Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Mix of toilets

In tweets today toilets and women were discussed. And that women in general need more toilets. Taking more time due to more complicated procedure? Spending more time washing hands? Adjusting make-up?

I do not know - but here is one clever thing to improve the situation.

In the picture below you can see a configuration with toilets and washing-hands/mirrors equipment. At the top the small red "circles" are where you spend time adjusting make-up, wash hands etc. And at the bottom you see cubicles with toilets. Each with door and lock.
Gentlemen will enter this facility from left and ladies from right. In the gentlemen area there is also a red box - representing a urinal.
The clever thing is that there is a wall separating women from men. Creating the illusion of two facilities. The wall can be moved if the population contains more women. Or just to let women have more toilets and mirrors.
In the set-up above men have six toilets and the urinal while women have six toilets.

If the event is a ladies-only event you could slide the wall and create:
Now men only have one toilet and the women have eleven! And if it is a football game you could consider to place the wall elsewhere.

To be able to adjust the mix of toilets seems like a simple way of making the situation better. And still there is illusion of totally separated women and men toilets. Which seems to be desired in many cultures/communities. Note also that number of mirrors also changes...

Not sure how common this solution is, but I have seen it in at least one hockey/event arena.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Demonstrations against global warming.

[Got this picture from a colleague. Rather cute demonstration. And I assume that any kind of warming is a threat to these guys!]

Thursday, 17 December 2009

"reply all"

In mail-systems where there are distribution lists there is always a risk (or chance?) that someone uses one of the larger lists by mistake. And sometimes that leads to persons on list responding to that mail - using "reply to all" function.

If more people do the same it will trigger mails with the message "do not use reply to all" - possibly also sent to all. Of course.

Here are some real data from such "incident" today. Already after 17 minutes the apology was out "Sorry. Did not mean to send to all. Please ignore".

In the diagram you can see what kind of mails was sent using "reply to all" in the next few hours:
On the x-axis you have 30-minutes periods from first email sent. And y-axis is frequence.

As you can see there are lots of email just saying "You probably got the wrong guy."

On second place comes the "Do not reply to all" messages (sent using "reply to all").

And then there are some people that would like to be removed from the list, some trying to explain how to send emails correctly - and also someone that was just a bit upset about.

Remember. The chart shows only the mails I could see and that was sent using "reply to all". I assume that the person sending the mail to distribution list in the first place also received some direct mail.

Anyone else having more data and patterns describing this?

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Make-up or Photoshop?

Richard Veryard said "Aren't cosmetics and airbrushing basically the same thing, or have I missed something? #Twiggy #Olay" in a tweet. (tweet)

I tend to agree. Both make up and digital work on photos will change the face. And I assume that you can do lots of magic with make-up. Almost the same thing as with post-production digital editing. At least in order to show a pretty face with perfect attributes.


Starting with the face at the top you can either take the left path - with make-up to "edit" face and then just camera to make it digital and be able to show it. Or if you take the right path where you create the digital image first - then edit the image of the face - in order to display. The viewer will not see "real" face in any case.

Editing before or after camera. That is the question.


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Different rainbow

When you think of a rainbow you most likely think of something like:
Something curved and with seven bright colours. Pretty!

But it is also a very common picture of a rainbow. Maybe too common?

What happens if we tried to come up with a more unique rainbow. A more creative rainbow. Just playing a bit with the setup of the standard rainbow.

We might end up with something like:

Not seven colours, not even seven shades of grey. Just one shade of grey. And just straight lines.

This is a more unique rainbow than the standard rainbow. And as you can imagine there are many more unique rainbows just waiting to be created.

Some people would argue that this it not a rainbow anymore. It does not follow the rules for being a rainbow. But should we not challenge rules? Should not even rainbows challenge their rules? Would this grey rainbow get acceptance in rainbow community?

When you think of a unique rainbow - what do you see? How much can be challenged and changed?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Make differences visible!

Last week I read a report from analyst firm. It analyzed a lot of companies and illustrated its findings in 2x2 systems. But all diagrams looked the same. All companies were put int the top right box.
All diagrams looked like:
All companies very successful? Well, nice - but boring. The 2x2 system is more interesting when it used to illustrate differences, tensions and how the companies really differ. "All companies doing well" is nice. But not very useful.

I suggest that if you want to use 2x2 system in you should work with the scale so that differentiators are clearly seen. Then you could see how they differ and what they could do to change.

Here I just rescaled the first picture. And in my opinion much more interesting. I now see that two companies are in the top left quadrant. Wonder what they can do about that? And how about those two companies in bottom left? What should they do?
2x2 boxes can be useful to illustrate differences. And it is the differentiators and differences that can create a movement between the boxes. It is the visible and categorized differences that will trigger most thinking.

