morning from the San Fernando Valley in southern
California (home of our P.O. Box) and welcome to the March edition of our monthly newsletter, filled once again with good portions
thought-provoking features, all designed to keep our members thinking
and gaining insights on the actions that will follow.
Why settle for the prevailing style of thought?
Be a leader.
Improve your thinking about thinking.
always, this edition was prepared monthly by volunteers of the
In2:InThinking Network. Content comes from volunteers, in service to
our fellow members. We invite you to further develop our network by sharing this newsletter with friends and colleagues.
either link below to submit the name(s) and email address(es) of anyone
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you would like to be removed.
In2:InThinking Network Newsletter Team
PS - Don't forget to check out this month's special DVD special offer at the bottom of the newsletter.
|Welcome First Timers
have been added to our mailing list by virtue of your attendance in our series
of Thinking Roadmap seminars, workshops, and overviews, or attendance at the
annual In2:InThinking Network Forum,
or through a personal request, from you or a friend. Welcome to our
|Member Profile - Tom Johnson
|Each month we interview members of the In2:InThinking Network to get
their perspectives on a variety of questions. This month we asked Tom Johnson (left) and Bob Dickman (below) to provide their insights. Both are attending our Forum in April, where they will provide conference presentations. Link to their presentations through their photographs.
The Facts: I was born and
raised in Chicago and went on to receive an undergraduate degree in economics
from Harvard, an M.B.A. in public accounting from Rutgers, and a Ph.D. in economic
history from the University of Wisconsin. Before entering an academic career in
1965, I was employed as a C.P.A. by Arthur Andersen & Company in Boston.
In my current role as a professor of business at Portland State University, I teach a very
personal variety operations management to M.B.A. students. My academic research focuses on the
intersection of systems thinking, modern evolutionary cosmology, and
sustainability operations management. I
explore the application of natural system principles to the design of
sustainability-focused local business operations that emulate and extend the
scope of Toyota's
In2:IN Forum Attendance: I have attended and spoken at several Forum meetings and have spoken at
meetings of the Deming Forum in the UK
and the Deming Institute in the US.
Why do you attend the Forum? To maintain contact with old friends and to keep up with new thinking. Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment. To discover the peace and serenity that comes after almost one
year of not flying and not stepping into airports.
What book(s) are you reading now? I always am reading several books concurrently. The current list includes:
The View from the Center of the Universe by Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams,
The Great Upheaval by Jay Winik, The Rise of American Democracy by Sean
Wilentz, Rewilding North America by Dave Foreman. and The (Mis)Behavior of Markets by Benoit
Mandelbrot and Richard Hudson
What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable? Evening Thoughts by Thomas Berry. Reflections on "the great work" by one of our greatest living thinkers
and co-author (with Brian Swimme) of The Universe Story.
What advice do you have for people new to the In2:InThinking
Network? Learn all you can about the universe story that emerges from modern
evolutionary cosmology. Be always open
to possibility. As Alfred North Whitehead, one of the greatest thinkers in human history taught, reality is
process, process is reality.
Contact Tom by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his website at www.sba.pdx.edu/faculty/tomj/tomj.htm.
|Member Profile - Bob Dickman
|The Facts: I became fascinated by stories as a child and began performing when I
was 7 creating puppet shows for friends and family. I wanted to go to
clown college when I grew up. As a kid I had really big ears and other
kids would say "hey you look like a clown!" I would smile and say
"Thanks." In college, I majored in theater and psychology. I became
a member of an experimental theater group which produced original plays
and toured new england putting on shows. I took a year abroad in
college and lived in a Japanese Zen Monestary. The abbot loved Noh theater and I was exposed to a very energetic form of theater.
Returning home and graduating college I continued to study with Lee Strasburg and Stella Adler in New York City. I began supporting myself doing
commercials and small roles in film. What also began to happen is I
started to coach, first other actors then writers and directors on
their storytelling. After many years of study and teaching I began to see
5 organizing principles in successful stories. That insight lead to the
co-writing of a book with Richard Maxwell called The Elements of Persuasion last year.
In2:IN Forum Attendance. In which years, if any, did you attend our Forum and what inspired you to attend? I first attended in 2006 and it was thru the kind suggestion of Bill Bellows that I attended.
Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment: The majority of my happiness comes from my relationships with people, not from things no matter how shiny.
What book(s) are you reading now?
American Mania by Peter Whybrow, The Leadership Dojo by Richard Heckler, and The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell
What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
I really recommend American Mania.
What advice do you have for
people new to In2:IN? Welcome.
Are there any questions that we
should add to the member profile? What makes us behave as if we were separate from the larger systems we inhabit?
Contact Bob by email at email@example.com and visit his website at www.first-voice.com.
|Are Traditional Top-Down, One-Way Communications Strategies Dead or Dying?
