[Link] The Third Space

Rob Miller on “third spaces” or Non-Offices as an alternative to the office:

In the old world, going to the office was a source of important social capital; it provided you with autonomy, mastery, and purpose, and with human connections and friendships, too. If you can get those things just as readily from other physical places, what does that mean for the future not just of offices, but of conventional employment?

[Link] Remystifying Supply Chains

Venkatesh Rao’s post on the complexity – and more – of contemporary supply chains is a fantastic read:

Many engineered artifacts can be viewed largely in terms of their designed function without much loss in understanding. If you’re designing a truss, material properties and stress/strain calculations tell you almost everything you need to know about how it will perform in the field. You can go from paper-napkin sketch to CAD design, to prototype, to production artifact, via a largely one-way flow, with very little iteration, and not go too wrong.

This is not true of supply chains. Even though many of the pieces are designed and put together the way other engineering artifacts are, the effects of those behaviors are different. And they evolve over time.

[Link] The Truth About Open Offices

Like many others, Ethan Bernstein and Ben Waber question the value of the open office in this article in the HBR from 2019.  It’s particularly relevant when several companies are nudging their employees to return to the office, ostensibly for ‘collaboration‘ or ‘valuable human interaction‘:

When employees do want to interact, they choose the channel: face-to-face, video conference, phone, social media, email, messaging, and so on. Someone initiating an exchange decides how long it should last and whether it should be synchronous (a meeting or a huddle) or asynchronous (a message or a post). The recipient of, say, an email, a Slack message, or a text decides whether to respond immediately, down the road, or never.

Interestingly, the article also has this nugget, months before the pandemic driven remote-working enforcement:

If team members need to interact to achieve project milestones on time, you don’t want them working remotely.

[Link] Ritual4Return

via “Reasons to be Cheerful

Rituals abound when it comes to bringing people into the criminal justice system. Yet, there aren’t formal rituals to welcome people back to society after they serve time.

“No one can tell your story except for you and no one has gone through that type of suffering except for you. We can learn from each other’s pain, writing and any type of art”

[Link] The Spread of Improvement

Anton Howes in this excerpt from 2017 describes why innovation accelerated in Britain, what he attributes to:

the emergence and spread of an improving mentality, tracing its transmission from person to person and across the country. The mentality was not a technique, skill, or special understanding, but a frame of mind: innovators saw room for improvement where others saw none. The mentality could be received by anyone, and it could be applied to any field – anything, after all, could be better.

But what led to innovation’s acceleration was not just that the mentality spread: over the course of the eighteenth century innovators became increasingly committed to spreading the mentality further – they became innovation’s evangelists. By creating new institutions and adopting social norms conducive to openness and active sharing, innovators ensured the
continued dissemination of innovation, giving rise to modern economic growth in Britain and abroad.