If you only read one thing this week…

Organizational Change – why we fail by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
October 18, 2007, 10:46 pm
Filed under: If you have 30 mins, organizational learning

This article by David Chaudron starts with a fun parable about three villages trying to build a bridge across a chasm and why two of the three villages fail. The bridge represents the creation of change. It is an interesting (and brief!) explanation of some of the obstacles to organizational change and, as someone who is often working to help implement change, it is good to have some of the pitfalls pointed out. The biggest challenge that resonated with me is that we often start trying to implement changes without having a clear idea of the big picture and what we are trying to achieve. It lays out some pointers that I will take into consideration before my next major project!


Inventing for the poor by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
October 12, 2007, 6:04 pm
Filed under: If you only have 15 mins

The 2007 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough awards features two pretty interesting inventions – the first, a highly energy efficient cook-stove (video) tailored for conditions in Darfur, and the second, a small, cheap wind generator (video) that does not reply on turbines. Check them out here.

What is social entrepreneurship? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
October 12, 2007, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Articles, Development theory, Management

The Social Enterprise Reporter is carrying an edited version of a classic paper by Greg Dees and Beth Anderson on what social entrepreneurship is. Greg is the Professor of the Practice of Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management at Duke, and is one of the most respected academics working in this area. Read the article here.

Surveys…. and Monkeys! by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
October 12, 2007, 3:28 pm
Filed under: If you have 30 mins, Management, organizational learning, Time management

Some of us groan when a survey monkey link turns up in our inboxes. Others of us like the distraction! For me, it really depends on the quality of the questions – are they relevant, easy to understand AND easy to answer? The advantage of tools like survey monkey is that they make it possible for anyone to send a survey. The disadvantage of these tools is that they make it possible for anyone to send a survey!!  Too many surveys are put together without thinking about how the questions are worded and are also never tested. This is frustrating for anyone trying to respond but even more frustrating for the people who are doing the survey when they get misleading or un-useful information back. Help is at hand though from the “Monkey Team” at survey monkey. They have put together a set of guidelines on Smart Survey Design I recommend it for anyone when they next come to put a survey together.

Why email gets us into trouble! by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
October 11, 2007, 5:43 pm
Filed under: If you only have 15 mins

Most of us can think of a time when someone “misread” the tone in our e-mail. This article from the New York Times explains the underlying psychological processes for why this phenomenon is so common. People have a negativity bias, and without the other nonverbal cues to moderate our interpretations, we tend to interpret e-mails more negatively than was intended. When we think we are being neutral in tone, people read it as negative; and when we think we are being positive, people read it as neutral. Bottom line for recipients and senders: Senders—try to compensate for this bias using more positive words; recipients—give senders the benefit of the doubt.

The $100 laptop – educational revolution, or expensive distraction? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
October 4, 2007, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Articles, If you only have 15 mins

David Pogue, in the New York times, reviews the ‘$100 dollar laptop’, which looks like it is actually in production (although it does not cost 100 dollars… Read his review here, or find out why the Globalization Institute hates the 100 dollar laptop here.

Go straight to the source, where you can even buy one of these machines, and give one to a child for 400 dollars) at the One Laptop Per Child site.