INTRODUCING: musings|half-baked… ‘who should run the world and why’

Introducing ‘musings: half-baked

This is a new category, in some ways going back to my original idea of a scrapbook in the form of a blog. So half-baked musings are scraps of thinking, that I might do something with, or might pique my or someone else’s interest.

So here is the first one, file under ‘who should run the world and why’.

Very cool lady judge presiding over the Pistorius case. I’m going to extend the ‘the world should be run by 8 year old girls’ to include ‘successful black women of pensionable age’ (context: where black is an oppressed group within the dominant societies on this planet. Your culture may vary. May contain traces of nuts).

Despite being jovially couched, this is a serious notion. Its about experiences and perspectives. Its an idea emerging, slowly.

The idea is to specify, in a quasi-scientific manner, the ‘necessary and sufficient conditions’ for a thing. In this case ‘running the world nicely’. It’s like a concept car for management systems thinkers.

Judge MasipaArticle is from yesterday's 'i'

			

KIND THINKER OUT IN THE WORLD: an elegy for Perry Else

KIND THINKER OUT IN THE WORLD

 

Kind thinker, out in

the world, away 

from the white towers; 

down by the riv’r.

Forthright, flexible and firm — 

the three frees.

Living, in the realm

of the possible:

not ‘they should’, only

‘well, maybe we can…’ 

Else we forget, the

value of play

and the value of

his playful life.

Arthur Battram

10:26 AM, Thursday, June 12, 2014, revised 2:02 PM  Friday, September 5, 2014 , and again so the scansion is better Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 2:04 PM.

A fitting obituary is here:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/people/obituaries/perry-else-1959-2014/2013792.article

what we lose when when we fear prolixity and live brevity

Nobody wants to be ‘that guy’ who goes on and on.  Besides, one-liners are cool.

So if you have a lot to say, maybe you should blog (kettle? black?)? Of course, that’s why I do – right now I’m channelling Seth Godin.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Yet sometimes extreme brevity is uncool. Like:

  1. More haste, less speed.
    1. Oh boy. A work colleague sends you an email. It’s 3 words. It might be ambiguous, so at the risk of looking a bit silly, you reply asking: Did you mean x or y? they reply, tersely, in what appears to be confirmation. So you then say: So what we are saying is the blah blah is x and not y because of [reason]. You don’t need me to tell you how much longer that took.
    2. And multitasking is a myth. Every time the inbox pings, your concentration on that important thing pings away. Hey.
  2.  Some things can’t be explained in a text, or a one-line email.
    1. Like love, or systems.
    2. Or why?  why usually needs space, which, increasingly, we ‘don’t have time for’.

Call me Captain Prolixity, for reasons that you don’t have time for.

REGENERATING THE PUBLIC REALM: Blenders, babysitters and burglars! – connecting neighbours in unexpected ways – Playing Out

“For my street – and the others who have shared their experiences – new and rich connections have grown from sharing time and fun on the street during playing out sessions. And they have changed the way I feel about living here for the better.”

We know more about regenerating a rainforest or a prairie than we do about regenerating the public realm.

We really need to get out more.

And we really need to study more.

PlayingOut, is one neccesary, but—of course—of itself, insufficient condition for this regeneration of  the public realm to take place. Pun placed intentionally!

Read and follow their excellent bloggery.

via Blenders, babysitters and burglars! – connecting neighbours in unexpected ways – Playing Out.

“Work is about a daily search for meaning as well as daily bread…”

As some of you may know, I am a huge fan of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple.

(I still respect him, but I’m no longer a fan of Apple’s products. Not since MacOS 10.4 in 2005. Just so you know I’m not a blinkered fanboy.)

Now, here’s one reason why I rate Jobs, which you can file under: “Insanely Great!” his most famous catchphrase.

When the Mac was produced in 1984, he insisted, at significant extra cost, in having the names of all the engineers who designed it engraved INSIDE the case, where almost nobody would ever see those names. I was lucky enough to see them, because I once watched an engineer remove the casing. (Oh yes, circuit boards can be beautiful, why are most of them ugly?)

You can also file under: respect for the dignity of the work of other human beings.

Which leads me on to my next couple of stories.

Studs Terkel has been described as a historian and a sociologist but he prefers to call himself a “guerrilla journalist with a tape recorder.” He created controversy we’re told when Tony Blair resigned and he asked: “Why was he such a house-boy for Bush?” Studs Terkel died in his Chicago home on 31st October, 2008 at the age of ninety-six. He asked that his epitaph should be: “Curiosity did not kill this cat.”

He said:

“When you become part of something, in some way you count. It could be a march; it could be a rally, even a brief one. You’re part of something, and you suddenly realize you count. To count is very important.”

