Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The allure of statistics

One of the reasons I started J2 Research is because of our focus on qualitative methods. I have trained in both quantitative and qualitative methods and actually enjoy them both. They do different things. Quantitative methods are great for big picture understanding. For example, how many people in a country, how many of different ethnicities, religions, or ages. Or in the workplace, quantitative methods can quickly tell us how many people hired, fired, or retired. All very interesting numbers that can quickly tell us something. And this is their appeal, their quickness, their appearance of certainty, and perhaps of the aura of math and science and objectivity.

Meat (qualitative) and bones (quantitative)
But they don't always do such a good job at telling us the whys, the hows, the feelings and the thoughts of the individuals behind the statistics.  I conceptualize this as the quantitative methods provide the bones while the qualitative methods provide the meat. They provide that deeper, richer, more substantial material about a subject.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flexible working and unintended benefits

Fast paced modern life
Back in 2001, I wrote "Time Out: the case for time sovereignty" with Richard Reeves. We argued that organizing work by time rather than task arose from and belonged to the Industrial era. In the past, work was organized by task and we made a case for organizing work in the future in a more flexible way.

There are very good reasons for questioning the time structure and schedule of work. Not least, because it challenges the simple equation of hours in equals productivity. It questions whether there is a linear match between longer hours and more productivity. We all know that there is a point where working more is not the same as working smart or efficiently. In addition, measuring work by hour in rather than output can encourage behaviours like presenteeism. This is when people are present, their bums are in their seats, but they are not actively engaged in their work.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Counting the Right Things

We love to watch TED talks at J2 Research. TED brings together some of the greatest, most inspiring minds in the world. Listening to what they have to say in their dynamic 20-minute presentations can get your own thoughts flowing.

"What we actually count, really counts." - Chip Conley