Hiring Vs Developing Smart Creatives


When we contrast the traditional knowledge worker with the engineers and other talented people who have surrounded us at Google over the past decade, we see that our Google peers represent a quite different type of employee. (…) They are a new kind of animals, a kind we call a “smart creative” and they are the key to achieving success in the internet century.

Continue reading “Hiring Vs Developing Smart Creatives”

Sunday Quote – Sherry Turkle

Overwhelmed by the pace that technology makes possible, we think about how new, more efficient technologies might help dig us out. But new devices encourage ever-greater volume and velocity. In this escalation of demands, one of the things that comes to feel safe is using technology to connect to people at a distance, or more precisely, to a lot of people from a distance. But even a lot of people from a distance can turn out to be not enough people at all (…) Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities. And as it turns out, we are very vulnerable indeed. We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. (…) Our networked life allows us to hide from each other even as we are tethered to each other.

Sherry Turkle is Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technologies at MIT. This blog has already discusses about her rather fascinating TED talk. The quote above is taken from her book Alone Together – Why we expect more from technology and less from each other.

This books shares many stories to make his point, the one from the quote above. It is not very comfortable read but it is a critical one. Especially when you have teenagers at home addicted to their Facebook profile which somehow makes them lose sight of reality. I am quite surprised as many online friends avoid the conversation altogether.

While I was reading this book, I managed to incidentally see Her the beautiful movie by Spike Jonze telling the love story between a melancholic guy and an electronic device (OK : with Scarlett Johansson voice). The movie has vividly resonated with the main themes of the book. A strongly recommend one to watch.

Myths of the 21st century organization and the sad truth about enterprise collaboration


There have been 2 milestones in my story with online collaboration tools. First, at the turn of the century, these have helped me to get out of a very tricky professional situation. Then I was fascinated by the geek culture after I joined an innovative start-up in 2004, where everybody would use such tools while collaborating in a very efficient way. And I kept on telling myself : why on earth isn’t everyone working like this ? This is fun, exciting, engaging I need to tell the world this is the way to go.

I have been a very active supporter of these ever since, in particular during the 2009 – 2011 period during which I have blogged extensively on the topic. Looking back to this activism, I have realized that I was making some major misconceptions, the very same that people talking about future of work or hacker culture are making today IMHO.

  1. People who are not digital literate won’t see the value of online collaboraton tools, especially if they don’t collaborate in the first place. In other words, technology is more an obstacle than an enabler to create a culture of collaboration.
  2. The hacking culture has emerged from people who are more comfortable collaborating online then in real life. Thank God, we are a minority (I’m counting myself in).
  3. Online collaboration tools are used to scale collaboration throughout the organization. If there is no collaboration in the enterprise, you ain’t gonna scale anything but frustration.

If buying enterprise software was actually solving organization problems, my job (organization coach/consultant, i.e. fixing broken organizations) would not be a multi-billion dollar industry. If this a strategy, it is just a CIO/VP self-preservation one (“No CIO hs been fired for buying ${enterprise_software_vendor} solutions”).

This easy approach has even less chances to succeed for something as fragile as enterprise collaboration. It may, though, in very specific contexts, but in my opinion these are more evidences of leadership of the professionals making their project a success (Claire FlanaganDan Pontrefact, or Celine Schillinger being names coming to mind) than evidences of the viability of such initiatives.

Baring in mind these sad truths, this post proposes an alternate strategy to root collaboration in the organization. Continue reading “Myths of the 21st century organization and the sad truth about enterprise collaboration”

Sunday Quote : Alvin Toffler

“The Illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”

Alvin Toffler is is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution and technological singularity.

It is a very popular (and slided) quote. I have seen it in the slide deck of two very influent people in my career : Multi-talented blogger and über expert in social collaboration Rawn Shah and connected machine services visionary, Daniel Harari, the Lectra CEO.

Everybody agrees on the necessity of learning. However, not so many people promote the necessity of unlearning, i.e changing habits and mental models. Try brushing your teeth with th other hand or fold you arms the other way as Mike Rother suggests in this amazing talk, you’ll know how it feels to get out of your’s comfort zone.

How do you learn, unlearn and relearn ? How can you tell you have learnt, how do you know ? How is your company doing it ?

Sunday Quote Eleanor Roosevelt

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
An interesting quote. I don’t fully share the perspective though. I like the one about people as I have noticed that within the corporate world the least interesting people always talk about people as a way to evaluate their own status in the corporate hierarchy. This often tends to correlate with a propensity to be focussed on their social status. Talking about people might be OK though, just as long as you talk about them as if they were in the same room.
The one about idea also makes me uncomfortable. I know abstract minds talking their whole career about ideas without testing them. It’s great to be interested about ideas but if you are not able to test them, how much value do they contribute ?

The Wirearchy Selfie Meme

photo 1(1)

There are many shiny buzzwords and concepts in the business world. Yet few have the elegance of a single word denomination.  And even fewer achieve the amazing feat of combining 21st century concepts with greek etymology for a dazzling description of what is at stake today in our organizations.

My friend Jon Husband came with Wirearchy a while ago (check his #hypertextual video Interview describing the whole idea) and it is just the best I can think of to describe the challenge of 21st century organizations. My director and sensei Marie-Pia Ignace keeps telling me that my professional weakness is to fall too easily in love with ideas. Here is the sexiest of our times. See I am still doing meme, probably the last blogger attemtping to use this 2.0 Jurassic effect.

But that’s not all. Not only did Jon come with this stroke of genius, he also managed to get it illustrated by Mr Gaping Void himself, Hugh McLeod. How about that as a grand slam of alternative management marketing ?

So here’s the process :

  1. You download the Wirearchy PSD here
  2. You go to your favorite T-shirt maker (mine is Yumie in Bordeaux) and you make your Wirearchy t-shirt (or cap or sweater or underwear) with the color and design you want as long as there is the illustration
  3. You take a selfie
  4. You publish it online – you can even blog about it if you feel like to
  5. You let Jon, myself and the whole free world know on Twitter that you support Wirearchy by sharing the link
  6. We have a beer when we have a chance

Have fun and see you online.

Why and How to Challenge Agile Leanwashing

photo(14)The agile community is full of drive and new ideas. This is what I’ve liked for the last 10 years ever since I joined it. However, it may happen that the community enthusiasm makes me uncomfortable. In all fairness, I no longer share its hunger for new concepts to keep the community buzzing with novelties and shining new toys.

One of the target domains of new concept mass-production for the Agile community during the last few years has been Lean. Lean Start-up, Lean UX, Lean Analytics, Lean BtoB, Lean Kanban (probably the most confusing of all), Lean YouNameIt – not to mention SAFe framework that proudly displays the Lean flashy sticker on its top left corner.

This enthusiasm has had interesting consequences. First, it has allowed to put Lean in the spotlight as people were seeking alternative modes of management allowing to navigate the complexity of the 21st century business world. Second, it has also proved instrumental in introducing Lean to a new generation of professionals – including this blog main contributor. Continue reading “Why and How to Challenge Agile Leanwashing”