Make sure you use a scale so that differences gets visible. And exciting!

Having nothing makes you agile

I like quadrant systems (2x2 boxes) to describe things. I like how they can be used to see differentiators and how paths can be chosen.

Not only can they trigger action. They can also bring you problem! And make it harder to move.

If you are in the top right box you have it all. But having it all might make it harder to improve. If you already have a good car - why get a great car?

If you are in low right corner you have one of two. That will make the game tough to play. You need to get the second - and still keep the first. Same with top left box.

In the low left box you are free. You have nothing and can move in any direction. No need to protect anything. Nothing to watch. Moving in any direction will improve your situation.

Since I like to think in metaphores - here we go:

Here you can have a mouse and a bird. The real winner - in the absolute top right of the system - would have a large bird and a huge mouse (or rat even!?). Having any bird and any mouse will of course also place you in the top right box.

Imagine holding a bird and a mouse in your hands. Both alive of course. How easy is it now to upgrade to a larger mouse. Let go of the mouse in hand - and try to grab a new and larger one running by? Same with bird. Let go of the bird and try to catch that swoooshing-by bird. That is hard! And risky. You might loose what you have when you try to improve.

It's a bit easier to have a mouse in hand and try to catch a bird. At least slightly. You can even try to grab a larger mouse while holding a smaller. Tough work - but possible.

It is easiest to hunt down a mouse or bird if you have nothing in your hands. And you are also free to choose strategy. If you aim for the bird first you will look up and hunt in the air. And if you go for the mouse you can start to crawl on ground tracking the beasts.
So, being in top right box can paralyze you. You have your hands full being there so you have a hard time improving since you like to avoid risks of loosing. In two other boxes you have a least one hand free to hunt. A bit awkward since you need to protect what you have - when hunting in the other dimension.

Having nothing gives you freedom to select strategy and nothing to loose. And keeps you very agile since you have all hands free...

Having nothing can make it easier to catch the largest bird. Or the most impressive mouse.

Friday, 4 December 2009

About silver bullet

Noticed: Only people not having the silver bullet says "There is no silver bullet".

Expectation on ideas

Do you expect ideas to be ready to be implemented? Do you expect a "business case" together with the idea? A project plan perhaps?

Well, that might not be a clever strategy.

If you expect ideas to be ready, well defined, proper ROI calculated etc you will get a behaviour following this expectation. People will spend more time working with their ideas. Polishing, preparing, powerpointing, details added, risks handled, marketing explored.
All to make a brilliant, shiny and excellent presentation so that you can understand the idea and buy into it.

But, what now also happens is that the person with idea will spend a lot of time and effort with his idea. When you spend time and effort you will hate to see it ruined. And you will also most likely fall in love with your idea, especially since you have covered all angles and perspectives. "It's a brilliant idea. I have it all covered." (Sure you do. But only from your perspective....)

So, now you have a person that spent lots of time on his idea. And really loves it. How will he react to suggestions? Criticism? Alternatives? Questions? "My idea is perfect. Look here...and here... and here...And I also have spent a lot of time on this!"

There is also a risk that when you see the idea you take this into account. "Oh, he spent lots of time on this - Let's be careful when dealing with this." And thus accepting to move forward with a bad idea - only to be kind.

So, if you expect ideas to be ready when you hear them you will foster an organisation that delivers shiny ideas - carved in stone - hard to adjust - and possibly worthless.
Expect high quality - and you might end up with no quality at all.

Better to encourage people showing their ideas early - and raw. Help them build upon the ideas. Support them. Do not expect a finalized business case - help them build the business case.
Adjust the direction of the ideas. Get expertise and right knowledge involved.

Expect any and every idea to be raw. Support the development of the idea instead of analyzing and judging it (too early). Let the judgement grow - while you together explore the idea.

Expecting ideas to be "raw" works amazingly well for ideas that actually are shiny and ready too.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Relevant message

We all want messages to be relevant. But what is a relevant message?

Like this:

Should we consider content and quality? Channel? Format? Probably. But what is more important is what happens afterwards.
From a senders perspective, say company ACME, it could be like this:

A relevant message will trigger the receiver into an action that will create value for ACME. Maybe buying its product? Hiring their consultant? Letting a brother play in the team?

An unrelevant message do not trigger an action that leads to value for ACME.

From the reciever perspective we have this instead:

Here the relevant message is the message that triggers the action that gives the receiver most (or more) value.
@lawlesz suggests that time necessary to process message also influence higher relevance. Less time means higher relevance.

A relevant message is not really about content or channel. It is more about what actions it triggers and what values follow. What is a relevant message for the sender does not have to relevant for the receiver.

Think of "relevant message" as a verb - creating value. And faster is better.