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November 2008

goodbye, it’s time for another

By Keith Fortowsky  ·  November 30, 2008  · 


Jochum opened his guest blog with a quote from the book which radically changed his perspective. As I say goodbye to my guest blog, I want to close from a book which radically changed mine. If I had read Primo Levi's The Monkey's Wrench before my twenties, I would be probably be a chemical or mechanical engineer.

Before I turn over the page to Primo, and then the next guest blogger, a few housekeeping details. If you want to know more about me, or Jochum, read our bios at the bottom of my signin post. The picture in this...


Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to

By Dave Snowden  ·  November 30, 2008  ·  Polemic

Hat tip to Brian Sherwood Jones for this scary quote from Ron Suskind writing in the New York Times back in 2004 (the aide is from the Bush White House):

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now,...


three models of systems ... or five

By Keith Fortowsky  ·  November 30, 2008  · 

In a previous post, I suggested that the Cynefin framework is most coherent within a specific view of complexity. In this post, I want to suggest that it also fits with a specific view of "systems".

In his book Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture, Jamshid Gharajedagi, a student of Ackoff, describes Three Models of Systems:

1. Mindless / deterministic / Mechanistic systems
2. Unminded / goal-seeking / Biological systems
3. Multi-minded / goal-choosing / Socio-cultural...


Tools for generalists

By Dave Snowden  ·  November 29, 2008  ·  Trivia

Five examples from just one day in a RSS feed, one of the greatest productivity tools available for the curious generalist.

  • The way you see yourself can influence your perception of pain here
  • Internet communities around mental disorder here
  • Price perception on wine tasting here
  • Processing novelty in the brain here
  • Blind people are better at spacial navigation here

Reported from the lounge in Singapore prior to an overnight to London


serious play in a complex party

By Keith Fortowsky  ·  November 28, 2008  · 

Reading Dave's post regarding "The major obstacle to the adoption of social computing" (which Dave says is "the IT department trying to over-constrain the system") motivates me to do two things which surprise myself:
i) justify the current practices of IT Departments; and, by doing # i
ii) disagree publicly with Dave Snowden.

(Well, o.k., I'm much less surprised by point ii than point i grin

It has been a long hard slog for IT Departments to become competent (and many have not) in the ordered domain, bordering into the...