Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Threatening Idea About Happiness

Again, now I know what the Beastie's were actually singing to me yesterday and the days before - that 'happiness isn't just some sort of a feeling'.

Oh my God, it's a mirage, I'm tellin' y'all it's sabotage!

From the NYTimes Opinionator blogs:

Happiness isn’t just up to you. It also requires the cooperation of the world beyond you. 

To put the point in a nutshell, watching your child play soccer for the first time is a great thing not because it produces a really enjoyable experience; on the contrary, what normally makes the experience so special is that it’s an experience of watching your child, playing soccer, for the first time. Sure it feels good — paralyzingly good. It matters, though, that the feeling is there as a response to the reality: the feeling by itself is the wrong sort of thing to make for a happy life.

Happiness is more like knowledge than like belief. 

There are lots of things we believe but don’t know. Knowledge is not just up to you, it requires the cooperation of the world beyond you — you might be mistaken. Still, even if you’re mistaken, you believe what you believe. Pleasure is like belief that way. But happiness isn’t just up to you. It also requires the cooperation of the world beyond you. Happiness, like knowledge, and unlike belief and pleasure, is not a state of mind.

To live a happy life is to flourish.

One especially apt way of thinking about happiness — a way that’s found already in the thought of Aristotle — is in terms of “flourishing.” Take someone really flourishing in their new career, or really flourishing now that they’re off in college. The sense of the expression is not just that they feel good, but that they’re, for example, accomplishing some things and taking appropriate pleasure in those accomplishments. If they were simply sitting at home playing video games all day, even if this seemed to give them a great deal of pleasure, and even if they were not frustrated, we wouldn’t say they were flourishing. Such a life could not in the long term constitute a happy life.

Happiness is harder to get. 

It’s enjoyed after you’ve worked for something, or in the presence of people you love, or upon experiencing a magnificent work of art or performance — the kind of state that requires us to engage in real activities of certain sorts, to confront real objects and respond to them. And then, too, we shouldn’t ignore the modest happiness that can accompany pride in a clear-eyed engagement with even very painful circumstances.

Read David Sosa's excellent piece in it's entirety here.

[Incidentally, this point isn't really new at all. Click on the pic for a merrier and melodic explanation]

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Real Purpose of Schooling

Are schools out-of-touch?  I believe most are.  

And the culprit?  Much of it comes from education being institutionalized - the 'one size, fits all' approach which has taken a lot out of both teachers and students.

And the solution? Not to sure about it but doubtful that 'Superman' will provide the answers than Kung-fu Panda.

Course-'play'
Podcast: Standardized testing is not about better performance but about higher test scores.
1. Parent incomes and socio-economic status - 80-90% determinant that produces significant advantage!  Why?  - Think poverty, child health and school.

2. Time taken away from real learning preparing for test.  Taking away teacher's time to pump up test scores is ridiculous. And so is dangling better compensation for teachers to perform and get better test scores. [Not about test scores but about thinking/ learning orientation vs grade orientation]

Assess quality of learning not metrics for measuring rank which is about competitiveness and economic considerations.

“Idleness, indifference, and irresponsibility,” he said, “are healthy responses to absurd work.” 

... But expediency should not be our main priority when it comes to schools.

Instead, we should come up with assessments that truly measure the qualities of well-educated children: the ability to understand what they read; an interest in using books to gain knowledge; the capacity to know when a problem calls for mathematics and quantification; the agility to move from concrete examples to abstract principles and back again; the ability to think about a situation in several different ways; and a dynamic working knowledge of the society in which they live. 

Tragically, evaluating and rewarding teachers primarily on the basis of state test score gains creates disincentives for teachers to take on struggling students, just as accountability systems that rate doctors on their patients’ mortality rates have caused surgeons to turn away patients who are very ill. While scores may play a role in teacher evaluation, they need to be viewed in context, along with other evidence of the teacher’s practice.

It is not that we “good teachers” want to protect supposedly “bad teachers.” It is that we fear a witchhunt based on test scores will have disastrous consequences for ourselves, our peers, and the students we care about.

"In terms of how we evaluate schooling, everything is about working by yourself. If you work with someone else, it's called cheating. Once you get out in the real world, everything you do involves working with other people."

The state says to the educators, "We’re giving you tax money. In return, we’re holding you accountable. Your students have to take the state’s annual standardized test."

And the educators say, "WHAT!? What’s your definition of accountable? Didn’t you give us a charter to help students become critical thinkers, curious, creative, self-aware, empathetic, confident, courageous, resourceful, in love with learning, and capable of wonder?"

"Yes."

"And now you’re telling us that a standardized, one-shot, paper-and-pencil, multiple choice, bubble-in-the-oval, machine-scored test of short-term memory of the contents of a few school subjects - you’re telling us that a computer is going to spit out a number that tells us whether or not we’re succeeding!? You've gotta be kidding!"



