Week 122: Optimizing Workflows

In recent months, we started quite a few experiments that are aimed at optimizing established work flows, as well as finding new ones.

As I am writing this, there is a still unanswered memo from Johannes that I have to address about a potential new experiment of ours.

In recent months, we started quite a few experiments that are aimed at optimizing established workflows, as well as finding new ones. We switched to a 4-day output, 1-day input model. We established that new ideas can only be presented at meetings if the originator took the time to write a memo – not bullet points – to structure it before. Our constant documentation of these ideas in week notes also helped us understand ourselves better and make our thinking tangible and accessible to people outside of the company.

Not only that, we have been recently asked to speak about the way we work. diffferent invited us to an event they call “Meet the fffriends.” Basically, they asked us to talk about ourselves, and Maddie and I got to sit in comfortable chairs, talk about what is close to our hearts and, in between things, pet a dog while everybody else was listening to us. It was fun and if they should ever ask you to take part in that series of talks, make sure that you do.

Only recently we re-introduced ourselves to the idea that we need to spend more time thinking about the way work is being done. A friend of ours told us something over lunch that triggered a line of thought, or to be more precise, made us see a pattern. Everything that we do, be that when approaching communication strategy or reshaping a large corporation’s business model, starts with the way people inside those organizations will bring our strategy and insights into a daily work routine.

Expect to see us write and speak about this more over the coming month.

Week 67

While we finished last the last year with a brief break and recharged our batteries, this year starts with a flurry of activities.

While we finished the last year with a brief break and recharged our batteries, this year starts with a flurry of activities.

As Igor and Johannes are heads-down working on a big presentation later this week, I had the chance to put a little time into a research/forecasting experiment. At this point, we’re gathering input from a few friends and colleagues. Too early to go into details, except to say: A big thank you to our participants! More on that when we have more.

Newsletters

Last week, Igor hinted at a premium newsletter we’ve been working on. We’ve been getting quite a bit of interest and valuable feedback over the last week. Seems like there’s quite some demand for “executive summary”-style digests that give a brief overview while putting emergent developments into context. Especially in larger corporations this kind of overview is essential: Those in charge need to process huge amounts of information on a daily basis, and are expected to always be on top of things. “Glanceable” information that makes it easy to decide if skimming is enough or if you need to dig in can help people be better at their job.

Interestingly, one of the big questions here isn’t so much the content, but rather if you’d better go with a one-size-fits-all newsletter or a highly customized one. After all, the economics of these two models differ vastly. We’ll keep iterating on this.

Speaking of newsletters, you can also get this blog (weeknotes + weekly reading recommendations) delivered straight to your inbox. We see more and more people signing up, so it seems worth pointing out once more. (Sign up here.)

Events

A brief update on two events. One, we’re finalizing the speaker lists for Next Berlin, where Igor and I each curate a track. No names before the Next team announces them, but I can tell you that I’m very excited about the upcoming line-up. Two, there’s a Quantified Self event on the horizon. We’ve been working with a great partner on this, so once we’ve locked down the details, you’ll be the first to know. So keep an eye on our blog and our tweets at @thirdwaveberlin.

Interviews

It seems that interest in self-tracking, the so-called Quantified Self, isn’t waning anytime soon. Just a couple of weeks ago, dradio Kultur interviewed us about how and why more and more people track their behavior. Last week another journalist prepared a radio feature on the Quantified Self and how this trend might impact society and the individual. We really enjoy these interviews and practically use them as sparring practice. While we look forward to hearing the result, we’ve also been asked to write a couple pieces on this subject that should be out soon. We’ll provide links once we get them.

Congratulations, Gidsy!

Sharing an office, we’ve had the chance to see Gidsy grow from idea to company to final product, and now we get to see them move on to the next level. Over the weekend, Gidsy announced their first big round of funding. Yes, Ashton Kutcher is among the investors. This is a huge step for any young startup. Edial, Floris, Philipp and the whole Gidsy crew: We couldn’t be happier for you guys. Congratulations! Next step: World domination. Definitively keep an eye on these guys. Or even better, go to their website right now book an activity.

Week 46 – Ask us anything!

We didn’t have time to write a real weeknote, so we’re taking questions instead. Let us know what we can do for you!

Last week has just been too busy with client work that’s off-limits for weeknotes. That’s why this one is late, too – so here’s the deal: You can pick a topic. Ask us anything!

Everybody is curious, has a burning question or feels challenged by, well, a challenge. We’re here to help. You tell us what you’d like to know, and we’ll pick a couple of the most interesting questions, dig into them and try to help you solve the mystery.

This could be anything. You have a business-related strategy question or need a productivity hack? Maybe you’re looking for a reading recommendation or simply a pointer to the best coffeeshop nearby? Let us know what it is that you need, and we’ll try and help out.

So, feel free to go ahead and ask in the comments. We know that some questions are not meant for the public to hear, so you can also email us a bit more confidentially at info @ [youknowtherest]. In that case we’ll post the answer in public here on the blog, but we won’t include your name or the context.

What are you waiting for?

ps. Join us for FatSIX! As always, we’ll have after work drinks Fridays at six around the corner from our office (location, Facebook). Is it FatSIX yet?

Week 30

Just recently we passed our 6 month mark, so we’re officially out of the wood. That said, let’s have a look at what we’ve been up to since, and at what’s ahead. Also: a four day work week, a video of our Uncomfortable Talk, and Friday at six.

Just recently we passed our 6 month mark, which I guess means we’re officially out of the woods. That said, we’re not overly prone to nostalgia, so let’s have a look at what we’ve been up to since, and at what’s ahead.

This past week was a short one thanks to Easter holiday, but it was also pretty productive. (We should explore the idea of 4 day work weeks more in-depth. The 37signals experiment comes to mind.) Among many other things, I submitted a panel proposal for Web2Expo NY (fingers crossed), we’ve been polishing the program for the Social Layer track for Next Conference (17/18 May), Igor visited SIME in Vienna.

We celebrated the short week and the early summer weather with Friday at six, a spontaneous meetup at nearby bar Luzia, and we were overwhelmed with the turnout – there were easily 20 or so folks. That’s a fantastic way to kick off the weekend, so thanks a lot everybody. We should probably do this more often. How about this coming Friday?

We’ve been working on a neat side project with the good folks at LHBS. Too early to really announce it quite yet, but expect some cool stuff soon. LHBS also just posted a video of our Uncomfortable Talk – that’s a great series of talks and presentations LHBS initiated recently around the notion of “being uncomfortable”. Fantastic stuff, really. There’s also some announcements coming up around Cognitive Cities.

Our travel schedule this week is nicely calm: I’m posting this from a train back to Berlin, where we’ll all be staying for the rest of the week. Yes, really.