Showing posts from November, 2009

Tic-Tac-Toe and Business Strategy

Business strategy is often likened to a game of chess: complex rules, practically infinite variations, many complex patterns, difficult to master... The complexity of chess can easily obscure the points about strategy, so let's use another game as a model for understanding the use of business strategy: Tic-Tac-Toe: Business strategy is about moving swiftly and getting an advantageous position. In Tic-Tac-Toe, this is pretty straight forward: The first mover can choose the best position. In business, it is a bit more complicated. For example, a first mover may have to expend effort blazing a trail, selling a new concept to the market. A second mover can use the trail blazed by the first mover. when the time is right, the second mover can pounce, exploiting a weakness in the first mover's strategy. Even if business strategy is more complex, the principle is the same: Move swiftly when the time comes, go for an advantageous position. One important aspect that is often overlook

Creativity Crow

In his excellent book Brain Rules , neuroscientist John Medina tells a very touching story about his newborn son and himself. Medina noticed his son sometimes stuck his tongue out. Medina immediately stuck his tongue out back at his son, encouraging him to do it again. This helped Medina to build a relationship with his son right from the start. (There is more to the story, both from a human and a scientific perspective, and Medina is a great writer, so I suggest you read the book for yourself.) I had reason to reflect on Medina's story recently during a dinner. A psychologist who has worked as an advisor to industrial leaders in Sweden was present. So were two children, about 4 years old. The children began sticking their tongues out at each other, just like Medina and his son did. (And triggering mirror neurons , which was one of the things Medina wrote about.) The psychologist immediately applied the same expertise he uses to advice industrial leaders: Stop that, or I'l

TED Talks: Living with Data

This is the most amazing user interface demo I have ever seen: Thanks to Hannu Kokko and Petri Aukia for tweeting about this.

Are Nash Equilibriums Killing Agile Initiatives?

Over the past two years I have seen a lot of debate about the success of Agile software development. Agile methodologies can produce great results. This is well documented. Yet, in many companies, they don't. This has lead many people to question Agile. Some reject it altogether. However, the root cause of the problem isn't in the Agile methodologies. The root cause that makes Agile fail is in the companies adopting Agile methodologies. Let's look back about ten years, when Agile was beginning to gather momentum. It was believed that if a company was functionally organized, like this: Introducing an Agile software development method in part of the organization like this: would cause everyone in the organization to reevaluate their strategies, so that the organization could reorganize into a flow organization, like this: It turned out not to be that simple. An important reason is that most business organizations are designed to be in a stable state. All major playe

Sweet ReTweet

I have had a Twitter account for some time now. Like many other Twitter users, I am interested in what impact, if any, I have with my tweets. (A tweet is a Twitter message, a text string no longer than 140 characters.) Just for fun, I decided to map the travel paths of some recent messages that had been picked up and retweeted by other Twitter users. The (very simple) map looks like this:  As you can see, having a message retweeted means a lot for how much it spreads. Usually, after one of my tweets has been retweeted, I have also picked up a couple of new followers. (Which I usually begin to follow in return.) If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed I retweet other people's tweets a lot. I follow a lot of people who are smart, fun, and willing to share their knowledge of Systems Thinking and related subjects. I want these ideas to spread, so I retweet the best tweets I read. Quite often, these tweets link to some blog post. Here is a map of some recent retweets I ma

Finding Strategic Opportunities - A Tempo! Supplement

I have published a new Tempo! supplement on Scribd. This one is about the virtues of using multiple paradigms and strategic patterns when solving business problems and developing business strategies. I hope you enjoy it. Finding Strategic Opportunities

Topsy-Turvy World: Reflections on the EIU Organizational Agility report

Awhile ago the Economist Intelligence Unit published a report named Organizational agility: How business can survive and thrive in turbulent times . Here is a quote from the preface, just so you know what the report was all about: In December 2008 and January 2009, the Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a survey of 349 executives around the world on the benefits, challenges and risks associated with creating a more agile organisation. The Economist Intelligence Unit wrote and executed the survey, conducted the analysis and produced the report. To supplement the findings of the survey, the Economist Intelligence Unit also conducted in-depth interviews with a number of business executives from leading companies. The results are interesting. For example 40% of the respondents considered agility to be extremely important, a core business differentiator. (And I agree with them.) Another 48% considered agility to be somewhat important, a contributing factor to success. So far, so good