Monday, March 21, 2005

Management Improvement Books

My recent post on Statistics for Experimenters: Design, Innovation, and Discovery , 2nd Edition reminds me I have not mentioned other good books that have been published recently. Three great books published last year are:
And Beating the System: Using Creativity to Outsmart Bureaucracies by Russell L. Ackoff and Sheldon Rovin will be available soon.

For more great management improvement books see Curious Cat Management Improvement Books.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

NCAA Basketball Tournament

Sign up for the group on ESPN to compare your picks to other Curious Cats.

You can link your existing entry to the group or create your account for ESPN, then make your picks and then link to the group.

Go Badgers

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Who Influences Your Thinking?

Topic: Management Improvement

Comments on Who Influences Your Thinking? - Survey results -

> 1. Are people getting most of their information
> from other sources?
That would be my guess.

Similar to the phenomenon of "the long tail" which is an interesting topic in its own right. We tend to focus on the popular few (books, musicians, movies, authors, computer programs...) but often the sum of the less popular many is more significant. See:
  • The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson, Wired, Oct 2004 "The average Barnes & Noble carries 130,000 titles. Yet more than half of Amazon's book sales come from outside its top 130,000 titles. Consider the implication: If the Amazon statistics are any guide, the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are"
  • Continued discussion of the Amazon figures in a Chiris Anderson's blog. "I've now spoken to Jeff Bezos (and others) about this. He doesn't have a hard figure for the percentage of sales of products not available offline, but reckons that it's closer to 25-30%."
  • The long tail - a secret sauce for companies like, Netflix and Apple Computer, Motley Fool, NPR Audio Recording
Getting back to the question raised by the "Who Influences Your Thinking" post; More importantly I believe they (we) are just failing to get all we should.

> 2. Do we need other ways to provide important information to people?

> 3. Perhaps people already have all the information they need and these subjects are saturated?

I don't think think so, which is why I think the answer to question 2 is yes. People need to use the ideas of deBono, Senge, Hamel, Rodin (who is, I would think one of the lest well known but is the author of a great book: Free, Perfect and Now)... It is not that their ideas would not help, they would.

From the survey the lowest perctage response for "I have not read that author" was 38% - for Senge (Rodin was the highest at 94%). The audience for the universe invited to respond was pretty much limited to the friends of the InnovationNetwork.

The book model of transferring information is great. But still, it is not close to sufficient. Many other ways of learning as well as support for applying new ideas are available, but they are also lacking. At least for someone who believes, like I do, that we are failing to apply all sorts of knowledge that would benefit from applying. Some of those ways are: hearing someone like Senge speak, reading blogs, working with others on how to apply some of the ideas in your organization, reading magazines, applying ideas and learning from that application, talking to colleagues that are trying similar things in other organizations, videos, listening to recorded lectures, interactive computer models, exercises (learning experiences), argument, coaching from a consultant...

My guess is a big part of the reason so many people in the survey had not read the work of Senge, Hamel, deBono etc. is time presure. I don't see the lack of time to read disapearing as a problem. I think people also find it difficult to see how to apply the ideas they read to the situations they encounter. That can be improved by combining the other methods of learning how to apply the ideas.

It could also be improved by our education system focusing on how to apply ideas rather than how to restate the ideas for a test but that is a very long term process. Two great minds that are helping improve education are: Alfie Kohn and David Langford (don't judge their ideas by the look of their web sites - these "books" are much better than their "covers" might lead you to presume).

I don't have any great new idea on "other ways." My belief is we do need to do a much better job of using the knowledge that is available. What we are doing is not sufficient. And since I don't have some great new idea all I am left with is we should do a better job of the the things that do work to some extent. Maybe by doing that people will find great new ways that will provide an easier path for those that follow.

Who influences my thinking on Management Improvement:
and many more.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Statistics for Experimenters - Second Edition

Topic: , ,

Buy Statistics for Experimenters
The classic Statistics for Experimenters has been updated by George Box and Stu Hunter, two of the three original authors. Bill Hunter, who was my father, and the other author, died in 1986. Order online: Statistics for Experimenters: Design, Innovation, and Discovery , 2nd Edition by George E. P. Box, J. Stuart Hunter, William G. Hunter.
I happen to agree with those who call this book a classic, however, I am obviously biased.

Google Scholar citations for the first edition of Statistics for Experimenters.
Citations in Cite Seer to the first edition.

The first edition includes the text of Experiment by Cole Porter. In 1978 finding a recording of this song was next to impossible. Now Experiment can be heard on the De-Lovely soundtrack.

Text from the publisher on the 2nd Edition:
Rewritten and updated, this new edition of Statistics for Experimenters adopts the same approaches as the landmark First Edition by teaching with examples, readily understood graphics, and the appropriate use of computers. Catalyzing innovation, problem solving, and discovery, the Second Edition provides experimenters with the scientific and statistical tools needed to maximize the knowledge gained from research data, illustrating how these tools may best be utilized during all stages of the investigative process. The authors’ practical approach starts with a problem that needs to be solved and then examines the appropriate statistical methods of design and analysis.

Providing even greater accessibility for its users, the Second Edition is thoroughly revised and updated to reflect the changes in techniques and technologies since the publication of the classic First Edition.

Among the new topics included are:

  • Graphical Analysis of Variance
  • Computer Analysis of Complex Designs
  • Simplification by transformation
  • Hands-on experimentation using Response Service Methods
  • Further development of robust product and process design using split plot arrangements and minimization of error transmission
  • Introduction to Process Control, Forecasting and Time Series
  • Illustrations demonstrating how multi-response problems can be solved using the concepts of active and inert factor spaces and canonical spaces
  • Bayesian approaches to model selection and sequential experimentation

An appendix featuring Quaquaversal quotes from a variety of sources including noted statisticians and scientists to famous philosophers is provided to illustrate key concepts and enliven the learning process.

All the computations in the Second Edition can be done utilizing the statistical language R. Functions for displaying ANOVA and lamba plots, Bayesian screening, and model building are all included and R packages are available online. All theses topics can also be applied utilizing easy-to-use commercial software packages.

Complete with applications covering the physical, engineering, biological, and social sciences, Statistics for Experimenters is designed for individuals who must use statistical approaches to conduct an experiment, but do not necessarily have formal training in statistics. Experimenters need only a basic understanding of mathematics to master all the statistical methods presented. This text is an essential reference for all researchers and is a highly recommended course book for undergraduate and graduate students.

post by John Hunter

Tuesday, March 01, 2005