“Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra.” Steve Jobs attributed this quote to a famous conductor in the film Steve Jobs. It’s hard to come up with a more vivid illustration of leadership. It acknowledges that conductors may be less adept at playing instruments than any of the players in front of them — and other instruments not at all — yet they elicit brilliant performances. I have been told by a San Francisco Symphony musician that guest conductors can in a few rehearsals have the orchestra sounding like the orchestras where they are based. Leadership, per Webster, means “the quality of a leader; capacity to lead”. In recent years, the word has become Read more
Tips on being a better leader and creating great leaders within the organization.
Cutter Fellow Bob Charette’s 2013 assertion that The STEM Crisis is a Myth inspired quite a bit of discussion in education and industry, which has apparently not subsided! In STEM Literacy and Jobs, wsj.com blogger Irving Wladawsky-Berger taps Charette for his thoughts on the STEM jobs “crisis.” When it comes to STEM, the discussions have mostly focused on STEM jobs rather than STEM literacy, and in particular, on whether we have a STEM crisis or a STEM surplus–a debate I recently wrote about. A number of articles have pointed out that, as is often the case with such complex questions, both sides are right. It all depends. STEM includes a variety of disciplines, degree Read more
Life complexifies. Perhaps it is a fundamental law of information that the complexity of information increases. In the world of biology, over time organisms become more complex, with new genetic permutations appearing alongside of old genetic pieces. In the hyperastronomical space in the animal genome, nature constantly produces new combinations. In human knowledge and scientific discovery, the same is true. New insights are built on top of old ones. Breakthroughs in insight usually have higher levels of complexity and hence require higher levels of abstraction and difficult codification to accommodate the widening domain covered. We all know E=MC2 but how many of us really know what it means? In the world of medicine, treatments are Read more
Cutter Fellow Rob Austin and Senior Consultant Shannon Hessel received a Danish Society for Education and Business Prize for their “Leadership in the 21st Century Organizations” course at Copenhagen Business School. Cutter Fellow Dick Nolan was also honored for the lectures he contributed to the course. One of the three DSEB Education Prizes went to Assistant Professor Shannon Hessel and Professor Rob Austin from the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, especially due to their work in the course: “Leadership in the 21st Century Organizations”, in which they combine technology with good old-fashioned storytelling. – via CBS Observer Congratulations, Rob, Shannon, and Dick!
Software development is not really a single discipline. What comes under the overall field is a combination of disciplines that address a range of problems: Maintaining and evolving fielded code Adding significant new features to an existing application or platform Building an entirely new application or platform These differ in the amount of innovation required and the amount of information available for delivering a quality system. Teams working on type 1 problems generally are not required to invent anything and they have detailed information on the code change required and available technology. Teams addressing type 2 efforts may need to be innovative in building out and integrating the capability. Also, they usually have incomplete information Read more
The whole notion of an enterprise chief information officer (CIO) or chief technology officer (CTO) is obsolete. As technology itself decentralizes — regardless of formal organizational structures — there will be multiple technology experts/specialists/leaders. There are already “go-to” technology experts, leaders, and, yes, even “chiefs” in every business unit, every business pod, and surrounding every business process. They are seldom part of the central IT organization, and if they are, their loyalties are aligned more with the business units than with their “boss,” the enterprise CIO. In fact, time and time again I’ve seen “assigned” technologists commiserate much more with their business units than with the IT organizations to which they belong or with their Read more
The 21st Century was introduced by the tumultuous climax of the dot-com boom on March 20, 2000 when the NASDAQ peaked at 5,132. Since then modern corporations marched on to become the majority of the 100 largest organizations in the world (in terms of revenue/budgets and employed people) surpassing the size of many sovereign national governmental organizations. And this phenomenon happened fast. In 1954, the Boeing Corporations became just the 23rd corporation to exceed $1 billion dollars in annual revenue. By the end of the 20th century, hundreds of corporations exceeded multi-billion dollars in annual revenue. I rejoined the University of Washington faculty in 2003 to research one of the hotbeds of corporate foundings and Read more