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August 6, 2008

News & Opinion: ChangeThis: Issue 49

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 9:51 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The August issue of ChangeThis has been posted. This month, we have the author of business classic The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge, with an environmental treatise on sustainability and business. Manifesto coauthor Bryan Smith was one of four authors who worked with Senge on the book the manifesto was modeled after, The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World, released earlier this year by Doubleday. We also have Michael Heller in this issue, the man who first recognized the "anticommons" and saw the tragedy that can result from too much ownership. If you're interested in more from him, check out this former post or read an excerpt from his book on the topic. Oddly, Heller's book, The Gridlock Economy, begins with a chapter entitled "The Tragedy of the Anticommons" and Chapter 12 of Senge's Necessary Revoltion is entitled "The Tragedy and Opportunity of the Commons."
Rajesh Setty--author of the fourth most downloaded manifesto in ChangeThis history--is back with the site's first photographic manifesto. He has used photos taken by himself and Suresh Gundappa as a gorgeous backdrop for 15 of his Mini Sagas--stories told in exactly 50 words. And, Authors Craig Stull, Phil Myers, and David Meerman Scott are back again as well, this time sharing their "Tuned In" process for uncovering business breakthroughs.
Wrapping up the issue strongly, we have Robert Rudzki with a manifesto laying out a "nine-element framework [that] can help you diagnose your organization's health and address the factors that increase corporate life expectancy," and Mitch Ditkoff has "14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas." Excerpts and links below.


The Necessary Revolution: Creating a Sustainable Future by Peter Senge and Bryan Smith
"The Industrial Era is ending. Its extraordinary successes--advances in literacy, life expectancy, human rights, and technology--have propelled us headlong into a myriad of side effects: food and water shortages, cyclonic destruction, prolonged drought and rising sea levels. To delay acknowledging the need for lifestyle and business changes--'The Necessary Revolution'--risks our very survival.
What only a couple of decades ago was still a vigorous scientific debate has become as close to a consensus as scientific communities ever achieve: human-induced climate change from greenhouse gases concentrating in the atmosphere has reached a threshold of significant social and economic impact--and we are only now at the start of experiencing the effects.
Stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide will require a profound reversal: a 60-80% reduction in growing worldwide emissions in the next twenty years. This is the '80-20 Challenge,' and this manifesto presents inspiring, real-life examples of how this is starting to happen."
Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.
Gridlock Economy: The Tragedy of the Anticommons by Michael Heller
"Private ownership usually creates wealth. But too much ownership has the opposite effect--it creates gridlock. When too many people own pieces of one thing, cooperation breaks down, wealth disappears... everybody loses. Gridlock is a free market paradox.
There has been an unnoticed revolution in how we create wealth. In the old economy, ten or twenty years ago, you invented a product and got a patent; you wrote a song and got a copyright; you subdivided land and built houses. Today, the leading edge of wealth creation requires assembly. From drugs to telecom, software to semiconductors, anything high-tech demands the assembly of innumerable patents. And it's not just high tech that's changed--today, cutting edge art and music is about mashing up and remixing many separately-owned bits of culture. Even with land, the most socially-important projects, like new runways, require assembling multiple gridlocked parcels. Innovation has moved on, but we are stuck with old-style ownership that's easy to fragment and hard to put together."
Click here to visit the site
Click here to download a PDF.
Mini Sagas: Bite Sized Lessons For Life and Business by Rajesh Setty
"A mini saga is a story told in exactly 50 words--not 49 or 51 but in exactly 50 words.
Benefit #1: Writing a mini saga expands your creativity. Constraints typically expand creativity or induce flight. When you have to put everything in 50 words, you have to 'leave behind' a lot. That's where the creative juices start flowing.
Benefit #2: Writing a mini saga stretches your thinking. What will you write about? You have to think about topics that will fit in 50 words or squeeze them to fit in 50 words. That puts thinking on overdrive mode.
Benefit #3: Writing a mini saga enhances your discipline. Deciding what to write about, deciding what to leave behind and putting it in 50 words requires discipline throughout."
Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.
Uncovering Business Breakthroughs: Are you Tuned In or Tuned Out? by Craig Stull, Phil Myers, & David Meerman Scott
"We've developed the Tuned In Process to allow companies to create success again and again. We see these same principles at work in a wide range of successful product experiences, such as business-to-business technology products, fast food chains, and professional services firms.
Anyone can use Tuned In to replicate the model for success. It works for well-known companies like Ford, Apple, and GE and those not-so-famous like GoPro and Zipcar. It works for realtors, doctors, ministers and even rock stars. With a Tuned In approach, your everyday activities can be transformed into those which create the kind of culture that builds market leaders."
Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.
Avoid Corporate Death: Nine Essential Elements Will Keep the Reaper From Your Company's Door by Robert Rudzki
"No company is created to fail. Yet the odds are stacked against corporations surviving more than a few decades. Many once-greats are dying a slow death, losing much of what made them superior. Others have expired quickly. And new research shows that many more are starting to atrophy as their leaders turn their focus to managing complexity--and away from leading for the future. A new, nine-element framework can help you diagnose your organization's health--and address the factors that increase corporate life expectancy.
Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.
14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas by Mitch Ditkoff
"There's a lot of talk these days--especially in business circles--about the importance of innovation. All CEOs worth their low salt lunch want it. And they want it, of course, now. Innovation, they reason, is the competitive edge.
What sparks innovation? People. What sparks people? Inspired ideas that meet a need--whether expressed or unexpressed--ideas with enough mojo to rally, sustained support.
Is there anything a person can do--beyond caffeine, corporate pep talks, or astrology readings--to quicken the appearance of breakthrough ideas? Yes, there is. And it begins with the awareness of where ideas come from in the first place.
Click here to visit the site.
Click here to download the PDF.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.