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Automation and Jobs

"Research by our colleagues at the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that, across industries, there is already the potential to automate more than 30 percent of the tasks that make up 60 percent of today’s jobs."

Berruti, F., Chandratre, G., & Rab, Z. (2018, October). The New Frontier: Agile Automation at Scale. Retrieved October 8, 2018, from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/the-new-frontier-agile-automation-at-scale

Posted on Monday, October 8, 2018 at 06:15AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

2018 Fourth-Quarter Forecast

From Stratfor 9-11-2018

With an eye on every corner of the world, our global forecast for the final quarter of 2018 shows little respite for careworn countries, trade agreements under strain, trouble ahead in emerging markets, little progress in resolving conflicts and broad shifts in alliances.

I'm reminded of the phrase, "The world turned upside down."

"The World Turned Upside Down" is an English ballad. It was first published on a broadside in the middle of the 1640s as a protest against the policies of Parliament relating to the celebration of Christmas. Wikipedia
Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 08:45AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment


Understanding the context from which an issue emerges is perhaps the single most important task on the way to resolution. 

I have a deep interest in, amongst other things, supply chains.  When exploring these I often use a graphic I call the Context of Interest.

This morning, one of my favorite sources of insight into systems, John Hagel, brings me Navigating From the Industrial Age to the Contextual Age.  It integrates with and adds to my thinking.

I recommend it to your attention.

Posted on Friday, August 17, 2018 at 06:28AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

From Englebart

"The technology side, the tool system, has inappropriately been driving the whole. What has to be established is a balanced coevolution between both parts. How do we establish an environment that yields this coevolution? Well, that's where the bootstrapping in a laboratory comes in. I said I wanted to do what I knew it was going to be like in our future. So we had to be more conscious of the candidates for change in both the tool and the human systems.


Both the Journal System and the Shared-Screen Telephone option demonstrated how computers could be used to support “collaborative dialogue.” From Engelbart’s perspective, the most important feature of networking was bringing together human resources—knowledge, skill, creativity, intelligence, and drive. In the early 1970s, he envisioned a future in which collaborative human communication was built on a foundation of computer networks."

Barnes, S. B. (1997). Douglas Carl Engelbart: Developing the Underlying Concepts for Contemporary Computing. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 19(3), 16-26.

Interestingly, at about the same time Southwestern Bell was developing a commercial system -- Service Order Retrieval and Distrbution --  exhibiting many of the characteristics of Engelbart's work.  I served on the design, development, and implementation team and was responsible for the file design.   Ref: Drogan, J. (1970). File Design for an Online Service Order Entry System (Technical Information Exchange No. ZZ77- 0017) (p. 18). White Plains NY: IBM Corporation.)


Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at 10:24AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The Grumpy Economist on Shorter Papers

"I think journals are trying hard to make papers perfect on publication, especially given the replication crisis in social sciences, and the number of prominent economics papers that have fallen apart under scrutiny. There is a vision that it should not be "published" unless it's "right" so that anything "published" is reliably true. I think we need to give up on that hope! Publication is the start of a conversation [emphasis added]. Most papers are forgettable. The ones that matter will have others tear them apart. Yes, papers should be not full of obvious problems, but the 70% or more of weight that is what about this and what about that is probably not that useful."


Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at 06:40AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment


"As Rebecca West wisely observed: 'Everyone realizes that one can believe little of what people say about each
other. But it is not so widely realized that even less can one trust what people say about themselves.'"

Krystal, A. (2018). The Improbable Friendship That Shaped a Generation of Literary Scholarship. The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Posted on Monday, July 23, 2018 at 08:28AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty, and Other Lies of Physics

Here is a provocative article by Sabine Hossenfelder appearing on Aeon on July 11.  The openi ng paragraph is:

Who doesn’t like a pretty idea? Physicists certainly do. In the foundations of physics, it has become accepted practice to prefer hypotheses that are aesthetically pleasing. Physicists believe that their motivations don’t matter because hypotheses, after all, must be tested. But most of their beautiful ideas are hard or impossible to test. And whenever an experiment comes back empty-handed, physicists can amend their theories to accommodate the null results.

As I read it I began to wonder whether this preoccupation with a "pretty idea" expands to other disciplines such as economics, technology, supply chains, international business, geopolitical relationships to name a few.

In 2003 I wrote an introduction to Forces, and intended book that never materialized, that has as its first sentence, "The world is a messy place."

The world has become messier and I wonder whether the shortcomings of thinking descibed by Hossenfelder have contributed to the messiness in fields other than physics.

Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 07:05AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Leadership in Question

From a Harvard Business Review e-mail of June 27.

 "The world is facing a global leadership crisis. Seventy-seven percent of leaders think they do a good job of engaging their people, yet 88 percent of employees say their leaders don’t engage enough. There is also a high level of suffering in the workplace: 35 percent of employees would forgo a pay raise to see their leaders fired. To solve this crisis, organizations need to put people at the center of their strategy. They need to develop managers and executives who lead with three core mental qualities: mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion."

Posted on Monday, July 2, 2018 at 07:32AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment


Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 08:04AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Symbiotic Systems

Twenty or so years ago I was introduced to the subject of Symbiotic Decision Support Systems by the late Prof. Marvin Manheim of Northwestern University.  Over the years this concept has found its way into my notes and presentations usually accompanied by the following illustration.

A recent post by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Human-Machine Work Teams, reminds me of this earlier work and suggests that "Decision Support" needs to be scrapped as a modifier.  We need, particularly within the context of the productivity paradox, to think differently about this pairing of technology and the human.

Posted on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 09:45AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment
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