Edward Tufte’s Talk

February 26th, 2007

Recently I’ve been in Harvard to listen to an Edward Tufte’s talk. Edward Tufte is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science, and Senior Critic in the School of Art at Yale (do you think it is enough?). I am writing here some quotes from the speech:

  • I spent many years of my life willing to be a professor but I was wondering what the hell of professor I wanted to be
  • every time I had the feeling that in the place I was working in I wasn’t able anymore to learn I moved
  • probably I took more from other people than what I gave them
  • if you want to play you have to play with the big guys, to play small doesn’t make any sense

All this made me thoughtful…

An interesting book: “Our Iceberg is Melting” by J. Kotter

October 15th, 2006

I am not really into business management but I found this book really interesting, deep and a bit funny too. It is amazing how the author (John Kotter) has described the typical real life situations through a simple penguins tale. I found myself laughing several times while thinking at my real life experiences, often similar to the ones described in the book. People are not always ready for big changes but, unfortunately or luckily, this is common in every real life context, starting from personal affairs down to the work projects.

Book Cover   One of the things I thought, while reading the book, is that doing my job (I am a sort of trait d’union between the IT and the Healthcare environment) I often noticed the resistence of the establishment in introducing news in the people way of working. But, in the same time, I’ve always been lucky in finding somebody (as the penguin Fred) willing to move the world to a better direction. And I am not talking about critical decisions, as the one arisen in the penguins community of the book. I am talking about work optimization and quality of services. And I have to thank all those “Fred”s that everyday are surprising me and teaching me how poor is IT without a deep understanding of the real life processes. Observing users, and listening to them, is often the way to transform a gray IT project (cool as you want but still a bunch of lines of code) in a colorful reality which will be able to support people evolution.

Of course sometimes it is also necessary to push ideas coming from other domains (even in the book, the solution of penguins problem came from the seagull scout), without waiting for an explicit users’ request… but this is another tale… with another Fred ;)