KPI Blog

Are you deliberately breaking your KPIs?

By Bernie | July 19, 2016

  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…

How to get started with KPIs, even if you have been putting it off for years

By Bernie | July 14, 2016

A confession I know how hard it can be to get started with KPIs. Here’s my confession. As a small business specialising in KPIs I measured shockingly little for the first few years. Having stalled but then later realised the the benefits of my own approach, I think I have insight into some of the reasons behind…

Challenging Jargon: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity

By Bernie | April 19, 2016

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…

Explaining complex things simply: Wise words from Silvanus P Thompson

By Bernie | January 14, 2015

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…

Model showing how management information really works

How we ‘really’ use management information…

By Bernie | September 15, 2014

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…

TSR2 A lesson in how not to design dashboards

Dashboard design – lessons from Britains ‘lost bomber’

By Bernie | September 8, 2014

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…

school closed by snow

Defining KPIs: How the wrong KPI shut schools

By Bernie | May 13, 2014

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…

Performance measurement, biscuits and a cunning sheep dog

By Bernie | June 12, 2013

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…

The Problem with Management Information

By James Lawther | July 24, 2012

My local taxi company has been taken over.  It has been bought out by Taxi-Rank Services PLC. They have started to apply big business thinking to a small business. It is a revelation. As you know, “what gets measured gets managed” so the first job, post take-over, was to apply a little science to their…

Using data to become a millionaire

By Bernie | December 5, 2011

It’s hard to believe, but many companies still see the data they collect as “a drain on IT systems” I really recommend reading this item on the couple behind the Tesco Clubcard scheme. It’s a brilliant tale of using high quality data to give a huge competitive advantage (“it is estimated that since its introduction…