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Thursday, September 23, 2010

3 Non-Presciption Elixir for the Unproductively Weary

Effects of advanced age aside, there are days when one feels incapable of meeting life head on to take on whatever challenge that lies ahead. Most often, these types of challenges are hardly new nor one that provides a welcome disruption but instead are borne and bred out of routine - the boring-kind, as we'd like to call it.  And if not addressed, will eat away any of the motivation that drives a person to perform and excel at what she does.

So here are 3 readily-available elixirs to boost the productive self that doesn't require prescription and best of all, they're also free.

" The recent evidence is overwhelming: naps are not just physically restorative, but also improve perceptual skills, motor skills, reaction time and alertness. "

" One of the powerful things about rituals is that we often give them a special importance: they can be almost spiritual (and sometimes actually spiritual, depending on the ritual). And when they become special, we are more mindful of them — we don’t just rush through them mindlessly."

"If you're looking to multitask your willpower training, try walking meditation. A 2009 study by researchers at the University of Exeter, UK, found that walking for 15 minutes decreased cravings among smokers, and a 2010 at the University of Virginia study found that two weeks of regular exercise induced brain changes that suppressed cravings, and reduced drug-seeking behavior, in cocaine-addicted rats."

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gov 2.0 Summit 2010: Andrew McAfee, "Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools..."

Failure: A 50-page policy doc on what good blogging is reduced to a single sentence, "We prefer you didn't blog." -@AMcAfee

This just fits. Just put me in an armchair student mode paying attention to an intelligent repartee and with all ears on what I'd be able to adapt and use.

Gov 2.0 Summit plus Prof. Andrew McAfee is quite simply, a win.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

"Well 'M Glad"

Got a lot of half-read, unfinished books lying in different areas of the house and I still visit the second-hand bookshop at least thrice a week to score a few more titles.  My wife thinks it's frivolity already, while I stick to my serendipity purchase rationale.  

Kid seems to side with me because she often gets a book for herself , too.  Mostly superhero or comic books anyway, aside from the occasional pre-k learning modules if we can spot a good one.

But then there are some authors you crave like some comfort food that you can't explain the effect it has on you.  There's plenty of course but looking at 'what the dog saw' makes me long for a certain Mr. Gladwell.

Couldn't find a fresh post from him and he certainly won't be on Twitter to share a few quips.  So these two would have to do. 

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Friday, September 3, 2010

A Passion for Words and Speeches

"A speech can ignite a fire, change men's minds, open their eyes, alter their votes, bring hope to their lives, and, in all these ways, change the world." - Theodore Sorensen 

From the celebrated Pulitzer-winning biography, Profiles in Courage to his  inaugural address that exhorted listeners to "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country", there is no denying that the myth of JFK hung on every written word that he wrote and speech he has delivered.

It is this emphasis on getting his message across that served as grand yet touching vehicle to a leadership quality not unlike that of the late, great, Abraham Lincoln. 

But words are but empty shells in the absence of character enriched by the strong desire to lead and embolden positive change.  Be that as it may, what if you can get that kind of assistance that would enable you to craft and deliver those same messages that is meant to inspire hope and enjoin the people to pursue the very same goals you preach?  

JFK did get that help.  And we owe Ted Sorensen a great deal of thanks and admiration for having been that whilst also fulfilling the part of the faithful friend and lieutenant.

Add me as a fan.

"At about the same time, Senator John F. Kennedy was starting a four-year string of speaking trips around the country to build a following for his 1960 presidential campaign. He was regularly accompanied by Theodore Chaikin Sorensen, an intense young lawyer from Nebraska, and before long there was no telling whose words were whose. “We found in those long plane rides that we enjoyed each other’s company, joking, talking politics and planning his future,” Sorensen writes in his new memoir. When the senator’s voice gave out at one stop, he filled in — and a reporter discovered he had been “reading” Kennedy’s speech from blank pages. "

In his new book, Counselor, Ted Sorensen, adviser and legendary speechwriter for John F. Kennedy, describes the events that shaped the Kennedy years along with his relationship to the President and his family. Sorensen will always be remembered for turning phrases that ignited the imagination of a generation.

On the 15th of July, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy accepted his party’s presidential nomination at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. In his remarks, made at a moment of high tension in the cold war, Kennedy asserted that the United States was at “a turning point in history” and called on his listeners to be “pioneers” in a “New Frontier” of “uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus.”

Collaborating with Kennedy on the speech was a thirty-two-year-old aide named Theodore C. Sorensen, to whom Kennedy was known to refer as his “intellectual blood bank.” With Sorensen’s help, Kennedy would earn a reputation as one of American history’s great orators and provide a bold new vision for the nation.



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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Design: What It Can and Cannot Do

With almost a playing field that continues to be level for products and services, the value of design in driving commerce is getting more interest beyond the traditional circle of artistes.  It seems that widespread use of the PC and advances in graphic software has sparked a love affair with creativity not just in packaging offerings but maybe, even extending to the organizational management, too.

