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Showing posts from July, 2017

An Idea Please, Bob

Conceptual Blockbusting by James L. Adams is subtitled A Guide to Better Ideas. It tackles the problem of lack of creativity by suggesting and categorising blockers and then proposing ways around them. I reviewed the book recently , and was left with bunch of quotes I enjoyed but didn't have space for. Here they are: If the problem is not properly isolated it will not be properly solved. (p. 23) In [ Stream Analysis , Jerry Porras] claims that people, especially people in organizations, tend to work on getting rid of symptoms, rather than solving the real problems ... Not surprising, since core problems are more difficult to solve and their solution often creates greater controversy. But perhaps not what we would like to think. (p. 24) The fear of making a mistake is,  of course, rooted in insecurity, which most people suffer from to some extent. Such insecurities are also responsible for [an] emotional block, the "Inability to tolerate ambiguity; overriding d

Ignorance, Recognised

Stop Working & Start Thinking  is intended to help postgraduate students make profitable use of an essential piece of scientific equipment: their mind. I'm only a short way in, and finding it a bit dense at times, but there's already a few passages I'm loving. Here's one (page 15): Science asks questions, and it has a small variety of ways to look for answers. They are observation , measurement , investigation and experiment . Different kinds of problem need different approaches for their solution and one of the ways the experienced scientist knows which to use is that she or he has got it wrong many times in the past! This cannot be said too often or emphasised too much. Ignorance , recognised, is the most valuable starting place; all scientists should have many stories about where they were sure, and wrong; where they were ignorant but did not know it. Image: Goodreads Edit: I based two more posts on this book later: A Different Class and Quite the Rever

In Two Minds

Jerry Weinberg's definition of quality is well known. It is generally applied to encapsulate a relationship between a person and a product, at a particular time, and goes like this: Quality is value to some person It is intended to be a practical tool, and I think Weinberg would agree with something like this as a gloss for it: theoretical assessments of quality — perceived quality — are less important than those which are motivated by action. For example, a property is worth what someone actually pays for it. Without the action, it's just philosophy. What someone is willing to pay, or sacrifice, determines the quality (to them) at that moment. I've thought about this definition a lot over the years. In particular I've found myself speculating about the granularity of the definition. Back in 2012 I was wondering whether it was interesting to consider quality in terms of the aggregation of a set of qualities ;  more recently  I was thinking about the way that p