Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top postings of 2006

Here are the top ten postings on Making Sense With Facilitated Systems for 2006. Technically, this is a bit premature, for the data was captured on December 27, but I don't think things will change much.

Admittedly, there is a statistical problem with this list. Entries made last January have had more time to be viewed than entries made late in December. As I suspect most entries get their heaviest readership shortly after they're posted, I'm ignoring that potential problem and simply ranking postings by the total number of entries received from January 1, 2006 through December 27, 2006. Besides, the most popular item is also one of the most recent.

  1. Last year, I had several postings on the use of systems thinking approaches, especially system dynamics, in program evaluation. System dynamics and program theory (evaluation) was number 10 on the list of most popular postings for the year.

  2. Work is changing, and, for many of us, our work locations and time are becoming more flexible. Number 9 on the list of most favorite postings for 2006 was ROWE: Revolution IN work, a description of Best Buy's changed work environment.

  3. People in mature organizations often wish their employees were more entrepreneurial. Number 8 on the list is Becoming more entrepreneurial, which sheds light on what Saras Sarasvathy and others call effectual reasoning. That's the style she finds most prevalent in entrepreneurs. Are you ready for that approach?

  4. I am a fan and user of open source software, as I've explained multiple times. Number 7 on the list is OO.o tips, intended to help those thinking of switching to as their office suite.

    The next highest essay on the list, The Joy of Thinking Small, was published in November of 2005, and so it doesn't deserve a place on the top ten list for 2006. I'm mentioning it because it did earn the spot through popularity, and it might give you a pointer to some small tool you can use to make youself more productive.

  5. Number 6 on the list concerned growth, another topic I've covered several times. S-curves, growth, and discerning your position was written to help us all think about whether growth was a good goal for our organizations at this point.

  6. Decisions, decisions, decisions, one of several notes comparing Gary Klein's recognition-primed decision model with other approaches, was number 5 on the list. This essay also touched on Saaty's Analytic Hierarchy Process.

  7. Introducing Systems Thinking into Your Organization, number 4 on the list, announced the temporarily free availability of an article by that name that I wrote for Pegasus Communications' Systems Thinker. The article is still good, and it's still available for a small fee from Pegasus Communications.

  8. Number 3 on the list was Thinking systemically: Limits to Growth, my favorable review of Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. I found it to be both a good treatise on the subject of growth and a good, non-technical introduction to system dynamics.

  9. Growth also occuppied the number 2 spot with More on growth, perhaps my most reflective essay on the subject in 2006.

  10. By far, the most popular essay for 2006 was the recent Making sense with numbers. It used an example from the business of classical music to show how an esoteric-sounding concept called Bayes' Rule could help us make better sense of the statistics we may hear in meetings or read in reports. Its popularity was no doubt aided by those of you who blogged about it yourselves. Thanks!

While all of these essays describe ways of making sense of the world, I see four categories as being important to you.

First, four of those entries, numbers 1, 4, 5, and 10, are about making sense of general situations. That's the theme of this blog and the central theme of my work.

Second, the environment and organization's responses are key in numbers 2, 3, and 6. While I suspect not many companies are yet modulating their growth in response to the environment, many of you seem to be thinking about it. I was fortunate to have been able to work in the environmental arena last year, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Third, number 7 and its 2005 partner showcase ways to do things more productively. As I hope that's one of the benefits people get from my work, I'm glad it came out in my essays.

Fourth, numbers 8 and 9 speak to the ways we work in organizations. As I focus on helping people through helping the organizations in which we work, I'm glad that came through, too.

By contrast, which essay was the least popular? That turns out to have been A wake-up call with positive ideas, an essay about Clyde Prestowitz' Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East, one of several essays I've written about what I see as the importance of those of us in the U.S.A. connecting better with those of us who live in other parts of the world.

Map of readers of Making Sense With Facilitated Systems in 2006

What's the map, you ask? That's where you live—you who voted on these essays by viewing them during the course of the year.

Thank you for reading these essays and for the comments you've made. I'll try to focus even more on issues you care about in 2007, and I'll try to throw in a few new areas, too, just to keep things interesting.

I welcome comments from even more of you in the coming year. Email me, call me, or add a comment to a blog entry. I'd especially appreciate your feedback on what you found helpful in 2006 and what you'd like to see me cover more thoroughly in 2007.

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