This week I did:
Show me the data
Spent some time this week working on data processes and understanding how and where data is collected, processed and stored to see if there is anything we can do to improve the consistency of collection and efficiency of processing without disrupting any existing processes that rely on the data. It could be someone’s life’s work to understand every piece of data from where it starts, where it goes, how it’s used. But not mine. I’ve developed a framework for how we understand different types of data and how the usage of the data defines how generic or specific it is, which helps us understand the best way to collect, process and store it. Given that it’s business critical data this whole piece of work needs greater robustness and consideration, so testing out my thinking by how well the framework (which is really just a visual representation of my thinking) communicates the context for what we design next is important.
Ahead of schedule and on target
I finished analysing the information I collected for my dissertation which puts me a week ahead of schedule. Next is writing a case study from the analysis that ‘builds theory’ around the innovation processes used in charities. And I scored 80 on my last exam (who knew I knew so much about Blockchain) which puts my overall score for the modules (which make up 40% of the overall grade) at 70.1. Right on target. Distinction with the least amount of effort.
Read and listened to this week:
Rethinking your position
The Knowledge Project podcast episode with Adam Grant is the kind of podcast episode you can listen to again and again to get the most out of it.
Charity innovation stuff
I’ve found lots of interesting papers on innovation and the charity sector which don’t fit with my dissertation but which I might come back to, so I’ve added them to the notes section of my website.
And thought about:
Top-down or bottom up?
What’s the best way to plan lots of pieces of work? Should you start at the top with a goal and work down defining the things you need to do to achieve the goal? Or should you start at the bottom with all the work you know about and build up into the categories where things naturally fit? Top-down applies a structure, bottom-up is more emergent. Top-down seems better for planning against external constraints like deadlines, bottom-up seems less likely to miss things and better at spotting connections and dependencies. Anyway, this is the planning tool I want.
How to compare things
We usually leap to doing the thing we need to do rather than figuring out the mental model or thinking process that we need to apply in order to do the thing effectively. Comparing things is an obvious case. We know we need to compare five similar things in order to pick the ‘best’, and we might have a vague, intuitive idea of what ‘best’ might look like based on experience, but we don’t really have any means to judge what makes one nearer to ‘best’ than another. Luckily, there are only two types of comparison to choose from: absolute or relative. Absolute has preset criteria to judge against. Relative compares one thing to another. If you were comparing dogs to see which was the most intelligent you would need an absolute definition for intelligence, and then whichever dog got closest would be the most intelligent. If you were comparing dogs to see which was the biggest, you would compare them relative to each other, you wouldn’t have an external criteria to judge them against. Choosing how to compare things before comparing helps to compare them in the right way.
My masters will be finished in September. Then what? What shall I do with everything I learned about innovation and how it’s used in the charity sector?
This week I’m grateful for:
The open and creative thinking of some of my colleagues as we’ve explored the way forward for projects. They’ve given me the space to work through my thinking about things rather than requiring the single right answer.
My growth area this week:
Always being right
I’ve started to realise how much I try to prove that I’m right. So, personal kaizen, what 1% improvement can I make on this? I’m going to start by trying to build my self-awareness of it, try to catch myself doing it, and maybe keep a note of the situations it occurs in, asking myself ‘What problem am I solving for this person?’, to help me understand if the stuff I’m saying is for them or for me.