Ubuntu is cool in many ways

I’m constantly fascinated by the phenomenon of open source software. I claim that a regular office worker or software developer would (after a learning period) have the same productivity using a computer running Linux as when using a computer running Windows. The office suite of Linux may not be every bit as sophisticated as the corresponding package on Windows but then again, how many percent of the functions in Word or Excel Continue Reading

Trust, transparency and Toyota

A recent article in The Economist [1] ascribed some of the economic and social success of the Nordic countries to a high level of trust. In the period of large-scale emigration of Swedes to America, they came to be known as “dumb Swedes” in the new country because their high level of trust in people. Today the descendants of these dumb Swedes still have higher that average trust in their fellow citizens Continue Reading

What’s science?

A PhD course I took way back was about defining what science was. We read about Popper, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos and others. My lasting impression from the course was that “science” was pretty much defined as whatever the “scientific community” of a particular time defined as science. I use a rather more practical definition: Science is whatever helps us to predict the outcome of experiments or the natural unfolding of events. Science Continue Reading

To boldly go where no man has gone before

A few years back I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by the project manager for the second Mars rover missions launched in 2004, Prof. G. Scott Hubbard. It was an inspiring speech about an impressive engineering achievement; one of the rovers is still operational after more than eight years in an extreme environment. (Unfortunately I had to pinch myself from time to time to stay awake during the speech. Continue Reading

Cramming vs creativity

In an earlier post I reported on the downward trend in the Swedish PISA results [1] (PISA is a survey measuring student knowledge and skills) and contrasted these with the overall competitiveness and innovativeness of Sweden. In a recent issue of The Economist [2] the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, is reported to recommend parents to let their children play instead of doing too much homework based on a fear Continue Reading

How can we save the elves?

Having read Sam Harris book Free Will I feel like returning just a little bit to that very topic. I wrote a few posts about it back in 2008, posts that go along the same lines as Mr. Harris. Seems like I wasn’t alone holding those particular views but as I mentioned earlier, he beat me to the publisher. The more I think about the question “do we have free will?” the Continue Reading

The return of the slow blogger – maybe

My last post here was from around three years ago. I have already admitted to being a slow blogger but three years is perhaps stretching even that epithet a bit. My fingers are itching to write about something more general than the video stuff and the quality management stuff that my other blogs are about. Facebook is mostly too superficial for the kind of writing that I’m thinking about. I can’t come Continue Reading

Innovation is a team sport

As a consultant I’ve been working for a large number of companies doing system development. Many of them have had reasonably well defined processes for development, customer support and so on. Of various reasons I had recently reason to try to recollect how the companies did innovation. Somewhat to my surprise I couldn’t really remember many examples of how innovation actually happened. One company had regular “innovation jams” modeled after IBM’s idea Continue Reading