Interesting elsewhere – 14 January 2014

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

Foden Grealy – Document standards and the rankling print presumption
Our mental model for handling textual information is based on the printed paper created by a typewriter, distributed by post and kept in a folder. It got us over the introduction of personal computing but it’s time we moved on.

Innovate on Purpose: Why innovators need a word other than failure
Corporate innovators need all the trappings of failure – learning, experience, insights – but without the ripple effect.  What we need, as corporate innovators, is the ability to experiment, prototype and test new concepts and products as thoroughly and as rapidly as possible.  Then, our experiments become controlled “mini-failures” that offer much the same learning, but without the devastating effects more common in a startup.

Failure porn | Johnnie Moore
The question,  ”but how will that scale” is often an effective way to kill off interesting ideas that might benefit from a bit more oxygen, and going with safer ones that will eventually underwhelm.

Shambles, from mini to omni
The thing about system failures is that nobody has a strong incentive to do anything about them. The risks are high, the potential rewards minimal. They are hard to sort out because it takes a long time and involves getting a lot of people to agree to change things in ways that make their lives a bit more difficult. There is no personal risk in continuing with things they way they are now.

Seth’s Blog: Accuracy, resilience and denial
Resilience is the best strategy for those realistic enough to admit that they can’t predict the future with more accuracy than others. Resilience isn’t a bet on one outcome, instead, it’s an investment across a range of possible outcomes, a way to ensure that regardless of what actually occurs (within the range), you’ll do fine.

And denial, of course, is the strategy of assuming that the future will be just like today.

Telling Stories | Patient Opinion
We make the assumption that what has been posted is true. There is something about embracing the spirit of Patient Opinion that means that you have to be an advocate, and that means you have to trust the voice. That might seem an obvious and easy assumption to make. But coming to that view is actually quite complex and the rationale needs to be explained to staff if they are to buy into it.

In 2014, let’s get digital skills out of the classroom – Postbureaucrat
A barrier we come up against time and again is the reality that a large chunk of the public sector in 2013 isn’t trusted or equipped to access common digital tools. Beyond the evergreen problem of having the right kit and being able to access the right websites, changing how people work takes time and creativity, to find shortcuts, try a new approach for a specific project, and identify where digital can add value, rather than becoming just another thing to do.

How Open Floor Plans Are Killing Employee Productivity | Inc.com
when managers watch their workers work, employee productivity dips. The reason? Employees feel more compelled to put their best face forward and follow all corporate policies to a T.

Let’s rethink the idea of the state: it must be a catalyst for big, bold ideas | Mariana Mazzucato | Comment is free | The Observer
To foster growth we must not downsize the state but rethink it. That means developing, not axing, competences and dynamism in the public sector. When evaluating its performance, we must rediscover the point of the public sector: to make things happen that would not have happened anyway.