Tagged: business

Jennifer Sertl on Design

Jennifer Sertl DesignIt’s “Blog Sunday” (when I do some entries for now and the coming week) but I’m also doing some Clojure coding and watching @Kevlin Henney‘s “The Programmer”. and @Edumund Jackson‘s “Clojure Data Science” So, it seemed apt that I publish Jennifer’s list on Design to keep my “blog pace” up, which is my current experiment…

  1. The Laws of Subtraction changethis.com/manifesto/99.0… … by @MatthewEMay HT @CoCreatr#simplicity
  2. Design Principles Index deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/… via @Deloitte HT @On_the_edge1
  3. Business model visualization rossdawson.com/frameworks/ by @rossdawson
  4. Aligning Personal Development with Business Strategy enlargeexcelevolve.com/2012/12/aligni… my pov with @DrAmitInspires
  5. Strategy + Leadership + Soul agility3r.com/book-section/c… my life’s work~ biz strat + self awareness
  6. Robust internal business design box.com/shared/af7861f… by @Ronald_C_Stern #humanize
  7. Designing A Smart City fastcoexist.com/1680538/what-e… new model bit.ly/157oDwp with @boydcohen & @manuchis #smartcities
  8. Designing the economy with principles of nature yesmagazine.org/issues/what-wo… via @DonRichNet @gideonro
  9. From Ego System to Ecosystem ottoscharmer.com/docs/articles/… by @ottoscharmer1
  10. The #Agile Path to Quality flowchainsensei.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/the… by @flowchainsensei rich resources listed,thx.

An Eastern perspective on Soft Power and Invitation

This post is a precursor to discussion in the Soft Power and Invitation week (which is now – you may have to join to view, but hey – it’s free!) and a follow up from a comment Mark made in his post Soft power & invitation resourceswhich included a reference to the Christian concept of Invitation. I’d broaden this out and add that it’s probably more of a Western concept as in my digging there is remarkably little, but I thought I’d share what I’ve found along with a few personal thoughts. These are based only on my (a Westerner’s) studies, so please feel free to add any other resources, thoughts or whatever in the comments.

Note: There will probably be changes to this as it was a bit rushed



Not an easy topic to google on as there’s a lot of noise. It seems there is a concept of “invitation day” in Buddhism:

Pavarana,Invitation day – which is an opportunity to settle any grievances between monks!

This is explained more formally in the Buddhist Monastic Code II, Chapter 16 – Invitation by Thanissaro Bh…. How this all fits in to our concept of invitation is a challenge left to the reader ;-)

Soft Power

Here, we find much more material as much Chinese philosophy is based upon the concept of “Soft Power”

Sun Tzu

I’m not sure what his “official beliefs” were, but he’s oft quoted mostly in a military perspective. There are a few quotes of his that may apply, especially from Section V – Energy:

6.   Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more

. . .

11. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It is like moving in a circle—you never come to an end. Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?

Lao Tsu

Reputed to of written the Tao Te Ching. So many quotes, so little time… Googling will be your friend here.


Probably the best know text is the Tao Te Ching which starts out “Tao (The Way) that can be spoken of is not the Constant Tao’”. In other words, everything in this book is not really the Constant Tao, it’s just the normal one which is all most people perceive and can understand ;-) It’s still pretty deep though…

You could say that the whole book is about “Soft Power”, but below are a few gems:

Chapter 8

A person of great virtue is like the flowing water.
Water benefits all things and contends not with them.
It puts itself in a place that no one wishes to be and thus is closest to Tao.
A virtuous person is like water which adapts itself to the perfect place.
His mind is like the deep water that is calm and peaceful.
His heart is kind like water that benefits all.
His words are sincere like the constant flow of water.
His governing is natural without desire which is like the softness of water that penetrates through hard rocks.
His work is of talent like the free flow of water.
His movement is of right timing like water that flows smoothly.
A virtuous person never forces his way and hence will not make faults.

Chapter 28

To know the strong masculine principle, yet abide by the gentle female principle is like being the valley of the world where all rivers will flow into.

Chapter 30

Therefore, one who follows the true nature will understand the principle of cause and effect and shall not rely upon the strength of force.
By knowing the effect, thus one will not brag.
By knowing the effect, thus one will not boast.
By knowing the effect, thus one will not become arrogant.
By knowing the effect, although one has no choice, one still abides with the principle of cause and effect and does not resolve into force.

And finally, the last line from the last Chapter 81:

The Way of a saint is to act naturally without contention.

The Shock of the New!

I’ve just been watching The Shock of the New, by Robert Hughes on BBC. The amazing thing that struck me is that although this series was made in 1980, it still applies to whatever buzzword you’re interested in, be it Social Media, Web X.0, Management X.0, Change, Agile, whatever…

This is a timeless series and if you’re at all interested in change and how it impacts society and the people within it then I highly recommend you watch it. Luckily, it’s all on YouTube, so knock yourselves out!

