Tag: creativitity

Management Books

  • Ackoff's Best: Timeless Observations on the Life of Business by Russell L. Ackoff
    From managing teams, maximizing the effectiveness of information systems, and problem solving, to creativity, crime, and the role of the corporation in a democratic society, these writings are a cornucopia of insights, observations, and powerful lessons that will help you improve the effectiveness of your organization.
  • Beautiful Evidence: by Edward R. Tufte
    Tufte explores how to best displaying evidence: mapped pictures; sparklines; links and causal arrows; words, numbers and pictures together, the fundamental principles of analytical, corruption of evidence and more.
  • Rework: by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
    Great book by the founders of 37 signals on how to get to work and avoid the distractions of bad management practices. Take a new look at how to work without the outdated traditions.
  • Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
    "Pay new employees $2000 to quit. Make customer service the entire company, not just a department. Focus on company culture as the #1 priority. Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business. Help employees grow both personally and professionally. Seek to change the world. Oh, and make money too. Sound crazy? It's all standard operating procedure at, the online retailer that's doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales every year."
  • Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results by Mike Rother
    "Toyota Kata gets to the essence of how Toyota manages continuous improvement and human ingenuity, through its improvement kata and coaching kata. Mike Rother explains why typical companies fail to understand the core of lean and make limited progress—and what it takes to make it a real part of your culture." —Jeffrey K. Liker, bestselling author of The Toyota Way
  • The Lean Startup: by Eric Ries
    Great book that is also very popular in general management circles and software development circles (the software development and startup areas overlap so much today that this is no surprise). The book focuses on applying lean thinking ideas in an entrepreneurial setting. So the book focuses on quick success and customer focus. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or those in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility and quickly. Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs - in companies of all sizes - a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
  • Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability by John Hunter
    The book provides an overview for viewing management as a system. It is largely based on those of Dr. Deming, along with natural outgrowths or extensions of his ideas such as lean manufacturing and agile software development. To achieve great results there must be a continual focus on achieving results today and building enterprise capacity to maximize results over the long term. Managers have many management concepts, pactices and tools available to help them in this quest. The challenge is to create and continually build and improve a management system for the enterprise that leads to success. The book provides a framework for management thinking. With this framework the practices and tools can be applied to build enterprise capacity and improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything by Matthew May
    Welcome to the age of excess everything. Success in this new age looks different and demands a new skill: Subtraction. Subtraction is defined simply as the art of removing anything excessive, confusing, wasteful, unnatural, hazardous, hard to use, or ugly... or the discipline to refrain from adding it in the first place. And if subtraction is the new skill to be acquired, we need a guide to developing it. bolstered by uniquely personal essays contributed by over 50 of the most creative minds in business today - including the founder of this Curious Cat site:

