Curious about Curiosity?

After reading a paper on Psychology of Curiosity (a pointer from Dan Heath), I was curious to find out whether there was test for curiosity. I  found this test and read the opening paragraph.

Being intellectually curious is all about asking questions, not about having answers. It’s about believing in the pursuit of knowledge as a value in and of itself.

It was so appealing, I had to take the test (I am sucker for tests, anyway) and found this insight.

True knowledge lies in knowing that you know nothing at all

Are you curious about your curiosity level? Then try this Intellectual Curiosity Test. I would love to get your observations as comments.

Posted via email from Dorai’s LinkLog

Six Types of Social Media Tools

Six types of social media tools:

  1. Blogging
  2. Podcasting
  3. Creating Online videos (including sketch casting and Screen casting)
  4. Social networking (participating in popular ones like LinkedIn and Facebook as well as creating your own using Ning)
  5. Message boards and comment forums (like Disqus)
  6. Using Wikis (both public as well as private) to share knowledge externally and internally

Source:A Study of Inc.500 Companies‘ use of Social Media

For the third consecutive year, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has conducted a study that looks at the usage of social media among Inc. 500 companies. The 2009 results confirm that America‘s fastest growing private companies adopt social media marketing initiatives at much higher rates than other companies, and that interest in social media has grown since the first study was conducted in 2007.

LinkLog: Eight tips on how to be a node in a (Social) Network

Eight Tips on How to be a node in a network from this excellent presentation from Pew Internet Research on Information Ecology

  1. Think like a friend
  2. Remember your strengths and play to them by being an expert, a filter and a recommender(linker)
  3. Be aware that your audience is bigger than the available evidence provides – lurkers and future arrivals are part of the mix
  4. Look for opportunities to provide support to users and chances to build communities with your material
  5. Help people cope with technology
  6. Participate in the Web 2.0 world
  7. Embrace the move towards mobility, constant connectivity, perpetual contact – this changes the realities of time and space and presence
  8. Ask for help/feedback

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LinkLog: Half Life of News

This is an amazing article. One of those insights compounded by a rich set of comments:

The news is being spread in all kinds of vectors:

  • Other news organizations get it and it’s masticated and repeated in print (slow),
  • On broadcast (faster),
  • On websites (faster),
  • By aggregators (faster),
  • By conversation (aka Twitter – getting faster all the time)

The faster that distribution is, the quicker news becomes knowledge and thus a commodity, the faster it loses its unique, saleable value. And that chain is getting only faster.

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If You Are a Product Startup Building a WebApplication…

If you are a product start-up building a web application here is some good advice from Programming Google App Engine:

If you delay your launch to build big, you miss the opportunity to improve your product using feedback from your customers. Building big before allowing customers to use the product risks building something your customers don’t want.

Small companies usually don’t have access to large systems of servers on day one. The best they can do is to build small and hope meltdowns don’t damage their reputation as they try to grow. The lucky ones find their audience, get another round of funding, and halt feature development to rebuild their product for larger capacity. The unlucky ones, well, don’t. But these days, there are other options. Large Internet companies such as Amazon.com, Google, and Microsoft are leasing parts of their high-capacity systems using a pay-per-use model.

This is such a relief. These services take a chunk of your worry away and let you focus on your application and the initial customer interaction.

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Collective Creativity in Product Development

While reading How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity , I was struck by the similarity between movie making and building a Software product.

Here is a “product version” of one of the most compelling paragraphs in the stories with apologies to Ed Catmull.

 

A software product contains literally thousands to ten thousands of ideas. They are in the form of every service and interaction the product provides; in the design of interfaces, modules, interactions between functional units, every message the user sees, every key or link they need to click on.The product management does not come up with all the ideas on their own; rather, every single member of the product team makes suggestions. Creativity must be present at every level of every aspect of the product development. The product team sorts through a mass of ideas from the members, customers and find the ones that fit into a coherent whole – which is a difficult task.

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LinkLog: When Do Customers Know Exactly What They Want?

Principles of Simple Agile is a good read. Here are two principles that I really like:

  1. Respect
  2. Keep it Simple

Here are some snippets from the article. I reformatted the para on Respect and trimmed it a bit.

When does a customer know exactly what they want?  When they see it of course!  When do they know how they feel about your product?  When they see it.  Let them see it more often, gather feedback and utilize the feedback. 

Respect the process by sticking to it and holding each other accountable for process success. 

Respect the product by reducing complexity and technical debt. 

Respect the team by not having unrealistic goals, being sustainable and letting them solve their own problems. 

Respect each other by working together toward success and supporting each other at all times. 

We should do the simplest thing that works – then stop. 

Ask the customer (remember we are respecting them by getting them involved) if we hit the mark.

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LinkLog: Design Thinking for Social Innovation

The Sternins’ work is a good example of how positive deviance and design thinking relies on local expertise to uncover local solutions. From Stanford Social Innovation Review.

D E S I G N T H I N K I N G AT WORK Jerry Sternin, founder of the Positive Deviance Initiative and a professor at Tufts University until he died last year, was skilled at identifying what he called outsider solutions to local problems. His approach to social innovation is a good example of design thinking in action.(1) In 1990, Sternin and his wife, Monique, were working in Vietnam to decrease malnutrition among children in 10,000 villages. At the time, 65 percent of Vietnamese children under age 5 suff ered from malnutrition, and most solutions relied on government donations of nutritional supplements. But the supplements never delivered the hoped-for results.(2) As an alternative, the Sternins used an approach called positive deviance, which looks for solutions among individuals and families in the community who are already doing well.(3)

The Sternins and colleagues from Save the Children surveyed four local Quong Xuong communities in the province of Than Hoa and asked for examples of “very, very poor” families whose children were healthy. They then observed the food preparation, cooking, and serving behaviors of these six families, called “positive deviants,” and found a few consistent yet rare behaviors. Parents of well-nourished children collected tiny shrimps, crabs, and snails from rice paddies and added them to the food, along with the greens from sweet potatoes. Although these foods were readily available, they were typically not eaten because they were considered unsafe for children. The positive deviants also fed their children multiple smaller meals, which allowed small stomachs to hold and digest more food each day.

The Sternins and the rest of their group worked with the positive deviants to offer cooking classes to the families of children suff ering from malnutrition. By the end of the program’s first year, 80 percent of the 1,000 children enrolled in the program were adequately nourished. In addition, the effort had been replicated within 14 villages across Vietnam.(4)

From Design Thinking from Wikipedia

Is the essential ability to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and drive business success. Unlike analytical thinking, design thinking is a creative process based around the "building up" of ideas. There are no judgments early on in design thinking. This eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation in the ideation and prototype phases

From Design Thinking – Thoughts by Tim Brown

One of the most important ideas about design thinking is that it creates new ideas that provide new choices for business and society

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