December 2005


How ants avoid wasted effort: new research

Usually we think of the importance of sharing 'positive' intelligence between organisational team members (for example Virtual Team Behavior - Curiosity and Learning). However recent UK research on foraging Pharaoh ants indicates that sharing 'negative' intelligence to avoid wasted effort may be just as important.


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New Sony portable eReader

Reading books or even documents on your mobile device is not quite like the real thing however this might be changing with Sony launching a ground-breaking portable eReader device which is claimed may become the 'iPod of eReaders'. Priced at $300-$500, it promises a user experience as good as reading the printed page using a technology known as E-Ink and compelling content through a strong set of alliances according to Curling Up With a Good E-Book in BusinessWeek, December 28.


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Retaining mature employees

Workforce Management reports, December 14, 2005, that Older Workers Seek Flexibility, Autonomy and Learning as new studies by The National Study of the Changing Workforce support the notion that creative work arrangements may be the key to retaining employees of fifty years and older. Autonomy and flexibility are two defining characteristics of the Self-Managed approach to teams typified by bioteaming.


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Beyond Multinationals: a new corporate structure emerges

Beyond Multinationals:  a new corporate structure emerges

The rise of the MetaNational: In a new book, From Global to MetaNational, Strategy experts and Insead Professors, Yvez Doz, José Santos and Peter Williamsonargue that the future form of successful global enterprise has now changed from the multinational to the metanational.


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Legal action against spam

The owner of a business in the Channel Isles has successfully used a new anti-spamming law, The Directive on Privacy and Telecommunications, to win out of court damages against a UK company who sent him spam. The spammers ignored him when he wrote asking for an apology and claiming damages under regulation 30 of the privacy regulations according to Court victory hailed as spam stopper (December 28, 2005). This legal action is thought to be the first of its kind under the directive and may be a landmark case.


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Spontaneous human cooperation: The Christmas Truce

We are used to having to work very hard to make collaboration happen in teams and groups however sometimes it just emerges. The Christmas Truce is the true story of how British and German soldiers in the trenches on Christmas eve 1914 called a truce and celebrated Christmas Day by singing carols, exchanging gifts and playing football together. It is an amazing example of nature's most effective co-operation strategy, Tit for Tat, which emerged spontaneously for, sadly, an all too short time.


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Running better meeting: Roberts Rules 1896

Credit to Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline for identifying an interesting historical book, Robert's Rules of Order, originally written in 1896 and proposing a set of rules for conducting Fair and Orderly Meetings & Conventions. Many of Robert's Rules would seem to apply to today's virtual meetings too.


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Self erasing text messages

New Scientist, 13 December, reports that an SMS text message service has been launched where the messages self-destruct 40 seconds after being read. It is aimed at WAP phone users who need to communicate sensitive information. Other potential user include celebrities such as soccer star David Beckham who have been embarrassed when their text messages have been published in tabloid newspapers. Nice for privacy but not so good when you need accountability or traceability! To read This text message will self-destruct in 40 seconds….


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Can bioteaming improve your well being

The theory of Biophilia, put forward by Edward Wilson, author of Journey to the Ants, suggests that human well-being and health is dependent on our relationships with the natural environment. New clinical research by Howard Frumkin of Emory University in Atlanta seems to back this up.


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Did London win Olympics bid because of voting system usability flaw

The Guardian reports (December 23, 2005) that one of the judges in the International Olympic Committee pressed the wrong button during the vote to decide the 2012 hosts in Singapore in July. This mis-keying eliminated Madrid who were strong favourites and left London in the final run-off with Paris which they went on to win. It seems the Olympic voting software did not provide that much-loved facility we come to expect in all the web-sites where we enter important data: Hit enter to confirm. To read The fat finger that may have helped London win Olympics


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