You've probably already heard that a team of "Gen Y" NASA employees from recently gave a presentation at NASA's Next Generation Exploration Conference at NASA Ames. If so, this note is old news on how they are proposing that new perspectives be taken within NASA on top-down, one-way communications strategies. If not, follow the link in the image below to find this presentation, along with a related article in Wired. Could it be that Gen Y has discovered the phenomenon of willing workers? Raise your hand if you think this problem, as well as opportunity for investment, extends beyond NASA?
|One More Time: How to Motivate Students?
|In 1968, Frederick Herzberg published his seminal paper, "One More Time: How to Motivate Employees?," which remains to this day the most frequently ordered reprint from the Harvard Business Review. Across the aisle, in schools likewise crippled by the prevailing style of management, teachers have been struggling with the all-too-similar issue of "how to motivate students?" ABC News recently covered this topic and challenge in a "Good Morning America" news piece, in which they highlighted a "monetary incentive" program in practice in New York City, under guidance from Roland Fryer, a Harvard University economist. Link on the photo above to find the ABC News report, which fortunately quotes Alfie Kohn, one of the world's leading advocates for avoiding "punishments by rewards," such as monetary incentives. Says Alfie in this report, "The idea that poor kids can only be bribed with money rather than
being engaged borders on racist." Link to an article by Alfie to learn more of his profound perspective and solution.
|On Goakeepers and Penalty Kicks - To Move or Not to Move?
|Recent research findings by Ben-Gurion University economists are calling into question the need for action, when inaction would be more productive. But....aren't we paid for action? Well, this may be yet another great case, sports fans, for "it depends."
According to a recent NY Times article by Patricia Cohen, a team of Israeli economists found that
"goalkeepers face penalty kicks regularly, so they are not
only high-motivated decision-makers, but also very experienced ones.....Their point is that a preference for action over inaction can play a
significant role in all kinds of economic choices." In short, they argue that inaction would sometimes be better. Students of Dr. Deming are reminded of his second theorem (which preceded his first), "We're being ruined by best efforts....not guided by Profound Knowledge." He also pondered if a company would be better off if certain workers stayed home and read the paper (the NY Times?) and "took it easy." Follow the link in the photo to the NY Times article and this link to the research article by the Ben-Gurion University economists.
|Working, Learning, and Thinking Together within Mozilla
|Given a vision of organizations that excel at team work, as one would expect within a Blue Pen Company, how do leaders deal with forces that might sometimes bring progress to a halt, also known as "stop energy" within Mozilla? How do such cultures deal with those individuals who might inadvertantly forget their team mates and act as "unguided missiles"? Follow the link in the photo above to read how such behaviors are dealt with at Mozilla, creator of the Firefox web browser. According to University of Washington's
Sandeep Krishnamurthy, "Mozilla's message is that if we all work on this
together, and we allow people to express their frustration with the
status quo creatively, we can take back control. Any underdog company
can feed into that." This is an alternative to "Companies tend to treat consumers as having to be manipulated to make money off them." Sounds mighty Red Pen. Read on.
|Advancing Commerce, Prosperity, and Peace
|Karl Haushalter recently gave thought to Dr. Deming's teachings on advancing commerce, prosperity, and peace. In doing so, he prepared a paper that was accepted by the 14th Annual International Deming Research Seminar for presentation on February 26, 2008 at Fordham University. Unfortunately, at the last minute, he was unable to attend this seminar and present his article. Instead, he has offered to share it with fellow network members and would welcome comments and/or dialogue with as he continues to explore these ideas.
Follow this link to download Karl's article, titled Deming on Peace
Reply to Karl by email at OPTIMIZE@aol.com
|Transforming My Space In2 OurSpace Using Thinker's Thoughts
|We continue this month with Shel Rovin's reflections on "What organizations can learn from nature." To
our first-time readers, this column started with an offer to Shel to
write a "monthly short, emphasis short, piece as part of the monthly
newsletter." Previous editions, including parts 1-3, plus Shel's agreement, can be found
online at this link.
WHAT ORGANIZATIONS MIGHT LEARN FROM NATURE
Part 4. Nature Competes Within A Framework Of Cooperation, Organizations Compete
Creatures are self interested, but not self destructive. Extreme
selfish behavior has real costs: when one species as part of a "stable" ecosystem with hundreds of other species acts only in its
self-interest, the entire ecosystem is altered and the offending
species itself crashes. This is actually rare because ecosystems tend
to limit this type of occurrence. Parasites kill their hosts and have
no place to go. Organizations that take over others generally lose
Cooperation evolved. When parasitic bacteria invade a larger host, after many generations they exploit
but do not destroy their host, they begin to share metabolized
products. After many more generations they need each other for
survival. (as Lewis Thomas wrote: "Nice guys last longer") This progressive cooperation (co-evolution) set the stage for all higher life forms.
