Communicating context and meaning

Recently, Mark Jennings posed an important question:

“Do words mean the same to say as to hear?”

Much of this subject is, I believe, quite well understood by people involved in communication theory and, particularly, in organizational communication.

There are experts on this subject: the person from whom I have learnt most of the following is Alan Nelson, when he explained the essentials of organizational communication, during an interview. Continue reading “Communicating context and meaning”

Less is more manufacturing productivity

Recollections of an memorable project

Thinking about the concept of “less is more”, takes me back to a small and initially unpromising project that a maverick boss of mine persuaded me to get involved in many years ago. It provides an interesting example of counter-intuitive optimisation.

The scene…

There was a manufacturing plant which produced credit cards. The plastic cards were manufactured in sheets; this involved a lamination process which started with a “layup” of three plastic sheets and ended up with them laminated together as one sheet. The lamination was done in a press which was heated and then cooled; this caused the plastic sheets to melt slightly and to become welded together as one.  To produce cards with flat and clean surfaces, each layup also had shiny metal plates on either side to produce a smooth finish.

The instinct … Continue reading “Less is more manufacturing productivity”

Social relationship management

So Twitter and LinkedIn are interconnecting. What is the background to this and where is it leading?

Twitter

Twitter seems to have caught many people’s mindshare because it is fundamentally different from most other services; its asymmetric “follower” relationship is more complex and flexible than simple connections on LinkedIn or friends on Facebook. Other services are now following(!). Continue reading “Social relationship management”

Learning and social networks

My interest in learning, and in the ways in which we can enable it, makes conversations like this really interesting.

This is my (very rapidly composed) take on it. I write it here because my intended comment in that conversation grew in size so fast that, before I could get it out, it seemed to have become too large for a comment; that, also says something about the medium/channel communication!

So here goes … Continue reading “Learning and social networks”

Architectural advice

O’Reilly are publishing a new book “97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know”. This caught my attention for a variety of reasons. One is an interest in trying to get to the bottom of what the issues commonly labelled as “software architecture” are really all about! Another reason is that there are a couple of contributions from Kevlin Henney, with whom I have worked and who frequently comes up with a “different take” on any situation. Continue reading “Architectural advice”

Controlling the sequence of learning

Among the reactions to the article on sequences of learning is a post from Brett McLaughlin on the O’Reilly Radar blog, that poses questions about the design of the sequence.

Learning is important to us all  in so many ways; so learning (yup!) more about learning seems to be particularly important! However there are a considerable range of contexts in which learning occurs; and sometimes this causes the generic lessons to be more difficult to uncover. Continue reading “Controlling the sequence of learning”