Weeknotes #252

This week I did:

Global optimisation

I had some time to begin to think about the work our team will be undertaking over the next few quarters. Second to ‘what’ work we do is ‘how’ we do it. The upsteam and downstream coordination is an interesting challenge to ensure that change is introduced at the pace it can be adopted. I have a sense this is going to feel like slowing down from how we’ve been working over the past year but global optimisation is almost always better than local optimisation.

Team stability

There have been a few conversations and situations this week where the underlying theme seemed to be about the stability and change experienced by a group of people. It seems paradoxical but at the same time completely obvious, to say that stability enables change to be accepted and adopted. Too much change, in these cases, in the membership of teams prevents effective and efficient progress. It stops ownership, accountability and responsibility in it’s tracks. I wonder if the need for the stability of teams changes with the number of teams that make up an organisation, so, can an organisation achieve its strategic goals if it has some stable and some unstable teams, and where is the threshold? How much instability can an organisation absorb?


Thought about:

Technological convergence

I’ve been working on my assignment about what role blockchain might play in the future of work, and the one of the conclusions I’ve reached is that blockchain will have a far greater affect where it converges with other emerging technology such as artificial intelligence and Internet of things devices. This feels like a bit of a revelation to me. I see lots of talk about how AI is going to affect is in the future, what self-driving vehicles might do to transportation, etc., but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about the effects of all these different technologies when they are put together.

Business processes and social structures at work

On one hand, business processes are meant to codify and formalise the way things like decision-making work, to reduce variability and ensure predictability and perhaps even fairness. And on the other hand, social structures are built around influencing people, encouraging cooperation and collaboration to get the right decisions made. How do these two things intersect? Are they both necessary? Do they conflict? I’ve previously thought that hierarchies are good for authority and networks good for information flow, but what structures facilitate decisions?


Read:

Teamwork

I read a bit of this student guide to teamwork. It has some useful references and definitions such as Hughes and Jones (2011) defining “what makes a team something different from any other group of people” as sharing some defining characteristics: a shared collective identity, common goals, interdependence in terms of assigned tasks or outcomes, and distinctive roles within the team. I wonder if work place culture is sometimes anti-intellectual and that we get ideas about things like how teams work from something someone read on a blog post about a book that was based on one person’s experience rather than our understanding being based on research and expertise, so having easy references like this book help my thinking.

The Outsider

I’ve started reading Colin Wilson’s The Outsider. In it Wilson describes the outsider through the works of Kakfa, Camus, Hemmingway and others, as someone alienated from society by their own indifference, as a anti-hero who rejects civilised standards and his duty to society in pursuit of some kind of existential freedom. He says, “freedom is not simply being allowed to do what you like; it is intensity of will, and it appears under any circumstances that limit man and arose his will to live”.

I’m interested in the idea of the outsider in modern digital times. If Wilson was writing today would he still be looking at literature for descriptions of the experience of the outsider or would it be hacker culture, anti-establishment peer-to-peer networks, and social media? How does existential alienation from mainstream culture take place in an always-on inter-connected world? Does it manifest as self-imposed exile to the worlds of games, or absorption in tech-startup fantasies of utopia? So much to think about.

Weeknotes #245

This week I did:

Coordinating information, spotting patterns

This week has been about working through ways and means of coordinating information from different sources to create a single cohesive picture. A big part of that is around bolstering our digital safeguarding response in the short term and figuring how the picture changes into the future to affect a longer term response.

I’ve also put a lot of time into scoping the next version of the product we’re developing, understanding what problems we should be solving and being specific about which problems we aren’t tackling. I’ve approached it in more structured way than how we scoped the current version, partly because I’ve had more time but also because we’ve learned a lot about our capabilities over the last few months so I have a better idea about where to focus my attention.

Why we need a better understanding of problems

I wrote about how sometimes we have a tendency to jump to solutions, and often technology solutions, without truly understanding the problem we need to solve. I wrote it as a talk for a charity meetup that didn’t happen but as its something I believe strongly about I thought I’d add it to my blog so I don’t lose it.

Standapp

I’ve started using Stand-up template in the journal app that Ross has been building. I’ve made various attempts at daily personal stand-up/journaling but it feels different when its a dedicated app. The challenge, regardless of how they are written, is in getting value back out of what was written. I haven’t quite figured that out yet but it’s something I’m thinking about.

1000 digital tools

The Ultimate Digital Tools List reached a thousand entries. I’m still unsure what to do with it, other than my creator tech/business models idea, but I’ll continue to add to it in case it becomes useful one day.

#ThingsIveReadRecently

I posted my fourth Twitter thread of things I’ve read recently. Although each one takes a couple of hours but I find it quite useful to look back over the things I’ve read to remind myself why I was interested in it and I hope they are useful for others too.


