MEREDITH Strategy + Design

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

M-Shaped Strategy Weekly for September 13-20, 2014

Things read

Ben Waber and others have been doing some very interesting work using sensors to track activity in the workplace. In this article for the Harvard Business Review, Ben and colleagues connect the design or the workplace to the performance of the people in the organization. His research suggests "a future in which we must aggressively change the definition of what workspace is, from where work is done to how it’s done, and then design spaces—physical and digital— around that. The office of the past was a literal box of cubicles and desks, meeting rooms and common spaces. In the office of the future, we’ll be thinking and working outside it."

This is a rather fascinating analysis of the industries plagued by uncertainty. The authors offer insights on the companies and industries that characterize each quadrant of the above graph. 

Discussing the future of capitalism in this HBR article, Steve Denning makes the observation that the "creative economy" is the economy of the future. "It doesn’t have to be invented: it’s already under way. Its practices represent a paradigm shift in the strict sense laid down by Thomas Kuhn: it’s a different way of thinking, speaking, and acting in the world."

There's a great collection of articles in the MIT Technology Review advanced manufacturing and its role as a key economic driver of the future. Freed from its dependence on labor, manufacturing can now take place anywhere and is increasingly linked to innovation. "Manufacturing will make its most essential economic contribution as an incubator of innovation: the place where new ideas become new products. 

Roger Martin explore the history of executive compensation and its influence on the shift of value from labor to capital in his article, The Rise (and Likely Fall) of the Talent Economy. Concerned about the inequalities this has generated, he makes an appeal to investors to favor value creation. 

Jeremy Paxton in The Guardian writes a passionate argument against the open office. He says, "Such offices tell us what our bosses think of us – that we are employed to fulfil a mechanical task and we are interchangeable." We are surprised that these arguments are still out there, but they do help to more accurately calibrate our practice to the expectations of the status quo. 

I like reading Peter Theil. I do not agree with his politics, but always learn something from his arguments. He has a new book out, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. Shane Parrish outlines eight learnings from the book

And, of course, during the week of iPhone 6, the Apple Watch, and Apple Pay, this interview with Tim Cook

And the continuous search for the most successful ways to manage scarce time. This model from How the Most Successful Business People Manage Their Time, offers this: 

  1. Do a time log. See how long things take and when your best windows are.
  2. Plan the whole week. Focus on your core competency and what makes you happy.
  3. Have a morning ritual that gets you closer to your long term goals.
  4. Set 3-5 anchor events for the weekend.
  5. Plan something fun for Sunday night.