It’s the People, Not the System

Nice blog from a dude who sides software development project management, having a good critical think about Deming and the 95/5 thing!

A Matter of Life and Death

Best one I’ve read in a while, but then, regrading the topic, I am well and truly biased!

quantum shifting

Why would the whole of the Universe be a complex, self-organising and interdependent system, and a business be a top-down, controlled machine?  Why would the entire Universe be subject to the laws of Nature, and business, not?  It’s almost as some businesses they think they exist in some bubble, where the laws of nature are turned away by some bouncer: “You can’t come in here with that gravity.  Second Law of Thermodynamics?  Not in here, sunny Jim.”

My favourite programmes on telly are the ones about the universe and how it came to be.  One I was watching recently had a theme of complexity and order: how order arose out of the chaos of the Big Bang and formed some of the most beautiful sights in our solar system, such as Saturn’s rings.  The narrator kept describing the wonders of the solar system as complex and marvelled at how it…

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Complex domain: Dave Snowden does more loveliness!

Can your brain have an orgasm on its own?

I do like this sort of Cartesian analysis, I think it suits my particular form of autism. I can’t help thinking it has been drawn the wrong way round. If you did a mirror image across the line of coherence, you could slot this into the other sub domain models.

For me, in the complex domain, certainty amongst the cognoscenti is as far from disorder as you can get, organisational cognitive dissonance perhaps. Whereas “knowing something that just ain’t so”, is the strategic surprise. Or just aesthetic proselytism from the gently bewildered leadershippers.

I’m now thinking that you’ve mapped it this way round deliberately so numpties like me don’t naively slot the ubermodels together?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming – the 1970s neurobollocks that just refuses to die

Yet more genius from Neurobollocks, picking on the classic pseudoscience of bollocks coffee-shop psychology with the prefix “neuro” nailed on the front in an attempt to polish a turd.

My question to all the NLPers … “55% of what exactly and I mean exactly not 54% or 56%, come on, I dare you, I have amassed copies of the original observations, come on, you yes you, no not somebody else, you, I know you’re reading this, I’m tracking you, answer the question, come on, you know really, you do, you know that you don’t really believe it, you’re just conning yourself aren’t you, it makes you feel comfortable, you can pretend to ignore your own anxiety, that you can control the world around you, come on, 55% of what, exactly?”


Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was invented in the mid-70s by Richard Bandler (a psychology and philosophy graduate) and John Grinder (a linguist). It originally grew out of observations made in therapy, and a metaphorical extension of some of the concepts of Chomsky’s transformational grammar. In the fertile grounds of the 70s Californian therapy and self-help movement, it soon blossomed into a multi-faceted set of techniques and philosophies. By the 80s it was being widely touted as a novel therapy technique and attracted some serious attention from researchers. However it was relatively quickly understood that there was no empirical basis for its key claims, and as its practitioners began to make ever more outlandish claims, serious interest from professionals waned.

This didn’t stop the NLP-faithful though. People like Tony Robbins (who studied with Bandler) made incredibly successful careers out of the motivational speaking/books circuit.  Despite this undeniable popular appeal, NLP is nowadays…

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The Living Dead

Another smashing little ensemble of words and ideas from ThinkPurpose. Inspiration is a wonderful and powerful thing, but why does it do its thing so well in the early hours of the morning. Theory Y perhaps … Theory Z is getting up out of bed and doing something useful with it.



The key sentence is the very first one, “Unless in a job they feel genuinely passionate about“. That first sentence sets the scene, this is how humans behave in that scene. Create a different scene, where people CAN feel passionate, then they are different people.

Create a Theory X environment, where you assume people are lazy and need poking with sticks to do work…then they will need pokey sticks, in one I have personally done about 1 years work in the last 7 years.

Create a Theory Y environment, where autonomy, mastery and purpose are designed into the work, then you wouldn’t find ANY of those people described above. Same names, different people. In Theory Y environments, I don’t even realise that I am working. I am typing this at 2:51am. This is not what lazy people do, but watch me doing the quarter 4 performance report next…

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I do like the correction of assumption in here. Throughout history those few lucky ones up top justify their imposition of rule with the mantra that the only alternative to control is the damnation of chaos. It would appear that there is another way, somewhere ambiguously in between. It turns out that the self-organising grey, is more sophisticated than the black or the white.

Esko Kilpi on Interactive Value Creation

Many people say that open source software developers have the most efficient ecosystems for learning that have ever existed. What is it, then, that is so special about the way developers do things? Is there something that could act as a model for the future of work, or the future of education?

What takes place in open source projects is typically not the result of choices made by a few (powerful) people that others blindly implement. Instead, what emerges is the consequence of the choices of all involved in the whole interconnected network, “the connective“, as Stowe Boyd puts it. What happens does not follow exactly a plan or a design, what happens emerges. It is about the hard to understand process of self-organization.

We still don’t quite understand what emergence and self-organization mean. The problem is that we believe that the unit of work is the independent…

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