Archive for the 'Analysis and Opinion' Category

Information Overload and Innovation: a Vicious Circle

Posted on September 18th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

An unusual lecture subject Yesterday I gave a somewhat unusual invited lecture at the Innovation as Culture conference in Tel Aviv. The lecture was about Information Overload, something I speak about often, but in this case I was asked to consider it from an Innovation point of view. After some thought I realized there were a number of points of congruence between these two subjects: after all, innovation requires thinking, and information overload is a major barrier to deep, focused thought. On the other hand, many solutions to information overload are extremely innovative. That’s two areas to explore already –.. Read more

New Insight Article: Want to Motivate Employees? Don’t Treat Them Like Children!

Posted on September 8th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

A great deal has been written about how to motivate your workforce, and there are many valid ways to go about it. One method, however, is so simple and effective that it’s hard to understand why many companies miss out on applying it. The secret is simple: accord your employees – all of them, even the newest young hires – your unquestioning trust. In other words, show them that you trust their judgment, and that they have your permission to apply it as they see fit. No micro-management, no debilitating approval loops, no frustrating insistence on excessive control. You hire.. Read more

Is Information Overload a Symptom of Incorrect Staffing?

Posted on August 21st, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

Of the 164 solutions to information overload included in my Definitive Guide, the last one is probably the least likely to be implemented – and that’s truly a shame. The problem we seldom mention I was discussing Information Overload a while ago with a thoughtful executive at a Fortune 500. The guy agreed with me that things were out of control, but he wasn’t impressed with the fact that he was receiving some 250 work-related email messages a day, most of which were pretty much useless. He said to me, “The problem is not the 200-odd useless emails; those I.. Read more

Why Employee Badge Design Matters to Your Company

Posted on August 8th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

What defines the design of the employee badges in your company? Who cares, you say? YOU should, I reply. Very much so. Read on. How it’s usually done The employee badge is a standard feature of the hi-tech workplace (and other security-aware establishments). It is usually issued to new employees by the security department, since its main raison d’être is to enhance security by highlighting intruders. Until full biometrics take over, it is also frequently used to open doors to restricted areas, to feed the employee in the plant cafeteria, and to charge and track other activities. Form follows function,.. Read more

The Other Digital Divide – Where the Rich Lose!

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

The Digital Divide Wikipedia defines the digital divide as “an economic and social inequality according to categories of persons in a given population in their access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT)”. The idea is usually that people in lower socioeconomic circumstances have less access to the bounty of computing, and especially the Internet, than richer folks. This, of course, further limits their ability to succeed in life, deepening the inequalities that are so harmful to society. This divide between “Haves” and “Have-nots” is widely recognized; and yet I note an additional, different digital divide.. Read more

Curling – and the True Role of a Manager

Posted on July 17th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Some people are managers, and some are individual contributors; two very different species. Both are vital to the success of a company, which means both can make or break that success. Most individual contributors – engineers and technologists, for instance – are happy to do their thing and leave the bigger picture to their managers; at least, until they progress – as some of them do – to become technical leaders, when their input to management strategy becomes invaluable. But the individuals can’t do their thing unless the managers do theirs, and at times it seems that a manager is.. Read more

Oh, the Horror: What if You Miss an Important Message?!

Posted on June 6th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

In a world where knowledge workers may receive 300 emails a day, and have thousands of unread messages in their inbox, one of the best pieces of advice I can give them in my workshops may be Be quick with that Delete button! Unfortunately, people are so loath to heed this advice, that I often don’t even try. What’s keeping them from deleting with a vengeance it the mortifying fear that they will accidentally delete an important message. Oh, the horror!… The implicit assumption There may be two underlying assumptions at play here: one assumes deleting the message harms its.. Read more

Urgency and Email

Posted on May 21st, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

It’s less than three weeks to Overloaded 2014, IORG’s June 7 conference in San Francsico. I’m going – are you? Have you registered yet? I was discussing email overload solutions with a team of managers and we were considering how to differentiate urgent messages, when one guy asked: What is an urgent message? And who decides it’s urgent, anyway? Now, that is a deceptively simple question, one well worthy of some thought. What do we mean by Urgent? Although people seem to have a gut feeling of what “Urgent” means, once you open it for discussion you get different viewpoints… Read more

New Insight Article: The Importance of Having an Effective Action Culture

Posted on February 19th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Organizational culture is a fascinating subject – elusive yet critical to a company’s success. A crucial aspect of this is what I’ll call (for lack of a better name) Action Culture. By this I mean the norms and expectations governing how action – the tasks required by the company’s business – is determined, assigned, owned, and tracked to completion. Having a well formed action culture can make a huge difference to a company’s success; over the years I’ve seen quite interesting good and bad examples. My recent insight article, titled The Importance of Having an Effective Action Culture, shares what.. Read more

The two Faces of Anytime, Anywhere

Posted on February 14th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

A cool idea (or so we thought) … It really did sound like a great concept at the time: Work Anytime, Anywhere! Catchy slogans like that always sound good, like Andy Grove’s prediction in the nineties of “Free MIPS, Free Bauds” (which is pretty close to reality by now). And the concept of being able to do your work from anywhere as if you were in the office, and at any time of your choosing rather than 9-to-5, seemed particularly cool – so liberating and exhilarating! We in IT were certainly delivering the capability. Admittedly secure remote access was a.. Read more