Sunday, February 21, 2010

Webstock 2010 “if you’re not embarrassed, you’ve waited too long”

Webstock is a wonderful Wellington-based web and design conference which attracts leading edge international speakers ( One of the themes running through the 2010 conference was about fast iteration and improving as you go, rather than slowly crafting perfection "“if you’re not embarrassed when you ship your product, you’ve waited too long”; another was the idea of sharing as creating value - the more something is shared, the more valuable it becomes. Everyone benefits. On the basis of those principles here, in very rough form, are some of the many memorable utterances I jotted down.

Day One
“we fall in love with things made with love”

Chris Shiflett Security centred design ( @shiflett)
Ambient signifiers
Tokoyo subway tunes for each train reduces burden on system of people making mistakes
Pave the cow paths and accommodate users expectations & tendencies – don’t try to modify them

Shelley Bernstein Brooklyn Museum
• Give up control
• Learn and adapt
• Infuse content with life
• Personal voice makes a difference
• Amplify community voices:
• Go to them
• Their terms not yours
• Understand the platform and work with it

Jeff Atwood Codinghorror/stack overflow
‘work’ is little slices of frictionless effort amortized across the entire community
Wikipedia represents 100 million hours of human thought – collective commons
Trust biased systems (i.e. not designed around the 1 bad user) high value released

Regine Debatty We make money not art

Quote from Gordon Pask re job of architect “not to design or build, but to catalyse them so they act or evolve”

Day Two

Eric Ries The Lean Start Up @ercries

• Change the world
• Build an organisation of lasting value
• Make customers’ lives better
Future of civilisation depends on entrepreneurship
Need practice and principles of extreme uncertainty principles of entrepreneurial management
Product development of lean startup where the problem and the solution are unknown unit of progress is validated learning about customers

Daniel Burka
Evolution cuts out as well as adds
How are we preparing for the unprecedented data rich environment we are approaching?

Amy Hoy @amyhoy
Paving the cowpaths is OK for today, but not the future
Thoreau ‘To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.'

Bec Hodgson
User generated curation - why have ETSY doing it where others can do it?
What’s the next area of privilege we can crack open?

Kevin Rose – Digg

Be an active participant in your own ecosystem

Adam Greenfield Do projects

Elements of a networked urbanism
Architecture from constant to variable
From latent to explicit
from anonymous to knowable
From browse to search
From expiring to persistent
From deferred to real-time
from wayfinding to wayshowing
from object to service
from ownership to use
from vehicle to mobility;
from community to social network;
from presence (pleasure) to performance
From consumer to constituent

Jeff Veen
• Rough consensus
• Running code
• Applied to what we do everyday – learning as quickly as you can.

Reid Hoffman “if you’re not embarrassed when you ship your product, you’ve waited too long”
Velocity and responsiveness will set the tone far more than any one release
Speed of iteration beats quality of iteration

Mark Pesce Dense & thick
The whole talk was a highlight - the full text is here
- much better than my notes - ends with the possibility of Wellington as inventor & epicentre of the ‘web of things’. What are we doing next to make it happen?

We're very fortunate to have a conference of such calibre in Wellington. Big thanks to the Webstock team.

Having heard many speakers exhorting us to love the user and make the world more beautiful through better code, I was delighted with the serendipity of this quotation from Edina in Ab Fab on the window of a Wellington furniture store

“I don’t want more choice, I just want nicer things”

If anyone wants a Word 2007 copy of all the notes I took (with associated links wherever I could find them), I'm also happy to share those, but I can't attach the document to the blog. Contact me via Twitter (@stephaniepride) or via if you'd like a copy.

PS Oh yes and the ONYAs were pretty impressive too!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Future State: From protest to action – social media enabled shifts?

This blog post is a request for your help.

I’m working with the New Zealand Institute of Policy Studies (in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington) on The Future State - research on public management and public policy challenges over the next 20 years.

Looking at what’s changing now, we have a number of loosely related questions about generation and value shifts, social media and social action.

Do you know of research, statistic and/or informed commentary that would shed light on any of the following questions?

• Has the anti-globalisation movement grown, diminished or changed its nature since the highly visible activities 1999-2002 (Seattle, Washington, Genoa)? By what measures and why?

• Have other 'protest' movements changed in similar ways?

• Have social media enabled a general shift away from protest to constructive social action as a response to perceived injustice?
• If so, is this generation/cohort specific?

• Are there correlations between use of social media and being ’values centric’.

We are looking ourselves for research and stats that help with the questions below, but if you know of relevant research or information, we’d love to be pointed towards it. Any information is welcome, but particularly information that has an NZ or Australasian dimension.

I’ll collate and credit responses to these questions on this blog and post links to the IPS The Future State research work here and on Twitter when it’s ready.

I’d love to hear from you: +64 274 966 956

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beyond the Jazz era - strategy choices for the 21st century

I love musical metaphors so Anthony Tjan's piece on 'Strategy as Jazz vs Symphony' in the Harvard Business Review really sparked my interest.

I think the analogies of jazz - a 20th century musical form - and the symphony - a form originating in the 18th century - work well to illuminate 20th century choices about business strategy. There used to be a relatively stable and predictable linear development path requiring different modes sequentially - small, flexible start-ups growing over time to become large, highly structured corporates. In the 21st century start-ups scale almost overnight and even behemoths of companies need to be fleet of foot and responsive. This requires constant re-invention at the same time as holding true to core principles - more like the successive turns of a kaleidoscope than a business life-cycle. In this new context, strategy choices are no longer either/or, but “both-and -and-and”.