Working (1974), is his account of people’s working lives. Terkel wrote:

“Work is about

a daily search for meaning

as well as daily bread,

for recognition

as well as cash,

for astonishment

rather than torpor,

in short for a sort of life,

rather than a

Monday-to-Friday

sort of dying.”

This is an edited excerpt from the interview that opens the book:

(Mike LeFevre was thirty-seven in 1972). He works in a steel mill. On occasion, his wife Carol works as a waitress in a neighborhood restaurant; otherwise, she is at home, caring for their two small children, a girl and a boy...

“You don’t see where nothing goes. I got chewed out by my foreman once. He said, “Mike, you’re a good worker but you have a bad attitude.” My attitude is that I don’t get excited about my job. I do my work but I don’t say whoopee-doo.
The day I get excited about my job is the day I go to a head shrinker. How are you gonna get excited about pullin’ steel? How are you gonna get excited when you’re tired and want to sit down? It’s not just the work. Somebody built the pyramids. Somebody’s going to build something. Pyramids, Empire State Building-these things just don’t happen. There’s hard work behind it. I would like to see a building, say, the Empire State, I would like to see on one side of it a foot-wide strip from top to bottom with the name of every bricklayer, the name of every electrician, with all the names. So when a guy walked by, he could take his son and say, “See, that’s me over there on the forty-fifth floor. I put the steel beam in.” Picasso can point to a painting. What can I point to? A writer can point to a book. Everybody should have something to point to.”

~

taken from this PDF which I found on the net,

so you can too: StudyGuide-Working.pdf

A Study Guide Of WORKING

From the Book by Studs Terkel

Adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso

Original Production Directed By Stephen Schwartz

FORT WAYNE CIVIC THEATRE

IN THE WINGS Arts-In-Education Program

PERFORMANCES FOR SCHOOLS

AND SOCIAL SERVICES

Saturday, May 8, 2009 @ 2:00 p.m.

Out of sight, out of mind, out of the brain of Mr Chown, for your reading pleasure

Out of sight, out of mind.

Excellent blog by the wise Mr Chown. Sample quotes:

20 years on I still see signs of children playing out, unnoticed by adults. Surveys and questionnaires provide only a partial picture of children’s independent mobility. We need more direct observation and engagement with children and families in their own neighbourhoods, not just in schools, if we are to create policies to support children playing out and to measure their success.”

‘We have given up haunting the places where children play, we no longer have eyes for their games, and not noticing them suppose they have vanished’. Children’s Games in Street and Playground – Iona and Peter Opie.”

Out of sight, out of mind.

Calm is the lamp and insight is the light | THINKING ABOUT DESIGNING                         

I’m  working my way through this:

http://hackdesign.org/lesson/0/   (It’s free, you can too)        

and I’m currently designing some training materials, AND I’m currently designing some events/interventions/processes. I’m avoiding the t-word, because this is not training, this is not teaching,

This IS about

HELPING people

THINK about and

WORK out

WHAT

they are going to

DO

So, I’m watching the superb movie ‘Objectified’, (you can too, it’s free) and the first clip features Dieter Rams, who designed my Braun alarm clock, which has sat by my bedside for maybe THIRTY years, talking about bonsai, and the second clip features Jonny Ive of Apple talking about designing processes, not just objects: about wanting to produce something that isn’t all hysterical and gosh-wow about what it does and how heroic the designers were but rather, something that is calm and considered, and isn’t even there when it doesn’t need to be, something that is both almost inevitable and almost not designed. He gives us the example of the tiny, slowly pulsing sleep indicator light on the front edge of a MacBook, which is only visible when the machine is charged and not in use.

macbook air side view

macbook air

And my calendar today informs me that:

“Calm is the lamp and insight is the light.”

Hui-Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen     

lamp and light

lamp and light

Better: doing better on the interweb

http://www.merlinmann.com/better/

He talks about doing all this interweb, blogging, facebook, wwifling*, with more care and attention, better editing, more work, more attention to detail:

BETTER.

He says more than that, he also says why.

I’m going to try to follow his example.

Have a look.