But before designers get carried away with this newfound power, Christopher Simmons reveals where design should fit in the business plan.

More design points:

Design is the language that supports the strategy, that promotes the product, that is imagined by people, that believe in a vision.

A great logo isn’t going to make shitty product any less shitty any more than a hard worker is going to make a bad boss a better leader. In this model, the inner layers affect the outer ones, not the other way around (with the possible exception that a well-articulated brand can help employees feel pride in their organization which can, for a time, boost morale).

...  a design methodology can be useful in identifying need, discovering opportunity, developing empathy and driving innovation. 

Design, then, is at the center of another process — that of mediator between consumer and product, between message and audience.

More on this excellent piece here.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

To Run Amok

Depressing week spent shuttling between two hospitals and home because Zaki becomes feverish the moment we get discharged and returns home. Strangely, her condition hasn't returned to normal yet.

But them some had it worse, and it's not PNoy.

1. Hostage-taking is an EVENT! If you have gripes, legitimate or not, get your 15 minutes of fame by doing the hostage-taking thing. Media will have a field day.

2. Some hostage situations were more dire but after which, seems a win for saving lives, if not preventing casualties. Remember, Russian theater terrorist hostage. It could've been really worse.

3. Hostage-taker gets the blame. Period. Some had tougher luck in life but never took anyone else's.

4. What if media gives hostage situations the cold shoulder? Or would we rather have public officials forcibly enforce news blackouts? Bad ratings = cry censorship.

5. Respect police lines. Ever seen a sniper being interviewed live with a camera on his face. Talk about what's the more important FOCUS.

6. It's a no-win situation for the police, but can be for the hostages. The fact that hostage-taking happened in very public tourist place is already unforgivable in the first place. Get over it and focus 100% on saving hostages lives. Even if it means taking aim at hostage-taker. It's not your duty to be media darlings.

7. The man transformed from being calm to running amok. You cannot reason with it. Question was why?

8. Once shots rang out, there's no reason for ground troops to be deliberate in storming the bus. Bullet-proofs would've helped. OR were they distrustful of any police/sniper cover for them?

9. Under the glare, media can really put the pressure. In this case, to whose benefit?

10. Not shameful of an inadequately-trained and poorly-equipped police force, over eager and ratings-hungry media or a hands-off executives (honestly, they won't know any better) over this one because THIS is Philippine reality. But do people have to be smiling and pose for pictures at the site just a few minutes after?

Apologies to the victims' kin and HK people. It is unfortunate that it had to happen to you. Just imagine what it's like for people living here under that constant chaotic threat. Seems we ordinary citizens can't do something about it, and that's when the depression turns to sick laughs.

Otherwise, remaining sullen, we'd all just snap and run amok, too. But only hoping it happens, one at a time, for media and police sake - where the foibles and follies of a rotten system competes for the best form of reality entertainment .

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not So Secret Keys to Excellence at Anything

Spread the word and do the work - with timed rests in between!

"If you want to be really good at something, it's going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone, along with frustration, struggle, setbacks and failures. That's true as long as you want to continue to improve, or even maintain a high level of excellence. The reward is that being really good at something you've earned through your own hard work can be immensely satisfying. 

"Anders Ericsson, the world's leading researcher into high performance, has been making the case that it's not inherited talent which determines how good we become at something, but rather how hard we're willing to work — something he calls "deliberate practice." Numerous researchers now agree that 10,000 hours of such practice as the minimum necessary to achieve expertise in any complex domain. "

The 6 Keys to Achieving Excellence:

1. Pursue what you love
2. Do the hardest work first
3. Practice intensely
4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses
5. Take regular renewal breaks
6. Ritualize practice

Thanks to Tony Schwartz for his excellent piece.

Related:  Importance of downtime in learning and renewal; switching to watch a video clip isn't one of them.  Nor the quick escape to the bookstore, which I love to do, doesn't also count, I guess.  So, ditch the gadgets and take that nature walk.  Focus and being clearer-headed is not to be scoffed at to do great work.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ayala Foundation USA Launches First Philippine Development Forum

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Ayala Foundation USA (“AF-USA” or “the Foundation”) is convening the first-ever Philippine Development Forum on September 25, 2010 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose to bring together Filipino and Filipino-American -- the second largest Asia-American population estimated at 4 million, or 1.5% of the US Population -- thought leaders from both sides of the Pacific to discuss solutions to the Philippines’ most pressing development problems. With the growing number of overseas Philippine immigrants, AF-USA aims to tap the intellect and resources of Filipino-Americans to support outstanding development projects in the homeland.

