August 2006


In This Issue
  • Partners InThinking - International Futures Forum
  • Member Highlight - Carol Gregor
  • Member Highlight - Perry Woodford
  • Program and Project Management Seminar Update
  • Book Review
  • Thoughts on "Synthetic (Integrative) Program Management" from John Pourdehnad
  • Ongoing Discussion Preview
  • Making a Difference from Where We Are...
  • Forum 2007 Announcements
  • Partner Events and Resources
  • Ideas to Ponder...

  • Member Highlight - Carol Gregor
    Carol Gregor

    Meet Carol Gregor, our "OD" Thought Leader in November 2003 on the topic of "Home Harmonics".

    The Facts:
    Writer/Design/Build professional. Maine and Florida. I spend my time researching thinking from an historical, architectural, sacred geometries and philosophical perspective looking for a common language to use today in a diverse and complex world.

    Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
    While studying with Fritjof Capra, realizing how far we need to go to expand our "thinkers" to include a broad range of cultures, sexual diversity and backgrounds to accommodate an expanding and threatened environment. Using dated methods of thinking from a traditional perspective has gotten us where we are today.

    What book are you reading now?
    Joseph Campbell, Emerson, Vitruvius, etc...

    What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
    Al Gore's book, Stephan Harding's Animate Earth, Thomas Moore's Dark Nights of the Soul.

    What advice do you have for people new to the In2:InThinking Network?
    This is a wonderful forum for thinkers.

    Member Highlight - Perry Woodford
    Perry Woodford

    Meet Perry Woodford, one of many network members from Boeing operations in Puget Sound.

    The Facts:
    Manufacturing Engineer for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in Seattle for 21 years. I started in graphite composite structures for the B2 program and have spent the past five years as the team leader of refrigerator-sized electronic cabinets for military missions.

    Outside of work, I am a youth soccer administrator and coach. I coach two soccer boys 15 year olds and girls (my one and only child) 11 year old. As President of the Soccer Association, I am responsible for over 200 youth teams and hundreds of volunteers and paid staff. With much support from my wife, Sharon, we run three soccer tournaments each year - the largest has 182 teams over two weekends in August.

    Forum Attendance:
    I have been on the planning committee and attended all five forums.

    Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
    I work on a program dealing with Australia and Turkey. Most everyone speaks English well. Just because we speak English does not mean we are communicating. Yes, I have heard this before but it is very evident when dealing across these cultures.

    What book are you reading now?
    Choice Theory by Dr. William Glasser and Coaching and Motivation by William E. Warren

    What advice do you have for people new to the In2:InThinking Network?
    When you get discouraged or down trodden relax and call a friend. Everyone I have met in the network listens well.

    Program and Project Management Seminar Update
    Program and Project Management

    Welcome to the debut of our first week-long seminar offering. This course differs from the conventional courses on project and program management (PPM) in that, whereas they work from the inside out, this course works from the outside in. It takes a systemic rather than an analytic approach to the process. Rather than work on aspects of PPM taken separately and then trying to synthesize them into an overall approach to the process, this course starts with the effect of the organizational context within which PPM takes place. It shows that without changes in this context, PPM is severely handicapped. The problem then, for those who cannot control the organizational context of PPM, but can control such management itself, is how can they approximate the types of context changes required to make PPM effective? In this seminar, our aim is to show you how to achieve these results.

    Visit our website for additional seminar details, including a downloadable brochure.

    Schedule: the first seminar has been moved from the week of October 2 to the week of 13 November, beginning at noon on Monday and ending at noon on Friday.
    Location: Los Angeles

    Book Review

    Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

    Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
    Length: 316 pages
    Reviewer: Steven S. Prevette

    I originally purchased this book from a recommendation on Tom Peter's website, and as a statistician was definitely intrigued by the concept. We humans are quite consistently and continually "fooled by randomness". Now, for the non-statisticians and statisticians alike is the great thing - there is not a single mathematical expression in the whole book. Many fairly sophisticated statistical theories are presented, but supported in an empirical, story-telling manner. The author does make many references to the results of Monte Carlo simulations, but does not give the detailed results in the book. For those who just have to have it, simply "Google" Nassim Taleb and you will find his home page, full of all sorts of technical articles, such as "Learning Derivatives from Commodity Derivatives".

    Nassim details several stock market stories, including some rather spectacular failures based upon assuming that past success would guarantee future success. Although he makes no reference to Deming, the phrase "there is no knowledge without theory" resonates through the book. Nassim repeatedly refers to the "Black Swan" or the rare event. One instance of a black swan disproves the supposition that all swans are white. We see patterns in random events, and then try to act upon those patterns, often to an eventual great financial and emotional demise.

    MBA's become a target of the stories, and Nassim shows that MBA's have not been trained to respond well to randomness. The world is mechanical, predictable, two plus two equals four for an MBA. One complaint is that MBA's tend to summarize issues without comprehension. The core idea is lost. One of the concluding thoughts in the book is "We favor the visible, the embedded, the personal, the narrated, the tangible, we scorn the abstract". Perhaps this is why I hear the lament "all you statisticians do is make things difficult". Well, with "Fooled by Randomness" we get the best of both worlds. Elegant story telling and essays that bring the abstract forward, and provides us with some theories that we can build knowledge from.

    Thoughts on "Synthetic (Integrative) Program Management" from John Pourdehnad

    In recent years, with the growth of the knowledge economy, the number of project-based organizations has escalated considerably. Concurrently, there has been significant progress in the development of computer-aided project management tools to help plan and manage projects. And yet, more often than not, capital projects overrun their budgets, fall behind schedule, and/or fail to meet their business objectives.

