How to take a report to management team | Freedom From Command And Control
Talk them through the paper and invite comments. This means you talk as they read; at the same time, but never in the same place in the document. You may need to raise your voice as they shuffle through their papers searching for bullet points. If you do raise your voice, remember to lower it again. As you talk, try not to show any teeth. This could make them aggressive. Speed up as you go through it. Say you are conscious of time.
management  decisionmaking  workplace 
6 days ago
How Uber and Airbnb Resurrect ‘Dead Capital’
Uber connects black car drivers with passengers, Airbnb links renters with travelers, and Etsy allows small artisans to create virtual storefronts. Uber owns no cars, Airbnb has no properties, and Etsy prints no Insane Clown Posse fan art
servicedesign  servicedisaggregation  businessmodels 
8 days ago
Why it is not possible to regulate robots | Technology | theguardian.com
We really only know how to make one kind of computer: the "general purpose computer" that can execute every instruction that can be expressed in symbolic logic. Put more simply: we only know how to make a computer that can run every programme.
law  technology  futures 
15 days ago
Thirty Percent Feedback
When you meet someone who is hungry for tough feedback, the effect is powerful.  You can just tell that they’re going to be successful because they are so hungry for information.  Their pace of learning is so much quicker than anyone else who toils alone.  They don’t take criticism of their work personally, and because of this, they exude a deep sense of confidence.  I’m always inspired when I see that in its purest form.
feedback  culture  trust 
20 days ago
danah boyd | apophenia » Why Snapchat is Valuable: It’s All About Attention
Snapchat is a reminder that constraints have a social purpose, that there is beauty in simplicity, and that the ephemeral is valuable.
socialmedia  simplification 
25 days ago
It’s not about making a comment. It’s about making a difference | Patient Opinion
Patient Opinion is nothing like Tripadvisor. This isn’t about “reviewing” a service or comparing “top-rated” services. It is about an effective, scalable collaboration between patients and staff, right across the NHS, to make care better.
feedback  engagement  servicedesign 
29 days ago
Digital public management - Jerry Fishenden
While technology remains an enabler of new opportunities in the design of our public services, digital is not primarily about technology. At its core are new organisational values and practices: successful digital organisations have user-centric operating models clustered around speed and adaptability.
digital  publicservicereform  servicedesign  change 
5 weeks ago
Sound of success: finding perfect acoustics for a productive office
"We need architects to start designing offices that are fit for the ears as well as the eyes," says Treasure. "We really need to start designing for all the senses and end up with offices that are truly fit for purpose."
workplace 
7 weeks ago
But what would you do instead?
We’ve always done it this way. Yep. That’s probably the biggest barrier to any change. Someone has to make a decision to do something differently. Yes, that involves some risk. Yes, that means you’ll be vulnerable.

