Nested problems, nested solutions (2): trivial problems

If you missed it, start with yesterday’s post. A problem is anything we want to change – however trivial or enormous. Our very simplest problems have immediate symptoms and immediate solutions: a (non-recurring) itchy nose can be scratched and the problem is solved. Many trivial problems can be “solved” by the decision that they are not important and can be…

Nested problems, nested solutions (1): what’s your problem?

I’ve posted about nested problems before as The Wrapper, and The Onion (1), (2), (3), (4). It helps to begin by defining “problem”. A problem isn’t necessarily big or important and doesn’t necessarily require action: it’s simply anything that you want to change. We face hundreds of problems every day: My morning alarm is disturbing me – how can I…

Bill Gates’ onion

This is a nice illustration of a set of nested problems (a.k.a. “The Onion“) in development from Bill and Melinda Gates’ philanthropic work. Often – most of the time? – the technical solution is only a small part of a whole system needed to bring about change. See also The Wrapper. … In the case of global health, I thought…

On Jean Valjean’s carriage, technological progress and interchangeable parts

Jean Valjean – in a desperate hurry to save an innocent man from being condemned – has stopped to rest his horse and discovered that his carriage has a broken wheel: This excellent beast had covered twelve and a half miles in two hours and had not a drop of sweat on its rump. … “Can you repair the wheel…

Clayton Christensen, Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon on integrating inputs

The question still remains, why does Tolaram [makers of Indomie in Nigeria] need to invest in electricity, water, education, logistics, and so on, in order to deliver a pack of noodles to the average Nigerian? Surely, it wouldn’t need to do this if it were operating in, say, the United States. The answer to that question—on when and whether a…

Design Singapore: Changi airport (1)

Design Singapore: Changi airport (1)

It’s simple, but so rarely done well: put yourself in your customers’ shoes at every point of interaction with your organisation and ask “What do I need at this moment? What would help me, and make me feel helped?” This photo is classic Changi – just after immigration and the bustle of putting your passports away, as you look up…

Karl Marx on automation and job losses due to disruption

“In these spacious halls the benignant power of steam summons around him his myriads of willing menials.” Andrew Ure Marx’s rage against the machine Another thought about the rate of change and “distruption,” this time from Karl Marx. I love Marx’s writing and his desire to do better for the working poor, even as I sigh at his wrong economics…

Tom Peters on the dull old days / life before “disruption”

“It is the conceit of every age to say that we live in confusing times compared to the placid age the prior generation experienced.” Henry Mintzberg While we’re on the topic of perpetual and accelerating change, here’s a helpful reminder from Tom Peters: I like to laugh at myself as I huff and puff and proclaim these to be times…

Better with age

If you’re building skills, assets and relationships, making a generous contribution, doing work that matters for people who care… You should expect to get better with age. The longer you’ve been working the larger, more influential and more connected your body of work becomes. The faster the world changes, the more valuable your longer term perspective. The faster people come…

Recommendation: Joe Marchese on the attention economy

This is an interesting piece from REDEF on what happens next in the competition for our ears, eyeballs and thoughts, with a link to a reading list at the bottom. Recommend. Organic food became a multibillion-dollar industry as people took a greater interest in what they put in their bodies. The markets will be even bigger that are shaped as people begin…