Problem-solving

8 Systems Utilized by Excellent Business Leaders

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Continuous Improvement, Lean, Measurement, Problem-solving | 0 comments

I am privileged to know some incredible business leaders. These are guys and girls who are not only open minded, and passionate, but they’re also business leaders devoted to creating lasting impact through their work. A few of them are fellow venture leaders from the Engineers Without Borders Canada community. One of the things I most value about these people is their ability to think holistically and to embrace, rather than fear, the complexity of human problems. They appreciate the nuanced thinking that is required to generate solutions – and they have the inner confidence to bring...

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The tale of what we measure: Bhutan, GDP and the riddle of true progress

Posted by on Nov 1, 2012 in Continuous Improvement, Insight and Inspiration, Measurement, Problem-solving, Social Progress, Value Creation | 2 comments

The tale of what we measure:  Bhutan, GDP and the riddle of true progress

Last week I was lucky enough to attend Ignite Waterloo, a lively and well-organized evening conference event which I would describe as TED on speed. Presenters each get five minutes only! Thirteen presenters dazzled us with their stories that evening.  Incidentally I absolutely recommend the Ignite experience – similar events are held all over! One of the presenters, author and business strategist Sandy Richardson talked about GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and true progress.  She proposed to us that despite its longstanding status as the benchmark for economic success (therefore...

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Designing for clarity

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in Problem-solving | 0 comments

I just finished watching the US Presidential debate.  When I tuned in I was expecting to feel an exhilarating rush:  some great zingers, a flurry of coherent and direct arguments, some heartfelt moments of truth.  I expected to learn.  I expected to see a Debating Superbowl. Okay, so I was dreaming.  What emerged (as you know if you watched as well) was a bit of a trainwreck:  two passive aggressive dudes in ties, smirking at each other and speaking into the middle distance with a series of vaguely connected, numbers-loaded responses, and lots of dancing around the questions the...

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I’m from Walkerton

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Continuous Improvement, Disaster Prevention, Manufacturing, Problem-solving, Root Cause Analysis | 0 comments

I’m from Walkerton

…and if you’re Canadian you probably know what that means. Don’t drink the water eh? Well, yeah. Except it’s been nearly 13 years since the outbreak (of E coli from an improperly fixed well, a massive rain storm and a tangle of factors including insufficient chlorination of the water that killed 7 people and sickened some 2,300 – for those just tuning in). I haven’t found a cheerful way to spin the subject yet. It was awful and many people still suffer. But I chime in in the hope that it will make us all think about it. The book is closed on the inquiry,...

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Why We Hate Consultants

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in Consulting, Problem-solving, Workplace Culture | 0 comments

Why We Hate Consultants

During a recent chat with a respected friend and former colleague, I heard him say ‘… and that’s why we hate consultants’. It got me thinking.  And I asked a few more friends who have hired consultants why they hate consultants and this is basically what I got: They regurgitate what our employees already know. They give us THEIR answer, without considering what we know. They have no real operational experience and think too theoretically. They don’t give us real actionable plans. This all got me thinking about how I can best serve my clients and avoid...

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What I learned from sticking my hand in a lawnmower

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Insight and Inspiration, Problem-solving, Worker Safety, Workplace Culture | 1 comment

What I learned from sticking my hand in a lawnmower

So after months off putting off the task, I finally decided to mow my   own lawn last week. Anytime I take a task like this (one that many women would leave to the men in their lives!) I feel very independent and powerful.  Also, it was a beautiful sunny day. I won’t lie – I was really enjoying myself! I zipped through the back and side lawns, but unfortunately the grass on my front lawn had grown so tall and thick that it choked my poor electric old mower into submission about halfway through. It just stopped dead. Undaunted, I flipped the mower over and pulled out the grass...

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