This year’s Forum will address the needs and potential of the Philippines’ scientific and engineering resources, specifically opportunities in education, as well as challenges and opportunities in technology-based industries, such as the semiconductor, computing and telecommunication fields. The Foundation is inviting highly successful professionals in academe, government, industry, venture capital, and business to serve as resource speakers and lead an active discussion to help formulate objectives and key results to mitigate these challenges.

Ayala Foundation USA Chairman Diosdado Banatao said, “We hope to bring together all at one time, at one place, representatives from (1) academe, because there exists a need to build an adequate supply of technology experts, (2) representatives from government, because national policies and budget allocations are needed to support science and engineering programs, and finally (3) the business sector, to create technology based companies and industries. We envision all three sectors - academe, government and the private sector working together on this technology initiative to build economic strength and to ultimately alleviate poverty in our homeland.”

There's a couple of reasons that this holds great promise for the Philippines.

1. Forum-style transparency and absence of dubious political agenda for leading participants.
2. Although this is something that hasn't been tried before, it is absolutely with basis, owing to the success of global Filipinos at the most competitive place when you look at business innovation and competition - Web and Silicon Valley.
3. It's time that we elevate IT to its proper place in the hierarchy of facilitating innovation and creativity in looking for solutions to our country's problems.
4. Time is ripe for today's generation of Filipinos to participate in nation-building without getting into legislative process.
5. I believe that these people have done their homework and ready to get their hands dirty to perform and not just mouth off.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This Can Only Be Jungian

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner. To count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance. The phenomenon of synchronicity was first described by Carl Gustav Jung in the 1920s. (Wikipedia)


Ever felt that something like a reading material is actually beyond your control and under the guidance of an unseen hand?  Or maybe it's just twitter ...

I was going through my usual daily dose of inspiration when I chanced upon a post in The Atlantic, about Abraham Lincoln and his battle with depression.  There were plenty of  things that immediately suggested to me that it was worth a read - that I knew little about the great man with the huge seated statue and that despite the early stories I've read back then about how cheerful he was with children and regular folks, he clearly was battling depression.  Read on and have a better understanding of just how great he is.

Again, moving on I saw a reference to this new site created by a young Russian geek called, I write like .  What it does is analyze your writing style and compare it with a list of authors in its database and figure a match for you.  Deciding to try, I copy and pasted a few paragraphs taken from my blog posts and voila. 


[Gulp]. It says I write like William Gibson.  (Vague idea of him except for Necromancer which I haven't really read at all.)


Unsatisfied, I am now more interested in challenging the algorithm and off I went to copy-paste a new set of writings.  Result? It now says I write like Cory Doctorow!  FIne. So like most sites that supposedly claim insight, this might just be your usual hocus pocus .  Deciding to give it a go one more time with a new set of paragraphs, the result came back the same. Doctorow.  Hmmm.  

Whatever that meant. 


Seeding the mind.

I work the early hours starting at 4 am and this schedule allows me to still perform school bus driver duties for Zaki past lunchtime.  Usually, I have a two-hour interval between bringing her to school and picking her up.  Yesterday, I got a break since wifey volunteered to do the pick-up.


This means I have time to watch Inception which proved quite difficult to follow.  It didn't help that I was quite sleepy, too which made it more 'dream-like' for me.  


Here it comes.


Quited dazed coming out of the theater, I noticed that it was raining hard outside so I really can't walk back home yet.  Honestly, I felt lucky with the situation as I get to visit Booksale by myself without pestering kid.  This thrift bookshop selling second-hand books is bit like paradise for someone like me who has but few pesos to spare.  Only challenge is that the titles depend more on chance, than anything else.  By chance means spending hours rummaging through shelves and even, on the floor.


And what did I find.  Little Brother - Cory Doctorow and Abraham Lincoln: An illustrated History.


Home.

Coming home, told wifey I saw Inception and told her the movie made minced meat of my brain so either I need to watch it again or read a bit more about it.  Ask Wikipedia, perhaps.  Scrolling down, I came upon this:

"Empire magazine rated it five stars in the August 2010 issue and wrote, "it feels like Stanley Kubrick adapting the work of the great sci-fi author William Gibson"


Like a dream, it means nothing, really.  

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Findings - Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind

In the past, daydreaming was often considered a failure of mental discipline, or worse. Freud labeled it infantile and neurotic. Psychology textbooks warned it could lead to psychosis. Neuroscientists complained that the rogue bursts of activity on brain scans kept interfering with their studies of more important mental functions.

But now that researchers have been analyzing those stray thoughts, they’ve found daydreaming to be remarkably common — and often quite useful. A wandering mind can protect you from immediate perils and keep you on course toward long-term goals. Sometimes daydreaming is counterproductive, but sometimes it fosters creativity and helps you solve problems.

Consider, for instance, these three words: eye, gown, basket. Can you think of another word that relates to all three? If not, don’t worry for now. By the time we get back to discussing the scientific significance of this puzzle, the answer might occur to you through the “incubation effect” as your mind wanders from the text of this article — and, yes, your mind is probably going to wander, no matter how brilliant the rest of this column is.

