Archive for January, 2005

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Some good quotes in support of narrative in business

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 30, 2005
Filed in Business storytelling

If you are building a business case to use narrative techniques in your organisation, here are some great quotes to sprinkle throughout the story you might tell your executive.

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Tool for Thought

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 30, 2005
Filed in Communication

Steven Johnson writes an essay in the New York Times pondering the future of writing with the availability of tools like DEVONThink. It helps you locate those ideas you managed to type into your computer and then promptly forgot by feeding the system a sentence of two, such as a paragraph from the new book you are writing. Steven tells us about the interesting […]

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The act of setting boundaries

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 30, 2005
Filed in Communication

Complex systems lack explicit boundaries. Any boundaries which exist are imposed by people who are attempting to constrain and simplify the system for a particular purpose and therefore these boundaries are artefacts affected by the designer’s biases, interests and vision. This is not bad situation, we just need to remain aware of how boundaries were […]

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A community of practice coordinator talks about cultivating her practice

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 25, 2005
Filed in Collaboration

Farida Hasanali works at APQC and coordinates their communities of practice. She has written a series of interesting posts from a practitioner’s perspective. Farida covers ROI, IT support, roles, activities and all from a personal perspective. 

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Similarity between characteristics of a complex adaptive system and a wicked problem

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 25, 2005
Filed in Collaboration

I’ve just been reading about wicked problems and I’m struck by the similarities between the characteristics of a complex system and how Rittel and Webber defined a wicked problem back in 1973. Jeff Conklin nicely summarises wicked problems as follows:   You don’t understand the problem until you have developed a solution   . Indeed, […]

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I remember using a contraption just like this

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 24, 2005
Filed in Fun

My first ‘real’ job was working as a research assistance at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies. We had a similar setup for our Tektronix terminals taking snaps of primitive geographic information systems. [Thanks Seth]

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Gareth Morgan’s 15% concept

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 20, 2005
Filed in Collaboration

In our work to design complexity-based interventions our aim has been to create small initiatives, which in themselves are designed to address specific issues, that when taken together over time have a widespread effect on the broader system (organisation, division, team). Today I discovered Gareth Morgan’s description of essentially the same approach which he calls […]

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A metaphor for attractors and strange attractors

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 19, 2005
Filed in Communication

The concepts of an attractor and strange attractor from complexity science can be difficult ideas to grasp, but I came across this metaphor by Bill McKelvey which you might find useful. “As a metaphor, think of a point attractor as a rabbit on an elastic tether—the rabbit moves in all directions but as it tires […]

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Edward Tufte New Chapter from Beautiful Evidence

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 19, 2005
Filed in News

For one month Edward Tufte is making available a chapter from his upcoming book, Beautiful Evidence. Tufte wrote 3 of my favourite books which I love because of their simple beauty and their insightful portrayal of how to best convey information with graphics:  Envisioning Information , The Visual Display of Quantitative Information , Visual Explanations. [thanks […]

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Complexity, Stories, and Knowing

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 18, 2005
Filed in Business storytelling

Ken Baskin presented this paper at the 2004 International Workshop on Complexity and Philosophy. I haven’t had a chance to read the paper yet but the topic seems interesting. Thanks to Fabio Boschetti at CSIRO for alerting me to this one.

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