Org Design, Part 1: Nearly decomposable systems, with Serendipity & Slack

PART 1. “Organizations are systems of behavior designed to enable humans to accomplish their goals” –Herb Simon, The Shape of Automation The “buzziness” of 50-100 The period of organizational growth from 50 to 100 people can be a chaotic time. According to physicist Geoffrey West, at this stage [A] the org begins to lose its “buzziness.” … Continue reading Org Design, Part 1: Nearly decomposable systems, with Serendipity & Slack

Tixi 体系

Over dinner with my former colleague ZZ in Changsha, he mentioned something that caught my attention. “You know in China, we have this saying: Tixi jueding suoyou de dongxi. The tixi decides all things.” I had to look up “tixi” (体系) in my Pleco Chinese dictionary first. “System; Setup” Pleco defines. ZZ went on to define his … Continue reading Tixi 体系

How Buildings Learn: Beijing Hutongs (thoughts on the unpublished chapter)

The hutongs north of Beijing’s Forbidden City have always been my favorite part of the city. Narrow alleyways, curving about, full of chaotic day to day life. Or so, that was my experience hearing my mother’s stories from the early 1980s (as a Hong Konger living in Beijing as it opened up), followed by my … Continue reading How Buildings Learn: Beijing Hutongs (thoughts on the unpublished chapter)

My mental ecosystem: this year’s lessons from Herb Simon

This year, I’ve been fascinated by Herb Simon. We’re on nickname terms, he and I. There is much that Herb Simon should be known for, including: Founding the Business AND Computer Science programs at Carnegie Mellon… and revamping the Psychology program, too Elucidating the concepts of satisficing and bounded rationality (which he won a Nobel for) Developing … Continue reading My mental ecosystem: this year’s lessons from Herb Simon