~• posted from the annoyingly buggy but still quite handy WordPress for Android; so please excuse any ‘smart’ phone typos •~

~~~ I'D LIKE TO HAVE SEEN BASHO AT…

~~~

I’D LIKE TO HAVE SEEN,
BASHO AT WORK IN 1674,
WHEN HE RAN,
THE ‘EDO PREFECTURE CHILDREN’S PLAY GARDEN #8’,
.

~~~

I’d like to have seen Basho at work when he ran ‘Edo Prefecture Children’s Play Garden #8’ in 1674.

He was only there for two years. Argument with management.

Here is a reasonably-well transliterified version of what he wrote, 300 years ago, in a different language, on the other side of your planet:

the first cold rainstorm –

even the monkey seems to want

a little straw raincoat

Basho (1644 – 1694)

That seems an apposite haiku for the cold winter of our dis-affluence and the cold winter of our weather.

Don’t read on, I talk about poetry!

  • too late!

Here is another (older?), version:

Winter downpour
even the monkey
needs a raincoat

Although, I, being both a haiku ponce and nerd, prefer the first version:

The first cold rainstorm:
Even the monkey seems to want
a little straw raincoat.

And notice that I replaced that softer colon with a minidash, to honour the ‘cutting’ of the rules of haiku.*

The first translitation gets to the point, and enables the non-Japanese to ‘get it’, sort of, but Basho is being more specific and allusive (and ill- and el -usive) when he describes the first cold rain and the onset of winter in japan.

Japan is on the same latitude —or is it longi- ?— same -tude, anyway, meaning same distance above equator as the UK, but much colder, because it has no gulf stream, is an island chain in deep ocean not on a continental shelf, and has Siberia and Alaska as cold and distant neighbours.

And Basho would never presume to know what the monkey needs or wants.

Like Wittgenstein, he wouldn’t presume to know what a monkey might say, even if a monkey could speak English (or Japanese), he would merely offer a tentative finger pointing to a possibility…

A bit like a good playworker gently deflecting a child’s request to draw her a picture of a house (except when we don’t deflect, added a wiser playworker).

He might want to make a toothpick from the straw of the coat, or, he might want want to…

This exquisite ‘tentativity’ (!) is present in Basho almost always. And in good playworkers often.

I’d like to have seen Basho at work when he ran ‘Edo Prefecture Children’s Play Garden #8’ in 1674.

footlike notational bottom matter:

  • rules of haiku.

There are several schools, on a continuum. One extreme is the ‘It has to have 17 syllables’ school: this is stupid for about 37 reasons (yes, ask me at break). The other is the ‘Just write what you feel, maan and arrange it like a poem, like’. That one is stupid as well, not in 37 small ways but in a 3 bigger ways.

I like to think I fall between two schools, because I don’t own a chair and I’m on the edge of both their catchment areas. But check out my SATs.**

footlike feetnote to the foot above:

  • SATs

My new acronym for SOCIAL ARGUMENT TECHNOLOGY, which is my NEW management methodology.

A NICE CUP OF TEA AND A SATDOWN (was Mary Portas thinks we need high street management)

Mary Portas thinks we need high-street management teams to reverse the decline of the high street.

Yes folks, Mary Portas thinks we need more managers.

That’s right, folks, Mary Portas thinks managers make things better.

Aaaw, bless.

…tbc…

oh…hold on…

She’s not saying that. the headline is crass. blame the media, for, she’s not saying that. the headline is crass. oversimplifying. its what they do. bears say mass in the woods, popes use improvised woodland latrines, and the media sensationalise, simplify and distort. duh.

now

you really shouldn’t let me listen to the ‘Today’ programme

(its on Radio 4 in the morning, pre-9 am, folks, if you are instead listening to banging chewns on Radio Noise FM)

why not? why shouldn’t arthur be allowed to listen to ‘Today’?

because he rants off like this.
so

Mary Portas is on the radio. I am shouting at the radio, because she is right, and WRONG!

2 points:

1. not that kind of manager!

memo to self – write a piece on kids of managers, good non-managerialist managers versus bad managerialist managers. need to do this soon, before I get attacked by managers.\\

2. she thinks the goal should be footfall.

It’s not about bring back shops or less supermarkets its about do anything to get more feet on the street. and its not about organic markets its about barnsley market

I agree.

3. ANDNOTBUT

AND

she then goes on to say ‘so we have to relax planning laws’.

AARGH. ‘FREE UP SOME OF RED TAPE.’

why aargh?

because its the old mistake, good understanding, rubbish solution.

Mary Portas, has, I reckon, got a good understanding of what went wrong, and has been convinced to support a certain solution (relax planning law).

Who thinks letting developers do what they like is a good idea? no one, apart from developers, their partners and the politicians who are their paid-for friend (who thinks spending more on youth clubs? no one except, youth, unemployed youth workers, and the national yoof bureau). That won’t happen , because youth clubs HAVE NO INFLUENCE. Who thinks we should spend more on under 5s? on adventure playgrounds? you get the drift)

so

Oldest game in the book: analyse a complex problem, do a good job, then allow vested interests to pick one solution.

newsflash: if a problem is complex, rather than complicated or simple or wicked, THERE IS NO ONE SOLUTION.

