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{ Category Archives } Organization

Rethinking organizational functions and components in a freelance economy

An story on NPR this morning about Grind, a new co-working start-up raises some intriguing questions about where¬†organizations may be evolving in an increasingly freelance economy. ¬† JaegerSloan: Workers share office space at Grind, a co-working company in New York City. Those who want to use Grind’s facilities are vetted through a competitive application process. […]

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Defining Characteristics of Wicked Problems

I’m just wrapping up a course I’ve been teaching at DePaul’s School for New Learning on Understanding Organizational Change. I’ve grounded the course in a view of organizations as dynamic systems from the perspective of Jay Forrester, Donella Meadows, and Peter Senge. In the last few sessions, we’ve also been discussing the notion of Wicked […]

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Richard Feynman On The Folly Of Crafting Precise Definitions

I’ve often struggled with the notion of definitions when working in organizations. On the one hand, too many of us hide our ignorance and uncertainty behind a wall of jargon and terminology. Terms fall in and out of favor and their relationship to the underlying real world is often less important than their value from […]

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Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking vs. Continuous Improvement

Russell Ackoff was one of the seminal thinkers in systems models of organization. Here is a short talk of his from 1994 that provides an excellent introduction to the topic. Learning to see and understand the systems behavior of organizations is an excellent antidote to much of the mythology around organizations that functions in lieu […]

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Truth in humor – xkcd on the Chain of Command

I continue to be impressed by the insight and subtlety of the folks who put together xkcd. If you fancy yourself an organizational designer or believe that you are at the top of a food chain, you might want to consider this cartoon:

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Focusing on mission – why asking why is where to start

Morry Fiddler is a friend and one of my personal trusted advisors. During one of our recent breakfasts, he recommended the following TED talk by Simon Sinek on how leaders inspire action.   Since then, I’ve found myself weaving Sinek’s thinking into my own work and recommending it to others. I also made a point […]

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Where IS Health Care Going? Technology Leader’s Presentation

Last week, JoAnn Becker  and I ran an interactive discussion with the monthly TLA Manager’s breakfast meeting here in Chicago. We had a lively and excellent debate among a group of technology executives, health care executives, and other smart people about the real challenges of successfully deploying information technology to improve productivity and quality in […]

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Rethinking thought leadership as an operating principle

Thought leadership risks becoming an empty marketing phrase just as it becomes essential to long term success. In an idea economy more and more firms understand the importance of getting credit for being on the leading edge, but getting credit is best preceded by actually being there. Organizations that depend on generating and exploiting ideas […]

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Applying End-to-End Design Principles in Social Networks

Image via Wikipedia  Andy Lippman, at MIT’s Media Lab, offers provocative examples of learning how to think in network terms when designing services in a recent blog post from the Communications Futures Program at MIT. At the very heart of the Internet’s design is a notion called the end-to-end principle (PDF). The best network is […]

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Does the CIO have a role in successful social media adoption?

Like everyone else who’s awake, my long-time friend and colleague Keri Pearlson and I have been trying to make sense out of the uptake of new "social" technologies into organizations. We are noodling on the hypothesis that the CIO represents the best choice if an organization wants to develop a social technology strategy that is […]

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