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Addressing the Loss of Institutional Memory

There was an interesting article in the news today that highlights the struggle organizations face when they try to preserve knowledge, codify decisions, or record experiences in a way that can be passed on from one generation of staff to the next. The backstory is that United Airlines recently re-assigned the numbers Flight 93 …

Design

Time-Distance Diagrams

After I was in a car accident a few years ago, I contacted the city Traffic Control Engineer to see if I could get a copy of the signal timing sequence for the intersection of the street where the accident occurred. The information they provided allowed me to construct a …

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Is Lying to the Public OK?

In a recent post, Lane Wallace discusses the pros and cons of a proposed amendment to Canada’s Broadcasting Act of 1986 which would allow broadcasters more leeway to broadcast false or misleading news. As you might imagine, that has generated some controversy, with free speech advocates saying the current law is too …

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Notes from the Margin: The Tipping Point

I finally had a chance to read Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point the other day and I thought I’d pull together a few quick comments. Things that caught my fancy: Social epidemics – On his website, Gladwell defines a meme as an infectious idea that spreads through a population like …

Design
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Fighting Insidious Business Jargon with Design

One of the biggest barriers to introducing new concepts to people is that they often have old, preconceived notions about those concepts that are just close enough to the truth to cause confusion. For example, my company recently started a sales program that establishes performance incentives by “vertical” — one of those vague business …

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Rise of the (Old) Machines

With the recent shutdown of Egypt’s internet and cell phone service, people have started to break out some older technology to keep the flow of information going. Fax machines, dial-up modems and ham radios are all back in vogue now that the communications blackade is up and running. (It kind …

Information

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised … But It Will Be Tweeted

The chart below illustrates the Egyptian government’s most recent attempt to stem the rising tide of civilian protests. Apparently recognizing the threat that social networking sites posed, the Egyptians finally pulled the plug on the entire Internet on Thursday: “[I]n an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to …