Mind wandering, as psychologists define it, is a subcategory of daydreaming, which is the broad term for all stray thoughts and fantasies, including those moments you deliberately set aside to imagine yourself winning the lottery or accepting the Nobel. But when you’re trying to accomplish one thing and lapse into “task-unrelated thoughts,” that’s mind wandering.

And I thought it was just really difficult for people to focus ....

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Online collaboration on the cheap: 20 free & low-cost tools

Collaboration is a key component to success in today's business world. Workforces are increasingly dispersed, with remote workers, offshore contractors and global partnerships making the job of coordinating your team's work harder than ever.

Fortunately, a wide range of services has emerged that take advantage of the Internet to tie vastly distributed teams together in ways that were unheard of a decade ago. And, of course, people in the same office can benefit from online collaboration too.

Even better, you don't need a huge IT budget to collaborate online. While enterprise programs like Microsoft SharePoint Server are still standard at large corporations, much of their functionality can be easily duplicated -- and even surpassed -- with online services that support activities like collective editing of documents in real time, brainstorming and long-term project management.

For small and midsize businesses, or teams with limited budgets, these apps can be deployed cheaply and quickly (some are even free), making them great go-to tools when it just isn't feasible to set up SharePoint or another enterprise app.

Below is a selection of great online applications to help make your team more productive and maybe even more creative. I'll look at some of the common tasks teams perform and discuss some affordable tools to help your team do them better. These aren't the only affordable options out there, but they are widely used, so you know they'll stand up to real-world use.

Brainstorming and mind mapping

Ideas are the lifeblood of any business, and the brainstorming session has rightfully become a mainstay of the business world. Being able to bounce ideas off other employees and to build on one another's thoughts can unleash incredible creativity, making a team truly more than the sum of its parts.

Traditional brainstorming revolves around the whiteboard, with a facilitator writing down each idea as it emerges. Online whiteboards offer the same kind of free-form discussion and idea capture, usually coupled with chat or voice conferencing.

Mind mapping is also proving to be a popular brainstorming tool. Mind maps employ free association to spin off ideas around a central concept, using a branch-and-leaf structure to clump related ideas together. This reveals relationships and structures as they emerge from the flow of ideas, often leading to new ideas that might not have come up otherwise.

Writeboard

Brought to you by 37signals, the maker of the popular Basecamp project management tool and creator of the open-source Web framework Rails, Writeboard is a free, no-frills, text-only blank space where you can record ideas. Collaboration doesn't come any simpler than this.

Choose a name for your board, select a password, enter an e-mail address, and you're ready to go -- no further registration required. To invite others to view the board or add comments, just enter their e-mail addresses and click the "Send invitation" button.

Writeboard provides few options, but it's great for capturing and fleshing out ideas on the fly. You can type in ideas, move them around and distinguish them with simple text formatting such as headers and numbered lists. Automatic revision-tracking lets you go back and recover anything that might have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Unless you are already using some, there's no reason not to try any of these. Oh, and don't lose sight of your objectives because these things aren't just to make you cool. Productivity is the word.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

What Chief Executives Really Want - BusinessWeek

What Chief Executives Really Want

A survey from IBM's Institute for Business Value shows that CEOs value one leadership competency above all others. Can you guess what it is?

By Frank Kern

What do chief executive officers really want? The answer bears important consequences for management as well as companies' customers and shareholders. The qualities that a CEO values most in the company team set a standard that affects everything from product development and sales to the long-term success of an enterprise.

There is compelling new evidence that CEOs' priorities in this area are changing in important ways. According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value (IBM), CEOs identify "creativity" as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.

That's creativity—not operational effectiveness, influence, or even dedication. Coming out of the worst economic downturn in their professional lifetimes, when managerial discipline and rigor ruled the day, this indicates a remarkable shift in attitude. It is consistent with the study's other major finding: Global complexity is the foremost issue confronting these CEOs and their enterprises. The chief executives see a large gap between the level of complexity coming at them and their confidence that their enterprises are equipped to deal with it.

Until now creativity has generally been viewed as fuel for the engines of research or product development, not the essential leadership asset that must permeate an enterprise.

Needed: Creative disruption

Much has happened in the past two years to shake the historical assumptions held by the women and men who are in charge. In addition to global recession, the century's first decade heightened awareness of the issues surrounding global climate change and the interplay between natural events and our supply chains for materials, food, and even talent. In short, CEOs have experienced the realities of global integration. The world is massively interconnected—economically, socially, and politically—and operating as a system of systems. So what does this look like at the level of customer relationships? For too many enterprises, the answer is that their customers are increasingly connected, but not to them.

