Latest read: Corporate Agility

How do organizations compete today?  Corporate Agility: A Revolutionary New Model for Competing in a Flat World provides a good reference on how major US companies have adopted a new business model for competing in a flat world.

corporate agilityAfter reading Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century book series on globalization and the breakthrough work by Jerry Wind and Victor & William Fung in Competing in a Flat World: Building Enterprises for a Borderless World.

I found chapters in Corporate Agility a fit perfectly to the above works.  Corporate Agility supports business case studies throughout the book that span a wide range of industries with lessons for all who are seeking new models for business in the 21st globalized century.

The strongest chapter is early in the book surrounding the shift in company buildings and the move to a mobile workforce that permits companies to break expensive building leases and create smaller ‘offices’ with limited administrative staff and resources.

I have experienced these efforts directly in working with clients who have been forced to trim staff and yet end up in an dry office complex with over 50% of their office cubes empty.

Actually I’m reminded of a PR company who hired temporary workers to “work” in all their empty cubes while a potential client made an office visit.  Needless to say they did not understand the basics of a company’s need for agility as described in the book.

I feel the early chapters of Corporate Agility is an expansion of The World Is Flat while the book’s case studies just touch the surface that is presented in detail by Competing in a Flat World.

Corporate Agility’s book website

How Professors use Technology

Are teachers actually using new, advanced technologies in teaching?  The answer may surprise you and shock all those tech jockeys in both K12 and HigherEd that the chalkboard is dead.

Only 13 percent of the professors surveyed said they used blogs in teaching; 12 percent had tried videoconferencing; and 13 percent gave interactive quizzes using “clickers,” or TV-remotelike devices that let students respond and get feedback instantaneously. The one technology that most teachers use regularly—course-management systems—focuses mostly on housekeeping tasks like handing out assignments or keeping track of student grades.

faculty_usageThe survey, answered by 4,600 professors nationwide and did not ask about PowerPoint, which anecdotal evidence suggests is ubiquitous as a replacement for overhead and slide projectors.

Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium, held in San Jose, by the Sloan Consortium.
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Latest read: The Numerati

This is not a book about Dan Brown’s character, Robert Langdon and his fight against the Illuminati in Angels & Demons.  This is The Numerati, a slight spin on very advanced mathematics and high performance computing, the future of shopping, medicine, safety, sex, voting and yes …. even work.
the numeratiThe Numerati is a great read regarding the impact of advanced analytics across the board.  I was impressed with mathematicians Baker interviews and the surprising number who eventually work for IBM or the NSA.  Baker has written a book about how the best mathematicians are changing the way we live by processing amazingly vast amounts of data and simply detecting patterns.  The data comes via mouse-clicks, cell phone calls and credit card purchases just to name a few.

It sounds simple.  On the surface with today’s high performance computing and powerful consumer technologies.  But Baker shows how mathematicians are working to draw upon extremely high levels of computational power to deliver products and solutions that will dramatically impact our lives.

At the same time some of the projects mentioned seems more ‘wonderland’ in design. Yet consider the amount of data created by the Large Hadron Collider for example, the emerging world of Big Science is just starting to take off.

Chapters tackle different subjects (mentioned above) and as others. Many have indicated the shopping chapter is the best of the book. It was very enjoyable to read.  Some of the ideas and inventions about health were interesting, some ideas a bit hard to wrap around your brain – like the ability of a floor tile to detect if your elderly father has a change in an existing medical condition.  Another example, how a computer can analyze a sequence of video (over time) and determine in your are prone to suffering Parkinson’s disease.

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