The next “next” generation

Just over a decade ago, I published the table in figure 1 to describe how organisations were shifting from a traditional form to a set of next generation behaviours. Whilst the table was welcome in some quarters, it was generally met with derision and comments of “this is just for startups”. Not that I’m bitter … much … gronda gronda.

Figure 1 — Traditional vs Next Generation Company behaviours

I’m glad to say that a decade later, that many have already started their journey to the next generation or at least acknowledge it as their future. So, given that I’m…

On Forcing functions

(For reference, reprint from Dec 2020,

Throughout history, the major changes to our workplace, to our organisations and even to our way of living have been driven by the industrialisation of technology. The automobile you drive is built upon layer upon layer of industrialised components from the steel to make the body to the rubber to make the tyres. Without industrialisation, there is no internet, there is no electricity and there are no toasters.

This process of industrialisation, the shift from more product to more commodity, from imperfect to more perfect market competition changes our practices which in turn…

What happens in the corporate world post covid?

The isolation economy caused by covid forced us to change. It forced us to accept pre-existing technology that we had resisted e.g. remote working, zoom calls and online collaboration became a necessity.

As we overcame our inertia to change then this in turn allowed for new possibilities as the the adoption of more industrialised technology enables new wonders to appear. These basic patterns of the evolution of technology, inertia, forcing function and times of peace, war and wonder are staple parts of the mapping diet. …

Look before you leap

It has been a long time since I’ve posted and there is so much to discuss. The continued industrialisation of the technology stack, the automation of radicalisaton online, the impacts of physical isolation in accelerating adoption, the ethics of choice against the ethics of care or the entire question of how to balance “Me” vs “We” in a modern society? There is so much to choose from that it’s difficult to know where to start. But start I will and I suppose a bugbear is as good a place as any. My bugbear for today is digital sovereignty.

I’ll need…

Off the beaten track — part VII

It has been a few months since my last discussion on culture. To recap, the difficulty I have with discussing culture is the inability of people to describe it. As Kroeber said “Despite a century of efforts to define culture adequately, there is no agreement among anthropologists regarding its nature.”

Margaret Mead wisely noted that “Language is a discipline of cultural behaviour” and that’s our open door because any model cannot be complete and true within itself (Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem). …

On the inclusive and exclusive nature of values

In my previous post on HS2 (High Speed Rail) to China, I discussed the necessity for using multiple methods when managing any large complicated system that contains evolving components. Taking from Elizabeth Shove’s work on social practice theory, I examined how within a single meaning (such as “project management”) you can have different competencies (agile, lean and six sigma) each of which are individually suited to a different material instance (genesis, product, commodity) of a single “thing” which has a common meaning (e.g. compute, teleportation, risk management).

In other words “project management” (a meaning) for a “thing” (a meaning) can…

On the changing world of geopolitics.

There has been a lot of gnashing of teeth recently over the Government decision to involve Huawei in 5G and China’s National Rail company in HS2 (High Speed Rail) with endless concerns over human rights, exploitation of labour and security. There are many subjects being muddled together here, so let us start by unpacking this all. First up, HS2 and the question of outsourcing.

HS2 and Outsourcing.

James Findlay was the former CIO of HS2 and he had a problem. In order to reduce the risks of HS2, a decision was taken to build the entire railroad in a virtual world, a sort…

Off the beaten path — Part VI

On memory

From the earlier sections, I hope we now have a basic grasp of concepts like values, principles, enablement systems and the general map of culture. Of course, it’s quite a lot of ground to cover, so how much you understand probably depends upon how much you remember and when it comes to culture, nothing matters more than memory.

Within any collective, the values we espouse and the principles we hold are embodied in the written history and the living memory of its members (see point 1, figure 1)

Figure 1 — Collective memory.

This is why, if you wish to…

Off the beaten path — Part V

Understanding Value

In this section, I’m going to explore a bit more into the question of value within our map of culture in order for later sections to shed some light onto the question of what should I do now? As with mapping in general, there are no right answers, there is simply a way of discussing the environment to find a better path.

To begin with, I’m going to re-examine that concept of pipelines when it came to values. …

Off the beaten path — Part IV

Mea culpa

In the previous chapter, I left you with a map of brexit. I said that I had avoided the use of values within it … mea culpa … I had left some in there. Two values in particular — fairness and equality (see highlighted point 1 in figure 1)

But what are values? Values identify what is judged as good or evil within a culture. They are more than just the operating norms or principles of behaviour, they are beliefs and often abstract concepts of what is important, what matters, what is worthwhile. They are within and derived from a…


I like ducks, they're fowl but not through choice. RT is not an endorsement but a sign that I find a particular subject worthy of challenge and discussion.

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