Let’s not Travelodge software development

20120918-190734.jpgAs I tweeted last night, I’m currently staying at the Travelodge for some business. I must admit that I have fond memories of it as a child. Well, there’s another childhood perception blown away! Or not, as it was 40 years ago and I’d like to think they really were better then.

Anyway, to now when I checked in. The first thing that hit me was the smell! It was kind of like mouldy carpet mixed with cheap perfume… I went to the front desk and asked for them to check the room and was told it was the “Travelodge Smell” and perfectly normal, so stayed there. The funny thing was that I managed to get another room today and met the cleaner. I asked her not to “Travelodge Smell” my room (which now doesn’t smell i.e. is quite normal :) – she said no problems and remarked that it smelt like “Old People’s Home” to her anyway. How did they get it so wrong?

So, to the main subject, which is software and process. When I woke in the morning I was thinking how they must of worked out the absolute minimum that people would tolerate: soap that was mostly not soap, toilet paper that was cheaper than cheap, minimum cheap furniture and shelves made from MDF with the tackiest faux wood grain pattern plastic veneer…

THEN IT HIT ME! This was an Lean / Agile hotel room! The customer was not me, it was a corporation that wanted to maximise profit. The only thing they cared about was that I didn’t walk out, but couldn’t give a crap if I enjoyed my stay. How could you in a room like this? Talking with a colleague who was a local about this, he remarked the this place had just had a fit-out, which would explain the amazing space in the rooms. They were built for a previous era, but that had all been rationalised in to a cheap, sterile “sleeping place”. Unfortunately for them, I’ll never book Travelodge again – I normally stay at B&B’s, but fell for a brand that probably decayed a decade or more ago.

So this is mostly what I see in my work – things going to the lowest bidder, supposedly expending the minimal possible effort (but that’s a false economy) to achieve the minimal necessary solution (that’s usually less than adequate) in the minimal time (but that either slips or crucial features are thrown out) with the maximum quality (yeah, right!). But it’s not bad enough for most people to leave whoever it is. They tolerate it because the “competitors” probably have similar crap anyway.

After this rather extensive but passionate rant, I ask the question : “Where are the Quality Hotels in Software ?” What are the Mandarin’s, Four Seasons, Andaz, Armani, Bulgari and Park Hyatt? Whereas you can easily find quality hotels the world over, can we do the same for Software? Apart from Apple, who else comes to mind for quality software? Yes, there are other places like the good ‘ol Aussie Atlassian, but it’s a struggle… Most software for brands is average and probably heading towards Travelodge – is that what we really want?

PS I’m well aware of Agile / Lean practices in theory, but I’m commenting on the reality. Your experience may differ and more power to you if it does! ;-)

The Possibility of Persistence

Morphy Richards Toaster

This morning, when I was making my Toast, I meditated on the controls:

  • There is a ‘darkness’ dial that sets the amount to cook your toast
  • There is a bagel toasting setting, which reduces the intensity of the inside elements
  • Finally, there is an eject button, which terminates the whole process, yet enables re-initiation

I think we have a lot to learn from the humble toaster, namely:

  • Why darkness? Could we surely not calibrate according to the lightness of the toast we want? In today’s new world, the dominant paradigm must be reversed so that the dark is the light. This is a major paradigm shift!
  • Bagel Toasting – it’s really a bit like organisations. Although you want them relatively “well done” on the outside, you don’t want to burn them on the inside. If you do, you won’t be able to make a tasty Bagel – you’ll just get a burnt bun with some food in it. Hint – Google and Microsoft don’t like eating burnt bagels
  • Then there’s the eject button. How often we forget about this. In the new paradigm of hyperdynamic business, this is probably the most crucial control on your toaster. Unfortunately rarely utilised by old world business

To continue with the eject button, this gives us the capability to “inspect” our business in an #Agile manner. If you want to know what’s going on, eject your toast! Not well enough done (or non-light enough)? Simple, put it back in for more cooking.

That’s the benefit of having a toaster, a case study, a role model for what can be done. The fact that it’s been done before means that you can make your own toast! Totally customised by Lightness, Bagel and Ejecting.Salmon Bagel

And it also means that doing something that’s never been done before is even more valuable than you’d guess, because your peers and competitors probably never set the toaster controls the way you did!

With that, I’m off to have my Salmon Bagel…

Hello world! Of Architecture and Change

If you’re interested in IT, Privacy, Science, Maths, Process, Systems (of people and technical), Programming, Organisations and any other topics that grab my attention, then you may want to follow this.

I did have a site called Architectural musings (which I’ll be reposting content from) but thanks to much listening, twittering and thinking I’ve decided to broaden my remit a bit because I do work a lot with change and at the end of the day, most of my architectural work does involve change in some form.

Most of my work is in large corporates, doing either (or both of):

  • Architecture (Yang): Enterprise, Solutions, SOA and Application / Technical (Java & J2EE)
  • Process (Yin): Waterfall, V, Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban and anything else that seems useful

And just like in life, I’m after achieving some sort of balance :-)