Against that backdrop of interconnection, interdependency, and complexity, business leaders around the world are declaring that success requires fresh thinking and continuous innovation at all levels of the organization. As they step back and reassess, CEOs have seized upon creativity as the necessary element for enterprises that must reinvent their customer relationships and achieve greater operational dexterity. In face-to-face interviews with our consultants, they said creative leaders do the following:

Disrupt the status quo. Every company has legacy products that are both cash—and sacred—cows. Often the need to perpetuate the success of these products restricts innovation within the enterprise, creating a window for competitors to advance competing innovations. As CEOs tell us that fully one-fifth of revenues will have to come from new sources, they are recognizing the requirement to break with existing assumptions, methods, and best practices.

Disrupt existing business models. CEOs who select creativity as a leading competency are far more likely to pursue innovation through business model change. In keeping with their view of accelerating complexity, they are breaking with traditional strategy-planning cycles in favor of continuous, rapid-fire shifts and adjustments to their business models.

Disrupt organizational paralysis. Creative leaders fight the institutional urge to wait for completeness, clarity, and stability before making decisions. To do this takes a combination of deeply held values, vision, and conviction—combined with the application of such tools as analytics to the historic explosion of information. These drive decisionmaking that is faster, more precise, and even more predictable.

Taken together, these recommendations describe a shift toward corporate cultures that are far more transparent and entrepreneurial. They are cultures imbued with the belief that complexity poses an opportunity, rather than a threat. They hold that risk is to be managed, not avoided, and that leaders will be rewarded for their ability to build creative enterprises with fluid business models, not absolute ones.

Something significant is afoot in the corporate world. In response to powerful external pressures and the opportunities that accompany them, CEOs are signaling a new direction. They are telling us that a world of increasing complexity will give rise to a new generation of leaders that make creativity the path forward for successful enterprises.

Frank Kern is senior vice-president of IBM Global Business Services.

You will have to read the article to find out what is the surprising answer. Hint: It has something to do with the right-brain competency. I'm just wondering if I am doing enough to nurture it in others particularly with Zaki and within myself, too.

[Throwing in a link on the beauty of visualizing data http://bit.ly/bF9AaW]

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tears for Fears. Check.

[My] Ten Tears for Fears recollection over the years ...

1. Read Arthur Janov's Primal Scream
2. Named HS barkada after the song 'Ideas as Opiates'
3. The Hurting as one of the my 10 best debut albums. Wicked album cover, too. Start of the Breakdown is my fave.
4. Did you know they used to play with Byrne and Fischer - future 'Naked Eyes' ?
5. First time I heard of Bath in England. Musically, I'm Liverpudlian.
6. Thing that comes to mind when I hear or read 'segue' is Broken/Head Over Heels
7. Think these are gems of a song, too. Very. When in Love with a Blind Man and The Way You Are
8. Serendipitously, received a TFF DVD last Christmas. Zaki loves watching Curt and Roland.
9. Roland guested on Colourfield's Deception; joins Terry Hall in Running Away and Confession
10. Poster [taken from Mad World single cover] used to hang on the wall of my bedroom. Never crossed my mind I'd see and hear them in the flesh.


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Monday, May 3, 2010

There's Magic in Numbers

Nothing like real-world application of calculations to light the fire in the belly for the love of math.  Irony is that it's not even magic at all laying all these numbers and dissecting what they mean in a systematic way.  If there is magic, it is in the insight!

Found a great resource for that by the name of Steven Strogatz.

Check out his post on conditional probability.  Chances are you'll never think of abstract percentages the same way again.  

Link here

Posted via email from friarminor's posterous

Time to Start Taking the Internet Seriously

No doubt that we do spend a lot of the time online these days.  Well, at least me and for the most part, my kid included.  Not because she can blog create content online already but by golly, she can spend so much time at Youtube as well as those 'buggy'  flash games sites. 

I say with her because most of my thoughts are either about 'web and work' and 'web and life'.  My kid falls under the second category and occupies a major part of it just a few gigs ahead of learning how to be better as a dad and as a person.  Sort of chronicle just in case it's game over in an instant.

So yeah, I take the web seriously, too.  I guess.  And with love.

Posted via email from friarminor's posterous

Friday, April 23, 2010

Innovation: Simplicity is spelled as S-A-A-S

*A post I did about a year ago from the company blog site that was taken out of commission. Got a couple more that I may have no chance of retrieving. Sad thing to go over reading old posts, but like lost love letters, tragic to not be able to capture, not the words, but the feelings again. Cloud = Archives = Hindsight = Proper Perspective.
** Glad somebody appreciated it as much as to quote it. [ BIBlogs - Business Intelligence]


Pencil Pot by Leanda [Flickr]


Anyone who says that the tendency to accumulate doesn't exist within himself is either a liar or at opposite best, is enlightened. Throw in the alternate reality to believe that "all things, you can get for free" and all common sense walks out of the door. Sometimes you wonder whether life isn't enough that we often add more complexity to everything.