Instead – don’t go it alone. Find others in your organisation willing to share the risk with you. Find collaborators from outside who can bring in new ideas.
workandtools  collaboration  innovation 
7 weeks ago
We Don’t Sell Saddles Here — Medium, Long — Medium
When you want something really bad, you will put up with a lot of flaws. But if you do not yet know you want something, your tolerance will be much lower. That’s why it is especially important for us to build a beautiful, elegant and considerate piece of software. Every bit of grace, refinement, and thoughtfulness on our part will pull people along. Every petty irritation will stop them and give the impression that it is not worth it.
userexperience 
8 weeks ago
Schneier on Security: The Insecurity of Secret IT Systems
I used to decry secret security systems as "security by obscurity." I now say it more strongly: "obscurity means insecurity."
security  processdesign 
8 weeks ago
The policy world and academia offer widely different opportunities for early career researchers. | Impact of Social Sciences
In academia you look for a problem you can answer well, and in policy you find the best answer you can to the problem you are given.
policymaking  analysis  problemsolving 
9 weeks ago
Striking a balance between security and usability | Government Digital Service
All too often, it’s been the case that people have approached security as something that either people who deal with compliance and writing documents deal with, or that the techies deal with. It’s a fundamental part of the service; it’s not this separate thing that one team thinks about.
security  servicedesign  agile 
9 weeks ago
Five Things You Might Not Know About Offices: 1. The Office Is Not Dead | spaceandorganisation
So what exactly is it that the office adds to our working lives, or in other words, what are the affordances of space? Grounded in my research, I would argue that space is important since it affords 1) co-presence, 2) encounter and 3) routines.
workplace  workandtools  disruption 
9 weeks ago
There is no UX, there is only UX | disambiguity
The truth is that, for many of our projects, the truly challenging user experience issues come not from designing the interface*, but from the constraints of the product that must be designed. Those constraints and challenges tend to come from our friends in policy or standards, or procurement or other parts of the organisation. Try as you might, you can’t interface away inappropriate policy.
uxd  design  servicedesign 
9 weeks ago
The Four Freedoms | Matt Mullenweg
I believe that software, and in fact entire companies, should be run in a way that assumes that the sum of the talent of people outside your walls is greater than the sum of the few you have inside. None of us are as smart as all of us.
openservices  organisations 
10 weeks ago
Flip Chart Fairy Tales | Business Bullshit, Corporate Crap and other stuff from the World of Work
A well-managed hierarchy is among the most effective weapons for getting rid of the friction, incompetence, and politics that plague bad organisations.
organisations  management 
12 weeks ago
We need to start talking about public service reform again : RSA blogs
Instead of focussing solely on supply side reform and choice and competition, we need to understand how better to manage demand. This is about households, families and communities – what they want for their lives, what they expect from public services and what they can do for themselves. Unless public services start to engage with and try to change the dynamics of demand then they will face a bleak future as residualised services.
publicservicereform 
12 weeks ago
Foden Grealy – Document standards and the rankling print presumption
Our mental model for handling textual information is based on the printed paper created by a typewriter, distributed by post and kept in a folder. It got us over the introduction of personal computing but it’s time we moved on.
workandtools  publishing 
january 2014
Innovate on Purpose: Why innovators need a word other than failure
Corporate innovators need all the trappings of failure - learning, experience, insights - but without the ripple effect.  What we need, as corporate innovators, is the ability to experiment, prototype and test new concepts and products as thoroughly and as rapidly as possible.  Then, our experiments become controlled "mini-failures" that offer much the same learning, but without the devastating effects more common in a startup.
change  innovation  organisations  failure 
january 2014
Failure porn | Johnnie Moore
The question,  ”but how will that scale” is often an effective way to kill off interesting ideas that might benefit from a bit more oxygen, and going with safer ones that will eventually underwhelm.
management  change  organisations  failure 
january 2014
Shambles, from mini to omni
The thing about system failures is that nobody has a strong incentive to do anything about them. The risks are high, the potential rewards minimal. They are hard to sort out because it takes a long time and involves getting a lot of people to agree to change things in ways that make their lives a bit more difficult. There is no personal risk in continuing with things they way they are now.
systems  decisionmaking  civilservice  ministers 
january 2014
Seth's Blog: Accuracy, resilience and denial
Resilience is the best strategy for those realistic enough to admit that they can't predict the future with more accuracy than others. Resilience isn't a bet on one outcome, instead, it's an investment across a range of possible outcomes, a way to ensure that regardless of what actually occurs (within the range), you'll do fine.

