Thursday, April 04, 2019

Smart People Struggling To Make The Internet Help Them Be Smarter

Are our offices making us ill? Hot-desking, where workers share desk space or work at a different workstation each day, is increasingly common

How the modern office is killing our creativity

Financial Times-14 Mar 2019

Pilita Clark who in the 1980s knew how to jazz up NSW Parliamentary Press Christmas Parties has a story in the FT which is very topical in many offices around Australia. New ideas often spring to mind in places of solitude, which are rare in the workplace Veteran adman Roger Mavity says the idea that great creative thoughts come from teamwork, brainstorming and the ever-present away day is one of the 'great myths' of creativity

On a wintry afternoon in February, a veteran British adman named Roger Mavity walked into a drab meeting room at the Financial Times to tell a bunch of journalists how to do their jobs better. He and Stephen Bayley, the design guru, were about to publish How to Steal Fire, yet another book on one of the most eagerly sought qualities in the business world: creativity. Companies buffeted by a storm of digital disruption and competitive pressures have embraced the need for creative thinking with gusto in recent years, which marks a turnround.

 Chief executives have talked for decades about the importance of innovation, which academics define as the implementation of new ideas. But far less attention has been devoted to figuring out how to foster creativity itself. That began to change after the dotcom crash of 2000 and the subsequent financial crisis. By 2010, a global survey of more than 1,500 CEOs found creativity was deemed the single most important leadership trait for success. Later research has shown that CEOs think the struggle to hire creative workers is one of the biggest threats to their business.

 “The first thing that helps creativity is solitude,” Mr Mavity said. “Creativity is essentially an individual rather than a collective activity.” Sir Isaac Newton was a case in point, he told us. The great thoughts that helped him go on to formulate the theory of gravity came after the Great Plague closed his university (Cambridge) and he spent nearly two years shut away in his home in Lincolnshire.


Global Media Dragon talent shortage is now the top emerging risk facing organizations: Gartner A recent Gartner survey of 137 senior executives showed talent shortage as the top emerging risk organizations face globally.
The research indicates that companies need to shift from external hiring strategies towards training their current workforces and applying risk mitigation strategies for critical talent shortages

Global talent shortage is now the top emerging risk

Gizmodo UK:: “Artificial intelligence is already everywhere, and its influence is growing. It can be hard to get your head around exactly what AI does and how it can be deployed though, which is why we present to you these five fun online experiments—all you need is a web browser and a few minutes to see some of the party tricks AI is already capable of…”

The Landlord Wants Facial Recognition in Its Rent-Stabilized Buildings. Why? New York Times
Google Will Require Temp Workers Receive $15 Minimum Wage, Parental Leave The Verge
Uber spent $2m lobbying for NY congestion charge Financial Times. AOC to the white courtesy phone….
The gender wealth gap Axios

Some serious allegations

Did the Washington Post purposefully kill parts of what would have been a blockbuster story because it didn’t want to ruin the career of then-"60 Minutes” boss Jeff Fager? That’s what author Irin Carmon asks in a piece for New York magazine.

Carmon was a Post freelancer last year working alongside staff writer Amy Brittain on a story about sexual harassment at CBS. She had helped report the allegations that put CBS’s Charlie Rose out of work. While working on a follow-up story, she and Brittain were told by numerous though anonymous sources that Fager had acted inappropriately and created a hostile work environment.
But Carmon said Post editors, led by executive editor Marty Baron, wanted more reporting on the story and, ultimately, removed all references to Fager before the story ran. Not long after in the New Yorker, Ronan Farrow broke a story accusing Fager of touching employees in a way that “made them uncomfortable.” Fager eventually was fired last September for sending inappropriate text messages to CBS News reporter Jericka Duncan.
The headline on Carmon’s New York story (What Was The Washington Post Afraid Of?) is certainly incendiary, and Carmon details the behind-the-scenes struggles to get the story published. Carmon wrote that the Post had a working relationship with “60 Minutes” (the two had just partnered on an investigative piece about the opioid crisis), but said that she didn’t think backing off Fager was “some kind corrupt arrangement related to the partnership.”
She did write, “... it was easier for even the most well-meaning editor to empathize with a newsroom leader, a fellow boss with potentially discontented underlings. It’s easier for a lot of us to believe that a man’s career matters more than the hypothetical losses of the women he might have harmed.”
Or, perhaps, the reporting simply wasn’t solid enough for an editor (Baron) and a paper (The Post) not known for pulling punches. Baron was the editor at the Boston Globe during that paper's investigation on sexual abuse in the Catholic church — the basis for the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight” — and the Post has dozens of Pulitzer Prizes to its credit.
In the end, Carmon does not say for certain why parts of the story were edited out, but closed with this:
“I don't believe there is just one reason the Post rejected the Fager story. I think it was a little of everything. The legal squeeze. The close relationship between the paper and ‘60 Minutes.’ The easy identification with a powerful executive in our industry as opposed to the people complaining about him. #MeToo fatigue, a growing sense in journalistic circles that the movement might be going too far. I doubt I'll ever really know.”
In a statement to Poynter, Post spokesperson Kris Coratti Kelly said, “The New York Magazine piece is an incomplete story of The Post’s investigation of sexual harassment allegations at CBS, and it sidesteps an essential truth: certain aspects of that reporting did not meet our standards for publication. The suggestion that The Post's decision-making — made in agreement by five senior editors — was influenced by anything other than established journalistic standards is baseless and reprehensible.”

