Saturday, 26 October 2013

Can I create a MOOC?

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are becoming fashionable.

I can put an online course on my website and make it available to all free of charge.

Is that a MOOC?

Unlikely, because it might be found and accessed by a small number of people ... but that does not make it 'massive'.

The essential attribute of a true MOOC is that lots of students take it at the same time and create a large (massive) peer support network. Learning takes place as much through student interaction as it does from the content.

So, unless I have what it takes (the right name, mostly) to attract large numbers of simultaneous learners, I can't create a MOOC!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

UK moves forward

U.K. labour productivity rose for the first time in two years in the second quarter, led by manufacturing industry.
Productivity measured by output per hour increased 0.5 percent from the first quarter according to the Office for National Statistics -  the first growth since the second quarter of 2011. Manufacturing productivity rose 0.7 percent and services was up 0.1 percent.
Is this a great recovery?  Its too early to tell ... but at least things seem to be moving in the right direction.   Of course we need the rest of the world to improve as well - so that markets recover.
In the meantime, we are thankful for 'small mercies' ... and the first signs of recovery.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

We don't need technology

How much can you improve the productivity of a process without changing the underlying technology?

Sometimes we look for the major changes that major process change can bring about.  However, real gains can often be achieved by simple changes to the way we plan, organise and control the process and the resources it consumes.

Measure and understand the process ... and where it might be improved.  Then, improve it - simply.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Remove disractions

Success comes from being clear about what you are aiming for ... and then single-mindedly executing the strategy to get you there.

What you don't need are distractions - the little problems along the way ... but also the little side projects that crop up and you 'fit in' alongside the main project.

You need to be ruthless in eliminating these distractions ..... they constitute 'wasted effort'.

Organise your work and the work of those around you is that it is absolutely clear where the focus lies.... and what constitutes success. Then remove all the distractions, leaving the team to focus completely on this main focus.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Wrong day, right sentiment

I normally post to this blog on a Saturday ... but this is not a normal week.

Firstly I am in St Johns, Newfoundland attending a Board Meeting of the World Confederation of Productivity Science.

Secondly, today is National Manufacturing Day in the US.

Co-incidentally, one of my WCPS colleagues, George Smith, happened to mention that his toaster had broken.  This  was a wedding present 50 years ago and has given 50 years of excellent, consistent service.

One is tempted to say "They don't make things like that, anymore" but, of course, they do.

In spite of its trials and tribulations, manufacturing has moved onwards and upwards increasing its reliability, its quality, its consistency. Unfortunately for too many countries in the West, it has also moved away - off shore and overseas.

There are some brave attempts to 'bring manufacturing home' but too often these are limited to final assembly.

However, let's not forget that we do still have fine examples of high tech, high spec manufacturing and we should celebrate their innovation, ingenuity, tenacity and sheer bloody-mindedness that keeps them at the top of the pile.

Thanks for the stuff you make for us!