Management Articles

  • Dee Hock on Management by M. Mitchell Waldrop, Dee Hock
    Absolutely great - definitely read the article. Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience. Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind. Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to good use by people with all the other qualities.
  • Dee Hock on Organizations by M. Mitchell Waldrop, Dee Hock
    "An organization's success has enormously more to do with clarity of a shared purpose, common principles and strength of belief in them than to assets, expertise, operating ability, or management competence, important as they may be."
  • A Brief Guide to Interactive Planning and Idealized Design by Russell L. Ackoff
    "Interactive planning is directed at creating the future. It is based on the belief that an organization's future depends at least as much on what it does between now and then, as on what is done to it. Therefore, this type of planning consists of the design of a desirable present and the selection or invention of ways of approximating it as closely as possible. It creates its future by continuously closing the gap between where it is at any moment of time and where it would most like to be."
  • Thinking About the Future by Russell L. Ackoff
    "My preoccupation is with where we would ideally like to be right now. Knowing this, we can act now so as constantly to reduce the gap between where we are and where we want to be. Then, to a large extent, the future is created by what we do now."
  • Why I Sold Zappos by Tony Hsieh
    "Amazon tries to deliver a great customer experience is by offering low prices, whereas at Zappos we don't try to compete on price. If Amazon gets a lot of customer service calls, it will try to figure out why -- maybe there's something confusing about the product description -- and then it will try to fix the problem so that it can reduce the number of phone calls, which keeps prices low. But at Zappos, we want people to call us... But as I talked to Jeff, I realized that there were similarities between our companies, too. Amazon wants to do what is best for its customers -- even, it seemed to me, at the expense of short-term financial performance. Zappos has the same goal. We just have a different philosophy about how to do it."
  • Jeff Bezos's mission: Compelling small publishers to think big by Jeff Bezos
    "I would hope people would say that Amazon is earth's most customer-centric company, and that we work backwards from customers. Many companies sort of look at what their skills are and they work forward from their skills. They say this is what we're good at, and this is what we'll do. It's a very different approach from saying here is what our customers need, and we will learn whatever skills we need. ... the key is that the company has to experiment, and what you want to try and do is reduce the cost of experimentation so you can do as many experiments per unit time as possible ... and they're not experiments if you know they're going to work."
  • Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule by Paul Graham
    "There are two types of schedule, which I'll call the manager's schedule and the maker's schedule. The manager's schedule is for bosses. It's embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. ... When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in."
  • Innovation Democracy: W.L. Gore's Original Management Model by Gary Hamel
    "Was it possible to build a company with no hierarchy—where everyone was free to talk with everyone else? How about a company where there were no bosses, no supervisors, no managers and no vice presidents?... Could you create a company with no 'core' business, one that was as focused on creating the future as on preserving the past? The answers to each of these questions was an emphatic "Yes!" And Gore quickly became a model for both organizational and product innovation (not to mention a remarkable business success)."
  • If Jon Stewart Can Do It, so Can You by Daniel Markovitz
    Jon Stewart "I’m a real believer in that creativity comes from limits, not freedom. Freedom, I think you don’t know what to do with yourself. But when you have a structure, then you can improvise off it." Dan "If something as evanescent as comic inspiration can be turned into a process, there’s no excuse for you to not create a process for your own work."
  • The Black Team - Software Testing at IBM
    "Management noticed that certain software testers were 10 to 20 percent better at finding defects than their peers. By putting these people on the same team, they reasoned, they could form a group that would be 10 or 20 percent more effective and then put the team to work testing the most critical system components. It didn't turn out that way. ... Soon the members of team were twice and then dozens of times more effective than their peers, and they began to view their jobs not as testing software, but as breaking software. Team members took a well-deserved pride in their abilities and began to cultivate an image of villainous destroyers. As a group, they began coming to work dressed in black and took to calling themselves "The Black Team.'"
  • You are Solving the Wrong Problem
    "The problem was the problem. Paul realized that what we needed to be solved was not, in fact, human powered flight. That was a red-herring. The problem was the process itself, and along with it the blind pursuit of a goal without a deeper understanding how to tackle deeply difficult challenges. He came up with a new problem that he set out to solve: how can you build a plane that could be rebuilt in hours not months. And he did. ... When you are solving a difficult problem re-ask the problem so that your solution helps you learn faster. Find a faster way to fail, recover, and try again."
  • Jobs made Apple great by ignoring profit by Clayton Christensen
    "When the pressure is on and the CEO of a big public company has to choose between doing what’s best for the customer or making the quarter’s numbers… most CEOs will choose the numbers. Apple never has... Profitability isn’t at the center of every decision. Apple's focus is on making truly great products — products so great that its own employees want to use them. That philosophy has made Apple one of the most innovative companies in the world."
  • America's dysfunctional patent system is stifling innovation
    "At the heart of the problem – and we should keep this squarely in mind – is a federal machine that, willy-nilly, grants patents that never should have been allowed in the first place. It is a machine created and run by lawyers, for lawyers, and which has absolutely no incentive to reform itself."
  • The Art of Discovery by George E. P. Box, John Hunter
    Quotes by George Box in the video: “The scientific method is how we increase the rate at which we find things out.” “I think the quality revolution is nothing more, or less, than the dramatic expansion of the of scientific problem solving using informed observation and directed experimentation to find out more about the process, the product and the customer.” “Tapping into resources: Every operating system generates information that can be used to improve it. Everyone has creativity. Designed experiments can greatly increase the efficiency of experimentation."
  • Bored People Quit by Michael Lopp
    "Boredom shows up quietly and appears to pose no immediate threat. This makes it both easy to address and easy to ignore. ... Let them experiment. Let them obsess. Let them scratch that itch. If there is no project on their plate that you know is engaging them, create time for them to explore whatever they want to obsess about. I absolutely guarantee there is an investigation somehow related to their work that they are dying to tinker with. The business justification for this wild-ass effort is likely not obvious, so I’ll define it: the act of exploration is as valuable as the act of building. Exploration is hard to justify because it’s hard to measure."

Management Web Sites and Resources

  • Curious Cat Management Improvement Articles by John Hunter
    Hundreds of useful management articles hand selected to help managers improve the performance of their organization. Sorted by topic including: Deming, lean manufacturing, six sigma, continual improvement, innovation, leadership, managing people, software development, psychology and systems thinking.
  • Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog by John Hunter
    Blog by John Hunter on many topics to to improve the management of organizations, including: Deming, lean manufacturing, agile software development, evidence based decision making, customer focus, innovation, six sigma, systems thinking, leadership, psychology, ...
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement
    IHI works to accelerate improvement by building the will for change, cultivating promising concepts for improving patient care, and helping health care systems put those ideas into action. White papers available online on topics such as: Planning for Scale: Going Lean in Health Care, A Guide for Designing Large-Scale Improvement Initiatives, A Framework for Spread: From Local Improvements to System-Wide Change, and Seven Leadership Leverage Points for Organization-Level Improvement in Health Care.
  • Management Innovation eXchange
    "an open innovation project aimed at reinventing management for the 21st century. The premise: while "modern" management is one of humankind's most important inventions, it is now a mature technology that must be reinvented for a new age. Current management practices emphasize control, discipline and efficiency above all else — and that's a problem. To thrive in the 21st century, organizations must be adaptable, innovative, inspiring and socially accountable. That will require a genuine revolution in management principles and practices."
  • Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections by John Hunter
    The aim of Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections is to contribute to the successful adoption of management improvement to advance joy in work and joy in life. The site provides connections to resources on a wide variety of management topics to help managers improve the performance of their organization. The site was started in 1996 by John Hunter.