Live theatre, live music, dining out. Besides being three of my favourite past-times, what do they have in common? Each is a performance in which skilled and talented people collaborate, bringing the best they have in order to create memorable experiences for the patrons they serve. The people who do it have to be on top of their game every day, individually and in the way they work together. If you happen to know anyone whose work is performance you will also understand that it’s hard work, and much of it goes unseen. All of which brings me to the Fork and Cork Grill, a new restaurant that has just opened in Kitchener. The name says what this collaboration is about: food[…]

As much as technology permeates our daily lives it has been slow to enter the simple act of note-taking. Look around the next time you’re in a meeting: low-tech rules. If there are a dozen people in the room, chances are that no more than one or two will be using anything more sophisticated than pen and paper to take notes. And that’s not a bad thing; the technology we use to record notes shouldn’t take attention away from the rest of what’s going on in the meeting. So I find myself resisting this particular shift in technology just as much as anyone else. At least that was the story until about six months ago. This post started out handwritten on an iPad using MyScript Memo, one[…]

This post started with some random skips in the music on the CD player in my home stereo. The unit is just old enough that the skips prompted questions about whether to repair or replace it. A few phone calls and a couple of trips to some local audio shops delivered an ominous message: CDs as a medium for recorded music are on their way out. Major audio manufacturers have stopped making CD players; replacing one has reached the same state as replacing a VCR – can be done, but… The mainstream medium has become downloaded digital music. My reaction has been mixed. Mostly I enjoy my iPod, at least as a portable player, and most of my music purchases[…]

Like a lot of people, I tend to view operating system upgrades as something to avoid. If forced to change I want the experience to be as simple and painless as possible. So, when the support lifetime ended for the Linux Mint version I had been running on my main desktop, there was a wee bit of angst over what to do. For 2 years Mint had served me well as a stable, functional environment on an older desktop machine from which I had retired a copy of Windows XP. Staying with Mint was a know quantity, and version 13 had just been released in April with a 5-year support plan. It looked like a OS I could stay with[…]

In a recent series of posts on HBR,  Susan Cramm talked about the problem of getting IT leaders and business leaders to agree on how to approach system redesign projects. That led naturally enough to a  discussion about Big-Bang versus iterative approaches, and how the latter make some business leaders nervous. The paradox is that an iterative approach sounds open-ended and difficult to control, but a well thought-out iterative approach often delivers  value to the organization more quickly. That begs the question, what does a well thought-out iterative approach look like? Most system implementation projects involve groups of people learning to work in new ways, so a better way to phrase it might be what does a ‘learning approach’ look[…]