This week I thought about:

Bricolage

‘Meaning, ‘constructed or created from a diverse range of available things’, bricolage might be the term that describes an idea I have about mixing methods and techniques together. As a ‘digital bricoleur’ we could bring together daily stand-ups from Scrum, storyboarding from Design Sprints, service safari from Service Design, etc., and so construct working practices made up of elements from a diverse range of frameworks and methodologies, each solving identified problems (which is the hard bit).

Why are strategy and tactics seen as opposites?

Sometimes when I hear people talk about strategy and tactics I sense an implication that strategy, and strategic thinking are seen as impressive important things whereas tactics are dismissed as unimportant and not worthy of consideration. I think the real skill of strategic thinking isn’t just in the big ideas and ambitious aims but in how all things are connected. Good strategic thinking is realistic and integrates the details that will make the strategy happen. I feel like there’s a version of S.M.A.R.T. thinking for creating strategy rather than setting objectives.


This week I read:

A body of knowledge

I’ve become a little enthralled with the Digital Practitioner’s Body of Knowledge, not just it’s really well written (it isn’t) but because of the challenge of what it takes to create such a thing. Where would you start with creating ‘a body of knowledge’? How would you decide what to include and what not to? How would you keep it up to date?

Paradox and conflict

Chaordic organisations are “self-organizing, adaptive, nonlinear complex system, whether physical, biological, or social, the behavior of which exhibits characteristics of both order and chaos or loosely translated to business terminology, cooperation and competition.” So many interesting ideas to get into.

The theory of multiple intelligence’s

The theory of multiple intelligence’s challenges the idea that intelligence can be measure linearly (low to high) by a single metric of logical thinking, and we should approaching understanding our intelligence(s) as mixes of visual, social, spatial, etc., intelligence’s. It seems obvious when you think about, but where I think it becomes interesting is in the ways the digital working methods and techniques can be adopted that make greater use of this mix of ways of thinking an learning.

Technological convergence

Technological convergence

Technological convergence, also known as digital convergence, is the tendency for technologies that were originally unrelated to become more closely integrated and even unified as they develop and advance. For example, watches, telephones, television, and computers began as separate and mostly unrelated technologies, but have converged in many ways into interrelated parts of a telecommunication and media industry, sharing common elements of digital electronics and software. The concept is roughly analogous to convergent evolution in biological systems, such that (for example) the ancestors of whales became progressively more like fish in outward form and function, despite not being fish and not coming from a fish lineage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_convergence

Technological platforms: An assessment of the primary types of technological platforms, their strategic issues and their linkages to organizational theory

Technological platforms: An assessment of the primary types of technological platforms,
their strategic issues and their linkages to organizational theory

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50d63bc4e4b0e383f5b2a05a/t/51a826e2e4b05f6bb2434446/1369974498554/Piezunka+-+Technological+Platforms+-+An+assessment+of+the+primary+types+of+technological+platforms%2C+their+strategic+issues+and+their+linkages+to+org+theory.pdf

Culture, technology, and process in ‘media theories’: Toward a shift in the understanding of media in organizational research

Culture, technology, and process in ‘media theories’: Toward a shift in the understanding of media in organizational research

The concept of ‘media’ can provide an anchor point for developing organizational theories about information and communication technologies, materiality, communication, and organizational change. However, to date, organizational research often takes the meaning of the term media for granted. This article
therefore explores various conceptions of media, outlining how such theories can be used for advancing the conception of media in organizational research. Using three ideal-typical branches of conceptions of media, we explore key concerns regarding media in existing literature outside of organizational research. First, the culture and power branch problematizes how cultural practices and power structures are
inscribed through media; second, the technology and infrastructure branch emphasizes the inherent ‘eigenlogik’ of media technology; and third, the process and change branch explores how existing economic and aesthetic conventions in media persist over time. Using organizational media in general and enterprise social media in particular we discuss how each of these three ideal-typical branches offer pathways for organizational research. Specifically we argue for shifting the use of the term media beyond merely describing tools for communication as media theories offer insights for understanding the longterm consequences of materiality and ontological co-constitution within sociomaterial assemblages

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1350508419855702

Business Models and Technological Innovation

Business Models and Technological Innovation

Business models are fundamentally linked with technological innovation, yet the business model construct is essentially separable from technology. We define the business model as a system that solves the problem of identifying who is (or are) the customer(s), engaging with their needs, delivering satisfaction, and monetizing the value. The framework depicts the business model system as a model containing cause and effect relationships, and it provides a basis for classification. We formulate the business model relationship with technology in a two-way manner. First, business models mediate the link between technology and firm performance. Secondly, developing the right technology is a matter of a business model decision regarding openness and user engagement. We suggest research questions both for technology management and innovation, as well as strategy.

https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/5953/1/BadenFullerHaefliger13_openaccess.pdf