Self-imposed barriers

A few years ago I read somewhere (source long since forgotten) of a definition of a game being a series of barriers that players decide voluntarily to overcome. At the time it struck me that that pretty much described much of the business of working, too. Although the volunteer nature of the pursuit may be … Continue reading Self-imposed barriers

Blindly Following Rules

Every year to accompany the Silicon Beach event, those speaking are asked to contribute to a book that is distributed to all attendees. Here's my contribution... A good friend of mine and I enjoy a heated debate. She’s an accountant with opinions. I’m a gob-shite. We both like a glass or two of red with … Continue reading Blindly Following Rules

The place of work

Imagine a scenario... You are busy doing whatever it is that earns you your living. Your phone rings. It's from someone who might need something so important that you need to interrupt your current activity. But it might be trivial enough that you don't. You answer the phone. It's trivial. You haven't got the time … Continue reading The place of work

Shifting the balance

After many years of increasing professionalism, and the rise of complex management frameworks, the world of business technology management is now in a stat of turmoil. Put simply: nobody really these days has the first clue on how you manage information technology in a big business. It had got relatively clear. Technology was a cost … Continue reading Shifting the balance

Data-based organisations

Picture the scene. We've created a multi-sheet Excel workbook, maybe with links into other workbooks, and it's used by a dozen people in our department. Gill who originally created the spreadsheet left the organisation years ago. But we've managed to keep it going, adding duplicate sheets where we weren't entirely clear how Gill's formulae and … Continue reading Data-based organisations

The ubiquitous inbox

Back in my later days at BBC Worldwide in the early 2000s, I commissioned a piece of research to look at the habits that our staff had in their use of file storage and email. The work, looking back, was relatively unusual. I brought in a social scientist to do a piece of ethnographic research … Continue reading The ubiquitous inbox

The middle of the journey

I'm currently reading Tim Harford's excellent new tome Fifty Things that made the Modern Economy. Based on his BBC Radio series, it charts ideas and objects that have created the world around us today. Some of them are obvious (the Light Bulb), some of them less so (the Billy Bookcase). In his description of the … Continue reading The middle of the journey