Weeknotes – Ending 09/06/23

Welcome to another edition of weeknotes in which I empty some of the contents of my brain from the past week. I’m pleased to have managed to churn a 2nd consequtive post out following the resumption of weeknotes last week after a lengthy break. I’m hesitant to call it a return to previous form, but it’s the beginnings of a positive pattern.

Horizon Scanning

How do you anticipate the impact of emerging technology? Much is being written about generative AI at the moment. It’s got that smell of something that is on the steady rise toward the peak of inflated expectations.

In the past week I think I’ve read predictions that suggest that AI can be applied to literally anything and that thing will automatically be better because of it. That is unlikely to be true. I’ve no doubt there are absolutely valid applications for generative AI, and there are likely to be considerably more crap applications and a good dose of negative patterns too.

How do you account for this horizon scanning in shaping strategy? It seems like a spec on the horizon in terms of impact. But the likes of Meta, Microsoft, Google and of course OpenAI are all locked into a race to see who can make generative AI a competitive edge. If you work in technology, I’m sure you’re also getting a steady stream of emails touting a variety of AI powered products and services. Even if on closer inspection, the term AI is being generously applied.

That means we’re likely to see a proliferation of AI buddies and helpers across the things we use daily. How will that influence people inside and outside our organisations? It’s hard to say between the utopian visions where we’re all working far less, versus the dystopian takes on how AI will take our jobs and eventually declate war on us. It will be probably be somewhere within these extremes, and no doubt unevenly distrubted. Time will ultimately tell, but how do you get glimpse to shape decision making now?

Richard Sage’s post regard The Housing Association Skunkworks popped back in my head related to these thoughts. What if we tasked someone with the remit of figuring out the opportunities and threats of tomorrow. That could be in the form of a skunk works which has the remit of trying to build stuff to better understand the future. Or could take the form of a think tank to consider the intersections between emerging technology and policy. Despite being 7 years old, it remains an interesing idea. Jump on this twitter thread if you’d like to move that discussion onward.

Books

I’ve done a moderate amount of train travel this week. Rather than (doom) scroll on my phone, I decided to make a dent in my reading backlog which felt more productive. I am trying to break a general reading habit where I absolutely insist on reading a whole book and not skip sections or stop, even if I’m not enjoying it.

I finished The Service Organisation by Kate Tarling. I think I’ll write a post to summarise my thoughts, but the book struck me as a comprehensive collection of practical advice of adopting a service approach in an organisation at all levels. Perhaps most importantly, it does so whilst acknowlodging the common points of resistance that are associated with the traditional ways of doing things. This quote from the preface made me chuckle.

It’s been said that in some books, the advice can feel like your house is on fire whilst someone shows you a house that isn’t on fire and tells you to make yours like that.

I then started User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton which gave me a couple of really good lightbulb moments. I’m keen to get better at writing user stories so I can be of more assistance to the team in helping create them. I’ve not ready the whole book yet. I’m mostly bouncing between the sections that are most relevant to some of the things we’re doing right now. I captured some snippits in this blog post from earlier in the week if you’re interested.

Yesterday I ordered The Team Onion by Emily Webber. To my delight it arrived on my doorstep today. So I’ll be adding that to the mobile library that is my work bag for next week’s commute. Here’s the blog post that is the basis for the book.

Impact Mapping

A tweet from Mark Dalgarno happily coincided with the exact moment I was struggling to connect a load of actions to a goal. I conducted an experimenting to see if Impact Mapping would help give me more clarity around what I needed to do next. If you’re interested, I wrote a blog post about it.

Interesting stuff


One response to “Weeknotes – Ending 09/06/23”

  1. Sharon avatar
    Sharon

    Thanks for sharing my post Neil

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