Just got my new Kryptonite fagettaboutit New York bike lock. Good luck stealing a locked bike out of my garage now, thief! Only problem is that it’s heavier than the bike frame.
Why languages and matter -
Aka Revenge of the Nerds. A classic from Paul Graham on why languages matter and why the pointy-haired boss will trend your organisation to the middle. Maybe posting this is my self-justification for embarking on building my web-app in Clojure. Stay tuned for the announcement.
World wide as many as 50% of plant species face extinction. The Royal Botanic Garden needs to raise a big chunk of cash from donors to close the funding gap for a world-class research center to bank Australia’s precious seeds as a hedge against extinction.
PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden will safeguard the future of our precious plant species through ‘seed-banking’, research and information-sharing. This facility will bring together the best science and the best scientists to recover degraded landscapes, generating new knowledge for better conservation planning and responding to climate change.
If you’re searching for the perfect future-proof Christmas idea, make a gift in support of Plant Bank. (The donate button is a bit hard to find. It’s the text bubble, or just click here.)
Friedman on Gilding vs Hagel -
When you see spontaneous social protests erupting from Tunisia to Tel Aviv to Wall Street, it’s clear that something is happening globally that needs defining. There are two unified theories out there that intrigue me. One says this is the start of “The Great Disruption.” The other says that this is all part of “The Big Shift.” You decide.
A nice follow up to an earlier post. I can see innovation exploding all around us while we are living at 140% of the Earth’s carrying capacity. Will we mobilize around the opportunity to innovate bring things into balance? We have the ability but the consciousness and the mindset isn’t there yet. I’m with Paul Gilding when I’m not trying to code my way to the Singularity.
I’ve been collaborating with leadership expert Peter Rennie and many others around Australia on a unique workshop From Bystanding to Understanding & Action. I run the workshop with Peter in Sydney, and Peter has partners in many other locations.
This workshop teaches leaders powerful techniques around engaging people in an organisation and increasing the levels of awareness. At its core, it promotes group learning and partnership as the mindset for bringing about system change. It is a practical workshop in which you spend most of the time experiencing and participating, yet it is also well-grounded in theory. Both attending and subsequently partnering with Peter on this workshop has helped me tremendously as both an organisational leader and social change agent.
We practice what we teach and the workshop has gotten better each time, and we have some amazing testimonials.
Please join us if you can on December 15 & 16. If you know of any others, please forward them on the link to the website. You can now register straight on the registration page. You still have another week to get the early bird booking, and there are group, pension and student discounts as well.
I hope to see you there.
I had a blast this weekend at
#launch48syd, one of a growing number of startup weekends. The teams #socialsitting #locongo #happytribe #giveteams all did an impressive job getting a plausible business launched. Here’s the writeup.
I’d give Lacongo special praise for having having a working product at the end of 48 hours. Of course, Sinatra on Heroku is always a smart way to go ;)
In the photo, we are, former and current
@atlassian engineering VPs @sharner @jmwind at closing pitches. We were both mentors: Jean-Michel talking about his experience innovative in small and large environments. As the IBM Jazz architect coming from the OS world, this guy knows dev tools.
It was a chance for me to reflect a few things: First, deadlines, parallel processing ideas and tight feedback loops can really propel an idea forward. Second, it is easier to give great advice than to take it. I woke up Monday morning realizing I’m not following half the advice I was giving. I immediate jumped into customer development work on the yet-to-be-annouced BillMate app.
In 1999 I took John McCarthy’s course, CS323 Common Sense Reasoning in Logic. At the time I was heading down the road of being a probabilist, and I’ve wondered over the years about the role of logic, as I’ve become more aware of my own mental biases. Or maybe the heuristics of common sense are a performance optimization. Or maybe all that subconscious mental computation is smarter than logic. I don’t believe we ever got beyond Missionaries and Cannibals.
It was the point in which John McCarthy, who died today, intersected my life, briefly. He brought us LISP, timesharing, garbage collection, and changed the way we think about human intelligence. These huge impacts were just side-effects of pursuing AI.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the what the post-Agile age will look like. Maybe I’m just getting tired and a bit cynical of writing things on cards, writing tests and the emphasis on practices within the Agile community.
How well does Agile help us solve the important problems? I’d say it’s a good start but we can learn a lot from change management and system thinkers that can deepen and enhance our understanding. In doing so, the Agile practices serve the mindset and not the other way around.
I’m interested in how software helps us solve wicked problems:
Rittel and Webber coined the term in the context of problems of social policy, an arena in which a purely scientific-rational approach cannot be applied because of the lack of a clear problem definition and differing perspectives of stakeholders.
Wikipedia goes on to say:
Thus wicked problems are also characterised by the following:
Sound like any problems you’ve worked on recently? Compared to, say, even 5 years ago, software developers are taking on more of these multi-stakeholder problems because organisations are getting pushed in this direction through the emerging forces of social media, corporate social responsibility and a great emphasis on networks in business.
For software developers, we’re building systems in the context of much greater social complexity. There needs to be a much great awareness on our part of what is emerging around us.
I took a stab at capturing this in the context of Agile Planning:
How to Plan Agile Iterations
Agile lends itself to dealing with high social complexity due to the emphasis on self-managing teams and collaboration. The feedback loops in the Agile planning process provide the means for co-creating the solution with the stakeholders.
Retrospectives are an important part of this. In this presentation, I emphasis that a retrospective isn’t about learning from the past:
A retrospective can and should be used for incremental, iterative stakeholder engagement, which, to borrow from Theory U, taps a different source of learning. It is an attempt to tune into the future that is emerging around us.
No Bystanding: Learning to Change Society One Organization at a Time -
The ‘bystander phenomenon’ is a well recognized and studied pattern of human behaviour both within social and organizational settings.
Once we understand more about the bystander phenomenon we can begin to develop solutions to many problems, including concerns about how to galvanize people to work together to solve critical issues threatening our earth, health, wealth and organizations.
Key to understanding why people ‘stand by’ is an appreciation of the hidden social structures that unconsciously shape our behaviour. With this lens we can look for more enabling structures. But what structure best supports engagement, empowerment and action?
All of us have a ‘bystander within’, and all of us have a ‘leader within’ (even a small ‘l’ leader.) Join me and a group of other remarkable people for a series of interactive workshops we’re doing around Australia. I believe leadership is about the inner transformations you help others make. You will learn how to unlock your inner leader and help others change their behaviour. Help us create a no bystanding movement!
This Thursday and Friday I’m attending and helping facilitate the Carbon War Room Innovation Lab for creating climate wealth, here in Sydney. It’s a hands-on workshop in which we’ll be designing our low carbon future with experts from a range of industries. Tracks include Energy Efficiency, Aviation, Capital Quest, Shipping, Distributed Generation, Construction and Agriculture. Speakers include Sir Richard Branson, CEO of the Carbon War Room Jigar Shah and Allan Jones from the City of Sydney. I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll let you know if we solved it!