The scientific method: for AND against

Think No Comments

In our liberal, rational society there can be a tendency to “Science – good, other views – bad.”  But what is science?  For us it combines pursuing understanding through observation while suspending personal values.  The scientific process identifies a hypothesis and seeks predicted data for AND against it.  If it stands up to all or some scrutiny then things are getting clearer.  Even disproof is progress.

During the last month we have had The Scientist vs The Government (Professor Nutt vs Alan Johnson on Cannabis), and The Scientists vs The Sceptics (on Climate).  Looking in on these debates, it is not clear how far good scientific method is at work all the time.  If it isn’t, then poor process opens the way for other belief systems (public opinion about weed, economic risk assessments of climate reduction).  Just claiming to be ‘a scientist’ is in no way sufficient to demonstrate that your thinking is superior to that of others.  Showing openness of mind in pursuit of knowledge is.

Tags: , , ,

The magical mist or the ghouls?

Think No Comments

Taking some children into Cambridge early one morning. It’s a bit foggy. We turn onto Fen’s Causeway – a marshy pastureland on the banks of the river Cam, almost in the heart of the city. There is a thick mist swirling over the fields and snaking between the trees.

I think to myself “what a beatiful sight, how magical”.

From the back of the car one of the kids says to another “you’ll have to watch out for the ghouls coming to get you!”

People see the same scene differently. The emotions they trigger and the questions they raise.

So next time you have a vision for how something should be at work (a strategy, a product, a way of doing things), ask yourself what others might be seeing as you show them your ideas – the magical mist or the ghouls?

Tags: , ,

Familiar and fresh?

Do No Comments

A cold winter morning. Queue for coffee at the AMT concession in the railway station.  In front the person asks for “a small cappuccino to take away” .  They only do one size and only takeaway.  The person after me says “a cappuccino with sweeteners”.  “We only do one size, and do you have your own sweetener for us to add?”.  Me: “A cappuccino, no sugar, with chocolate sprinkles”.  “OK, coming up.”

Not clever.  Just, I have been trained.  I know the ritual.  Familiarity breeds easy. But ingrained rituals can hinder innovation.  Keeping the familiarly/freshness balance alive is key.

Tags: , , , ,

True LUV?

Plan No Comments

Where are we in the LUV recession?

Signs of a V – the barristas at AMT in Cambridge say they are busy again. Restaurants have been full since the summer. London cabbies are happy(er). The building activity on some new home sites has restarted.

The omens for L or U? The Albania car washers are still quiet and the Journos are miserable…

Tags: , ,

Showing your emoticons

Reflect No Comments

Emoticons  – love them or loathe them?  🙂

Or 🙁 teenage-esque attempts by older folk to look hip and happening – sad!

Or part of the growing lexicon of 21C communicators – indicating mood and manners in cyberspace.

You choose :O or 😐

Tags: , , ,

Fashionably accessible

Do No Comments

The designer clothes marketplace is interesting. Over the last decade we have seen the growth of cheaper ways to access designer brands (beyond the Asian counterfeit goods so prevalent in the ’80s):

  • the growth of factory outlets and Designer Villages
  • the rise of shops like TK Maxx and HomeSense (taking the idea of the seconds/last season’s sale to a new level)
  • E-bay reselling of unwanted items.

Has this mass marketing damaged the boutiques on Bond Street?  No, not at all.  It has increased the allure of the pinnacle.  It has popularised the offer and communicated the potential.  There is a clearer pecking order – and the value of the top rung remains.

It is not a zero sum game. 

In your business, where may service innovation at the cheaper or more accessible end harness your value?

Tags: , , ,

Your customer’s X Factor?

Think No Comments

Sting has stung in his critique of The X Factor as “televised Karaoke – and just a soap opera”: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8355611.stm.

The programme is definitely more to do with panto and people than performing music.  But, and this is a big but, it engages and entertains – as well as discourages and mocks.

What is it that would engage your users, customers and clients?  How does that compare with what you want to provide?

Tags: , , ,

Imperfectly cool

Think No Comments

I was sorting out the backup on an old computer and came across lots of large video files that I used for editing a few years ago.  8GB avi files and the like. 

Something I wouldn’t have predicted 5 years ago is that, at a time when home camcorders were getting better and better and are now nearly at broadcast quality, along would come something like Youtube coupled with the associated video function on mobile phones and Flip cameras that would make the shaky, the grainy and the imperfect the new norm – perfectly proper and cool.

Tags: , , , ,

Acting the leader

Do No Comments

Fans of Strictly Come Dancing will know how important it is for the celebrity contestants to put on a performance. It’s not just about getting the steps right. You need to get into character. Tell the story with the dance. Remember to smile.

Leadership in business is the same. You need to perform – to act the part. It’s not just about doing or saying the right things technically. Get into the play.  Look confident, work on how you come across, even remember to smile!

Tags: , , , ,

Irony #3

Reflect No Comments

In Cambridge, a car revs, blares its horn and launches past a cyclist who has just (somewhat slowly) passed a T-junction.

The car? 

A Prius.

Tags: , ,

Phil's Blog

Sign up for Phil’s regular blog.

Email: phil.hadridge@idenk.com