Friday, August 29, 2008

The Superheroes

For the last week I have been playing on a Leadership Exchange and whilst I am not going to go into my frustrations with the Mice right now, I will introduce you to my little friends...

Introducing Captain Common Sense, Logic Man and Sir Sarcastic... feel free to call on them as you need.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Serendipity Award

As promised, my thoughts on balancing the Government's responsibility for encouraging Industry to invest in their own R&D...

The Serendipity Award draws on the anomaly that most significant discoveries happen by accident but also whilst searching for something else. This interesting pattern could be seen as a risk for an industry engaging in their own R&D, not knowing where the real research could lead. Now maybe I have misdiagnosed this, but I think that this leads to companies not really digging deep and investing in research instead just merely fiddling in the margins.

I believe that the Serendipity Award should be a commercialisation fund available for any company to submit an emerging technology that they have stumbled across. The constraints on this prize would be that the technology is not able to be commercialised by the industry in which it was discovered.

Now the commercialisation fund, could be formed by volunteer companies who have an interest in recieving the IP/technology. So as you might be able to foresee, the real strength in this venture would be in the networking of organisations interested in the development of technologies here in Australia.


HECS and beyond

Given that it seems the Government is comfortable grandfathering industry why not then guarantee loans for Social Good/National Need.

I refer to the HECS system in Australia whereby students may defer their tertiary study fees until an income point at which they must repay the debt through the Taxation System. Now there are some important factors in this system, such as the debt is indexed to inflation hence is not subject to interest and is only payable whilst the debtholder is earning above a threshold. This ensures that the individual can pursue whatever career they choose with a reduced upfront cost.

I propose that R&D companies and/or other social good/national need organisations be able to avail themselves of similar loans, which are only repayable via success... I would further challenge government to influence companies to invest in their own R&D through a Serendipity prize... but more on that to come...

Monday, August 25, 2008

That is not a sport...

It is an age old debate usually sparked in the second week of the Olympics... Generally during the Synchronised Swimming.

Personally, (is there any other kind?) I think this idea should go further... Anything without direct competition gets scratched. Subjective artistic components annoy me, and frankly what is a perfect ten? and what happens when someone does it better?

Don't get me wrong... They are impressive and there is no freaking way that I could do a tenth of that with my body but without direct competition, bias must play a role. Would the world really miss Rhythmic Gymnastics, Synchronised Swimming and Equestrian from the Olympics? For mine, they have a place it is just not the Olympics...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life's Soundtrack

Iain put me on to this... Basically, you have to pick an album for each year that you have been alive and you can't double up on artists...

I found it really hard to keep it down to one album and using the artist once but here is my bash at it...

1981: Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes

1982: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Midnight Oil

1983: Eliminator - ZZ Top

1984: Too Tough To Die - The Ramones

1985: Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits

1986: On the Beach - Chris Rea

1987: Strangeways, Here We Come - The Smiths

1988: Travelling Wilburys 1 - Travelling Wilburys.

1989: Stone Roses - Stone Roses

1990: Empire - Queensryche

1991: Ten - Pearl Jam

1992: Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against The Machine

1993: Siamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins

1994: Smash - Offspring

1995: Alice in Chains - Alice in Chains

1996: Hourly, Daily - You Am I

1997: Sehnsucht - Rammstein

1998: John Butler Trio - John Butler Trio

1999: Beautiful Sharks - Something For Kate

2000: Mer de Noms - A Perfect Circle

2001: Lateralus - Tool

2002: Songs for the Deaf - Queens of the Stone Age

2003: Sleeping with Ghosts - Placebo

2004: Antics - Interpol

2005: Silent Alarm -Bloc Party

2006: Orphans: Bawlers, Brawlers & Bastards - Tom Waits

2007: Because of the Times - Kings of Leon

2008: In Silico - Pendulum

Monday, August 18, 2008

On the Road Again

As I am about to head to the Airport and sit in the QANTAS Club one more time... I wonder how my odds are looking.

All going well, I will see you soon Canberra for a healthy(?) dose of change and project management

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Yin-Yang of it

Alot of organisational change and focus is centred in Changing the Culture in a so-called positive way. I put to you the traditional change management principles of conversion through enthusiastic souls. By this I mean identifying Change Champions, and influencing Opinion Leaders and so forth. When the process is called out in this way, it sounds kind of sinister... In fact it reminds me of an atheist tale.

