I like Tim Harford’s books, and this is no exception: an entertaining and informative read on a new paradigm for success. Harford argues that you should avoid single, big, top-down, long-term strategies in favour of many, localised, small experiments that you can afford to have fail. Good experiments will succeed, bad ones will fail. This will give rise to emergent strategies – bottom up, localised approaches to solving problems that really work. If, during this process, you fail multiple times this should be both expected and planned for. Adaptability is key. Harford illustrates his idea with several intriguing case studies, including the war in Iraq and oil platform accidents. Highly recommended for those dealing with organisational strategy, innovation or just tackling the sorts of problems that are common in business.
Last night I had just finished a walk and was reflecting on the eclectic mix of podcasts I had been listening to. I realised that the podcasts I had been listening to might reveal a lot about the things I was interested in, and possibly about me as well. So here is what I have been listening to recently, my thoughts about them, and a few questions that this raises for me.
Currently I am reading The Future of Management by Gary Hamel. I find the subject of innovation very interesting, and the specific subject of management innovation even more so. It is easy to see how innovative products can change our world. It is much harder to see the way that innovative practices (which are intangible) have or will change the our world. One thing that is striking me as I read this book is that its scope is innovation in the way that a whole company operates, and the target audience is typical management. I was wondering, however, if some of the ideas in the book might translate into slightly different domains. Specifically I was wondering how you might apply them to IT Project Management (the area where I spend most of my time) and what benefits you might get out of applying management innovation ideas.