And denial, of course, is the strategy of assuming that the future will be just like today.
forecasting  futures  strategy 
january 2014
Telling Stories | Patient Opinion
We make the assumption that what has been posted is true. There is something about embracing the spirit of Patient Opinion that means that you have to be an advocate, and that means you have to trust the voice. That might seem an obvious and easy assumption to make. But coming to that view is actually quite complex and the rationale needs to be explained to staff if they are to buy into it.
story  feedback  culture  leadership 
december 2013
In 2014, let’s get digital skills out of the classroom – Postbureaucrat
A barrier we come up against time and again is the reality that a large chunk of the public sector in 2013 isn’t trusted or equipped to access common digital tools. Beyond the evergreen problem of having the right kit and being able to access the right websites, changing how people work takes time and creativity, to find shortcuts, try a new approach for a specific project, and identify where digital can add value, rather than becoming just another thing to do.
workandtools  workplace  trust  socialmedia 
december 2013
How Open Floor Plans Are Killing Employee Productivity | Inc.com
when managers watch their workers work, employee productivity dips. The reason? Employees feel more compelled to put their best face forward and follow all corporate policies to a T.
workplace  management  trust 
december 2013
Let's rethink the idea of the state: it must be a catalyst for big, bold ideas | Mariana Mazzucato | Comment is free | The Observer
To foster growth we must not downsize the state but rethink it. That means developing, not axing, competences and dynamism in the public sector. When evaluating its performance, we must rediscover the point of the public sector: to make things happen that would not have happened anyway.
innovation  risk 
december 2013
Five Ways to Learn Nothing from Your Customers' Feedback - Rob Markey - Harvard Business Review
Anonymity in customer feedback is, frankly, overrated. People want to be heard. They want their feedback to be acknowledged. They want to know that the time they invested sharing feedback meant something and was acted on. Closing the loop is essential to building lasting customer relationships, and it is an invaluable opportunity to dig more deeply into the details of what delighted or enraged them. It offers an opportunity to begin digging into the root causes of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction to uncover policy problems, issues with product design, or other pesky issues that require cross-functional collaboration.
feedback  customers  servicedesign 
december 2013
Is the public sector more innovative than we think? « MindBlog
The public sector can be just as pioneering as the private sector when it comes to organising innovation. The degree of complexity that characterises many public issues means that organisation, incentives and processes often need to be more sophisticated than in the private sector.
innovation  publicsector 
december 2013
Agency of the Future Guide: Telework More Than a Trend – A Workplace Transformation - GovLoop - Knowledge Network for Government
Roughly 35% of the federal workforce is eligible to telework, but only 11% take advantage. The main reason for the low percentage is that employees feel culturally pressured to work in the office by supervisors who are not comfortable managing remote professionals.
behaviourchange  culture  workplace 
december 2013
Care Connect: there is a better way | Patient Opinion
As patients and carers, we now want to be more than ‘feedback’. We want to be heard. We want to be reassured. We want to support those we care about. We want to encourage staff we see doing their best, against the odds. We want to know our stories get to the right people. We want to see what others are saying. We want to see real change. And we expect all of this to be transparent, right down to seeing who has read our stories.
userexperience  elephants  story 
december 2013
Pitting Cyclists Against Drivers Is A Bloody Stupid Idea | Londonist
Stupidity is a statistical inevitability. What we actually need to do is to redesign our roads to make it less likely that stupidity is a fatal condition.
design  usability 
november 2013
Designers ! The challenge that needs your attention | Redjotter
How do we create interface design that rewards patience?

How do we design email systems that represent people and not information?

What does hardware that reminds you you have a body look and feel like?

How do we build social networks that develop compassion?

