Gutless Wonders and the Control Illusion

Ian Davis, previously worldwide MD of McKinsey, once said, “Long-gone is the day of the gut-instinct management style. Today’s business leaders are adopting algorithmic decision-making techniques and using highly sophisticated software to run their organisations.” An astounding example of the control illusion. Nothing sits better in a crisis than intense rationality. Trouble is, we’re deluding ourselves. For one thing – as neuroscientist Antonion Damasio proved by studying people with damage to the part of the brain where emotions are generated – decisions are driven by emotions. With our rational brain... Read The Rest →

Resilience & Adaptability

A while back I posted up this deck on Unleasing Innovation & 21st Century Scale. Unleashing innovation & 21st century scale – Palindromic Queries View more presentations from ResonanceBlog Just thought I’d follow up with a new Palindromic Query: The greater the external influence on something, the more resilient and adaptable it becomes. Consider children, immune systems, evolution, nano-architecture and the way a plant grows thicker on the surface that’s most exposed to the elements. Consider societies or social groups with least external influence and the affect on their resilience... Read The Rest →

It’s My Ass on the Line

When you’re trying to keep up in a fast-changing world, fast is better than slow. Customers expect nothing less than lightning response. Markets demand it. The best people presume it. Most companies aren’t geared up for this accelerating pace, particularly big ones. The result is lack of innovation and too often, slow death. Sometimes sudden death. There are loads of reasons for this. Here are a few: 1. ‘It’s my ass on the line’ syndrome. The biggest symptom of a deep-rooted blame culture, leading to inability to stick your neck... Read The Rest →

From machines to ecosystems

When we talk about thriving in the digital age, we tend to revert to discussing how to leverage social media, mobile and other cool channels. There’s nothing wrong with that (and I do it myself!), but it can be useful to consider the bigger picture now and then. The challenges we face in business are not related to technology, they’re related to human beings. The industrial revolution brought us machines; and with it linear, machine-age thinking, articulated in machine-age language that in turn makes us think more like machines. This... Read The Rest →

Innovation killers

There are two types of company out there: companies who encourage their mavericks and companies who constrict them until they’re forced out (after months, often years, of long-drawn-out subpar productivity). There’s a scary tendency in many companies for the best people – those most likely to produce big leaps forward – to do their innovative stuff under the radar, keeping schtum about their latest super-cool project, in case the powers that be stick their ore in and squish it dead before it’s off the ground. Yes, this is ridiculous. Yes,... Read The Rest →

Heaven for mavericks

Ricardo Semler took over his Dad’s Brazilian business, Semco, in the 80s. Semco now employs over 3,000 people in manufacturing, professional services and high-tech. They increased their annual revenues from $35 million to $165 million between 1994 and 2001. At its peak, there was a 17-month waiting list for the bi-weekly tour of Semco, as corporate leaders from all over the world clamored for a peek at their magic dust. Semco has no org chart, no official structure, no business plan, no company strategy, no 3-year or 5-year plan, no... Read The Rest →

Kill false assumptions & evolve

Many of us are making decisions based on false assumptions every single day. In fact we’re underpinning our businesses, organisations, products and personal lives with false assumptions. We keep on doing things that have been proven wrong, that haven been proven not to work, despite mounting evidence that there’s a better way. Our false assumptions are memes, i.e. viral cultural ideas we pass from human to human, brain to brain (you can read a bit more about memes in my previous post on replicators here). Sometimes we keep spreading memes... Read The Rest →

Markets are conversations… so what? Part II

Following my last post a few folk asked me to expand on how to enable two-way comms. To cut a long story short, if you’re a big company with loads of people wanting to talk, the only way to get scale is to empower your staff to talk to customers. Companies who’ve been around for a long time often can’t see a way to make this happen – or it’s already happening in pockets under the radar and they don’t know how to control it. The important point to remember... Read The Rest →

Rory Sutherland on…. Crowdsourcing

A while ago I interviewed Rory Sutherland on all things collaboration, future-of-the-internet, human behaviour… I’ll chop it up and release as a series of excerpts on various topics. Will try to do one a day. Here goes… first episode on Crowdsourcing. Rory Sutherland on… Crowdsourcing from Jane Young on Vimeo.

