Thursday, April 04, 2024

Happy SES Hour and Riddle of Divided Houses - Failing at Change

When many cultural stories are not told …

Culture - Listening to Learn: Culture from the bottom Eats any AC & DC Strategy for breakfast

Rob Heferen: ‘Won’t pretend to have all the answers’: New ATO chief pledges to listen to SMEs

We know most small businesses open their doors and provide their services because they have a passion, and they want to turn their passion into a venture. We know tax is not the first thing on their mind when bringing their passion to the market.

Serious Financial Crime Taskforce past media releases and audio grabs

Andrew Mills - Replacement for outgoing NSW Independent Planning Commission chair

He also leads the Financial Reporting Council, is chair of Cemeteries & Crematoria NSW, and is an associate professor (principal fellow) at the University of Melbourne Law School.

According to AFR senior investigative reporter Neil Chenoweth, whose reporting a year ago helped blow up the scandal and get the Senate inquiry rolling, Jordan and other ATO officers in fact weaponised those secrecy provisions against the TPB, and also “made multiple attempts to sideline or to engineer the dismissal of board chief executive Michael O’Neill because of his team’s actions in investigating PwC”. Their apparent aim was to restrict the TPB’s investigation to Collins as an individual, thereby protecting PwC and by extension the neoliberal government-byconsultant model from scrutiny.

Tax Office’s civil war over PwC puts spotlight on the failure of neoliberalism - By Richard Bardon, Australian Alert Service, 14 February 2024

Michael ONeill, CEO of the Tax Practitioners Board, has just refuted the evidence of ATO deputy commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn, that there was an attempt to subject him to the “no return policy” and that the allegations made in Neil Chenoweth article in yesterday’s The Australian Financial Review, that the ATO tried multiple times to intimidate and bully him, including considering trying to have him charged with fraud, because he wouldn’t stop investigating PwC, Are. True. This is unbelievable. Michael Sukkar was knee deep in this. Peter de Cure AM must go. Sukkar, Jordan and Hirschhorn must be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). Jim Chalmers has to step in. And O’Neill should get a medal for his quiet, courageous integrity

Associate Professor Andy Schmulow

“I am after small truths, not after truth with a capital T.” Daniel Kahneman in perhaps his final interview ... Small Truths 

 Daniel Kahneman: Putting Your Intuition on Ice [The Knowledge Project Ep. #68]  – Psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman reveals the actions we can take to overcome the biases that cripple our decision-making, damper our thinking, and limit our effectiveness. Listen and Learn from the master.

Listen and Learn: YouTube | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Transcript

The man who discovered people hate losing more than they like winning

Daniel Kahneman was one of the few psychologists to win the Nobel prize for economics and wrote ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ - an influential social science book.

Daniel Kahneman (1934-2024) was teaching air force flight instructors when one of them informed him that criticism worked better than praise.
Whenever they praised a successful performance, the instructor noted, the cadet pilot tended to get worse. By contrast, when instructors screamed at a pilot for a poor performance, the cadet generally improved.
Kahneman realised that the instructors were reacting to what statisticians call “regression to the mean”. Because performances are a function of both luck and skill, a lousy execution is typically followed by an improvement, while a great execution is typically followed by a deterioration.
But rather than turning the flight class into a maths lecture, Kahneman decided to illustrate the point by a simple exercise. He asked everyone to toss a coin over their shoulder towards a target. After the first attempt, people were ranked in their performance. They then tried again. As regression to the mean would predict, the best performers got worse, while the worst performers got better.
Collaborating with fellow Israeli psychologist Amos Tversky, Kahneman set about identifying systematic ways that people deviated from rationality. They developed “prospect theory”, showing that the pain of losing $1000 is bigger than the pleasure of winning $1000. The theory helps explain why someone might insure their smartphone and play the pokies – both activities that leave the average person worse off.
Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman, pictured at Stanford around 1979.  