How does a website that supports concentration and presence work?
design  affordance  authenticity 
november 2013
» Healthcare.gov and the Gulf Between Planning and Reality Clay Shirky
An effective test is an exercise in humility; it’s only useful in a culture where desirability is not confused with likelihood. For a test to change things, everyone has to understand that their opinion, and their boss’s opinion, matters less than what actually works and what doesn’t. (An organization that isn’t learning from its users decided it doesn’t want to learn from its users.)
agile  changemanagement  culture  decisionmaking 
november 2013
Schneier on Security: A Fraying of the Public/Private Surveillance Partnership
It's impossible to build an Internet where the good guys can eavesdrop, and the bad guys cannot. We have a choice between an Internet that is vulnerable to all attackers, or an Internet that is safe from all attackers.
privacy  security 
november 2013
LGiU the council of 2043: Catherine Howe | LGIU: Local Government Information Unit
Being digital by default means the creation of shared digital and civic space where communities and councils can network and collaborate – not simply pushing 19th century transactions online.
digitalbydefault  collaboration  futures 
november 2013
Why is the corporate welfare state so flawed – and how could it be made better? - Nesta
The aim should not be one-sided welfare, but rather better deals in which both sides win.  Groups of firms or sectors should be encouraged to engage with government and propose deals - where governments sorts out the things only it can fix, like basic research, infrastructure, regulations and skills - and business gets on with the job of developing better goods and services. The crucial point is that these deals need to be structured around performance - with funding released in response to demonstrable evidence of growth. Welfare needs, in other words, to become conditional, while policy becomes experimental.
welfarereform  performance 
november 2013
Synthesisers and Provocateurs | Flip Chart Fairy Tales
To change an organisation you need to challenge. Informed challenge helps to shift the way people talk, think and, eventually, act. If HR professionals, or anyone else for that matter, want to change the way their organisations work, they will need to become synthnesisers and provocateurs.
changemanagement  organisations 
november 2013
Systems Innovation - Charles Leadbeater
Systems innovation depends on alliances, and alliances need to be governed, explicitly or implicitly. That takes political innovation as well as financial and technical innovation.
systemsthinking  innovation 
november 2013
A Horizontal Manifesto - Joel Bailey
I’ve spent 2,000 words describing how verticalism undermines private sector businesses. I could write 5,000 on how it undermines public sector organisations.
servicedesign  horizontalservice 
november 2013
Stumbling and Mumbling: Ten political assumptions
I don't say all this to mean these assumptions are necessarily wrong. I do so just to point out that politcal debate is much narrower than you might think.
politics  democracy  decisionmaking 
november 2013
Why Face-To-Face Meetings Are Overrated | Inc.com
By rationing in-person meetings, their stature is elevated to that of a rare treat. They become something to be savored, something special. Dine out every once in a while on those feasts and sustain yourself in the interim on the conversation “snacks” that technology makes possible. That will give you all the magic you can handle.
workandtools  collaboration  communication 
october 2013
No, minister | Matthew Taylor's blog
But still, the fiction persists that we can substantially improve policy making without discussing the performance of ministers and the interface between them and civil servants. As long as it does, the promise to improve the quality of policy making in Whitehall will ring hollow.
politics  policymaking  ministers  civilservice 
october 2013
Open practice, working out loud and the top five reasons why I blog | Sarah Lay
Open practice, or working out loud, makes us all better. It benefits the individuals in the team by letting them share success or learn from failure, it helps the team to see the steps on their journey and all the individual pieces of work going into their puzzle and it benefits fellow practitioners through knowledge sharing and making links to collaborate.
socialmedia  workandtools  collaboration 
october 2013
Why Policymakers Ignore Evidence
Speak to many University colleagues and they will report what appears to be a common experience: evidence carefully collected and assembled about significant societal concerns, and what to do about them, are presented to policy makers and then promptly ignored. How can this frustrating process best be understood? The dozen explanations I offer are less to do with the political process being corrupt and have more to do with its complexities which academics from all disciplines need to understand and respect.
policymaking  research 
october 2013
Stumbling and Mumbling: Why not a basic income?
A [basic income] is, perhaps paradoxically, a policy of pessimism. It's based in part upon the idea that governments lack the ability to distinguish between people of high and low needs or between strivers and scroungers - except at high cost - and so should adopt the low-information policy of giving everyone the same. However, politicians are self-selected for having faith in the power of government. They therefore believe - more than the rest of us - that governments can do better than a BI.
policymaking  politics  overtonwindow 
october 2013
Memex 1.1 » Blog Archive » The banality of organisational evil
Corporate employees are not evil people, but in their organisational roles they tend to follow five rules:

(1) You never go around your boss. (2) You tell your boss what he wants to hear, even when your boss claims that he wants dissenting views. (3) If your boss wants something dropped, you drop it. (4) You are sensitive to your boss’s wishes so that you anticipate what he wants; you don’t force him, in other words, to act as a boss. (5) Your job is not to report something that your boss does not want reported, but rather to cover it up. You do your job and you keep your mouth shut.
organisations  culture 
october 2013
The 10 Minute Clarity Test - System Thinking For Girls
The lesson here is that clarity is hard when people are afraid. Most of us will do anything to avoid looking stupid in front of other people. So,  if you want clarity, you have to do something about the fear. If you are in charge of a meeting, create some new rules.
management  culture  organisations 
october 2013
Why customers’ actual experience trumps company processes every time | Sole Trader PR
The focus on internal business process rather than the actual experience of real live customers must be the very definition of bad business practice. It’s certainly dreadful customer service. Complaints, though difficult to hear, are hugely valuable in showing where systems are failing. They’re not personal attacks that need to be defended at all costs.
customers  feedback  complaints 
october 2013
Stumbling and Mumbling: The intelligence curse
Many political problems are either insoluble, or have quite simple solutions which are unsellable (basic income, voluntary jobs guarantee, drug legalization). For the former category intelligence is useless, for the latter unnecessary.
politics  power  problemsolving 
october 2013
What We Don’t Blog About and What it Says About Us « iBenedictines
No matter what we leave out, what we choose not to write about, someone, somewhere will have something to say that is worth reading, on precisely the subjects about which we ourselves are inadequate.
socialmedia  socialnetworks  communities 
october 2013
Words
At its heart, web design should be about words. Words don't come after the design is done. Words are the beginning, the core, the focus.

