This week I did:
Wrapping up for Christmas
Or not. It doesn’t feel like finishing any of the things we’re working on has aligned with the end of the year. We’re still in the middle of lots of things and that’s ok, that’s how things work out sometimes.
Digital nomad newsletter
I sent the first edition of my digital nomad newsletter, titled ‘The end is nigh‘ (with a nod to Red Dwarf) to all three of my subscribers. It’s taken me a while to figure what I want to do with it but I landed on it not being about remote work or the nonsense of the digital nomad lifestyle, and instead being a more thoughtful discovery on ideas about art, life, the outsider, minimalist, stoicism, essentialism.
I did the Research Methods in Business exam and Innovation Management and Policy exam. Six modules done, two modules and dissertation to do.
I’ve tried the simple kanban of To do, Doing, Done and I always found that lots of things stayed in Doing because I was technically still working on them even if I hadn’t progressed them recently, and I didn’t want to lose them in the To Do list. This made it increasingly harder to use the Doing list to focus. So I’m trying a time-focused approach. My columns are ‘Today’, ‘This week’, ‘Future’ (which is effectively To do) and ‘Past’ (which is mostly Done but also some things that had a date that I didn’t do. I’ve added lost of the tasks I want to do next year for all of my projects.
Step by step
Had a good chat about some of the product advisor work I’ve been doing. Its interesting professional development for me and is giving me some context for formalising some of my product thinking, not least that every product development framework and method is context specific, and that the best way to build a product is to build the process for building the product as you build it.
My digital tools list is now at 600. As a list of tools it seems to have limited value, and that value isn’t going to increase with the number of tools on the list, but how the info used on the list might have some value. Two of my ideas so far are around market analysis (if you’re going to build a video product you could quickly check out all the other video products) and building digital business models by connecting up the tools (a product for creating Twitter threads to promote the product you built in a nocode product which uses a subscription collection product to take payments, and so on).
I thought about:
Linear innovation processes
There is a paradox in how we present innovation as a linear process whilst knowing that it better resembles spaghetti. Obviously it’s human and management nature to simplify things into what can be easily explained and will fit on a PowerPoint slide, but its interesting to think about how to get past those out-of-date mental models.
Having organised my project tasks for next year, it made me think about different approaches to goal setting:
- Don’t set goals, let your interests guide what you do (the Daniel Vassallo approach).
- Don’t set goals, develop habits (the James Clear approach).
- Set vague goals, make them more specific as you get closer (the Fire Control Problem approach).
- Set specific challenging goals (the Locke and Latham approach).
I’ve no idea which approach works best in what context but I bet they aren’t mutually exclusive.
Most Valuable Person
The most valuable person in an organisation used to be the one with the most power. Soon it will be the one with the most knowledge. Knowledge is value (and it doesn’t have to have power).
And I read:
“In 1973, design theorists Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber introduced the term “wicked problem” in order to draw attention to the complexities and challenges of addressing planning and social policy problems“. I’d heard the term ‘wicked problem’ before but never knew it had a source like this and so much thinking behind it. It adds to some of my thinking about how charities choose causes and solve (or not) social problems.
Southern Co-op uses facial recognition
“Branches of Co-op in the south of England have been using real-time facial recognition cameras to scan shoppers entering stores.” Interesting tech ethics to consider when an organisation with an ethical ethos introduces technology that others raise ethical concerns about.
The structure and dynamics of the Third Sector in England and Wales
“The Third Sector Trends Study has now used data from the Charity Commission register, the Third Sector Trends Study and NCVO Civil Society Almanac to get a much clearer picture about the situation of the local Third Sector across England and Wales.” The report frames the Civic Space as existing between the private sector. the state and private space. In my thinking it’s the private space that exists in the middle of the three spaces created by the different modes of organising people. I also found the power law distribution of charity size and income quite interesting, although not surprising. I wonder how the age of the charity would map against its size and income. There are so many interesting things in the report.
And some people tweeted:
Working From Anywhere
Michael Wilkinson tweeted “Great weekend reading from Harvard on the Work From Anywhere (WFA) future. There are many benefits and challenges that the feature discusses which I thought I’d share here.” The thread has lots of really interesting thoughts about flexible working. The point I would add is about the long term benefits that flexible working has in knowledge transfer between organisations and the rest of society. By making the boundaries the organisation puts up (from Friedman’s statement that a firm’s responsibility is only to increase profits) between it and the rest of the world, more permeable, the way knowledge and information flows will fundamentally change.
Digital knowledge base
Paul Taylor tweeted, “A “digital repository to hold all of your organisational knowledge, that will allow unprecedented access to deep insights with a few keyboard taps” is a fantasy that only exists in the minds of people selling you a Silver Bullet“. Knowledge can’t (yet) be codified, it can only be translated into information to be codified (and then stored digitally) and so much is lost in that process. Turning information and/or knowledge into intellectual assets is a really difficult problem.
Small number of bold and unique bets
Jack Altman tweeted, “Most great companies are built by taking a small number of bold and unique bets, and then being as by-the-book / best-practices as possible on everything else.” The strategy is delivery. Execution wins.