Tag Archive for: networks

Designing the Future: The Role of Deliberate Diversity

Cornell_logo2-1s7ocw0I’ve just returned from a Cornell University class reunion that reminded me of several very important principles that have guided most of my work and my life since I was an undergraduate there fifty years ago.

Today I want to share one of many important insights that emerged out of three days of lectures, conversations, meals, and other on-campus experiences that are better left unmentioned. I have a deep and renewed appreciation that I am who I am today because of my seven years as a Cornell undergraduate and graduate student.

Cornell University is an unusual – and remarkably diverse – institution.

Cornell was founded in 1865 (shortly after the end of the Civil War) when Ezra Cornell created the campus by donating his farmland on the hills above Ithaca, New York, and bringing to life his vision of “an institution where any person could find instruction in any study.” Read more

There is only one of you

Ponder this for a moment:  as big and as global as the Internet is, every single human being is born with a far more impressive network. It’s called a brain.

I learned last week from author Steven Campbell (Making Your Mind Magnificent) that the human brain has  more than 100 billion neurons (that’s not a typo!). But, as Campbell says,

…this is nothing! Each of those neurons has an average of 10,000 connections to other neurons. This computes to 100,000,000,000 connections! That is a quantity found by multiplying 100 billion times 100 billion, times 100 billion…ten thousand times. As a comparison, 100 billion multiplied by 40,000 is a number larger than the number of stars in the Milky Way. We truly cannot fathom the number of connections our brain has.

(Making Your Mind Magnificent, p.4)

Campbell is describing the network inside just one human brain! And there are upwards of 7 billion human beings alive today – most of them in possession of a functioning brain.

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It’s Not What You Know…

It’s a cliché you’ve heard before: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

That’s often said in a highly derogatory tone, criticizing people who get a job, or win a contract, or get into an exclusive restaurant, because someone they know has opened a door or an opportunity for them based more on the relationship than on their skills or experiences.

And of course that is often the way things happen. But there’s a positive side to this picture as well; when you know someone, and trust him or her, you have a reasonably accurate understanding of what s/he is  capable of, and how reliable s/he is. So your predictions about how well s/he will perform should be fairly accurate.

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Future of Work Agenda Newsletter

November 2012

We work with senior executives who want to take charge of their future at work by attracting exceptional people, leveraging innate talents, and increasing productivity

It’s been said many times that “less is more.”

What does that mean for The Future of Work Agenda? I’m working on simplifying this newsletter – first, to focus only on the things I believe will most help you thrive in the future.

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The Future of. . . (June 2012)

Here is a small sample of the stories and developments we are paying attention to these days. It’s our way of helping you stay on top of developments in the worlds of technology, workplace and facilities design, the workforce, and work design—any and all of which are going to affect the future of work, often in ways we can’t even imagine.

“How office design affects employee morale and productivity”

This article (by Stephanie Fanger) in the latest issue of IFMA’s Facilities Management Journal begins with a brief history of office design and then focuses on efforts to link the workplace with workforce performance. I especially liked the two case studies (Glaxo Smith Kline and Procter & Gamble), and the closing table that lists the pros and cons of open and closed office environments. It’s a very useful summary of an important topic that remains elusive for too many facilities professionals (thanks to my colleague Marcus Bowen for catching this one).

“The Power of Networks”

My good friend and colleague Jessica Lipnack (one of the genuine pioneers in the field of remote/distributed teams and organizational networks; she and Jeff Stamps were teaching us how to lead distributed teams over 20 years ago) just found a fascinating video presentation on networks—at a very generic/conceptual level.

The link above is to a post on Jessica’s blog, Endless Knots, which in turn will take you to the presentation by Manuel Lima, the lead “user interface designer at Microsoft Bing.” It’s about 11 minutes long, and worth every minute. Very thought-provoking.

A Rising Tower

It may have been published in “Time for Kids” (Time Magazine), but it’s a story for all of us; the new One World Trade Center building has just passed 100 stories, and is already taller than the Empire State Building. It’s a real tribute to the fortitude of New York City (and the dreams of the building’s developer), and a proud symbol of a stubborn unwillingness to give in to terrorists. Now, the question is, who is going to lease all that space—and put themselves that high above the ground?

Talkin’ About Their Generations: The Workforce of the 50s and Today

Workforce Management magazine is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year with a series of articles tracing some of the history of the workforce and management. The April 26-28 issue contains a fascinating story of the workforce demographics of the 1950’s, with some important comparisons to the 2012 workforce. Issues like jobs, career progression, retirement, and women in the workforce were talked about 60 years ago, but as you might imagine, the comments were a whole lot different then than they are now.

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