Tag Archives: Productivity

Why Overcoming Inertia Takes Two Whys

By George Bradt – As laid out in an earlier article on “Three Steps to a Compelling Message,” leadership stories to inspire change need to:

  1. Depict the platform for change (why)
  2. Create a vision of a better future (what)
  3. Lay out a call to action (how)

Scott Jackson provides a model leadership story in his book, Take Me With You, published this week. In particular, he nails the two whys it takes to overcome inertia.

  1. Why #1 – Why I Can’t Keep Doing What I’m Doing
  2. Why #2 – Why I Should Listen To You On This Subject

more> https://goo.gl/Dc74Ee

How Trump’s Plan to Reorganize Government Could Work

By Steve Goodrich – On March 13, President Trump issued an executive order for a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch. It calls for the OMB director and agency heads to develop plans for improving the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of agencies, subcomponents and programs within 180 days.

I am not naïve, and yes, I have seen this many times before. But if done right, with a strong foundation and a plan, it could work. It could also be another once-and-done exercise that demonstrates little to no value. Many administrations have conducted similar exercises, most of which faded with the political passing. The Trump executive order runs the risk of having little or negative impact, reducing readiness and demoralizing employees. It also has the potential to do great things for our country.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make it work.

  1. It must involve Congress.
  2. It should begin with a national summit that results in a strategic plan.
  3. Someone must be in charge.
  4. Reorganization must address vertical and horizontal programs.
  5. Reform must cross agency boundaries.
  6. Accept that some investment will be necessary.
  7. Leverage what you have before you throw anything out.
  8. Make hard decisions.
  9. Fix the foundation.
  10. Create a culture of sharing.
  11. Grow people.
  12. Address financial issues

more> https://goo.gl/CGO0zu

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The body is the missing link for truly intelligent machines

BOOK REVIEW

Basin and Range, Author: John McPhee.
Descartes’ Error, Author: Antonio Damasio.

By Ben Medlock – Things took a wrong turn at the beginning of modern AI, back in the 1950s. Computer scientists decided to try to imitate conscious reasoning by building logical systems based on symbols. The method involves associating real-world entities with digital codes to create virtual models of the environment, which could then be projected back onto the world itself.

In later decades, as computing power grew, researchers switched to using statistics to extract patterns from massive quantities of data. These methods are often referred to as ‘machine learning’. Rather than trying to encode high-level knowledge and logical reasoning, machine learning employs a bottom-up approach in which algorithms discern relationships by repeating tasks, such as classifying the visual objects in images or transcribing recorded speech into text.

But algorithms are a long way from being able to think like us. The biggest distinction lies in our evolved biology, and how that biology processes information. Humans are made up of trillions of eukaryotic cells, which first appeared in the fossil record around 2.5 billion years ago. A human cell is a remarkable piece of networked machinery that has about the same number of components as a modern jumbo jet – all of which arose out of a longstanding, embedded encounter with the natural world.

We only have the world as it is revealed to us, which is rooted in our evolved, embodied needs as an organism. Nature ‘has built the apparatus of rationality not just on top of the apparatus of biological regulation, but also from it and with it’,

In other words, we think with our whole body, not just with the brain. more> https://goo.gl/oBgkRF

Updates from GE

Charged Up: GE Shows Investors Its Energy Playbook
By Tomas Kellner – The acquisition of Alstom’s energy assets delivered $1.5 billion in synergies in 2016, $300 million above GE’s original five-year target for Alstom synergies, GE’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein told investors at a conference in New York held by GE’s Power and Renewable Energy businesses last week. “Alstom makes us more competitive,” Bornstein said. “It broadens the service base and creates long-term incremental value.”

Jobs, cash, costs and software were the key themes at the conference. Bornstein said GE Oil & Gas was now “applying the same methodology” to its planned merger with Baker Hughes. “The businesses are very complementary,” he said. “It’s going to be a merger of equals.” Bornstein said he was “highly confident” the deal would “deliver a lot more value than $1.6 billion” in synergies by 2020, the target the companies released when they announced the deal last October.

Bornstein also talked about the need to speed up the shrinking of GE’s $25 billion in “structural costs,” which are funding support functions, R&D, corporate operations and other expenses. more> https://goo.gl/z07MkD

Updates from Adobe

The Infinity Wall
By Charles Purdy – Inspired by the event space’s interior design—which involved curvilinear wood elements and sculptural wooden columns—the team came up with the “Infinity” theme.

“The interior had planes of wood, and there was a beautiful Zaha Hadid bench that looked like a tree trunk made of slats of wood,” says Vincent Rogozyk. “For this reason, we started designing with slats. The scale of the wall informed the scale of the graphics—the idea was to make the whole thing look like a giant object.”

Bałauszko and Michał Czubak brought the designers’ sketches to life, turning the biomorphic and geometric shapes into polished motion graphics. The final work comprised four basic scenes of abstract 3D kinetic animations that were programmed to morph and transition in a loop. “We designed using 3D software and Adobe After Effects CC, with the help of an offsite render farm,” says Rogozyk. “We definitely tested the limits of the hotel’s Internet connection.” more> https://goo.gl/JzQHRZ

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Updates from Boeing

737 MAX 9 Factory Rollout
Boeing – Following on from 737 MAX 8 rollout and flight test, we are now rolling out the first new 737 MAX 9, right on schedule.

