Just what do
our customers want? Where do we make our money in this business? Who
are our real competitors? Do our averages conceal sources of
competitive advantage? Looking behind the averages often yields new
strategic and operational paradigms that can help make better decisions
and ensure they are acted upon daily.
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identify anomalies in the first place. Knowing the average margins and market share isn’t enough; look at the entire range of outcomes—across customers, geographies, products, and the like. This allows you to surface out-of-the-ordinary results for closer inspection. (June 18, 2007 | G&M pg. B8 | George Stalk Jr).
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base_rates  George_Stalk_Jr.  strategic_thinking  insights  BCG  management_consulting  competitive_advantage  questions  extremes  laggards  decision_making  anomalies  leading-edge  quizzes  ratios  second-order  averages  5_W’s 
october 2009 by jerryking
Rage against the routine
September 2007 | From PROFIT magazine | By Rick Spence

We could all use some creative renewal and time management makeover.
Take a different route to work each day. Take a night course in
marketing, design, art history, German, creative writing or the
Renaissance. Read Seth Godin’s blog (sethgodin.typepad.com) for a crash
course in the changing worlds of strategy and marketing, complete with
purple cows, big red fezzes and ideaviruses. Buy an iPod and ask friends
to share their music with you. Embrace quiet. Learn to see and listen
with heightened senses. Say “Tell me more” more often. And take time to
ask two questions: “Why?” and “Why not?”.
5_W’s  boredom  creative_renewal  conversations  creativity  ideaviruses  innovation  inspiration  questions  quizzes  Rick_Spence  routines  Seth_Godin  time-management  timeouts 
april 2009 by jerryking
Nouriel Roubini Says Nationalizing the Banks Is the Market-Friendly Solution - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 21, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | Interview of Nouriel
Roubini by TUNKU VARADARAJAN. Roubini believes that "The problem is that
in the bubble years, everyone becomes a cheerleader, including the
media. This is when journalists should be asking tough questions...
there was a failure there. More financial and business journalists, in
the good years, should have asked, 'Wait a moment, if this man, or this
firm, is making a 100% return a year, how do they do it? Is it because
they're smarter than everybody else . . . or because they're taking so
much risk they'll be bankrupt two years down the line?' In the bubble
years, no one asked the hard questions. A good journalist has to be one
who, in good times, challenges the conventional wisdom. If you don't do
that, you fail in one of your duties."
===============================================
a healthy dose of reality and skepticism is always a good idea.
economics  crisis  ECONOMY  finance  skepticism  nourielroubini  banking  recessions  bailouts  journalists  journalism  nationalizations  hard_questions  financial_journalism  5_W’s  questions 
february 2009 by jerryking
globeandmail.com - Is the answer to business success a never-ending question?
Feb. 25, 2008 G&M column by Harvey Schachter. Take an organized approach to developing thought-provoking questions.

Identifying

The source for questions already exist around us, in books, white papers, journals, brochures, competitive intelligence, market research and technical documents. Consider the various outside experts, industry leaders, competitors, suppliers, customers, and even family members who already ask questions about your workplace. "With a little imagination, the sources for questions are nearly endless," she says.

Collecting

Send an e-mail to 30 people asking "what questions should be asked before taking on a new project?" A helpful question to start that process is: "What are all the questions that people might answer in order to address the company's goals, challenges or problems?" Collect questions in advance of decision-making meetings to help plan each session better and make it more effective.

Organizing

Look for patterns that will indicate the categories that the questions can be stored in, for appropriate retrieval when needed. Sometimes the topic might have an industry standard categorization already.

Refining

Although it's common to begin brainstorming with "there's no such thing as a bad question," not all questions are good ones. So keep refining your questions to make sure they are open-ended, not easy to answer, and provocative.

Follow Kipling

Rudyard Kipling : What and Why and When and How and Where and Who." A good QuestionBank contains a mix of those question types. Two of the most provocative questions you can ask are: "What or how might people change or improve ____ to ____?" and "What new or different ideas might change or improve _____?"

Ownership

Make sure somebody is accountable for each QuestionBank, ensuring periodic improvements and maintenance. That person should be in a position of responsibility in the organization.
Harvey_Schachter  career  creativity  innovation  questions  Rudyard_Kipling  pattern_recognition  open-ended  insights  Dr.Alexander's_Question  incisiveness  inquisitiveness  5_W’s  prospecting 
january 2009 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: Asking 'why' again and again is harder than you think, but it works
May 5, 2008 | Report on Business pg. B10 | by George Stalk.
George's column in the G&M on the benefit of asking "why" five times
to increase one's chances of being able to work backwards to
identifying a problem's root cause.
5_W’s  BCG  George_Stalk_Jr.  questions  root_cause  thinking_backwards  work-back_schedules 
january 2009 by jerryking

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