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The test of time for a society, institution, and individual is...

...their capacity for change to remain relevant.

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015 at 06:26AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

I think to myself, That’s the problem, all right, where to start.

From page 63 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.  This starts an extended section the compares and contrasts the classic and romantic views of the world.  I commend this section to your attention.

Posted on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 06:25AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

A New Way of Thinking

I was reading Toolkits of the Mind in the May/June 2015 issue of the MIT Technology Review and I came across the following:

Software developers as a species tend to be convinced that programming languages have a grip on the mind strong enough to change the way you approach problems—even to change which problems you think to solve.

I struck out the last part of this extract because I'm a bit uncomfortable with the notion that the language dictates what we think about it.  On the other hand, it may well be that the language we use -- differential equations, economics, visualization, diplomacy as examples -- may well be a constraint that that keeps us from understanding and potentially resolving some of the intractable issues of the day -- the Middle East, income and capability inequality, race relations.

If all one knows is arithmetic then all one can resolve is issues that can be described in arithmetic.

I think of some of the issues I face, most often the need to modify human behavior (sometimes my own), and think that maybe I'm using the wrong language.

Most successful programming languages have an overall philosophy or set of guiding principles that organize their vocabulary and grammar—the set of possible instructions they make available to the programmer—into a logical whole.

Posted on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 07:56AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

How to run a company with (almost) no rules 

From TED Talks.

What if your job didn’t control your life? Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler practices a radical form of corporate democracy, rethinking everything from board meetings to how workers report their vacation days (they don’t have to). It’s a vision that rewards the wisdom of workers, promotes work-life balance — and leads to some deep insight on what work, and life, is really all about. Bonus question: What if schools were like this too?

This is worth attentive listening and consequent thought.

Posted on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 08:49AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Defining quality on Quora — what a helpful answer looks like

The title of this post is from a post of the same title on Quora.

I encourage discussions in my teaching.  At the heart of quality discussions are quality questions and quality answers.  By quality I mean the delivery of relevant value.

For example, a quality question is one the provokes a new way of thinking about a topic.  A quality answer is one that delivers new insight.

Same-o, same-o is a no-go.

Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 05:17AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The Rise of Opaque Intelligence

For some time now, as my students can tell you, I've been cautioning against over-reliance on technology.  This may sound surprising from a fellow who started his technology career in the time of card-punch machines, analog computers, and what is arguably one of the most significant advances in computing, the iBM System 360.  And who, by the way, is constantly surrounding by and uses technology.

However, I've noted a tendancy for the species to suspend judgement when technology talks.

A recent post in Marginal Revolution, The Rise of Opaque Intelligence, fits with my thinking.  I call your attention to it at the risk of being accused of conformational bias.

Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Drogan's Ninth Law: Once it's out there, it's out there.

Well, according to a wonderful article, The Cobweb, in the January 26th issue of The New Yorker, "it ain't necessarily so."

Once it's out there, it's out there. 

Posted on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 11:49AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment


I'm scheduled to lead a discussion on networking for Dr. Ferritto's Orientation for Graduate Studies course.  To prepare, I'm writing a note on the matter that draws not from published material, but from my own experiences.  I'll publish that here upon completion.

However, serendipitously, I came across Schumpeter - The Network Effect. (2015, January 17). The Economist, p 66, an interesting (most articles in The Economist are) and useful article that I call to your attention.

Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 05:57AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Drogan Notes: Communications

It’s hard to know when I began to think about communication in a serious manner.  I peg it at my first job out of college as a systems engineer for IBM.  I’m fairly certain that I didn’t think of it in that manner.  I thought of flowcharts (communicating with people) and coding sheets (communicating with computers), both of which I learned little of in college.

As my career developed I expanded my communication repertoire to formal presentations, one‑on‑one conversations with business associates and customers, writing of proposals, reports, and marketing material.

When I retired from IBM I became associated with Baruch College.  This second career introduced me in a more formal way to communicate, especially through my long association with the Bernard L. Schwarz Communication Institute.

I’m indebted to all those along the path of this journey who encouraged, criticized, taught me, and, perhaps most importantly, encouraged and gave me the freedom to explore communication and its higher embodiment, conversations.  I’ve been from script to spark charts (Tufte), from simple flowcharts to complex causal loop diagrams.  And I keep learning.

I've put together a collection of papers, blog posts, the odd e‑mail, and lecture notes on the subjects of communication and conversation.  These are presented in chronological order.  Some of this material looks incomplete.  Indeed it is.  Learning is never complete.  Minimal editing has been performed on the original material.

The first paper in this anthology is a paper written to help me prepare for an April 28, 2006 conference.  Doubtless I will add to this as time goes on.

It is hoped that this collection might serve as useful reference and example.

If your interested, $12 from www.lulu.com.

Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 06:20AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The Big Shift in Strategy

Your attention is called to:

  1. Hagel, J. (2014, December 15). The Big Shift in Strategy - Part 1.
  2. Hagel, J. (2015, January 6). The Big Shift in Strategy - Part 2.

Hagel has a set of provocative ideas for dealing with the world of rapid, complex, often opaque change.

Posted on Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment
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