MEREDITH Strategy + Design

We design the places and spaces where people come together to do great work

M-Shaped Strategy Weekly for week ending 4 October 2104

In our own work...

I was reminded this week of a quote from Clay Shirky – Institutions will try to preserve the problems to which they are the solution.

In our case, it was the kickoff "team" meeting in which client, architect and construction manager come together to plan the project forward. We advanced the value of our design, the CM advanced all the ways that they could save money, and the client reinforced both purpose and constraint. We all heard what the other said, but we moved forward without, yet, relaxing our tendency to preserve the problems to which we are the solution. 

I think that each of us left the meeting with the awareness that we were doing just what we came to the meeting to not do.

There was a lot of conversation after the meeting about what the next meeting should do. I was reminded of a cynical portrayal of some of our corporate clients who hold the-meeting-before-the-meeting, hold the-meeting, and then hold the-meeting-after-the-meeting. I now see it is good practice – not as politics, but as a way to prepare for openness to the behaviors that express each of our roles and responsibilities and the ways to calibrate them to mutual success and achievement.  

In other places...

In a world that is a mess and in which technocrats with 20th century thinking are incapable of conceiving and delivering 21st century solutions, new leadership with new sensitivities are required. 

The top cities in the world (most not American) are characterized by a willingness to spend for the future, making investments in infrastructure and citizen entitlements. The American Dream is threatened without similar policies and philosophies. 

Careful listening and humble inquiry may be best practices on the way to differential learning – slowing down the tendency to act on assumptions to gain the insights that accelerate team and organizational performance. 

Do ideas matter? Yes. Believing in them changes reality. 

We live in a time of rising placelessness

This looks like an interesting assessment of Tony Hsieh's placemaking experiment in Las Vegas. 

The path to a successful transition to an open office workspace takes a lot more work than physical planning. 

Some emergent ideas for the next generation office built around three scenarios for the future

Some excellent suggestions for going beyond the brainstorm to generate creative and innovative ideas. 

And, finally, some excellent writing and advice about what starting a startup is like and why you should delay it, from the always excellent paul Graham.