Week notes #179

First weeknote of 2020. The future is here (it’s just not yet evenly distributed).

This week I’ve been doing:

Annual expenditure analysis

Updated my budget tracker (because I’m just that rock ‘n’ roll) and analysed how much money I’d spent over last year and what on. 12% of my expenditure was on my car (tax, insurance, maintenance), 11% on my education (course fees and books), 9.8% on fuel for my car and 3.6% travel (train fare). I expect the balance of expenditure to shift next year with more going on travel and less on my car and fuel.

What do mental health carers need

Started thinking about a side project I might want to work on over this year. I’ve only just started discovery work but I think there is a need for support for people acting as carers of people with mental illness problems. There is growing awareness people suffering from mental illness and what support is or isn’t available, but maybe their carers need support and that is a hidden problem. Based on my experience, and some recent thinking based on a discussion about the book The Chimp Paradox, my hypothesis is that ‘the problem to solve’ is that carers feel like the illness of the person they are caring for controls both of their lives, so I think feeling more in control of their own lives helps them to maintain their own health and support the person they are caring for. I don’t know if this will ever develop into anything as I don’t really have time to work on it but I’ll continue with some discovery work for the time being.

This week I’ve been studying:

The cost/benefit of reading a book

Haven’t done much studying this week. I have lots of books to read but not enough time to read them. I feel a bit torn between reading academic books that are about the past and wanting to develop my own ideas for the future. I get that the accepted academic research provides an important and necessary background for my own thinking, but reading an entire book feels like a large time cost for a small knowledge return

This week I’ve been thinking about:

The future paradigm for innovation is systems-thinking

For a while now I’ve held the belief that the ‘creative destruction’ paradigm that underpins our dominant thinking about innovation isn’t fit for purpose in the 21st century. It comes predominantly from Schumpeter, an Austrian political economist writing in the 1930s. His ideas about innovation being about the new new thing and first mover advantage came out of him living at the time of the Great Depression and in between two world wars. The backdrop of this economic and political world climate undoubtedly coloured what Schumpeter saw as the purpose of innovation and what it required to achieve economic success.

But times have changed. This thinking is almost a hundred years old and yet it still informs how most organisations approach innovation. Innovation needs a new paradigm. And I think Systems Thinking is it. Systems thinking requires synthesis approaches rather than reductionist analysis, it looks at how the parts work together rather than isolating the parts from the whole, and it recognises that change is evolutionary, building on what exists, rather the perpetuating the myth of innovation as newness.

I need to spend a lot more time learning about systems thinking, how it can serve as a paradigm for innovation activities and thinking.

Web 3.0

I’m really interested in decentralisation as a model for the web and as an idea for leadership. This video provides a quick overview of the different versions of the web and why 3.0 is so important.

I set up a blockstack ID for myself, and played with some DApps (Decentralised Apps). There are lots of alternatives to the centralised monopolistic internet services like Dpage instead of blogging services like WordPress, but it’s really not very user friendly, a barrier that will have to be overcome if it’s to get widespread consumer adoption.

This week on my Twitter people were talking about:

What they did in 2019 and how things have changed since 2009

Lots of people were posting about things they’d achieved in the past year and what has changed in their lives during the past decade. I think reviewing the past (essentially running a retrospective for yourself) is really useful. I did a quick ‘What I did in 2019’ blog post, but I haven’t really done enough retro-thinking about the year. It was definitely a year of lots of change.

Different ways of writing week notes

I’ve also looked a bit more deeply at how people are using week notes and what benefits they get out of them. For me it’s part of a reflective practice, being able pull together lots of different moments and thoughts from a defined time period into a (semi-) cohesive picture on a regular cadence forces me to think critically about my week. Although I don’t look back at old posts that much, and I wonder if anyone looks back at what they previously wrote, perhaps just the act of writing about what happened is sufficient for learning. Of course being public means that only those things that are deemed ok to be publicly mentioned are included. I wonder if this prevents/reduces reflection on the private things, or whether there is another mechanism like week notes for encouraging that.