In their paper on the “anchoring effect”, Kahneman and Tversky asked participants to guess the share of countries in the United Nations that were in Africa.
Before making their estimate, they watched a roulette wheel spin, which was predetermined to land on 10 or 65. When the wheel landed on the smaller number, participants guessed that 25 per cent of countries were in Africa. When the wheel landed on the larger number, participants guessed that 45 per cent of countries were in Africa.
Anchoring effects are routinely used by restaurants, which have learnt that a high-priced item listed at the top of the menu pushes up the willingness of diners to spend big; and by salespeople, who understand that the first offer has a big impact on the final price.
Daniel Kahneman was born to Jewish parents in Tel Aviv in 1934 and spent his early years in France. After the Nazis invaded, his father was taken to an internment camp. Released after six weeks, he weighed just 45 kilograms. The family fled to the south of France, moving from house to house. For a time, they lived in a converted chicken coop. There, Kahneman’s father suffered a stroke and died, just weeks before D-Day.
Yet, the experience also brought surprises. Kahneman told the story of visiting the home of a friend at a time when Jews were required to wear the Star of David and obey a curfew. Kahneman was out beyond the curfew, so turned his jumper inside out so the star could not be seen. Walking along the street, he saw a German SS soldier approaching, and was frightened he would be discovered. The soldier beckoned Kahneman over, hugged him and gave the boy some money. Kahneman went home, certain that “people were endlessly complicated and interesting”.
Through a career spanning Hebrew University, the University of British Columbia, the University of California Berkeley, and Princeton University, Kahneman’s research influenced not only psychology, but also the social sciences as a whole.
His collaboration with Amos Tversky, beautifully encapsulated in Michael Lewis’ book The Undoing Project, saw them spend countless hours talking. Both understood the value of being able to pursue creative ideas. As Tversky once observed: “The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.“
Many other collaborators were to follow. One, Cass Sunstein, described Kahneman as a “joyful co-author”, recounting that he once exclaimed, “Cass, you think by writing. I think by talking!“.
In 2002, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics, making him one of the few psychologists to be honoured with the award (there is no specific Nobel Prize in psychology). Tversky, who had died six years earlier, did not share the prize, since Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously. Kahneman had become a central figure in behavioural economics, a field that draws on psychology to explain everything from under-saving to over-eating.
Some Nobel laureates rest on their laurels, but not Kahneman. In 2011, he wrote Thinking, Fast and Slow, one of the most influential social science books of the past generation. Fast thinking, it argued, accounted for 98 per cent of our thinking. It is unconscious, automatic and effortless. The other 2 per cent of our cognition is slow thinking, which is effortful, rational and self-aware.
For many actions (such as driving or playing music), fast thinking works just fine. The risk comes when people apply fast thinking in areas that require logical reasoning, such as making a medical diagnosis or choosing how to vote. The book has become a foundational text in psychology, economics, business, and public policy.
When Kahneman died last Wednesday at the age of 90, collaborators and students flooded the internet with praise for his scholarship and decency. He may have studied human imperfections, but Kahneman himself was both a first-rate mind and a first-rate temperament.
Andrew Leigh is a member of the Australian Parliament, and author of The Shortest History of Economics.

Combing through countless PDF reports for hours in search of a piece of relevant information is no one’s idea of an interesting day at work. Tedious, overwhelming, soul-crushing, maybe. Engaging? Not so much. Dedicated public servants — and many others — do it anyway, often, in service to some larger goal: to make the case for a new policy, to advocate for funding or to explain a position. 
Recently, a team of graduate studentsfrom Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and Integrated Innovation Institutein Professor Chris Goranson’s Policy Innovation Lab: Public Interest Technology course came up with a generative AI application that helps researchers find the information they seek in a matter of seconds, not hours. 
Their tool, GovScan, provides government workers the ability to locate the proverbial needle in a haystack…”

Above and Beyond KM, Mary Abraham – LTA’s 2024 Catalyst Conference focused on leading change. “We live in a world of near-constant change yet most organizational change initiatives fail. Why aren’t we better at this? (This is Part 1 of a series catalyzed by ILTA’s Catalyst Conference.)…Over my next few posts, I want to unpack some of the nuggets shared at the conference and provide additional resources to my readers who are currently leading through change…”

Related Reading:

2024 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals a new paradox at the heart of society. Rapid innovation offers the promise of a new era of prosperity, but instead risks exacerbating trust issues, leading to further societal instability and political polarization. In a year where half the global population can vote in new leaders, the acceptance of innovation is essential to the success of our society. 
While people agree that scientists are essential to the acceptance of innovation, many are concerned that politics has too much influence on science. This perception is contributing to the decline of trust in the institutions responsible for steering us through change and towards a more prosperous future.”

THE NEW SPACE RACE:  China adds new moon base project partners, but struggles to attract national-level participation

France’s Most Popular Living Singer Will Perform At The Paris Olympics — And This Is A Major Controversy

"The possible choice for the opening ceremony of Aya Nakamura, a superstar French-Malian singer whose slang-spiced lyrics stand at some distance from academic French, has ignited a furor tinged with issues of race and linguistic propriety and the politics of immigration." - The New York Times