Archive for the 'Complexity' Category

Social badges

Keith March 4th, 2008

The Human Dynamics lab at MIT has developed some interesting “surveillance badges”.  This has been brought to my attention by Andrew MitchellNew Scientist Technology blog reported this January that these badges “recognise each other using infrared, then record your speech, note your distance from other people, and track your movement.”  With these badges, researchers can “monitor people going about their day – working, meeting, eating, going out and sleeping.  The devices record where the wearers go and how fast, their tone of voice, and subtle details about their body language.”

These badges have been apparently been used for some interesting investigations into free will.  By tracking individual movements and personal interactions, MIT researchers found that “we are more instinctual and a lot more like other creatures than we care to think…  a good 90 per cent of what most people do in any day follows routines.”  Interesting…

In a more recent application, as New Scientist reports, “… one of the researchers, Ben Waber, has blogged about handing out the badges to delegates meeting with their corporate sponsors.”  This application was used to develop and display a social network map, visible to the participants.  “… over the course of the day, more people became connected within the network as they met more people.”

Continue Reading »

The two things wrong with the world

Keith July 23rd, 2007

A highlight from KM Aus – Michel Bauwens on “Peer to Peer – the new paridigm for social innovation” (my paraphrase):

“There are only two things wrong with the world today. We treat nature as if it was infinite; and we limit the immaterial world by imposing artificial scarcities (such as copyrights). Let’s swap this around. Let’s swap material accumulation for intellectual and artistic accumulation.”

See more on Michel’s site.

The Humpty Dumpty view of Knowledge

Keith May 3rd, 2007

“When I use a word it means exactly what I want it to mean.” 
    – Humpty Dumpty.

There has been further discussion at actKM about the definition of “knowledge”.  One contributor gave this definition: “Knowledge is solutions to problems”.  I disagree with this definition – I see it as too narrow.

This seems to ignore the use of knowledge in creativity and innovation, but it was further stated that these can also be viewed as just a different form of problem resolution.  Joe Firestone stated that “non-routine creative learning is a response to a problem.”  I struggle to accept this point of view.  This is stretching the meaning of “problem” a long way.  I do accept that creativity in the business world may be seen to be more limited than in pure art.  (Is it always?  Should it be?)

Continue Reading »

Stop the train, I want to get off

Keith February 6th, 2007

Shawn has just posted an interesting article at Anecdote about the problem with Melbourne’s train system.  With holidays, and other interruptions to my normal commute, I haven’t been using our train service much since before Christmas.  I’m not looking forward to riding the rails again this Friday!

As Shawn has explained, this seems to be more than a mechanical problem, even if a very complicated one.  As soon as you have people involved, it potentially becomes complex.

Back when I worked it the pure IT space (on a system called “EDG”), I had an interesting problem-solving experience.  The problem – and the ultimate solution – ended up being fairly simple, but actually finding the cause was a little more complicated.  However, the whole situation became more complex, due to people being involved.

I was fairly new to the team at the time, but had already become fairly familiar with the system.  However, I was still being treated as the “junior”.  Wiser heads than mine had already solved major problems on EDG; they could solve this one too. 

The unusual aspect of this particular issue was that two different things started going wrong at about the same time.  The senior people set to work, going through the usual fault diagnosis procedures.  Some were addressing one of the symptoms; some were working on the other.  I wasn’t called upon for my (fairly limited) experience.

Continue Reading »

« Prev