I spent a fair amount of time this holiday break unplugged — reading physical books(!) and conducting entire conversations that didn’t center around mobile applications, online learning models, and digital strategy best practices.
One of those offline activities was seeing the Henri Matisse show at the Met. The New York Times review called it a “thrillingly instructive exhibition,” and the way the works are juxtaposed offers up a glimpse of his thinking about different modes of painting, both within each subject and over time. Today, it turns out, is Matisse’s 143rd birthday, but the works and the iterative approach feel contemporary.
We’re trained to look at art in the hushed halls of a museum as a finished product from a genius — to be audience of only the final product and not the labored creation. This exhibit captures Matisse showing a little more of the sausage being made; through its artful curation what might have been drafts or refinements of each piece, you’re inspired to think as much about the evolution as the final, masterful work.
Image credit: Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) Goldfish and Palette, 1914 Oil on canvas; 57 3/4 x 44 1/4 in. (146.5 x 112.4 cm) The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift and bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx, 1964 © 2012 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The story of their lost footing is also the story of something larger — the growing role that education plays in preserving class divisions. Poor students have long trailed affluent peers in school performance, but from grade-school tests to college completion, the gaps are growing. With school success and earning prospects ever more entwined, the consequences carry far: education, a force meant to erode class barriers, appears to be fortifying them.
– Disheartening and thoughtful piece in the New York Times on the complex interrelationships of poverty, class, and family ties, and how these all affect higher eduation achievement among low-income students.
The biggest trend in 2013 will be a business process shift to what I elegantly deem the “bologna sandwich model” of humans and machines. That means: this will be the year organizations figure out how to use employees not to replace technology (“Would someone please go find and count those Twitter mentions?”) but to envision and interpret it. In the bologna sandwich model, the people are the bread: on one end, they’re the strategy, envisioning the technology needed to move the business goals forward; on the other end, they are the interpreters of the technology – what patterns are emerging, what do the analytics tell us, and how do we refine our approach?
A sexier answer would be “the cloud – everywhere” or “big data” or “the internet of things” – and those ideas are dead on. If those Black Friday numbers are any indication, in 2013 mobile in particular will continue its rapid acceleration into our everyday lives. But to me the seismic shift will be getting the human-machine interplay right so that we’re neither Luddites nor slaves to Utopian automation. We need to use humans and machines for what they’re best at: for the former, strategy and interpretation; for the latter: data mining and analytics. Nate Silver’s victory in the 2012 presidential election provides the anecdata that will be the tipping point for a thoughtful, data-driven approach.
What’s the biggest industry challenge related to that prediction? The inherent skills gap between many high school and college graduates and the world of work. We still need critical thinkers, and we also need people with quantitative skills to be everything from entry-level data analysts to the blue-collar coders that all businesses – not just tech firms – will require. For the bologna sandwich, you’ll need tech-savvy leaders to drive the strategy, and data scientists to interpret the results. How will we solve for this? In 2013, I’m confident you will see both traditional and non-traditional educational models develop innovative responses to that challenge.
Originally posted in the Predictions and Reflections series for Massachusetts Innovation Technology Exchange (MITX) .
There’s a lot of reasonable thinking out there about how a skill is mastered, including the 10,000-hour rule popularized by Malcolm Gladwell.
I’m the first to advocate for the value of persistence — in marketing analytics, software development, and countless other disciplines there’s tremendous value in chasing every issue to its core and in finishing the job, even down to the tedious, final 10%.
Still, there are people whose skills — in strategy, writing, design, or coding –seem to transcend what’s possible for others. Leo Messi has likely put his 10,000 hours in, but I doubt there are many who could achieve what he has for the beautiful game.
According to the New York Times, former FC Barcelona Manager Pep Guardiolo said of Messi, “Don’t try to write about him. Don’t try to describe him. Watch him.” Here are 86 of his 88 goals in 2012 – but it’s really worth watching a full match if you can.
Excellent visualization of Game of Thrones characters and their events trajectory (spoiler alert: lots of killing) over time by Jerome Cukier (h/t Nathan Yau).
Love the proliferating use of data visualization to understand complex character structures and plot lines in novels; see also Infinite Atlas and this selection from brain pickings.
…women-owned firms employ just 6% of the U.S. workforce and contribute just 4% of all business revenues. Women might be making overall progress in the rate at which they are launching new ventures, but are failing to launch and build high-growth ventures.
– Jennifer McFadden, who proposes radically transparent networks as one possible solution to the high-growth venture gap
We didn’t want this to be the authoritative version of the play to be admired or read in solitude; we want it to be a generative version of the play, one which sparks innovation and creates new knowledge.
– Prof Elliot Visconsi, talking about his new iPad app supporting a social reading and learning experience of The Tempest
Last week at a Boston-based CIO Summit, I spoke about the challenges facing traditional IT roles in a shifting enterprise technology landscape.
Consumerization of IT is a foregone conclusion: employees are bringing not only their personal devices (BYOD-sanctioned or otherwise) but more significantly their habits and expectations born of living in a full-on digital world. The proliferation of well-designed, productivity-enhancing, cloud-based software means employees won’t wait. Nimble organizations will rely only on the flavors of enterprise software that, as VC Bijan Sabet said, don’t require sales or installation, rock on mobile, and enable strong network effects. The good news: many C-suite leaders are on board. The challenge is that many of the development processes and practices were created for a more clear-cut, waterfall world. How do we help development teams be successful given their existing legacy system realities, while adding on a very different mandate of creating digital experiences for ever more demanding business employees?
One way is rethinking training. GE was the first corporation to partner with General Assembly, which offers a range of technical, business, and design courses led by experienced practitioners, not corporate trainers. From CodeAcademy to Skillshare, there are myriad learning options at varying pricepoints for enterprise to beta. Another way to support this shift is to put business employees and developers on co-funded projects, so that potentially competing concerns like mobility and security are shared. As a colleague likes to remark, “nothing drives project collaboration like an exchange of hostages.”
As media report ever-growing CMO technology budgets, closer collaboration between business and IT is a requirement for advancing enterprise digital initiatives. Figuring it all out can’t be achieved solely through a strategy deck — the best way to chart the course is to get started on a near-term project, measure, and repeat.
We’ve spent two decades talking about a web that’s inclusive and flexible. We’ve devoted countless hours to creating spaces where conversations and relationships can thrive. The longer we tolerate a community that excludes others, the more we, as an industry, are defined by exclusion—and the further away we remain from the universality we’ve worked so hard to build.
– Sara Wachter-Boettcher in A List Apart on cultivating diversity and respect in the web profession