    This paper examines the nature of this apparently paradoxical situation and proposes a different strategy for improving project performance. Specifically, the paper argues that the problem stems from the nature of the traditional paradigm, which relies on existing knowledge - knowledge gained studying traditional approaches. Specific attention is paid to some of the common problems that cause projects to fail.

    "Systems thinking" or "a systems view of the world" is evolving as an alternative to the old paradigms. This paper examines the implications of systems thinking in project management competency learning.

    Ongoing Discussion Preview

    The Ongoing Discussion (OD) for August will feature Anna Maravelas. On Thursday, August 24th and Friday, August 25th, Anna will engage us in a dialogue on How to avoid conflict and stress in the workplace. Click here to download a preview of Anna's thought piece.

    This month's OD announcement will be released on or before Friday, August 18th. For those readers not already on the OD mailing list - click below.

    Making a Difference from Where We Are...

    Many of our "Network Members" pride themselves in making a positive difference in the world. Among them is David Train, from Fladbury, England, who regularly sends letters to heads of state in the US and the UK. Follow this link to find some of David's recent letters, including one to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. You are welcome to reach David at DavidWTrain@aol.com to learn more about his efforts.

    Forum 2007 Announcements

    Mark your calendars to join us for our Sixth Annual Forum, to be held in Los Angeles, beginning on April 12th and ending on April 17th.

    Watch this spot for Forum details.

    Partner Events and Resources

    • New DVD from On Ensemble... We are excited to announce the first DVD recording from On Ensemble, the LA-based taiko group provided Forum 2005 attendees with after-dinner entertainment. "Neiro" was the second annual home concert featuring works that have given On Ensemble its reputation as one of North America's most innovative taiko groups. Tuvan throat singing, koto, electric guitar, turntable, western drum kit, voice, Japanese dance, bamboo flutes, percussion and taiko come together in a complicated mix of influences from traditional Japanese aesthetics to eclectic, contemporary music. Order from: cdbaby.com For additional information, visit the On Ensemble website at: www.onensemble.org

    • The Center for Social-Profit Leadership - Supporting the Business Needs of Social Entrepreneurs. Find out more here.

    • The 16th Annual Pegasus Conference, "Leading Beyond the Horizon - Strategies for Bringing Tomorrow into Today's Choices" to be held November 13-15, Waltham, Massachusetts
      Participants in the Pegasus Conference often feel that it is the most extraordinary learning experience of their lives. Each year this gathering of innovative, daring, like-minded people - from all sectors - creates an energetic field of inquiry that results in transformational insights and lifelong connections. Bring your own questions and challenges into this mix, and you and your organization may never be the same.

    • PBS Special - Good News: How Hospitals Heal Themselves
      This documentary reports the depth of the patient safety problem and how two large hospital systems have saved lives and reduced errors, infections and waste by using Toyota Management Principles. These methods could improve every hospital in America dramatically and reduce health-care costs by 50%. It does not require outside help or additional funding. Check your local PBS station for air times.

    Ideas to Ponder...

    Reflection from John Pourdehnad, Assistant Director of The Ackoff Center...

    "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the butterfly calls the beginning." -Zen saying

    Forum 2006 DVD Sales
    Order a set of Forum 2006 DVDs - "Daring to Explore - Creating Possibilities Together." The DVDs include all triple track sessions and keynotes; a total of 12 presentations.

    Clicking the "Buy Now" button will take you to PayPal for order processing.
    Today's Price: $150 USD

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    Partners InThinking - International Futures Forum

    In this feature, we highlight a Partner Organization of the In2:InThinking Network. We believe the resources of these organizations will expand your thinking about thinking... This month we are featuring the International Futures Forum.

    The Facts:
    The International Futures Forum is a non-profit organisation that exists to develop the capacity to sustain human aspiration, realised through wise action, in a complex and challenging world.

    How does your organization compliment the In2:InThinking Network?
    We work in areas where there are no easy answers, where existing models fail to make sense of our confusing reality, where we are in over our heads, where we face an unacknowledged 'conceptual emergency'. This challenges us to explore and develop new thinking methods.

    Tell us about your membership. What does it mean to be a member of your organization and how does one become a member?
    The principal resource of the International Futures Forum is a group of highly skilled individuals who come together in IFF to pool their knowledge (and their ignorance) and to operate at their own growing edge. IFF benefits from relationships with partners who support our work in a variety of ways: subscription to our electronic journal, working with us on challenging issues, or providing core support to develop and promote IFF thinking for the common good.

    What resources does your organization offer its members?
    IFF is a self-support network with ad hoc funding. Our small core staff is based in St. Andrews, Scotland. We also benefit from the use of IFF Member Pat Heneghan's purpose built conference and workshop facilities at The Boathouse, on the shores of the Forth estuary at Aberdour.

    What exciting developments are on the horizon for your organization?
    Psychological literacy in an age of globalisation; investigating the conceptual emergency behind the dilemma of energy security and climate change; the art of better giving around social entrepreneuring and the future of philanthropy; new approaches to rural community development; world modeling as a context for policy integrity.

    Visit IFF on the web...
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    Pegasus Conference - Special Discount for In2:IN Community Members

    Register for the 16th Annual Pegasus Conference by September 17 for $1050 (That's $200 off the normal rate) Use priority code STA06IN2IN when you register (use the link below) or call 1-781-398-9700 for details

    Additional discounts for teams of four or more!