So then what of the counter-culture (I am looking for a better name for it)? We kind of know about this, I mean our anxiety must on average be correct some of the time when we suspect that everything is not fine... That sometimes the attitude at the proverbial watercooler is a little different to the 'Everything is awesome, Boss'... So what of this counter culture?

The current approach is to first try to convert them, picking off the weaker resistors, then claim the remaining Neutral ones and cry VICTORY in the name of Goodness!

I pose that the counterculture is equal in importance and represent some different views, are you so sure that your plan can withstand the critique? If not, then allow the plan to be improved... If so put it to the test... How? Encourage the questions...

To what end? We seem to be comfortable that things find their equilibrium, yet for some reason in organisations we engage in change that is out of balance...

Equilibrium does not mean stagnation, I think if we look around everything is changing and rebalancing thus why should an organisation be different? At any given time a thing may be in balance but over time it responds to its environment, thus change is inevitable...

So my thoughts are to embrace this so-thought darker side, otherwise an equal and opposite force will meet you in a less favourable way.

An Injection of Ethics

On listening to Hack, in a seemingly vain attempt to catch up on my Podcasts, I thought of the dilemma faced around lethal injection.

It is claimed that often the injections is administered by Prison Guards or Executioners with no medical training. The injections are made of three stages, 1st (Sodium Thiopental) to induce Coma, 2nd (Pancuronium) stops muscles including Diaphragm (i.e. This will kill you) and 3rd (Potassium Chloride) stops the heart. You could possibly see that this isn't exactly a layperson activity.

The reason given for this is that for a Doctor to engage in this work would be a violation of the hippocratic oath... Yet most States require a Doctor to be present to certify Death.

Hmmm, one might see something wrong if the qualified people refusing to conduct the procedures...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Asian History - China Olympics

I think that is obligatory to have at least one post on the Olympics... So I considered a piece on National Pride or the perceived injustices. But that might just be a little too cliched...

I can't let the opportunity go by to commiserate with Oenone on her Road Race and wish her the best in the Time Trial today. But really, I think I need to comment on the Opening Ceremony. What a fantasticly rich series of metaphors to depict a 5000 year history.

The easy line might be to criticise the closed media or ridicule the one-eyed bias of the show. But instead I will honestly own up to not knowing enough about Asian history and I consider this the motivation to learn more

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Innovation is not subsidising Corporate R&D

I recall the debates over Digital TV in 1998 here in Australia, and Government was faced with mandating not only a rollout period but a format for delivery. To grossly simplify, the choices were between Broad- and Datacasting. Datacasting would move Australia to the forefront of the Information Age. Datacasting essentially allows the consumer to pull the program at their leisure looking like a souped up version of i-view rather than the Broadcast model which centrally controls what and when is available to be consumed, just a digitisation of the contemporary system. One might see that an investment in such a program might have helped our lagging broadband issue...

I raise this in light of some more myopic Australian Innovation Sponsorship... take our stance on environmental technologies. Once again it appears our government chooses to support the Commercially-favourable technologies over real innovation. Surely government should be investing in potentials and not the R&D budgets of Industry.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Multiple Ontologies

I found this and this through Skepchick (though I am not sure how I got to her blog).

The issue of education of children (and extrapolate as you will) is one that I hold dear. As a child I fought tooth and nail to not be forced to attend Religious Education. Now in retrospect, I was only ever fighting the fact that I was being forced to attend. I had chosen not to attend because the presenters of the material were unable to satisfy my curiousity about inconsistencies.

So how do these tales tie together? My $0.02 would argue that the role of educators is to provide balanced education in as many fields as the professional educators can provide. I think the role of the parent in this is to guide how a child interacts with the knowledge. Surely, no censorship but guided education is far more worthy in the pursuit of excellence?

I think that by providing rounded education de-politicises the curriculum and encourages everyone to their role. Thus religion in education is 'studied' not practiced allowing exposure to the gamit of Dahmic, Abrahamic, atheist and other schools of thought (faith) which would surely assist intuiting tolerance.

Maybe the real fear here is that children may find joy in the multiple moral tales available to them...

Friday, August 8, 2008


I am not one to give out too many compliments, but I guess this case is special coz I also don't like to agree with the crowd. With this in mind, I have to take my hat off to Defence's CIO who's efforts have notedly changed the direction of CIOG over his tenure. I have no doubt that the tides had started to move under Monaghan, but I must say that the improvements in the Restricted Network has been phenomenal under Farr...