Follow this link to the read the remainder of Shel's column from our website.
What do you think?
|CQI Research Proposals Sought by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)
challenges; and/or develop
For more information, follow the link in the image above.
|Pegasus Conference - November 17-19, 2008
launching a new operations center in record time to
eliminating polio worldwide, how can groups come together
to create new realities rather than replicate the
status quo? Join in for this year's Pegasus conference in Boston to explore
what distinguishes a transcendent performance from
a merely excellent one-and how we can work together
to produce an outcome greater than the sum of our
the conference flyer for more details...
when you register by April 18 for two and
a half days of unparalleled learning and connection
for just $1,195! Register
Speakers: Betty Sue Flowers, Adam Kahane, Sara
Lawrence-Lightfoot, Atul Gawande, Peter Senge
Teams of 4 or more pay even less. Call for details at 1-800-272- 0945.
|UK Transformation Forum - May 20-22, 2008
|Title: Transformation is the Future ~ Delivering Sustainable Change
Location: The Robinson Executive Centre, Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire, UK. MK44 3AL
Many organisations, whether in the public or private sector, say they are trying to 'transform.' For some this means a radical rethink of how they deliver their service whilst for others it means the adoption of the latest management idea that appears to hold some water. But for all of them a key challenge is how to build a momentum for change and deliver benefits for all stakeholders, particularly customers.
Unfortunately it isn't as easy as constructing a business case. Transformation
by its very nature requires sustained learning and the ability to adapt over a period of time. In contrast, a business case usually relies on choosing a solution before you start - a solution shaped by the very assumptions and knowledge that created the current way of doing things. The experience of most organisations has shown that transformation is much easier to aspire to than to deliver, so on what grounds can you expect success? Or rather, by what method?
Dr. Deming and others recognised that the combination of four key disciplines make a profound difference to the impact and sustainability of change, and to the way it is embraced and sustained across the organisation. Whether you consider the change and sustainability agendas in terms of organisations, communities or the even the planet, you will benefit from exploring a more comprehensive system of management and developing your own approaches and plans.
Put the dates in
your diary, invite a colleague, and build an agenda for change together -
Contact us for special US friends rate to attend the conference. Follow this link to the Forum website to learn more.
The Transformation Forum, The Court House, Woburn Street, Ampthill, Bedford, MK45 2HX
T: +44 (0)1525 402323 F: +44 (0)1525 406610 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Closing Thot - Willing Egg Layers?
|Many of our readers are aware of Dr. Deming's Red Bead experiment and the notion of employees serving as "willing workers." Could the same be said for chickens?
Borrowing from the
Curious Cat website...
Deming's objection to motivational posters, slogans, etc. was
related the whole view of the job of management. The importance of this
obligation is not easy to understand without knowledge of that system
of management. The belief that such posters are an effective strategy
are grounded in Theory X Management.
Also the use of such poster is highly correlated with managers that
don't understand the processes they are managing and so they attempt
simplistic "solutions" like telling everyone to "do a good job" "a
happy worker is a busy worker" "avoid accidents" "waste not want not." But, what's a boss to do to motivate his willing workers?
|2008 Forum Registration is OPEN and growing
|With 17 days to go before the opening day of our seventh Forum, we are pleased to announce that we have 108 attendees confirmed to attend. To join the growing list, follow this link to our website to access our registration survey.
|As a reminder, we have created webpages for each of our conference speakers; Steve Cook, Ariane David, Bob Dickman, Gordon Hall, Elaine Johnson, Tom Johnson, Scott Lennox, Richard Maxwell, George Roth, Gipsie Ranney, Shel Rovin, and Ralph Wood.|
In addition, we have created webpages for all of our 10 pre-conference seminars and workshops and 2 post-conference seminars.
|2008 Forum Location and Pricing
again, we'll be in Los Angeles. As for pricing, the registration fee
for this 6-day event will be $350. This price includes all pre- and
post-conference seminars and workshops, conference presentations and
activities, materials, and meals (dinner on Friday, continental
breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and lunch and dinner on Saturday).
We will also continue a tradition we started this year, offering a
discounted registration price of $200 for full-time students in home
school, public schools, colleges, or universities.
|Ongoing Discussion Preview
|Looking ahead to April, the Ongoing Discussion (OD) will feature Ariane David
as our Thought Leader on April 24th and 25th. Ariane will also join us as a presenter at our upcoming Forum in April.
|Follow this link to register now.
The formal "OD" announcement for Ariane's appearance will be released on or before April 17th.
For those readers not already on the OD mailing list - click below...
Add me to the OD list
|Ideas to Ponder...
"'When you're through changing, you're through."Bruce Barton
1886-1967, American Author, Advertising Executive
''The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice,
Boulanger 1887-1979, Conductor, Composer, Teacher
"'The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly.''