Same goes for the environments that we have presence in, starting from your own private room, extending to business and now, even to that very dynamic world of the web which churns out 'try this' faster than your bandwidth.

Ironically, the web is also the place for finding people who devote themselves to find even better ways - to improve things from which we can all start the journey towards simplicity. Or so it goes for new technology such as Software as a Service or SaaS.

From the web-based email - think GMail and Yahoo! Mail to enterprise apps such as SugarCRM, SaaS can make things a lot simpler. Not only does it eliminate a lot of the tedious process of setting up stuff especially for non-geeks, it also follows the principle of 'offering what would only be the features of most value as well as frequently used'. It makes perfect sense because SaaS rides the internet and there is nothing worse than waiting for a slow app to load features you really don't need (advancements in programming, aside).

So if you're really caught in the downturn, nothing works like innovation. It might just surprise you that the answer is as simple as trying out the nearest SaaS app alternative to the one you're already using.

Additional Readings:
Laws of Simplicity- John Maeda
Six Ways to Make Web 2.0 Work for You
Millenial Workplace is Moving to SaaS

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Time to Start Taking the Internet Seriously

No doubt that we do spend a lot of the time online these days.  Well, at least me and for the most part, my kid included.  Not because she can blog create content online already but by golly, she can spend so much time at Youtube as well as those 'buggy'  flash games sites. 

I say with her because most of my thoughts are either about 'web and work' and 'web and life'.  My kid falls under the second category and occupies a major part of it just a few gigs ahead of learning how to be better as a dad and as a person.  Sort of chronicle just in case it's game over in an instant.

So yeah, I take the web seriously, too.  I guess.  And with love.

Posted via email from friarminor's posterous

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Better Understanding of Creativity

Jonathan Lehrer writes: (Emphasis mine)

" In my recent WSJ article on age and creativity, I didn't have space to discuss the fascinating research of David Galenson, an economist at the University of Chicago who brings together a vast array of evidence to better understand the nature of creative production over time. Galenson divides creators into two distinct categories: conceptual innovators and experimental innovators. In general, conceptual innovators make sudden and radical breakthroughs by formulating new ideas, often at an early age. In contrast, experimental innovators work by trial and error, and typically require decades of tinkering before they produce a major work. For an excellent summary of Galenson's work, check out this Gladwell article. "

Decades of tinkering: should be ok with that and not lose heart over the fact that slow plodding produces can also result in magnificence.

Posted via email from friarminor's posterous

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

On Workspaces

Ever heard of Lovaglia's Law?  

Lovaglia’s Law: The more important the outcome of a decision, the more people will resist using evidence to make it.

Interesting post by Bob Sutton in reference to a discussion/study  on office spaces and the corresponding effect on productivity.

Indeed, guilty of being a 'distraction' (sorry, my lovely mates) yet at same time, it really is difficult getting into the zone whilst thrown in an open space type of work environment. 

If I need to write something, best way is to keep away from everyone - better to hear myself.  How to do this:  work when colleagues are not yet in (or reverse, out already) or leave cubicle and go to seclusion.

Plenty of time to collaborate but important to distill thought also to be able to give more.

Posted via email from friarminor's posterous

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feeding Gluttony

More than food and material things, we now also have a craving for information resulting in overload - even if we really don't have use for more other than the fact that we just have near infinite memory space.

Reading Nick Carr's post, I've come to the conclusion that I might be committing the deadly sin of gluttony.

One of Nick's commenters suggests that his point is misleading because we're not paying all that much per bit of data. That's probably true, but it may not make the point the commenter wants it to make. Consider an analogy to restaurant dining: Americans in the past twenty years have spent far, far more on eating out than any of their ancestors did, and that's a significant development even if you point out that huge portions of fat-laden food mean that they're not paying all that much per calorie. In fact, that analogy may work on more than one level: are we unhealthily addicted to information (of any kind, and regardless of quality) in the same way that we're addicted to fatty foods?


Anyway, with regards to books and information, I guess it is all the same too. We all have access to more information than anything we've dreamed of and yet, is it all for the better?

Medically, I would say yes obviously because of personal reasons but there has to be a point where adding more doesn't change a thing and one has to stop and do some thinking and processing. Besides, there's the matter of absence of compensation for content providers but not for access providers. Related but that is another story.

Or maybe, we could all just blame it on the proclivity for experience.

What the heck, I'd better stay offline more and keep even keel. Besides, it's nice reflection for the Lenten season.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Readability - An Arc90 Lab Experiment

Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you're reading. Follow the steps below to install Readability in your Web browser.

No use fighting it off; eyesight is getting worse. Need new glasses. But for the meantime, there's help on the web. [And it's truly a blessing for the reading-addicted webber !]

