Review, roundup, hotwash

Last week I was in the UK running an organization design training program and meeting with various other people. It was great fun – not just catching up but also collecting a whole lot of information and suggestions on various topics that came up in the course of the conversations. So I've been spending time following up on some of those.

The first category of stuff was on websites that people have found useful. In the course of the week I looked at:

Go Ask Anyone: This website offers packs of conversation cards that trigger conversations by asking a question. The pack 'Go Ask Anyone' is a great icebreaker activity. (In fact I've used it, but then gave my pack to someone else – so it was good to get the reminder). Sample Questions: "Which three people would you combine for an ideal mate?…" "What one event in American history would you erase if you could?" "If you could know one secret or mystery, but could never tell…." Each pack has: 52 cards.

Get Feedback is an organization that "provide tools and services to help HR professionals make the best decisions about their people challenges" it came with a strong recommendation from someone I trust. The company is aiming to create the best talent management company in the world. In fact it is two companies, run by a psychologist and a technologist:

  • Getfeedback – concentrating on making you self-sufficient by building a best-of-breed range of global assessments, surveys and processes, delivered on-line by technology that works.
  • Crelos – a people change business that works with leaders to give meaning to 'differentiation through people' using Precision Business Psychology.

Harvard Business Essentials Support Tools: This is from the Harvard Business Online and is sets of free tools 'to enhance the learning experience of your Harvard Business Essentials book purchase'. There are very useful checklists, surveys, and other items that are well worth looking at.

Gelinas James is a consulting group with, again a strong recommendation on the value of their three change management guides: Collaborative Change – Improving Organizational Performance, Collaborative Organization Design – Workbook, Collaborative Organization Design – Leaders' Guide.

Management Help which is a free library of "easy-to-access, clutter-free, comprehensive resources regarding the leadership and management of yourself, other individuals, groups and organizations." I tested out a few topics and got some useful ideas.

Jesse Schell talking on the future of games design was something that was slightly beyond me but the person who told me about it (who's interested in the way 'serious' games are starting to be used in education was fascinated by it) so maybe gaming is a topic to get to grips with. The reviewer of the session – given at Dice 2010 said that "Jesse Schell's talk about the future of game design as it invades the real world is just astounding. If you do experience design of any kind it'll be the most valuable (and entertaining) 20 minutes you'll spend all week."

Digital look aggregates financial, economic and business news and is a good source of up to date and informed comment, information, analysis on these topics.

Bruce Mau Design proclaims "We create massive change. We invent cultural possibility. We design positive innovation, we ignite audacious action." (And other phrases that you can perm yourself by clicking on their 'slot machine'). It's a lively website with an intriguing manifesto that any organization designer could do well adopting.

Someone recommended an article by Tom Rodenhauser, How to Choose-and Work with-Consultants, Harvard Management Update, 09-01-1998 (we were discussing hiring consultants at the time). It was first published in the Harvard Business Review in September 1998 but is still relevant.

Traveling on the train between meetings I listened to the Harvard Business Idea Cast featuring Gregory Berns, the Distinguished Chair of Neuroeconomics at Emory University and author of Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently talked on How Iconoclasts Think. It's a topic I'm going to find out more about – the science of neuroeconomics

Beyond these various resources people asked me a number of questions that I'm now pondering

  • What is political correctness?
  • What's it like teaching in Shanghai?
  • What is the best method for managing a networked organization
  • Where can I find good books on organization development?
  • What is leadership's role in change management?

More on all these topics in coming blogs.