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KPI Blog

How to Measure Just About Anything

How can we use the wisdom and experience gained by the makers of Sesame Street, the chief librarian of the Library of Alexandria and Blue Whale researchers help us measure just about anything? To find out the answers to these questions (and learn how a Nobel prize wining physicist used piano tuners to improve the…

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How Hewlett Packard ruined Ghostbusters for me

I like silly I love films. I’m quite happy to suspend disbelief for a couple of hours and watch something silly. That’s how I found myself sat in the cinema with my kids last week waiting to watch the remake of Ghostbusters. I was in a good mood until this advert for Hewlett Packard Enterprise appeared…

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Are you deliberately breaking your KPIs?

  We value your feedback… I’ve noticed an interesting trend when shopping: A practised extra tip or helpful comment by the sales assistant, shortly followed by a slip of paper being passed to you with a web link for leaving feedback. A sales person explaining that you will get a follow-up customer satisfaction survey and confiding that…

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Challenging Jargon: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity

Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University, had a theory. In the spring/summer 1996 he tested that theory with an article he had submitted to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The article was “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”. In that article he theorised that quantum…

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Explaining complex things simply: Wise words from Silvanus P Thompson

A good friend of mine showed me his treasured copy of ‘Calculus Made Easy’ by Silvanus P Thompson, first published in 1910. Here’s the front cover…   First published in 1910, here are some wise words on explaining complex things simply from Silvanus… CONSIDERING how many fools can calculate, it is surprising that it should…

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How we ‘really’ use management information…

Model showing how management information really works

When we are kids we have models of how we think things work. For example, stick people with arms coming from the middle of their bodies or the sky being a thick blue line across the top of a drawing. As adults we still carry lots of models in our minds, including how we use…

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Dashboard design – lessons from Britains ‘lost bomber’

TSR2 A lesson in how not to design dashboards

Part of being a geek includes dragging your family round aircraft museums. Wandering round the Imperial War Museum in Duxford last week I came across an impressive looking failure – the TSR2. Britain, like many wealthy countries, has a long and grizzly history of defence projects going wrong. The TSR2 was envisioned initially as a…

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Defining KPIs: How the wrong KPI shut schools

school closed by snow

Defining KPIs clearly is crucial. Badly defined KPIs have unfortunate side effects. The cobra effect is one of my favourites. Most people agree that going to school is good for children. This means that there is a government focus on truancy as a measure. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons why children cannot get to school. One such reason is snow. A singular focus on truancy…

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Performance measurement, biscuits and a cunning sheep dog

I have always thought sheep dogs were intelligent. I didn’t realise, until recently, that they are smarter than me (well, at least one is). A while ago I was walking with a friend. Her sheep dog, a Border Collie called Harvey, was with us. After 10 miles or so Harvey seemed to be flagging. She…

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