Pursuit of perfection the enemy of digital government Citizens today demand more than ever, immediately, from their governments. In order to meet those demands, governments need to harness the promise of technology to deliver better services to all.
Iteration and change is an important piece of modern applications, such as Google Maps or Gmail. In fact, these changes are expected. However, when governments launch things that are incomplete, they are exposed to criticism.
In order for governments to remain competitive in a digital era, they must embrace a measurement mindset, an agreement on what the minimum viable product should be, and freedom to experiment.
Policy Options, Pursuit of perfection the enemy of digital government

Design the organization of the future: Leaders need to leverage big data and deep learning in order to reinvent the enterprise as a next-generation learning organization.
Apply the science of organizational change: The single biggest factor influencing the success of major change programs is how early they are initiated – as such, a sense of urgency in the organization is critical.
Achieve innovation and resilience through diversity: Organizations must embrace new ideas, and they must install open communication practices, participative leadership, commitment to building diversity in top management, openness to testing multiple ideas, and other measures to unlock the full potential of diversity.
Optimize for both social and business value: Leaders will need to master the art of corporate statesmanship, proactively shaping the critical societal issues that will increasingly change the game of businesses.

Winning the ’20s: A Leadership Agenda for the Next Decade

Smart People Struggling To Make The Internet Help Them Be Smarter

Today, the worries of 2008 look almost endearingly naive: Forget about the web making us dumber; let’s talk about how it has transformed us into tribalized rage monsters.  – Slate

Writing Isn’t Therapy

And writing about trauma doesn’t bestow some kind of catharsis on authors, or so says T. Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls. “My love for magic, still, is all about mechanics. Construction. Physics. My knowledge of how tricks are done does not deaden the awe and admiration I feel—it deepens it. Sometimes I work hard for that knowledge.” – LitHub 

The course of history is unpredictable, as irregular the weather, as errant as affection, nations rising and falling by whim and chance, battered by violence, corrupted by greed, seized by tyrants, raided by rogues, addled by demagogues. This was all true until one day, Tuesday, October 30, 1787, when readers of a newspaper called the New-York Packet found on the front page an advertisement for an almanac that came bound with tables predicting the “Rising and Setting of the Sun,” the “Judgment of the Weather,” the “Length of Days and Nights,” and, as a bonus, something entirely new: the Constitution of the United States, forty-four hundred words that attempted to chart the motions of the branches of government and the separation of their powers as if these were matters of physics, like the transit of the sun and moon and the comings and goings of the tides. It was meant to mark the start of a new era, in which the course of history might be made predictable and a government established that would be ruled not by accident and force but by reason and choice. The origins of that idea, and its fate, are the story of American history.

The Constitution entailed both toil and argument. Knee-breeched, sweat-drenched delegates to the constitutional convention had met all summer in Philadelphia in a swelter of secrecy, the windows of their debating hall nailed shut against eavesdroppers. By the middle of September, they’d drafted a proposal written on four pages of parchment. They sent that draft to printers who set the type of its soaring preamble with a giant W, as sharp as a bird’s claw.

The privacy risks of unchecked facial-recognition technology
Facial recognition technology is being deployed by law enforcement and security, covertly scanning everyone from pedestrians passing by street cameras to unsuspecting concertgoers. It’s also being leveraged to “read” personalities and emotions, incorporating those results into automated hiring systems or insurance rates.

These Truths: Jill Lepore on How the Shift from Mythology to Science Shaped the Early Dream of Democracy

“The past is an inheritance, a gift and a burden. It can’t be shirked. You carry it everywhere. There’s nothing for it but to get to know it.”

We've managed to invent something even worse than open offices