But it is a long way from being able to significantly input to Network-Centricity. A move toward being a Defence Capability with a tad of change management project could allow CIOG to drive Defence technology innovation.

If there were a Change Management Project underway somewhere, potentially dropping CIOG a copy of the Guide could help to allow the use of freeware in locally supervised sandboxes.

Help us if they think we are ready for this

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Military Matters

Those of you who have not checked out Hollowmen yet, get there!

Wednesday's episode was a classic about Defence Recruiting


Apparently my likelihood of being FEMALE is 47% Likelihood and of being MALE is 53%

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

On the Cognitive Edge Course...

Through the Blogsphere I stumbled across a Course mate which inspired me to Blog in a similar vain.

I really liked Brad's list but I modified it slighly to a list of thought fragments inspired by the course:

  • Politicians intuitively get complexity but expect Categorisation and Analysis from Public Servants
  • Communities of Practice need to emerge not be formed
  • Treat Data like a Crime Scene
  • Formulate the hypothesis from the data
  • Don't Pareto-ise
  • Thoughts are stored as fragments but through telling and re-telling of experiences links
    (tags) grow with other fragments - leading to retrospective coherence.
  • Training Stories form the ID of the organisation
  • Replicate the Starting Conditions not the End
  • Encourage positive trends and dampen the negative
  • Manage the workplace not the work
  • Consider the Roles (Crews) in an organisation (Loki, Journeyman, Master, Apprentice, White & Black Knights)
I have quite a good set of notes for my disordered mind and many ideas for application and development. I am keen to try the extant methods but can't help but to think that everything has changed. The principles of the Cognitive Edge experience have formed a strange attractor...

And finally, to vehemently agree with Brad (paraphrased):
my favourite line, “cynics are the people who care about the organisation”, since they are the ones looking for a better way to improve their organisations (ere, ere!).

jokes as a form of story telling?


I recall as a high school student being allowed to do work experience at the Gympie station of the Queensland Ambulance Service. The majority of the work was mundane but I did get to spend sometime with an early form of mentor. He and I had a discussion at one point about hierarchies and how people will go and look for a 'person in charge'. he observed a similar behaviour through his experience that went something like

'... we were out at a crash scene and this was after we had change our rank insignia to all look the same. It seemed that people would go up to the oldest looking member of the team to ask questions but in fact he was only qualified as a driver and not really able to help with the queries.'

I think that hierarchies are a natural thing that we rely on and are probably linked to our idea of family that in case of emergency head toward the grey hair. But there are always exceptions known experts (medicine men), known Confidence men (Charlatans), Dominant types (Alpha) and influencers (the King's Physician). I think that these roles tie into crews but I will await Dave's thoughts to fully emerge before I come back to my application. I think that these roles run deep... and can be used in many and varied ways

With all of this in mind, I was told by a friend that when I see anything to do with the Public Sector (particularly the Military) I just zone out thinking it is not relevant? I would really like to hear some thoughts on matrix organisations and hidden hierarchies formation?

Mind you I don't think that all of the archetypes are brought out in the open when the hierarchy is ritualised it just gives you a map.

The journey not the end...

If I were to tell you a story of a Superhero, you would expect a villain. And there would always be a villain or else the Superhero would become the villain and the people (police, DA etc) take the role of Superhero. (I am aware that this is more eloquently put by Harvey Dent in the Dark Knight)

Thus we have centered stories on a co-emergence for as long as Hero stories have been told... and even in Newtonian physics forces were described in this fashion. So why then do we engage in behaviours and expect it to asymmetrical benefits in the long term? If Lean is the Hero, who is the Villain?

And then there is from Villian to Hero

To draw on my observations... During a tender for outsourcing, a service provider may be able to underbid the incumbent which is a fantastic proposition (unless it is your job, but you will probably work for the outsource company anyway). But once the tenderer is selected what then occurs? the environmental constraints have changed and thus a lack of competition ensues and the performance adjusts the old environment and you run out of TP. So surely one might be able to see that the state of competition is in fact the better option and not the selection of the winner. I think that an attitude closer to this might allow us to avoid prescriptive recipe books like six stigma (Sorry Dave, I had to steal that... You can have Pathological Deconstruction)

I take this as not a mere coincidence but a fault of replicating the end conditions.

Or am I being too yin & yang?