All entries for October 2007

October 18, 2007

Learning Organization

A book to recommend on OL, Living Company by Arie de Geus, former head of Royal Dutch/Shell's Strategic Planning Group.

Luckily you can find this book in the library, I think it is out of print, and you can only get it as a second hand now. 

Many of his thoughts, I guess perhaps they had a great influence on how Shell construct its corporate image towards the society. I remember reading an article in Fortune magazines, that Shell had setup a department which in charge of corporate responsibilities, and most of the staff in that department were recruited from Green Peace. Very interesting strategy indeed.

However, in the book, Arie de Geus gave more insight on OL, not only using his experience at Shell, but of other companies based on the research that he has conducted through his years with Shell. I think his focus was more on what is the game and why is it important winning the game instead of how to play the game to some extend. 

Excellence Model & etc.

There are many different excellence models, there are also few models which intends to evaluate/value the intellectual capital/intangible assets which covers some similar areas of what mentioned in the excellence models.

Here is an alternative, Skandia Navigator.


One of the interesting aspects of this model is, it considers Financial Focus(Business Results) as Focus on the Past, Human, Customer & Process which are the 3 key factorts of generating Products/Services as the Focus of Today, Renewal & Development Focus as the Future.

Some further readings can be found here:

1994.12.visualizing intellectual capital in skandia.pdf

1995.06.renewal & development.pdf

1995.12.value-creating processes.pdf

1996.06.power of innovation.pdf

1996.12.customer value.pdf

1997.06.intelligent enterprising.pdf

1997.12.human capital in transformation.pdf

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

There are some discussions on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, here is how I would interpreted his theory after reading his original writings on human motivation.



i'm lovin it

I think I really enjoy the content and style of how this course is structured. The content is most times about common sense which I like the most. The teaching style gives you loads of freedom & space. In fact, it is very similar to the self-studies that I have done when I was still working. The only difference now, are that I have more time, guidance and a forum for discussion are provided. The only sort of disadvantage is you can not practise what you have learned or reflected right away.

WebEx & etc.

Writing about Enriching the learning environment from Paul's blog

Found something interesting, in IMC105, it seems that WebEx is installed. But the strange thing is Paul said it is connected to Academic Databases, find that really really strange. Got to have a look how they are using it.

Really like the idea of what Paul has written down regards web conferencing. However I still wonder, Warwick every able to get the ROI by selling these sort of tools & systems to other universities? One of the things, that I still question is the reliability & functionalities of these tools/systems that we developed in house. The blogs editors still can be unstable from time to time, if you are writing something long, better save it from time to time, otherwise you might lose it when you are adding a link, a picture, or something else calls a bit complex than normal functions. The problem is, if you save too frequent, the nice format you had, can be massed up some how. Also, I seriously doubt why developing in-house tools when there is better tools suites our purpose and much wider. Isn't it kind of Society waste? Especially when the spell checker thinks I spelled "blogs" wrong! lol!

how do you eat a elephant? one bite at a time!

From S. Covey, First Thing First!

Time Management

Interesting theory,  where was I spending my time?

Have to make a difference on Quadrant of Quality & Personal Leadership and Quadrant of Deception.

I might spend more time on deceptions than I should...

Team Communication

Writing about web page

I still think Forum would not be the suitable tools for Team Project. Simply because of the timeframe is restricted, the collaboration community is extremely small, also Internet Forum is just a fancier version of UseNet Newsgroup & nothing more. From a pure functionality point view, neither of them was able to really surpass their predecessor BBS, a Bulletin Board System. Sure GUI & some other functions have improved dramatically, but still an asynchronous system. I think Internet Forum/Usenet Newsgroup/BBS they are more suitable where the collaboration community is large or open, where time is a less concern. Similar to many board systems, they are best at broadcasting information but also enable people to comment.

Where an interactive communication is required, I think the best work environment is still takes the form of meeting. There are many web conference tools on the market place such as WebEx founded by Cisco. Unfortunately, it is not university’s intention to use a commercial product which can be integrated into other products such as Outlook, MSN Messenger, etc.

The intention of using forum is for brain storming, but the design of internet forum is for broadcasting information. The difference is when a Team is trying to solve a problem is, the normal approach is analyzing the problem & brainstorming as a team, then develop a plan or approach solving the problem and divide all the necessary work among team members. During the session analyzing the problem & brainstorming, where are interactive collaboration environment is required. Maybe pre & post to this session, forum is still suitable in most cases, but not for this particular meeting. Unfortunately, the portion of this session for small projects tends to have a high weight in comparison with some medium or large projects.

Data Managment

Writing about web page

A bit thought on Data Management, maybe next time should be using Files.Warwick for sharing all files to generate Team Project. The only inconvenience is it takes time to grant a Project Space.

One disadvantage of Files.Warwick is it got no revision control, thought that shall be a minimum requirements for Data Management Systems.

make a tall giraffe

Writing about web page

We were told to compete in as a team:

      • solve 16 pulzzes
        • play a anagram
          • complete a task.

          There were suppose to be 12 people in the competition, however as the uncertainties of life, it knocked us (Team 1), from 4 members to 2 (Tai & me).

          I guess the very right thing that we have done in the beginning, was splitting the tasks. We knew we could not have the luxury to spend lots of time on brainstorming and getting things right, since there are only 4 hands between us.

          But we did sort of think it through on how to make a tall & durable paper giraffe, it must has short legs, large body providing as a solid base.

          Another trick was, we made the components of the neck more like a cone instead of a column. What team 2 has done, also gave us a hint on strengthening the necks before installing it on the body. Team 2 were a lot faster than us, since they had 4 people, when they finished install their neck, they realised our neck is getting longer than theirs, so they removed the head and made some extensions. They need some paper to wrap around the neck to support and strength it, they were struggling with it because it is very hard to do it in the air after the neck is installed. We did observe that and start strengthening our neck before install it to the body.

          We also didn't make our body really dense, so give us more flexibility when we added the necks and legs to the body. We were able to adjust the angles, and find the centre of gravity. The body was then stuffed with small pieces of paper to make it more solid.

          A few thoughts on good teamwork:

              • study the goal & rules, cascade the goal into sub-deliverables, and splitting the tasks to team member's strength not weakness
                • have a sense of urgency, spend less time on discussing not important or not relevant issues
                  • most of all, GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY, all of you!

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