Interesting elsewhere – 2 January 2011

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • 10 Reasons CEOs Unwittingly Sabotage Innovation There’s a huge gap between CEOs saying they want their companies to innovate and actually acting in a way consistent with what they say. […] Here’s my TOP TEN reasons why not. […]Innovation sparks dissonance and discomfort.
    Innovation is all about increasing variability. Most CEOs want to decrease variability and increase predictability.
    Results only show up long-term —not next quarter.
    CEOs conserve resources. Innovation requires more resources.
    Innovation flies in the face of analysis.
    Imbalance of right-brain and left-brain thinking.
    It’s not in the job description.
    Over-reliance on cost-cutting and incremental improvement.
    Inability to enroll a committed team of champions.
    Insufficient conviction that innovation will really make a difference.
  • Going agile by Michele Ide-Smith Agile is known as a being a mindset or philosophy rather than a method itself. Looking at the Agile Manifesto it is quite possible to see how the concepts can be used in different contexts to software development. I’ve re-produced the manifesto below and simply changed the word ‘software’ to ‘systems’ (by ‘system’ I am referring to socio-technical systems that comprise people, processes and technology or non-technical systems i.e. just people and processes). 

    Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    Working systems over comprehensive documentation
    Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    Responding to change over following a plan
    That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

  • In The Eye Of The Storm: What Martha Should Say Next But it isn’t hard to imagine a “page” -a secure place that you feel entirely comfortable with -holding that data where you can selectively send it to government departments that request it. Once one department has endorsed the validity of the data you gain credibility with other departments who then start to trust your data more and more. If you are paying money to government rather than receiving perhaps the trust level is higher.
  • Agile project management – the cure for perfectionism and missed deadlines? | Public sector pm In my experience of the public sector I’ve often found that in-house resource (staff time) is treated as a free unlimited resource.  This leads to a culture of perfectionism, where team members are compelled to take ‘just another week’ on a product as it is ‘not quite there yet’.  The reality in many cases is that 80% of the value was delivered in the first 20% of effort.  Atern’s fixing of time, cost, and quality, and flexing on features could just be the silver bullet that the public sector needs to boost its delivery of projects on time, on budget and to the right quality.
  • Evan Williams: The Challenges of a Web of Infinite Info: Tech News « We should also think about —for the good of society —how do we actually help people? Google has always wanted people to come to Google and then go away. They don’t want you hanging out on Google. That’s very different than lots of other services that measure success by time on site. If you’re more of a utility —a site where you come in, get what you want, then leave. We want to be that. It’s how do we deliver the most value. Because info is infinite and there’s always somewhere else to go, delivering more value in less time should always be the focus.
  • In improving public services and social innovation, the design world has vital insights to offer. But designers must go beyond evangelism to show greater rigour about methods and limits » British Politics and Policy at LSE If the design industry and service designers are to genuinely maximize the contribution they can make to boosting social innovation and improving public services they need to address some critical issues in how the education, socialization and formation of designers as professionals takes place:Formation – involves issues around how to train and develop people with an appropriate combination of design skills along with other key skills, such as knowledge of economics, policy-making, and social knowledge. In the SIX project (the Social Innovation Exchange) we have proposed a new approach to ‘T’ shaped skills for designers to reduce the risks identified above.
    Method – how to develop design methods so as to improve the prospects for achieving impacts and maximizing implementation. This is an area now being taken forward in the Global Innovation Academy programme.
    Cost – we need to develop methods for involving designers that create and leave behind more skills in the organizations or communities that we are helping, and that have lower unit costs.
    Conversations with related fields are critical. Just as bureaucracies, public managers and professionals need to learn from design, so designers and design approaches need to learn from related fields.
  • How to prevent the DWP Universal Credit from being yet another doomed IT project – When IT Meets Politics most welfare systems assume predictability of need. Meanwhile “those in most need lead lives of quiet desperation, lurching from unpredictable crisis to unpredictable crisis. Then, if and when they get their lives together, with a brief period of work and prosperity, the system catches up with them and crushes them back to poverty with its demands for payback”. To really help those trying to help better themselves, we require systems that assume chaos and unpredictability. That will entail giving fornt-line staff responsibility for holistic support and the ability and authority to over-ride the “system”.
  • Mydex Proposes a Free-Market Solution to Privacy Worries – Tech Europe – WSJ Rather than say what information companies and governments can store about you, you store the data and say what data companies and governments can access, or at the very least, know who is looking at it, and why.“If you put together a system with user-centric identity, with the ability to gain external verification of your claims — that you have a degree, or driving license or credit or whatever it is — and powerful technologies for selective disclosure, then you can have the rise of the personal data store,” said William Heath, chairman of Mydex.
  • Click to exit: Views from a benign despot – Journal – Public Services: Expectations of an iPhone generation? We have absolutely no idea what the technology that today’s teenagers will be using in 10 years time, and know even less about what actual teenagers in 10 years time will be using. But, what is changing – thanks to technology – is how young people interact with information – how they access it, how they share it, how they act on it. And that – I think – is what forms the heart of revolution that public services will have to undergo over the next 10 years.