Saturday, 25 April 2020

Humans are unique

What differentiates humans from the great apes?

We know that a number of other creatures have some traits/abilities that we previously thought were exclusively human ….like the ability to use tools.

Though some animals (and even some birds) do use tools, only man seems to have developed the ability to plan new uses for existing tools - or new, improved tools that can do the exiting job better.  This ‘creativity’ and ‘development’ seems to be uniquely human.

Why does this interest me personally.

Well, it seems as though man is uniquely able to improve productivity - a key element of the human condition seems to be s propensity for continuous improvement.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Ignorance is not a solid foundation

One of the lessons to emerge from the Coronavirus situation is the need for governments to adopt an evidence-based decision-making strategy.

Businesses, too, should make decisions based on firm evidence and reliable metrics. Gone are the days of decision-making by whim or by gut feel (unless you sore president of the USA, of course).

This means that in the good times, businesses need to establish the measurement regimes that will provide the data and the metrics in the bad times.

if we have reliable measures in place, we can see trends (so we have a better understanding of the future) and make predictions.

Of course there will still bee uncertainties - but remember  there old adage…. what really hurts you the most are not the things that you know or the things that you don’t know - but the things that you don’t know you don’t know. If you know where your knowledge is lacking, you might be able to fill the gaps with interpolation (or  extrapolation) from known data … but if you don’t know what you don’t know,. you obviously don’t know you need to fill in the gaps.

Ignorance may be bliss - but it is a poor foundation on which to base long-term planning and decision-making.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Unprecedented Times

‘Unprecedented’ is certainly the word of 2020 (apart from Coronavirus, of course)  - well, it is in the UK.  Every commentator talks about ‘these unprecedented times’.

And, of course, we are living in unprecedented times. Economies around the world are in tatters. Many people are working from home, many are furloughed, many have lost their jobs.  

We don’t yet know how well these economies will recover.

The world has changed in ways we don’t yet understand.

But unprecedented times require an unprecedented response. Those firms that will recover are those that are looking at the current situation as a a challenge, a problem to be solved, even an opportunity. They are thinking about the recovery and planning their strategy. They realise competitors may be weak or non-existent. Markets may have changed. They are looking to identify those industries that will recover first and seek opportunities to trade with such industries. They seek to identify possible customer and consumer changed expectations. They look to identify new markets, emerging sectors, new regulation, new freedoms, new support channels and other changes to the environment and to their operating context.

Even the worst of situations bring about  opportunities to those who have the ability to think in unprecedented ways about their potential future, their desired future state.

If you are not already looking for such opportunities, you maybe too late!

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Coronavirus - again!

I make no apology for returning to the subject of Coronavirus - after all, no other phenomenon has had quite the same effect on the global economy.

Last week, we reflected on lessons we might learn from the changes we have had to make to respond to the virus - and, of course, to governmental restrictions on individual and organisational activity.

One of the changes is the encouragement of, and then insistence on, home working.  This has given firms a useful chance to experiment with, or refine, their approaches to supporting remote working.

I am sure all is not perfect for many companies -  but if they use this as a 'live experiment' they should be able to create a future where home working is effective for many employees - and where costs (of space) are lowered.

At least some good might arise from this awful situation.