Start with words.
design  communication 
september 2013
Nate Silver on Finding a Mentor, Teaching Yourself Statistics, and Not Settling in Your Career - Walter Frick - Harvard Business Review
The thing that’s toughest to teach is the intuition for what are big questions to ask. That intellectual curiosity. That bullshit detector for lack of a better term, where you see a data set and you have at least a first approach on how much signal there is there. That can help to make you a lot more efficient.
analysis  data  skills 
september 2013
Are you motivated or getting something done? | Clear message
At work we often see a lot of people and organisations re-tweet, write or in some way help to promote our policy engagement projects, but the numbers are rarely proportionate to the number of responses we receive or, if I’m honest, meaningful engagement. In the time it takes people to help promote a project, they could have contributed directly themselves, which would probably be more beneficial all round.
socialchange  socialmedia  nudge 
september 2013
danah boyd | apophenia » eyes on the street or creepy surveillance?
Urban theorist Jane Jacobs used to argue that the safest societies are those where there are “eyes on the street.” What she meant by this was that healthy communities looked out for each other, were attentive to when others were hurting, and were generally present when things went haywire. How do we create eyes on the digital street? How do we do so in a way that’s not creepy?  When is proactive monitoring valuable for making a difference in teens’ lives?  How do we make sure that these same tools aren’t abused for more malicious purposes?
socialnetworks  security 
september 2013
Our blog | We Love Local Government - Tales from the NHS
All of this could have been avoided if a little common sense had been demonstrated at any moment along the way. Instead, a lot of people were employed implementing a pointless process, lots of money was spent on temporary staff and more importantly the quality of care for the patients was damaged.

If ever there was a situation that demonstrates why the NHS is seen as a failing bureaucracy this is it.
systemsthinking  bureaucracy  processdesign 
september 2013
Is this a reason some council and NHS scandals stay hidden for years? | Campaign4Change
It appears that those who write board reports for public authorities feel an obligation to motivate and inspire, to leave the reader feeling good, to clothe bad news in layers of good news, omit it altogether or put it in the appendix hardly anyone reads.

Is this one reason so many outsourcing and NHS scandals stay hidden for years?
organisations  systems  culture 
september 2013
Matthew Butterick: The Bomb in the Garden
The web has al­ways been great for mak­ing in­for­ma­tion free, and ter­ri­ble at charg­ing for it. And that’s a tech­no­log­i­cal flaw that’s ex­ist­ed since the be­gin­ning of the web. So from ear­ly on, folks took this lemon and tried to make web lemon­ade by latch­ing onto the be­lief that ex­po­sure mat­tered more than money.

Does this sound fa­mil­iar, de­sign­ers? “This project’s go­ing to be great ex­po­sure.” It’s nev­er true. It’s nev­er been true. It’s nev­er been true on the web. But it be­came one of the web’s core re­li­gious beliefs.

The prob­lem, of course, is that in­for­ma­tion wasn’t ac­tu­al­ly free. It’s just that no one want­ed to pay for it. But some­body had to. So we’ve end­ed up with what?

We’ve ended up with a web dominated by advertising.
design  businessmodels  innovation 
august 2013
The trouble with calling people trolls | Ben Proctor: digital skills for resilience
Some behaviours are difficult, time consuming, troubling or irritating. That’s not trolling. In fact it is really important that citizens are able to behave in exactly these ways with manifestations of the state. As public servants we should be asking ourselves why citizens feel the need to act in these ways.

If we bandy the term trolls around (in a public sector context) we risk dismissing those who are, entirely legitimately, challenging state power and equating them with those who abuse individuals for expressing opinions online.
socialmedia  servicedelivery  civilsociety 
august 2013
The Three Individuals Your Organization Needs For Innovation | PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TECHNOLOGIES
There is an answer to the innovation challenge: engage your brokers, role models and risk-takers to push the organization. Take an informal look around your organization: search for where connections and links are being made between areas of operation and expertise; see if there are visible, authentic champions of innovation; and watch for strong, well-prepared risk-takers pushing boundaries. If you are finding these kinds of activities, your organization fosters good innovation, and is in a prime position to push some boundaries.
innovation  organisations 
august 2013
Government and the internet · Patrick Collison
Over the last two decades, tension between government and the changes caused by the internet has been a recurring theme. Today, they’re almost seen as opposing forces. This is somewhat strange when you think about it. Most technologies don’t cause so much ongoing upheaval.

