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Tag Archives: TED

Social Business and Social Intercourse

Hand Axe and Computer Mouse

The Axe (made by one person) vs. The Mouse (made by millions)

While working on a presentation, which I’ll be giving to the American Oil Chemists’ Society’s Annual Meeting in Long Beach, CA at the end of this month, I’ve been looking for material I can use to highlight my excitement at the prospect of social business applications. I long ago came to the conclusion that what then was the nascent capabilities of Web 2.0 would someday revolutionize how we go about creating value in our economy and, necessarily, in our enterprises and organizations. Nothing has diminished this excitement and, in fact, I become more excited as I follow the changes that are taking place today.

In doing this bit of research I was reminded of a wonderful TED talk I watched some time ago and thought to check it out and see if it would jog my memory and, perhaps, give me some greater insight into how I can communicate my excitement and the vision I have to those to whom I will be presenting. The talk is by Matt Ridley and is entitled “When Ideas Have Sex”. I’ve embedded it below. In addition to the points he makes about the interchange of ideas (sex), it is also a wonderful example of the systemic nature of existence and human interaction.

Matt also refers to an interesting essay I believe gave him the overall idea for his talk. It was written by Leonard E. Read and is entitled, “I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read.” Although I’m reasonably certain it was written with somewhat of a political agenda, which is the defense of free-market capitalism, I believe it also demonstrates the systemic nature of human economy and interaction . . . trade, if you will. I will leave the arguments for and against government intervention, whether through planning or through regulation, for other posts in future.

In the meantime, I really think you should read Read’s essay and watch this highly-engaging TED talk by Matt Ridley. You may find yourself wanting to repeat the process on occasion. I think this was the third time I’ve watched. Hope you like them.

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If Russ Ackoff Had Given a TED Talk

I love TED talks. Sometimes I watch them while walking on my treadmill (which I don’t do often enough; walk on the treadmill, that is). Some of them I’ve seen several times and I’m reasonably certain I will watch them again. I recently shared a talk by Alan de Botton on this blog, which I found fascinating and, apparently, so did quite a few others. They are all fascinating.

When I originally started this blog, part of my plan was to discuss Systems Theory and its relationship to Dialectical Materialism, as well as how they affected our relationships, our economics, and our society. For various reasons, I was unable to pursue that particular goal at the time, but it’s why I called this blog Systems Savvy. I now find myself in a position to spend more time researching and thinking about that relationship and its ramifications. In that regard, I want to share what I would consider a fundamental aspect of my understanding of Systems Theory.

We are fortunate that a good friend of mine, Steve Brant, has managed to gather a fairly extensive collection of videos of the man I consider one of the leading thinkers, writers, and doers in the world of Systems Thinking, Dr. Russell Ackoff. The one that follows is a particularly good example, in my less than humble opinion, of what Systems Thinking is and how it should inform our understanding. Actually, let me share Steve’s words that accompany the video on YouTube:

“This presentation is from a 1994 event hosted by Clare Crawford-Mason and Lloyd Dobyns to capture the Learning and Legacy of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Russ knew Dr. Deming and speaks here about the difference between “continuous improvement” and “discontinuous improvement” as seen through the lens of systems thinking.

“Russ was going to give a TED talk in Monterey, CA in 2005 and had to cancel because he was recovering from eye surgery. If he had given one, this is probably what he would have said… because there’s a powerful and unexpected lesson at the end. Enjoy!”

Rather than say much more about Russ or his research and his teachings, let me just share the video. As time goes by I will share more, as well as my thoughts on how his teachings can be used to help us understand the endeavors I’m most interested in: Knowledge Management; Economics; Social Media, etc. As Steve says, Enjoy!


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