(I wrote a book about this – ‘Navigating Complexity: the essential guide to complexity theory in business and management’.that book sort of scratched the surface. since then, 15 years ago, some smarter management consultant than me have deveoped some useful tools. ASK ME )

so

if you only implement one solution to a complex problem, then it won’t work and you are wrong.

simples,

that’s what we got from Labour with Surestart and family tax credit. That’s what Alan Milburn MP ex-Labour minister of something, thinks (also on radio just now). Alan thinks we need to spend more on under-5s services. Great analysis, Alan, wrong answer because it’s a single solution to a complex problem. These won’t go away. the world is ever more complex.

So are we all doomed? nope, probably. What is to be done?

Well, how about ‘SOCIAL ARGUMENT TECHNOLOGY’.

What is that? it is a way of working together to work on complex problems. it is a methodology by which 70 people could meet for 4 hours (Watford BGOP workshop 1999) and everybody could be heard and the complex problem better understood. When they next meet they could come up with some small actions to take. and so on. No big single wrong answer, many small answers, some of which will work, some of which won’t.

The process has a simple acronym, MLTQ: ‘many little things quickly’ (technically MLTQfb, fb = fed back, abbreviated to be reminiscent of TQM).

Who needs ‘SOCIAL ARGUMENT TECHNOLOGY’?

Everybody, but specifically small movements with no money who want to make a difference, like the UK Play lobby.

I will write more about SAT (Social Argument Technology), but for now I will merely point out, that some wise person, probably your mum, said there are few problems that can’t be made better with a nice cup of tea and a sit down (and biscuits). Heck, there’s even a website for that, because there is now a WEBSITE FOR EVERYTHING:

http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/

I’m saying that complex problems can only be made better with a nice cup of tea and a SAT down. and biscuits.

what is a ‘SATdown’?

it is a special meeting, in which we sit down together and use Social Argument Technology to have an arguement, nicely, listening to each other, not focussing on anyone problem or anyone solution, and stuff like that.

more on SAT later.

ASK ME.

———————————————————————————–

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/11/mary-portas-high-street-management-teams

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‘access is better than ownership’ 7 Ways to Have More by Owning Less

 

 

“Stuff. We all accumulate it and eventually form all kinds of emotional attachments to it. (Arguably, because the marketing machine of the 20th century has conditioned us to do so.) But digital platforms and cloud-based tools are making it increasingly easy to have all the things we want without actually owning them. Because, as Wired founder and notable futurist Kevin Kelly once put it, “access is better than ownership.” Here are seven services that help shrink your carbon footprint, lighten your economic load and generally liberate you from the shackles of stuff through the power of sharing.”

 

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2010/08/30/7-ways-to-have-more-by-owning-less/

One set of rules for the rich, and another for the rest of us

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/amol-rajan-after-the-capitalist-banquets-its-time-for-humble-pie-6258945.html

”If corruption means anything, it means buying immunity from the law. The protesters occupying temples of capitalism around the world might be an incoherent bunch – more obviously against the present than in favour of a different future – but there is great solidarity with them in Western democracies, because it increasingly feels like it’s one set of rules for the rich, and another for the rest of us.“

I like Amol Rajan, more and more. This is the guy who started being an unofficial bus conductor (shouting ‘Room at the back!) because he was sick of bus drivers not letting people on because the sheep hadn’t ‘moved down the bus’.

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/07/20/the-moral-abdications-that-lead-to-empty-rush-hour-buses-and-my-big-society-solution

Observe this, unintended systemic consequence fans: one-man* buses not only increased unemployment by sacking conductors, but also made bus travel a nightmare of overloud iPods and misbehaving yoof with no one to police basic human niceness and give and take, but also – PAY ATTENTION BUS COMPANIES – reduced profit!

Capitalism might be the least worst system, as Amol says, but boy** is it dumb sometimes…

NOTE:

  • One -person operated, so sue me.

*** Yes I know, or person

HyperTextBooks! I totally had this idea in 1993!

I totally had this idea in 1993, no really, and tried to deliver it using Hypercard on my PowerBook. I submitted it as part of my junior MBA (the DMS), which meant that my technophobic boss had to touch a keyboard. This was back in the days when keyboards meant typing, in the dark ages of MSDOS and WeirdPerfect3.5, managers didn’t touch them for fear of catching microsoft or something, or being turned into a girl, or, more likely, HAVING TO DO MY OWN MEMOS.

Not sure about the Moodle link though. And for shame to not mention Ted Nelson, the father of all this, inventor of hypertext which is, of course, what all this is…

.http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/fastcompany/headlines/~3/oOMHR6pHCs0/biobook