Why is the internet so challenging? I decided to make a list of reasons and came up with 11. Though none of them are very novel, I found the catalog interesting. (For one thing, I expected fewer.)
disruption  socialchange  government 
august 2013
ThinkUp - Is advertising the only way to change the web?
The arguments for directly charging users are pretty straightforward, and they’re all grounded in a simple principle: It’s better for the web if a site or app is more accountable to its users and community than to its advertisers.

The appealing-but-falsely-reductive phrasing of this idea is “If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product”, which is fun to say but has been persuasively refuted. But the more important question may be, can we build a business that is structurally and financially more accountable to its users and community, with advertising being used primarily to help reach a big enough scale to have meaningful impact?
august 2013
Iteration doesn’t mean getting better every time | Martin Wright – a friendly web designer
Iterating on something, whether it be a product, a design or a process doesn’t mean getting better every time. There is no guarantee that every iteration will be an improvement over the last, but over a longer timeframe you will see significant improvements.
agile  iteration 
august 2013
Schneier on Security: Restoring Trust in Government and the Internet
In a world where everyone lies to us all the time, we have no choice but to trust blindly, and we have no reason to believe that anyone is worthy of blind trust.
security  trust  transparency 
august 2013
How to be strategic in local government
Being strategic is not big and clever. If you want to improve the lives of service users just saying things about the arrangement of words on a page isn’t enough. It is harder than that. You need to be smarter and more resilient because the job is messier. You need to get out into the actual work and find out what is going on, warts and all. You need to understand what problems people have, what gets in the way of staff solving them and what you can do improve things. Neither the documents nor the strategic prattle will help you with that.
strategy  servicedelivery  systemsthinking 
august 2013
Don Norman on Wearable Devices | MIT Technology Review
If simultaneous task performance is so deleterious, why do people maintain that they can do it without any deterioration? Well, it is for somewhat the same reason that drunk drivers think they can drive safely: monitoring our own performance is yet another task to do, and it suffers. The impairment in mental skills makes it difficult to notice the impairment.
userexperience  google  devices  wearable 
july 2013
10 Rules of Internet - Anil Dash
Any new form of electronic communication will first be dismissed as trivial and worthless until it produces a profound result, after which it will be described as obvious and boring.
technology 
july 2013
Stumbling and Mumbling: Cutting waste
Governments cannot reduce "waste" merely by increasing efficiency. Even in the private sector, remember, efficiency increases not so much by individual firms becoming more efficient, but by firms entering and exiting the market. If governmental efficiency is to increase, it will have to be through a similar mechanism - the government exiting from some functions and rethinking how it provides others.
efficiency  reform 
july 2013
Metrics for government reform - Nesta
In judging a programme of reform it's therefore vital not to mistake what is being assessed. So in the earlier examples - new devices or actions - evaluation can be very rigorously quantitative and often fast. There is no excuse for not measuring impacts; not using plenty of control groups; not feeding results fast into decision-making.

For the later examples - that are more strategic - all of these tools for assessment risk becoming vices rather than virtues. Then you need complex judgement; a sense of history and context; and above all, the time and space to interrogate those judgements. The conversations prompted are likely to be as useful as any written outputs.
strategy  evaluation  reform 
july 2013
Edge Perspectives with John Hagel: Strategy Made Simple - The 3 Core Strategy Questions
In increasingly turbulent and complex times, we understandably fall prey to a dangerous temptation – both as institutions and individuals. We’re tempted to abandon long-term strategy and fall back on rapid adaptation as the only winning game – sense and respond quickly enough to events as they occur and everything will be OK.
strategy  change 
july 2013
GOV.UK – why are we still struggling to convince some stakeholders and civil servants? | digital@BIS
We know the site is constantly iterating and big things like search have been improved but something is missing. What are the user needs of civil servants or partners? When it won the Design of the Year award recently, why did the site get a sneer rather than a cheer?
usercentreddesign  workandtools  gov.uk 
july 2013
Google logic: why Google does the things it does the way it does | Technology | guardian.co.uk
This evolutionary approach, and the Agile design processes that support it, is built into the fibre and psyche of web companies. They don't think in terms of long-term detailed plans; they think in terms of stimulus and response.