121-180 AD, Roman Emperor, Philosopher
|Check out the Ackoff Center Blog for the latest feedback on Russ Ackoff's last book, Management f-Laws, news on the 2008 Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowships
|In addition, follow this link to download the mp3 files from our "OD" sessions with Russ in January.
|Deming Learning Network
Thought Provocation of the Month
Courtesy of Gordon Hall of the Deming Learning Network in Aberdeen, Scotland, here is this month's thought provocation;
Central government says it is not its place to
So let us consider their
macro management (and that of any large
Do they focus on "outcomes" ignoring the modern
recognition that we need to understand the whole process?
Do they concentrate on those aspects that can be
measured, ignoring the fact that only 5% of the whole can be
Do they create regulations and standards and
inspect compliance through such bodies as The Care Commission or the HSE while
it has been acknowledge for many many years that you cannot inspect quality into
Do they establish targets to direct and control
fully aware that the use of targets encourages widespread distortion of
And finally, are they aware of the effect of their
macro management - does it have a significant negative effect? What damage does
centrally controlled macro management have on people's ability to micro
Note: we are proud to announce that Gordon has accepted our offer to appear at our 2008 Forum. His presentation is titled "Can We Build an Organisation's Culture by Design?"
|2008 Forum DVD
|For the sixth year in a row, we have contracted with Kid Flix, the after-school video services team at Placerita Junior High School
in nearby Valencia, CA to videotape the entire (weekend) conference portion of our upcoming Forum.
Once again, the Kid Flix "CREW" will be led by Paul Kass in recording the conference footage, which will be converted into our final DVD package by Dave Nave & Associates. The package of 10 presentations, including the after-dinner entertainment by taiko group On Ensemble, will sell for $150, with a $25 discount (upon registering) for conference attendees.
If you are not planning to attend, but would like to order a DVD set, follow the link from the DVD image above, where you can also order DVDs from our 2005, 2006, and 2007 events.
We are also pleased to announce our first-ever DVD set sponsor, Haines Centre International, as the underwriter for our videotaping efforts in 2008. Special thanks to Steve Haines and his "Forum Partner InThinking" organization for supporting our network efforts with a generous donation.
|Donate to the In2:IN
|Our network efforts are
enabled day-by-day, month-by-month, and year-by-year by civic-minded
volunteers whose contributions include a passion for making a
difference, coupled with ideas, time and energy. Together, we are
working, learning, and thinking about how we can foster and inspire
"better thinking for a better future" and what this effort enables
individuals and organizations of all shapes and sizes to do
Contributions to our network also include
financial support from our members, coupled with the proceeds of our
annual Forum. Towards this end, please consider contributing a
tax-deductible donation to the In2:InThinking Network, which is charted
as a 501c3 non-profit organization. Your donation can be towards our
general fund (to support the website and newsletter), or towards
scholarships and financial assistance of future attendees of our annual
Contact Bill Bellows for additional information on how to contribute.
|With our seventh annual Forum some 3 weeks away, we are inviting members to make an investment to provide for scholarship funds for those needing assistance to attend the Forum. Past scholarship recipients have stated, "The Forum was an energetic, innovative system of diverse, rich nonlinear interactions which lead to emergent, shared learning." Another participant summed up her experience as a "great opportunity to interact with people who have the same problems that I do, even though they are
from different organizations...trying to find solutions that will help all of us."
A dedicated scholarship fund was created in 2004 by Van Bowen, a professor at the University of Richmond and a network member and past Forum presenter. His vision was that one scholarship recipient, new to the Forum and the theories of systems thinking, would be granted travel, lodging and the full Forum registration fee. Van was inspired about our aim and anxious to spread awareness of the In2:InThinking Network to new members. Van donated the money to the first recipient in 2005, five months before he passed away. In appreciation of Van's spirit, we seek further investments that will allow us to grow the Van Bowen Scholarship fund and continue to offer access to our Forum to a new and needy recipient every year.
In the fall of 2004, Oscar Mink, a professor at the
University of Texas, as well as another network member and past Forum speaker, passed away suddenly. In appreciation of his passionate quest for sharing his thinking and learning with us, we created an Oscar Mink Scholarship in his honor. Similar to the Van Bowen Scholarship, this fund is used to defray the attendance fees of needy under-
graduate and graduate students who would like to attend our annual Forum.
To date, the Van Bowen and Oscar Mink Scholarships represent two dedicated scholarship funds available to the In2:InThinking Network. In addition, in 2007 we initiated the Russell L. Ackoff Scholarship and the Community Service Scholarship. These continue in 2008, when we will also debut the High School Student Scholarship.
Please consider investing in any of our scholarship funds. Your
tax-deductible investment of any size will help us continue to reach out and bring new participants into our network. Mail your donations to us at PO Box 9384, Canoga Park, CA 91309.
Contact Bill Bellows for additional information on how to contribute.