Brookside, postboxes & SaaS development

Loads of illuminating analogies have emerged in conversations with Andrew Missingham, but today there’s one in particular that popped up… You may remember when the soap Brookside launched on Channel 4. The storylines were based around folk living in a close of houses. They had some trouble at the outset however, in that script writers realised they hadn’t created enough ‘stock devices’ – places where people could meet that would fuel the dramatic unfolding of events. Their answer was to put a postbox on the street, so residents would accidentally... Read The Rest →

20 questions for agency biz dev

Client development is more important than ever in a business culture that has shifted markedly from hunting mode to farming mode (Seth Godin articulates this shift eloquently in his blog here). I was recently asked to write a biz dev article and thought I’d post up an extract – my list of 20 questions agencies should ask themselves, given that they’re five times more likely to grow existing business than win new (and it’s the only real chance of short term revenue). 1. Do you celebrate those who grow existing... Read The Rest →

Humanity 2.0 on slideshare homepage

Nice one slideshare! “Hey ResonanceBlog! Your presentation Complexity & Humanity 2.0 has been selected amongst the ‘Top Presentations of the Day’ on the SlideShare homepage. Our editorial team would like to thank you for this awesome presentation, that has been chosen from amongst the thousands that are uploaded to SlideShare everday. Congratulations! Have a Great Day! - The SlideShare team p.s. Why not blog/twitter this and let the world know about the masterpiece you have created?”

Adhocracy Vs Bureaucracy

40 years ago, Toffler said, ‘It will be a long time before the last bureaucratic hierarchy is obliterated. For bureaucracies are well suited to tasks that require masses of moderately educated men to perform routine operations.’ Bureaucracy makes sense where no radical change is taking place, but it stands to reason that a startling increase in change in the environment around us calls for a shorter life span of organisational forms. Likewise, hierarchy becomes inefficient when we need more info, more interaction, quicker decision-making, rapid action. There are all sorts... Read The Rest →

Big lumpy clumpy balls of crap

Leading on from the previous post about the coolness of chaos…   Have you ever had to deal with a big lumpy piece of complex old software that was written years ago, then updated countless times, new bits added on, a new guy adding another bit, bolt-ons, sticking plasters and fixes… until it’s a big slow cumbersome piece of crap nobody can change or work with?   That’s pretty much industry as it stands – and other big systems for that matter (e.g. government, education). Since the industrial revolution, we’ve... Read The Rest →

Companies Vs. Tribes

Let’s compare for a moment. You can compare in terms of pretty much anything: efficiency, effectiveness, happiness… Some brief examples: Communications C: Spread from the top down T: Spread from anywhere to everywhere, via the centre Growth C: Recruit from the top, hiring below T: Recruit from anywhere, hiring everywhere Innovation C: Creation from the bottom, managed from the top T: Creation from everywhere, no management needed Bliss C: Everyone spends their time inside the company’s expensive box, developing ideas with others from the same company T: Everyone works from... Read The Rest →

It’s happening (scrmblr style)…

Seth Godin’s recent post here hit the nail on the head. He says ‘TV advertisers are finally discovering that YouTube + viral imagination = free media… The biggest shift is going to be that organizations that could never have afforded a national campaign will suddenly have one. The same way that there’s very little correlation between popular websites and big companies, we’ll see that the most popular commercials get done by little shops that have nothing to lose.’ Funny he should say that. It’s exactly what we Scrmblrs (‘scramblers’) are... Read The Rest →

Are you a Fraggle or a Doozer?

Unlike Fraggles, Doozers love to work all day long; and they hate playing games. With the help of various Doozer machines and vehicles, they build elaborate constructions all over Fraggle Rock, like towers, buildings, roads and bridges. Their building materials, Doozer Sticks, are made of radish dust. Doozer Sticks are the Fraggles’ favorite snack, and they love to eat the buildings that Doozers build. The Doozers don’t mind their buildings being eaten; if the Fraggles didn’t eat the constructions, the Doozers would run out of building space. Doozers and Fraggles... Read The Rest →

More on Punk Capitalism

Someone asked me yesterday what exactly Punk Capitalism means… Punk was all about a DIY revolution, rejecting authority and hierarchy, working for yourself without taking cues from the mass market, setting up businesses that aren’t fussed about competing and place purpose over profit, advocating that we should produce as much as we consume. Nowadays we’re all working more independently and struggle with crappy managers / bosses, we want richer experiences and creativity is our most valuable currency. We’re coming to the end of the Industrial Revolution cycle… the final nails... Read The Rest →

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