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Monday, March 29, 2010


I'm a fan of Dan Pink or rather I am a potential fan of Dan Pink, having thoroughly enjoyed his presentation on Ted talks about the science of motivation. I have bought but not yet read his latest book, "Drive".

So naturally I am following him on Twitter as it is easier to read 140 characters than a whole book... Which lead me to his blog post today... Which cited some interesting research conducted at a university fund raising operation.

University call-centre fundraisers were split into three groups. Group one were given information on the benefits of being a good fundraiser [personal benefit] ; group two were given information on the benefits their fundraising provided to those who received the scholarships [task significance] and group three were given no information [control].

"What happened?

The results were “amazing,” says Goldstein. Employees in the Personal Benefit and Control groups secured the same number of pledges and raised the same amount of money as they had before the intervention.

But people in the Task Significance Group, the ones who read about what their work accomplished and how it affected the world, “earned more than twice the number of weekly pledges (from an average of 9 to an average of 23) and more than twice the amount of weekly donation money (from an average of $1,288 to an average of $3,130).”

Is it really that amazing?

Or just further evidence that people sell better when they understand the benefits derived by purchasers from the product or service they are selling. In this case those donating money are more likely to give it to someone who can tell them specific stories of how donations change people's lives; rather than to someone who wants to make the commission on the donation or is building his/her CV for employment after university.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moore of the same... or something else entirely

Sorry. I'm a sucker for pun.

I was at a think tank/discussion forum yesterday where I learned that Intel are currently claiming a 2% advance per month in processing speed. To those who are interested, if you compound this rate you get a doubling of processing speed every 36 months or so.

Moore's law originally said 24 months but it is still pretty impressive that close to exponential growth has been maintained since he introduced the concept in 1965.

The gentleman who shared the information with me also claimed that this will lead to better decision making as more data can be processed more quickly. But I wonder whether more data actually means "better decisions" or rather bigger decisions which in turn means more risk.

Which suggests that the next crash will be even bigger the last....!

Monday, March 15, 2010

When you're ready...

A number of things over the last few weeks have caused me to reflect further on the nature of change in people.

Two of my friends, less than 24 hours apart, said to me more or less verbatim,

"Of course, I've heard it said hundreds of times, people have told me again and again over the years but it wasn't until I experienced [insert perspective changing experience] that I finally understood"

Like the old joke about how many therapists it takes to change a light bulb... "One, but does the light bulb really want to be changed?"

In the current revolution that is social learning, maybe we should put the word, "training" quietly to sleep.

"perspective changing", "experience facilitating", "reflection forcing"... too convoluted?

Or just stick with, helping learning happen.