So I wonder whether we need different metaphors for 21st century strategy and leadership choices. In some forms of historic and contemporary chamber music, the “leader” does both play and lead. In some 21st century orchestral pieces, orchestra members make their own choices about what and when to play, following a set of conditions specific to them and their instrument, but still performing as part of an ensemble to create each performance – with or without a conductor. These are still emergent forms and have no agree ‘name’. In the same way, we have as yet no agreed name for the strategic competencies of the future where the ability to straddle strategic modes is distributed at all levels of an organisation or network.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Out of the freezer and into the 3D printer - what's your job?

The advent of the transition to a 3D world is here – what are you doing about it?

I say to my offspring (failing, really, to catch their imaginations) that it was all black and white/print media "when I were a lass". So they too will say to their children - "it was all 2D when we were kids, none of this full 3D visualisation and in-home 3D printing. If you wanted a Club Penguin figure or a scooter part, you had to go out and buy one - sometimes they had to ship it from overseas"

Manufacturing is on the cusp of a transformation with the advent of computer 3D printing. The speed and versatility of 3D production machines virtually eliminates the set-up times and costs of conventional manufacturing processes. The rapid prototyping they allow has significantly speeded product design and testing times, and even more significantly they are also starting to be used for high-end individualised manufacturing (e.g. hearing aids). In the near future, these machines could be as distributed in homes and offices as printers and photocopiers are today, radically altering the patterns of traditional factories and the consumer economy. Fabrication materials will still need to move to the locations of production, though these will no longer be centralised, but the location of production and consumption will be the same. Economies of scale may no longer be so significant, and distances between individual contributors to the design of products can be vast.
3D production machines open up the possibility of the same peer-to peer design revolution for 3D products as has been applied to the ‘mashable’ virtual contents of the web.

The advent of the technology of refrigeration changed New Zealand's prosperity and wellbeing path and provided a high standard of living from primary produce for many decades. The story of New Zealand's slide down the OECD rankings since the 70s, with changes in both geo-political affiliations and the price for primary produce compared to the price for skills is well known. With the shift of manufacturing away from developed countries, and increasing costs and concerns in relation to transporting goods to and from remote locations, New Zealand appears to face even greater challenges. 3D globally connected peer-design and distributed printing open up opportunities for small remote countries.

Do we understand what new opportunities the shift to 3D opens up, given the twin challenges of distance from other markets and scale (population just pipped 4 million and predicted to decline)?

Who is thinking about the transition to 3D in New Zealand and how are they being supported?

How are we preparing ourselves to be well placed to take advantage of this shift?

Who is making sure the preparation is being built in to our education, training and economic development agendas?

Post Script
Since I wrote this post in December, 3D printing has continued to become more widespread and cheaper. Have a look at this blog post by Sten to see how fast the field is moving and how some of the possibilities for transformation are becoming a reality:

Renowned long-run strategic thinker Riel Miller ( ) visited New Zealand in 2004 and described today's 3D revolution as a possible future. At that point in time many found it hard to comprehend, some found it unimaginable. Just six years later, it has become reality. It's a salutary reminder of the importance of understanding what is happening now and enlarging our imagination about what could happen next.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Fourth Estate and The New Wild West

Don Tapscott commented on Twitter today about the 'wild west' environment being generated as newspapers are dying but the new paradigm is not yet mature enough to take over.

This is one of the issues that's arisen in my work with the Institute of Policy Studies on for the Emerging Issues Programme. In a world where the traditionally authoritative sources of information are being severely challenged by new media (social networking, blogs, Twitter and more), daily newspapers are struggling to maintain their position as the “fourth estate” providing the vigilance that was once thought essential for democracy to flourish. For the public sector this poses a significant challenge around known and credible spaces for public debate, in order to develop durable policy.

Another challenge in this environment will be managing reputation and perception. Currently there are processes for challenging and correcting inaccurate or unfair coverage in mainstream media. There are currently no effective equivalent mechanisms for new media. In an environment where anyone can comment and reach hundreds or thousands of people without having to expose the validity of their assertions to scrutiny, far more pressure will be placed on the quality of each individual interaction between government and citizen and on building trustful relationships with individuals and groups.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thinking about futures literacy and the New Zealand Curriculum

How do you become futures literate? I've been thinking about the range of capabilities that people need in order to think about the future in ways that equip them for change.

This schema is work in progress and is built on the literature in the futures field and my own obervations of, and conversations with, futures learners.

Functional (Empirical)
Awareness of change over time
Capacity for understanding and interrogating data

Cultural (construction)
Understanding of what is “essential” (fixed) and why
Understanding of what is constructed and how

Critical (questioning construction)
Questioning all assumptions and constructions
Self understanding - assumptions

Understanding, valuing and being able to use different types/orders of knowledge simultaneously
Understanding multiple modes of analysis/enquiry
Understanding and applying multiple world views simultaneously
Self understanding - assumptions, mental models, world views, values
Capacity for synthesis (without assimilation)

It's interesting to plot these elements against the key competencies, values and principles in the New Zealand Curriculum - there's a substantial, if not complete overlap. The good news is that this means it's easy to integrate futures literacy development into almost any aspect of students' learning.

Shifting Thinking - starting to reflect on my own shifts

I've been at the Shifting Thinking conference run by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research today. The day has been structured to model 21st century learning processes, interleaving stimulating presentation with participant participation and opportunity for individual and shared reflection - with blogging and twitter feeds threaded throughout.

The process has been thought provoking and I'm still reflecting on what it means. A couple of thoughts sparked by the presentations:

the importance of decoupling "curriculum" and powerful knowledge, from the "cannon", the reified products of knowledge privileged by the powerful; and

moving our language into the 21st century - we're already starting to move beyond the knowledge society - how do we articulate what's currently liminal?