Posted via web from friarminor's posterous

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lottery and Subscriptions I'd Be Happy to Pay

Notwithstanding the demise of print media, I still prefer to get my daily reading fare from established names in the world of journalism. Not only do they provide us with well-crafted and well-researched pieces, but over-all I guess it's a daily learning experience basking in the prose, poetry, candor and class of what journalism truly brings to the table. Knowing the dire circumstances that this living writing heroes are faced with, I hope that someday I will be able to help sustain their endeavors.

So when I win the lottery, getting paid subscriptions (if they charge) would rank up there with a new house and car for missus in terms of priority.

1. New York Times
2. Businessweek
3. The New Yorker
4. The Economist
5. The Atlantic
6. The Financial Times
7. Harvard Business Review
8. Wired
9. The Boston Globe
10. TheGuardian.UK

And if I still have a few change to spare: Wall Street Journal and couple of design magazines and comic books

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Want Rehab then This Is It

1. Crime doesn't pay. Don't be so sure on that.
2. Mess up the dance and you'll get solitary!
3. Are you sure this isn't CGI?
4. You say you want to go to prison? That isn't a bad idea but 'Can you dance'?
5. Yo, momma. I'm the 3rd one on the second row at 2:05 mark. Told yah I make you proud someday.
6. Because there's no way you can do the dance routine, you're hereby granted parole!.
7. How about calling all of us Smooth Criminals?
8. Pre-order the DVD now and you'd get authentic inmates fingerprints FREE!
9. The only prison where you're free to bolt and still nobody wants out.
10. Prison closed the door on my singing career but sure opened another.

Posted via web from friarminor's posterous

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Passion To Be An Artist

Of course I don't mean the one that goes after his 15 minutes of fame although there would be benefits to that. What we're aiming for is something more significant, first to your own selves and as a natural progression, an inspiration to the persons living in proximity to you.

The challenge to be a Linchpin and do Emotional Work.

"Work that you put your heart and soul into. Work that matters."

Ditto say Bill Hicks. Although he puts it quite differently, but not mildly.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

[TEDx Manila] Before A Fresh Start

It's been more than a month since the last post. Now wanting to start the year on a sad note, I can only offer a whimper of apology for being lazy to write more than the required 140 characters.

But not lazy enough to post a reprint of the blog I wrote for the TEDx Manila event I attended exactly last month.

Five Best Things About TEDxManila

This is brain spa!

Thus said Joel Yuvienco, team member and organizer of the first TED event, albeit independently organized, to be held in the country. Judging from the attentiveness showered by the crowd, it sure feels like a refreshing break from the regular programming brought about by both traditional forms of media and traditional learning formats as well.

I'm pretty sure that there will be more things to be said and written about this seminal event but for all intents and purposes, let me share my ode to it.


Five Best Things About TEDxManila

1. Atty Antonio Oposa rocks!

Whether or not he was supposed to start first, he totally defined the passionate Filipino TED speaker. Speaking eloquently, his presentation was a story of passion - about taking care for the planet, the irony of terms to describe countries and the environment likened to wealth being passed on to a mindless generation while being rewarded for depleting the earth's resources. We will just have to wait for the video and watch it for yourself. [Not that the other speakers were crap but no doubt, Atty Oposa's star shone the brightest that afternoon.]

2. Ideas are in vogue

Or 'spreading ideas' is an idea whose time has come. It has always been but not in this types of event or venues. Back then, as it is now, ideas are mostly confined in lecture halls, classrooms and behind corporate walls between persons of distinction and earned titles. TED has changed that and Filipinos are clearly, receptive. We want to hear what others are passionate about. Keynote and Powerpoint presentations are the new rock concerts and they are here and we're invited!

3. Expect Sequels

With that kind of reception, there is bound to be sequels and that would be a real boon. Exclusivity at this day and age is so undemocratic and condescending. I nominate TEDx Kawanggawa for those working anonymously behind the scenes - humble hands of the various industries and the backbone of the society.

4. Empowered: Things Can and Will Get Better!

More Filipinos will appreciate values, not just of distinguished and learned academicians but of other Filipinos that are also doing well yet remain faceless and non-celebrated. I want to hear from struggling Filipino artists and designers speak about their craft, from laborers about their daily toil, and from younger generation about overcoming challenges and helping others like the next batch of Efren Pe├▒afloridas. Ideas spread like wildfire and information aims to break free. A kind of empowerment!

5. It has happened!

It is one way to dream about putting up an event such as TEDx and another to make it a reality. It takes time, money and effort. Some things go as planned while a big chunk go and cause plenty of headaches. In the end, TEDxManila made history as it happened last Dec 6. Notwithstanding the technical difficulties, TEDxManila happening is a success in itself. For that, we owe the organizers a big debt of gratitude, not just for bringing us to partake of this wonderful event but more importantly to show us that, here in the Philippines, there is an audience and that TED can be done.



If there's a takeaway from the holiday break, it probably would be 'to stop and smell the roses'.