The Key Speech – building culture

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A recent article in the New Yorker profiled Cecil Balmond, a widely-renowned structural engineer who has worked with many of the world’s best architects to bring their designs to fruition. He is with the engineering firm Arup, headquartered in London, which is known for the quality of its designs and people.

Every new member of Arup is required to read The Key Speech given by the founder, Ove Arup, in 1970. In it he lays out the basis of the firm in terms of goals and culture. It is an interesting read and very thought provoking for anyone who has ever attempted to build an organization that will stay true to its principles.

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Should DoD Networks be Generative?

I realized today that I have an inherent bias that I bring to my work in the DoD and other large enterprises; it is a bias toward system design in support of generativity.

This wonderful article by Jonathan Zittrain in Harvard Business Review describes the benefits and failures of the Internet in terms of its generative features: leverage, adaptability, ease of mastery, and accessibility.

The basic thesis is that the generative attributes of PC’s connected to the Internet support innovation but equally support malicious use (e.g. botnet armies etc.). He draws comparisons with cell phone networks, where because of carrier controls, there is much less innovation but also much less malicious use (as Steve Jobs reminded us when he said that “you don’t want your iPhone to be like a computer”). He goes on to posit that consumers may eventually opt for a less generative Internet made up of remotely managed Internet appliances to choose a safer experience and may never notice the loss of continued innovation.

In the Defense arena, especially now with • • •