This is a dramatic change in the history of business. In the past, the nimble companies were always the little ones. The larger your company, the more it valued planning and the long-term view. Google is one of the first very large tech companies ever to pride itself on rapid response rather than rigid planning.
strategy  planning  organisations  culture 
july 2013
When Google was that new thing with the funny name — Scott Rosenberg's Wordyard
It’s a universal insight that never stops being applicable: there’s an endless amount of room to improve, everywhere. There are no solved problems; as people’s needs change and their expectations evolve, problems keep unsolving themselves.
This is the context in which all the best work in the technology universe gets done.
innovation  problemsolving 
july 2013
Valves and Values: Another Story of Technological Transition | Spooky & the Metronome
The transition to the valved horn was thus not a matter of the inferior giving way to the superior, but of certain values – and certain people – winning out over others. The winners in this transition included those who patented valve technologies. The obvious losers were valveless-horn players, whose skills and knowledge were rendered increasingly irrelevant. Though many nineteenth-century commentators maintained that both valved and valveless horns were valuable and necessary, each for their purpose, by the twentieth century valveless horn-players were wanted neither for performance nor teaching positions.
obliquecomparisons  technology  change 
july 2013
World of Ends
1. The Internet isn't complicated
2. The Internet isn't a thing. It's an agreement.
3. The Internet is stupid.
4. Adding value to the Internet lowers its value.
5. All the Internet's value grows on its edges.
6. Money moves to the suburbs.
7. The end of the world? Nah, the world of ends.
8. The Internet's three virtues:
a. No one owns it
b. Everyone can use it
c. Anyone can improve it
9. If the Internet is so simple, why have so many been so boneheaded about it?
10. Some mistakes we can stop making already
cluetrain  webhistory 
july 2013
John Kay - Enduring lessons from the legend of Rothschild’s carrier pigeon
We devote more resources to training carrier pigeons and building fibreoptic links than to understanding military and business strategy, more brainpower to devising trading algorithms than to the analysis of competitive advantage. A damn rum thing, Wellington might have said.
systems  strategy  prioritisation 
july 2013
Wicked problems and the redesign of government « Innovation @ ITU
We’re now at an activity level with enough early-mover experience to begin a trans-national debate about how governments might better leverage the intersection of design, innovation and services. And that will be particularly important as they attempt to address systemic innovation and ‘Wicked Problems’ (the term ‘wicked’ here is not used in the sense of evil but rather a description of problems that are typically complex, systemic and highly resistant to resolution).
servicedesign  creativity  innovation 
june 2013
FailureFest - Nesta
Of course it's not enough to say we should celebrate failure. No organisation or system can do that. Instead there is an unavoidable ambiguity in the relationship between innovation and failure. On the one hand if you're not failing often, you're probably not taking enough creative risks. On the other hand, if you fail too much don't expect to keep your job, or your funding.
innovation  failure  creativity 
june 2013
Rutterances - Jill Rutter
If you don’t understand the key elements that drive a result, successful replication will be impossible. What looks like the “same” policy will turn out to have very different results if you misunderstood what bits of sameness mattered.
policymaking  experiment 
june 2013
In defence of bright ideas from people who have absolutely no idea how to implement them | The Source Blog
I’m worried that there will come a day, ten years or so from now, when teams of brilliant implementers are sitting around itching to implement the living daylights out of something, if only they could find a few bright sparks who couldn’t organise a fire in a tinderbox, to give them something to implement.
innovation  creativity 
june 2013
Schneier on Security: More on Feudal Security
Medieval feudalism evolved into a more balanced relationship in which lords had responsibilities as well as rights. Today's Internet feudalism is both ad hoc and one-sided. We have no choice but to trust the lords, but we receive very few assurances in return. The lords have a lot of rights, but few responsibilities or limits. We need to balance this relationship, and government intervention is the only way we're going to get it. In medieval Europe, the rise of the centralized state and the rule of law provided the stability that feudalism lacked. The Magna Carta first forced responsibilities on governments and put humans on the long road toward government by the people and for the people.

We need a similar process to rein in our Internet lords, and it's not something that market forces are likely to provide. The very definition of power is changing, and the issues are far bigger than the Internet and our relationships with our IT providers.
security  cloudcomputing  socialchange 
june 2013
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