737 MAX 9 is the perfect answer to the need for growth while maintaining maximum airline profitability. As well as 16 more seats than the incredibly popular 737 MAX 8, it offers lower trips costs than the competition, the lowest trip costs, which minimizes the risk airlines take on as they grow. And yet provides more than enough additional seats to deliver consistently higher profits through all market conditions.

What’s more, 737 MAX 9 enables airlines to reach farther than almost every single-aisle route they operate today. It has the longest range in its sector without the investment in any auxiliary fuel tanks, and with one auxiliary tank, matches the versatility of the 737 MAX 8 with a range of 3,515 nautical miles. more> https://goo.gl/FsrDdR

Updates from GE

Honey, I Shrunk The Contract: How Plain English Is Helping GE Keep Its Business Humming
By Kristin Kloberdanz – When GE Aviation combined its three digital businesses into a single Digital Solutions unit nearly four years ago, their salespeople were eager to speed up the growth they had seen in the years before the move. They found plenty of enthusiastic customers, but they struggled to close their deals.

The reason: Customers often needed to review and sign contracts more than 100 pages long before they could start doing business.

The new business inherited seven different contracts from the three units. The clunky documents were loaded with legalese, redundancies, archaic words and wordy attempts to cover every imaginable legal. No wonder they languished unread for months. “We would call, and customers would say, ‘I can’t get through this,'” says Karen Thompson, Digital Solutions contracts leader at GE Aviation. “And that was before they even sent it to their legal team! Who is going to pick up a 100-plus-page document and sort through it to find language they disagree with? We were having trouble moving past that part to what we needed to do, which was sell our services.”

For those customers who did read the contract, negotiations would drag on and on.

That’s when Shawn Burton, Digital Solutions’ general counsel at the time, aided by a squadron of intrepid employees spread across GE, decided to deploy a disruptive and unconventional contract weapon: plain speak. Burton harked back to his law school days when he studied Plain Language, a way to condense the written word to the clear basics. He dusted off his textbooks and, with the help of his GE language commandos, used it to write a new contract. “I applied a litmus test: If someone in high school couldn’t pick this up and understand it without any context, it wasn’t plain enough,” he says.

Burton then launched a Plain Language workshop for his team where he actually dropped the old contract into a garbage can with a satisfying thud. more> https://goo.gl/HZwpno

Updates from Adobe

How to Create a Surreal Photo Collage
By Terri Stone – When you composite photos, you usually don’t want the result to look like a composite. Even if the final scene is fantastical, your aim is to transport viewers into another world. Filip Hodas, a 24-year-old freelance artist from Prague, has been creating convincing digital realities for years. Now he’’ agreed to share his process.

To make the otherworldly landscape featured here, Hodas relied heavily on Adobe Photoshop CC layer masks. He placed each source image on its own layer and then used layer masks to hide and reveal parts of each. He also used layer masks to adjust color and add highlights and shadows.

Next came a Color Balance adjustment layer, which he added to the background images so their colors would be a better match. Trees on the right side of the horizon image were distracting, so he removed them with the Clone Stamp tool.

Hodas knows that small details can have a big impact on a composite’s overall look, so his next step was to refine the foreground image’s mask. That softened jagged edges a little and removed a slight yellow outline. more> https://goo.gl/7jat2c

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Updates from Georgia Tech

Pioneer of Modern Electronics
By Michael Baxter – The smartphone you peer into, the LED bulb in your desk lamp, the Blu-Ray player that serves up your favorite film – all are here largely because of Russell Dupuis, a professor in electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech.

That’s because an essential component of their manufacturing traces back to a process that Dupuis developed in the late 1970s, a process that ushered in a new breed of mass-produced compound semiconductors. These electronic components – particularly those forged of elements from columns III and V in the periodic table — can operate at extremely high frequencies or emit light with extraordinary efficiency. Today, they’re the working essence of everything from handheld laser pointers to stadium Jumbotrons.

The process is known as metalorganic chemical vapor deposition, or MOCVD, and until Dupuis, no one had figured out how to use it to grow high-quality semiconductors using those III-V elements. Essentially, MOCVD works by combining the atomic elements with molecules of organic gas and flowing the mixture over a hot semiconductor wafer. When repeated, the process grows layer after layer of crystals that can have any number of electrical properties, depending on the elements used. more> https://goo.gl/eG2G8e

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Updates from GE

GE Just Turned the World’s Most Powerful Jet Engine Into A 65-Megawatt Power Plant
By Tomas Kellner – GE is taking the world’s largest jet engine and turning it into a power plant. The machine’s beating heart comes from the GE90-115B, which is the largest and most powerful jet engine, capable of producing 127,900 pounds of thrust, according to Guinness World Records. The electricity generator, which GE calls LM9000, will be able to generate a whopping 65 megawatts — enough to supply of 6,500 homes — and reach full power in 10 minutes.

The technology is also a good example of what GE calls the GE Store — the system of sharing technology, research and expertise among its many businesses. Today, aeroderivatives power towns and factories but also oil platforms and ships. more> https://goo.gl/dSwnhF