TEDx Auckland – Session One: Michael Henderson

As I alluded in my initial TEDx Redux, the inaugural Auckland event was awesome. In the next three posts I will briefly cover my perspectives on the presentations delivered at this, the first TEDx event in Auckland, New Zealand.

TEDxAkl - The only passable photo I haveThe first speaker was a fascinating guy called Michael Henderson [UPDATE: Looks like something ‘weird’ is happening with his domain,try here for his cached page in the interim] , a Corporate Anthropologist. As well as being unemployable (who want’s an Anthropologist anyway?), he is never bored – because people are so interesting to study. Some observations:

  • Organisations are the modern tribes
  • CEO – Interesting title
    • Chief – Head of the tribe
    • Executive – Head of Structure
    • Officer – Very Militaristic – Head of Strategy
  • The difference between a cult and a culture is:
    • In a cult, the leader sees greatness in themselves
    • In a culture, the leader sees greatness in people
    • Silo mentality never occurs in a tribe
  • Engagement Studies
    • Organisations:
      • Engagement = email sort
      • Worldwide ~20% of employees are engaged and 80% sit on the fence
    • Tribes
      • Engagement = contact sport
      • No tribes run engagement surveys, all members are engaged 100% as you are either learning, doing or teaching

“Why is no one teaching GenY to respect those who came before them as sources of learning?”

Executives go on a ‘retreat’ (never an advance?) then return to proclaim new company values to their employees.

  • Employees don’t hear values, they hear violations;

“Integrity, really?? Aren’t you the CxO trying to set up XYZ to fail so you can get more headcount/budget?”

“Language is the bloodline of a tribe”

His parting observation was on the two dynamic forces of organisations: Relationship versus Results

“Measure yourself on Relationship versus Result – is the win [on this point] worth more than the long term relationship?”

The interesting observation I made about his talk was that, not only was I noting the same points as one of my colleagues, these same points were also being noted by a number of other ‘corporate types’ around where we were seated.


For another summary of the talk, click here to see what Missing Link said.


Update: A TED talk on this theme of Anthropology and Tribes was posted recently “David Logan on Tribal Leadership”

Update: Domain seems to be back – have adjusted links & text


Update: September 2011 – Added Michaels new business sites and the following TEDx video…

Ideas Worth Spreading – My Journey to TEDx

TED. Three letters, a veritable treasure trove of new ideas, challenging thinking and incredible people with finely honed presentation skills.

TEDx Auckland

I first stumbled across the TED initiative in 2006 when I was shown a presentation by Hans Rosling using Gapminder to do some incredible data visualisations. From that day onward, they have been a regular both in my RSS feed readers and in my browser as I immersed myself in the site from which I have gained so much.

It was with huge excitement then that I saw that TED was not only allowing independently organised events (under it’s banner of TEDx), but one of these events was going to be in Auckland, New Zealand – my home town.

I must admit I was initially reluctant to fill out the registration form, as chest puffery and self promotion doesn’t sit well with New Zealanders. Encouraged by some colleagues, and with the knowledge that the official event attendee spots are so coveted I did sit myself down and force my fingers to the keyboard to tap out an introspective view of what I have achieved to date, and why I should be amongst those fortunate enough to sit in attendance. The exercise in itself was worthwhile as it gave me an opportunity to cast back over many years in the technology industry, and to re-celebrate a number of the awesome innovations that I had been involved in over that time. The submit button was clicked, the “Thank you for registering” page loaded – and then all there was to do was wait.

In the fullness of time, I received an acceptance email and, excitedly, I checked in with my other colleagues to find they too had secured their place – timing-wise, the TEDx Auckland event was scheduled for the day before a weekend away at TelecomONE, a FOO style “Innovation Unconference”, so I knew that we would be in for one heck of a lot of brain stretching. We made our plans to meet up and attend together, and then again we waited for the beginning of the first ever TEDx Auckland, October 01, 2009.

TEDxAkl Redux

What. an. event.

There is simply too much to type to do justice to what I got out of last nights event, so I’ll post this entry as it is, unfinished, but linking to some of the cool stuff which was discussed…

Keep up with the tweets surrounding the event here – and I’ll be summarising my notes over the weekend.

For now, check out this vid which was shown as a segway between speakers…

Awesome

Flu Hype, and reality

Swine Flu - Humorous Image via Flickr User djugglerBelow is an interesting video for those caught up in the swine flu (which it isn’t) hype.
As a bit of background, Hans Rosling is a doctor and researcher who I first ‘saw’ when he presented at TED 2006 – in this video he demonstrates some really interesting data from the World Health Organisation using Gapminder to illustrate the information in an incredibly captivating manner.

Now while Hans doesn’t discount the potential future risk of Influenza A (H1N1), he does point out the hype the media is attaching to the virus when compared to other preventable causes of death.

So, the point of the post (I guess) is that while it’s great that places such as my sons day care center are reinforcing basic preventative measures such as:

  • Regular hand washing and drying
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with your arm not your hand
  • Keeping children with any symptoms at home until they are well.

The reality is, these are life skills which don’t need a hyped up flu variant to be taught – especially in countries with ready access to medical care, and for patients who are neither very young, nor very old.

On average, the (generic) ‘flu is caught by between 3-5 million people each year, and between 0.8 to 1% (or 250,000 to 500,000 people) die from it annually. As the video points out, Influenza A (H1N1) can only claim a mortality rate of around 0.06 to 0.25%… so where were the news stories last year, and the year before that, and the year before that? As molecular virologist Dr Christopher Olsen says in the article linked above;

‘Let’s not lose track of the fact that the normal seasonal influenza is a huge public health problem that kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. alone and hundreds of thousands around the world,’

Calm down, wash your hands and wait for the media to start reporting on something more worthwhile like, ooh – the global financial issues which actually ARE affecting a large number of people in very real ways.