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April 2014
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Book news

Mick contributed to "New Eyes: The Human Side of Change Leadership".

Mick addresses the leadership implications of Big Data, and suggests its value can best be realised by enterprises fully embracing customer centricity and creating strong networks of innovation.

He then shows how the 4Es leadership framework can enable organisational change to capitalise on this revolution.

Get the bookNew Eyes

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Blog archives

LeaderValues Newsletter - Alan Sainsbury biography - My Grandmother, Customer Service and Big Data

Alan SainsburyClick here to see this month’s LeaderValues newsletter 

It features:

* Alan Sainsbury – He was a true innovator in the retail sector, and a campaigner with an unfailing sense of fairness that pervaded his leadership in business dealings and across political and charitable endeavours. A biography by Victoria Yates.

* Quotes

* My Grandmother, Customer Service and Big Data, by Mick Yates. My Grandmother got great service from her corner shop retailer, including rewards for her loyalty and easy home delivery. And that was in the 1920s! Great service has always been prized, and customers search for personalisation. It’s just that the data makes more things possible, and encourages the customer to be more demanding!

TEDxAldeburgh - Nitin Sawhney - What is the point of music?

Leadership of a  different kind – through music

In this talk Nitin asks the question ‘what is the point of music?’ For an answer he draws on his own personal experiences of music, Indian musical thought, dance, theatre, cultural identity, the concepts of a ‘universal sound’ and the individuals unique ‘voice’.

Nitin Sawhney’s output as a musician is astonishing. He has scored for and performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras, and collaborated with and written for the likes of Paul McCartney, Sting, The London Symphony Orchestra, A. R. Rahman, Brian Eno, Sinead O’Conner, Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Beck, Shakira, Will Young, Taio Cruz, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Ellie Goulding, Cirque Du Soleil, Akram Khan, Mira Nair, Nelson Mandela and John Hurt. Performing extensively around the world, he has achieved an international reputation across every possible creative medium.

Often appearing as Artist in Residence, Curator or Musical Director at international festivals, Sawhney works tirelessly for musical education, acting as patron of the British Government’s Access-to-music programme and the East London Film Festival and acting as a judge for The Ivor Novello Awards, BAFTA, BIFA and the PRS foundation. He is a recipient of 4 honorary doctorates from British universities, is a fellow of LIPA and the Southbank University, an Associate of Sadler’s Wells, sits on the board for London’s Somerset House and Whitechapel Gallery and in 2007 turned down an OBE for ethical reasons.

Original video here

Marx, Motivation and the Power to Create - Matthew Taylor, RSA

MatthewI am always a fan of Matthew Taylor’s blog at the RSA. This recent post caught my attention.

It was more than slightly intimidating earlier this week to host an event with David Harvey, one of the world’s leading Marxist thinkers. Nevertheless listening to the great man and reading his book I was reminded of why – although there are many powerful aspects of Marxist analysis – I have never been attracted by the whole world view.

It comes down to human motivation: In essence Marxists tend to blame what they see as the most regrettable aspects of human behaviour on the capitalist system. So, for Harvey, capitalism relies upon and inculcates blind greed among the capitalist class (exhibited, for example, by the efforts made by the very rich to avoid their tax obligations) while fostering a combination of mob consumerism and bovine acquiescence among most of the rest of us.

Conversely, Harvey’s happy, enlightened post capitalist society seems to rely upon the emergence or a much more benign human psychology. Indeed Harvey is explicit about the importance to his case of a belief in the perfectibility of the human spirit – it is why he abhors the depredations of capitalism and why he believes in a radical alternative.

In contrast, I believe human motivation is both more constant, in that the same features and vulnerabilities express themselves – albeit in different forms – whatever the social context, and more complex in that – with Freud – I see inherent tensions playing out in the human psyche.

Crudely superimposing very basic elements of cultural theory and the Freudian account of the personality, I suggest we have three core drives: the pursuit of pleasure (roughly cognate with id, freedom, individualism), the pursuit of power (roughly cognate with ego, progress, hierarchism); the fulfilment of duty (roughly cognate with super-ego, universalism, solidarity).”

Read the rest of Matthew’s post

Robots - Wally Bock

RobotFrom Wally Bocks excellent Three Star Leadership Blog

Once, robots were the stuff of science fiction. No more. The Economist has released a Special Report on Robots. The Guardian reports that since Ray Kurzweil joined Google, that company has been snapping up artificial intelligence and robotics companies. 

Robots have already generated major changes in manufacturingRoomba, the vacuum cleaning robot is cleaning floors in more homes every day. OK, maybe it can’t clean the bathroom yet and it’s sure not up to the standard of Rosie from the Jetsons, but change is afoot.

The question is “What kind of change?” Technology forecasters and robot manufacturers say that all will be rosy. Science fiction writers have a different idea. Remember that the term “robot” was coined by science fiction writer Karel Capek. It’s based on the Czech word for “serf labor.”

In most science fiction, the robots aren’t content with serf labor. They take over and things don’t turn out well for human beings.

Here are some resources to help you figure out what robots and their kin mean for us all in the future.

From Kellogg Insight: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot That Drives You to Work
“Discomfort about “botsourcing” can be reduced by manipulating the human-like attributes of machines.”

From BBC News: US Navy tests robot fire-fighters
“A humanoid fire-fighting robot is to be tested by the US Navy as the latest move towards a more robotic military.”

From Annie Lowry: Hey, Robot: Which Cat Is Cuter?
“Crowdworking platforms are advancing the speed at which robots can do anything — and everything — better than humans.”

From Colin Lewis: The Ultimate Productivity Hack Will Be Robot Assistants 
“There is another seemingly mundane but profoundly important application of this technology: to better managers ourselves and our time. The future of productivity is coming, and it will rely on Artificial Intelligence.”

From James Young and Derek Cormier: Can Robots Be Managers, Too?
“Robots are starting to enter homes as automatic cleaners, work in urban search and rescue as pseudo teammates that perform reconnaissance and dangerous jobs, and even to serve as pet-like companions. People have a tendency to treat such robots that they work closely with as if they were living, social beings, and attribute to them emotions, intentions, and personalities. Robot designers have been leveraging this, developing social robots that interact with people naturally, using advanced human communication skills such as speech, gestures, and even eye gaze. Unlike the mechanical, factory robots of the past, these social robots become a unique member of our social groups.”

From Wharton: Robot Journalists: ‘Quakebot’ Is Just the Beginning
“When an earthquake hit Los Angeles recently, Ken Schwencke, a journalist and programmer for the Los Angeles Times, was first to get the news out. Woken up by the tremors at 6:25 a.m. on Monday, March 17, he went to his computer and found a brief story already waiting, courtesy of a robot — an algorithm he developed and named Quakebot.”

Read Wally”s original post