Week notes #178

This week I’ve been doing:

Alpha Mike Foxtrot

It was my last two days of working at BSI, time I spent finishing off project handover notes. It’s been an interesting six months and I’ve learned a lot, mostly through challenges to my ideas and assumptions about how teams work and how important cultural fit is. I feel like I need to spend some time reflecting and thinking about how to reset before starting my next role so I’m in a good place.

Having books and reading books are two different things

I received nine new books (thanks, Santa) on topics from innovation and digital business to ecommerce and the network society. Finding the time to read them is going to be a challenge. My books database says of over a hundred books on my list I haven’t even bought about a quarter of them, and I’ve only read 30 of them.

End of year organisation

I updated the About page on my website to talk about my three objectives. And I updated my Roadmap so that the things in the Now, Next and Later columns align with my objectives. I’m happy with my objectives (which are slightly tweaked from 2019) and think they’ve really helped me focus over the past year on getting a new job, starting a Masters course, and starting to write a book. I also updated the workflow for my Personal Kanban to use Google Assistant to allow my to add items to my Trello board using voice.

This week I’ve been studying:

The future of innovation

Not having lectures this week has given me a bit of time to work on research for The Fire Control Problem, and my ideas about the future of innovation. In previous weeks I’ve reached the conclusion that the ‘creative destruction’ mindset for innovation isn’t fit for the future and that Systems Thinking can offer a more evolutionary approach.

This week I’ve been thinking about:

Scales for systems thinking

Systems thinking is very interesting, I don’t know why I’ve only just found out about it. My first thoughts were that it was a useful tool for problem definition (as the second stage in a double-diamond process) as it focuses on uncovering the surrounding and underlying causes of a problem, but questioned how well it could be used to understand unknowns. I think Mintzberg’s puzzling puzzles might be more useful for uncovering unknowns. It also occurred to me that systems thinking adds to my thoughts about platforms providing value in a circular manner in comparison to pipelines providing value in linear ways. This video changed and expanded my perspective and helped me see that it is also a paradigm shifting idea. Moving from always approaching work with a reductionist analysis mindset (which using systems thinking for problem definition is) to a systems-thinking synthesis approach feels awesome and inspiring, and something I want to explore much more.

It’s not all about riots

I’ve also found out a bit about anarchism, which has opened my mind to some of the philosophical underpinning anarchism provides for autonomous teams, cooperative working and how it works at the speed of trust. It’s something else I want to find out a lot more about and figure out how it fits as a useful set of ideas.

This week on my Twitter people were talking about:

Working in the open

Using digital and Internet-era ways of working means being open about things you’ve learned, mistakes you’ve made, prototypes you’ve launched. I think a reflective practice is so important for learning and sharing it publicly spreads the learning and helps us all get better. ‘Digital’ is more than just a channel for marketing and embedding digital-thinking in all the work we do is going to be an even more essential in the next few years.

What leadership looks like

There was an interesting discussion about what modern leadership look like, including:

  • “the only goal that makes sense is learning”
  • “its not about telling people what to do, but about understanding what people are trying to achieve and helping coordinate different interests towards a common goal”
  • “adapt the plan to the people, not the people to the plan”
  • “those working on related things are not competitors, and being open about what you are working on, and promoting and encouraging people who are working on similar things, is a good thing.”

To me, some of this fits with my thoughts on everyone’s job being to learn and integrate the learning into the organisation, and how leadership allows and encourages this. How an organisation integrates learning is essential for it to become or remain an innovative organisation, as knowledge, information and intellectual assets are so vital for innovation.