Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wasted 15 Minutes

30 MINUTES. That’s how much time I alotted the other day (“so long as nothin’ else goes sideways”) to learn as much as I could by perusing the ABOUT pages found at and respectively. I wanted to understand the objectives of the people involved, how their interests do or don’t jibe with mine, and how their overall approaches compare one-to-the-other.

Going in, I knew that the Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) and Unstructure were online platforms for exchanging ideas having to do with ‘speeding up’ the evolution of management. And that’s about it.

What I discovered is that the two groups /projects are similar in just about every significant way: 
  • ISSUE: Management is an important social technology, but one that needs a facelift – pronto.
  • RESPONSE: Provide an open source, i.e., democratic, environment in which anyone can contribute to new thinking about management's evolution.
  • HOPE: That actionable, helpful ideas will emerge.
There were a few differences. (One of the MIX Team Members, for example, is Gary Hamel – a rock star, as management thinkers go. The fact that discussions there are centered around his “Moonshots for Management” stands out.) But none of the differences were so earth shattering as to keep me from bookmarking both sites and thinking about participating. I was impressed.

The Rest Of The Story

My 15 minutes at were up, but there was one more link that had my attention. It lead me away from its ABOUT page onto one of its discussion forum pages and –

Boy, was I surprised to find out that the most recent post was well over two hundred days old! On further review, it now appears as though the whole site’s inactive. I don’t know what the deal is. Was there a merger with MIX? A stoppage? If Unstructure is no more, I’m sorry about that. Seems like a lot of effort and good intentions went into building it.

I s’pose there are many morals to the story. The first that comes to mind is this: 

I knew from the start I was taking a slight risk. I should have asked upfront: Are there tools or strategies I can deploy that'll prevent me from squandering up to 30 minutes unnecessarily? Had I done that, I would have remembered what the authors of The Power of Pull point out, that there are ways “to sort through the noise to find the signals that can guide us.”

Their advice? If you want the time and effort you invest in focusing on stuff to pay off, make return on attention a top priority. There are search and serendipity tools that can assist. Their book does a nice job of introducing some of them.

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