Archive for 2015

No matter how long you make the process chart ……


  ……you never quite reach the customer! A senior official of a public services organisation, after reading The Intelligent Organisation, asked his assistant to purchase two more copies for other members of staff. Email One: Dear John,  This may be a very cheeky request but A would like 2 copies of ‘The Intelligent Organisation’, and […]

Whole Systems Thinking


A short extract from a seminar on Whole Systems Thinking delivered to engineers at ARUP.

The Intelligent Organisation – book launch


Any book about management or managing organisations has to be sound in both theory and practice, management is after all an applied activity. Hence in launching the book I thought it important that the audience heard from both senior practitioners and academics. This is your opportunity to hear what everyone had to say – or […]

Protecting the public purse part 2


 You couldn’t make it up….. Just when you think systems can’t get any sillier, an organisation ups the ante…. Dear John We work in a paperless office here so finding a stapler, or sellotape, to attach receipts to an expenses form is problematic so it’s a task that I do at home. This month I […]

NIC: synthesise don’t analyse


  Whether or not the National Infrastructure Commission (whose brief is to deliver a politically independent infrastructure strategy) will be useful depends not so much on what it does but on how it does what it does! If it considers projects independently of each other (an energy project, a transport project) then it risks continuing […]

Thinking About Information Science


Thinking About Information Science John Beckford The role of information science in Universities and Business is changing rapidly, but what is Information Science? According to: “Information science (or information studies) is an interdisciplinary field primarily concerned with the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information.[1] Practitioners within the field study the […]

A Bonfire of Conceits


A Bonfire of Conceits I have a vivid memory of Stafford Beer telling an audience at King Alfred’s College, Winchester, that none of us could disprove the existence of fairies. It was a typically profound and weighted message; that our cognition is limited and bounded. What most disturbs us is that which arrives through the […]

This is interesting…..


The One Eyed Man


It is often said that in the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king.  Wrong!  In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man would probably be regarded as a raving lunatic.  Imagine the conversation, “SEES THINGS?  What does he mean, he SEES THINGS?”  Driving change can be very like the life of […]

Free wifi or not


Is it unreasonable to ask…. ….. whether this wifi is free or not? A UK based hotel chain recently ‘improved’ its customer offer by making its wifi offer free of charge. A saving of £3 per night and very welcome when many of their hotels (rarely in prime positions) suffer from poor mobile connectivity. Then […]

Directors of Change Management


Is it unreasonable to ask… … that Managers take responsibility? I stumbled across a job advertisement recently in a respected academic news journal. The advert, placed by a respected University, was seeking no less than: “three Permanent ‘Directors of Change Management”. (My emphasis) These poor, benighted creatures are expected to: “work with the Deputy VC […]

The IT is crap


Is it unreasonable to ask…. …when you say ‘the IT is crap’, is it you? Are you referring to the network? The device? The application? The output? Or the information itself – the data or report you are working with? ‘The IT is crap at <insert name of your particular organisation>’ is a comment as […]

Protecting the Public Purse?


If we assume that staff are dishonest why do we employ them AND let them loose on our customers? This note was circulated by the finance admin team of a university:   Subject: POLITE REMINDER re Out of Pocket Expense Claim Forms A polite reminder if we may…… It is not best practice to present […]