Archives for April 2012
This week on active information, I excerpt and comment on a Kauffman Foundation report on healthcare that I found both enlightening and enraging.
“Why is it we can predict a consumer’s propensity to read Hunger Games, upgrade their iPad or download music featured on the Voice, yet we fail miserably at predicting life-threatening events, such as a women’s propensity to develop breast cancer?”
Thanks to Joe McKendrick for pointing out the report.
John Brand of Forrester writes on the inevitable shift of CIOs and IT. I strongly agree with the following two points. We are in a systems-of-systems world. Organizations fighting this shift are swimming against the digital tide.
“There is no “big suite” solution. Over the past 30+ years, IT has thrived on the ideals of consolidation and centralisation. One system. One repository. One place to put stuff. If only I had a penny for every time I heard the phrase “we need a single repository”. For years Ive been saying that users dont care about where something lives. They care about how to access it. Its not about a single repository. Its about a seamless repository. Google doesnt hold the worlds information sources. Its merely appears to users like it does. Forget the big suites. The one system. The strategic vendor. Focus on the right tool for the right job. Focus on the fact that the job will change — and so should the tools. The building industry hasnt rested on its laurels because it thinks its found the one perfect set of materials, construction methods and tools to do every job. Why do we think in IT that theres only one vendor, one platform or one language that we need to deal with? Embrace diversity, but still maintain a focus on management. Continuous design will be a capability that every organization will need to learn. Its not about doing it “right” the first time. Its about continually doing it better and better.
Systems are no longer isolated — and neither are we. Over the last decade and a half, the world has connected — and interconnected — an amazing array of technologies. We are now all completely dependent on each other. And so are our systems. Our newer systems are not built on batch uploaded data sets that we can control and cleanse — but on masses of big data that we need to extract meaning and structure from. We cant have the luxury of first defining a structure and populating data into it. We must work with what we have or what we can get. Fast.”
I’m attending Forrester’s co-located CIO and EA Forums next week in Vegas. Will blog and tweet what I hear. Look me up if you are there.
Last Friday on Twitter, I was lamenting the compulsion of new people on existing projects to revisit and reinvent every prior decision and action, rather than focus their energy on execution. I tagged the tweets reinvention week. My opening salvos:
Wouldn’t it be cool if new people to a project focused on getting it done, rather than reinvention? #reinventionweek #EntArch
We need to value execution on par with creation. #entarch #reinventionweek
Certainly, there are instances when revisitation is required, and is the mission of the new person. However, in my experience, too frequently the need is driven by ego. Either, in placing a stamp on the project, or in moving the project to the technology, standards, patterns the new person is expert on, and therefore most likely to be seen as a star and/or become a key player.
In our twitter back and forth, Sally Bean offered: “that’s why we need to hire smart lazy people, not smart industrious ones.”
Sally was referring to Field Marshal Bernhard Graf von Moltke’s model on categorizing officers:
• Smart & Lazy: I make them my Commanders because they make the right thing happen but find the easiest way to accomplish the mission.
• Smart & Energetic: I make them my General Staff Officers because they make intelligent plans that make the right things happen.
• Dumb & Lazy: There are menial tasks that require an officer to perform that they can accomplish and they follow orders without causing much harm
• Dumb & Energetic: These are dangerous and must be eliminated. They cause thing to happen but the wrong things so cause trouble.
I hadn’t see this model before. It’s an interesting take on matching talent (or not) to positions. We always think we need “smart and energetic”. Yet, in a multitude of situations, “smart and lazy” is the better way to go.