The beauty of data visualization (TED)

I have watched David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization and I really like it. It’s amazing how much easier it is – at least for me – to grasp things when they are visual. David quotes Rosling and says “Let the dataset change your mindset”, I like that one.

David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.

Bring on the learning revolution!

I just watched Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution! over at TED. It’s a great speech with an important message.

In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish.

Sir Ken Robinson talks about the need of a revolution in learning, evolution is no longer enough. We need to go from standardized to customized, from industrialized to agricultural (plant a seed and help it grow).

Dan North on Our Obsession with Efficiency

When browsing Øredev’s videos from the 2009 conference I found another one that interests me. Dan North talks about Our Obsession with Efficiency.

The description says:

So here’s the thing, I don’t believe in efficiency. It’s our obsession with efficiency that has got us into the current technology mess, and which has led almost directly to heavy waterfall processes. Efficiency is how you let the big vendors sell their bloated technologies to the poor CIOs.

Dan talks about efficiency (doing things right) versus effectiveness (doing the right things). One of his comments is that Effectiveness is often inefficient.

Hans Rosling: Asia’s rise — how and when

A post at Presentation Zen, Hans Rosling & the art of storytelling with statistics, took me to TED and the presentation by Hans Rosling at TEDIndia.

Hans Rosling was a young guest student in India when he first realized that Asia had all the capacities to reclaim its place as the world’s dominant economic force. At TEDIndia, he graphs global economic growth since 1858 and predicts the exact date that India and China will outstrip the US.

It’s a great presentation, Hans Rosling is terrific when it comes to presenting stats and graphs that really catches the audience attention.

Scott Hanselman on Information Overload and Managing the Flow

The videos from Øredev 2009 are starting to show up. Scott Hanselman had a keynote on Information Overload and Managing the Flow that I missed at the conference but now have seen on video.

The program text says:

As developers, we are asked to absorb even more information than ever before. More APIs, more documentation, more patterns, more layers of abstraction. Now Twitter and Facebook compete with Email and Texts for our attention, keeping us up-to-date on our friends dietary details and movie attendance second-by-second. Does all this information take a toll on your psyche or sharpen the saw? Is it a matter of finding the right tools to capture what you need, or do you just need to unplug.

Scott talks about effectiveness (doing the right things, moving the ball forward) and efficiency (doing things right). He covers many ideas and concepts like email rules, the importance of triage (decide if deal with or not, when), The Pomodoro Technique, Dave Allen’s GTD, Covey’s quadrants and the principles of flow.

Scott also says that the optimal number of threads in a system (including us humans) is one, in other words no multitasking. When it comes to tools Scott recommends Evernote for information storage and Remember The Milk for to-do-lists. Personally I am not keen on computerized to-do-lists, I prefer to write lists by hand.

Speaker at Øredev 2009

I am scheduled to speak at Øredev 2009, an IT Conference for Sharing Knowledge.

Øredev is the premier conference in Europe focused on the software development process. Nearly 1000 programmers, developers, engineers, educators, testers and managers gather to share their knowledge and experience.

My presentation is scheduled on November 5 in the track Aspects of Leadership and is titled Project success by helping project members realize their full potential. I intend to talk about how coaching can be used to improve collaboration in projects. A rough outline is in the program:
• Introduction.
• Laying the foundation and ensuring common definitions.
• Coaching the PM to develop him professionally and as an individual.
• Coaching a project team as a group, as well as the individuals within the group.
• How the PM can develop coaching skills and use them in his work.

This is my first major public speech which is somewhat horrifying. My own learning process will result in blog posts about presentation in this blog.

Update November 8, 2009.
The presentation went well and I realized that I really like the role of speaker, talking about a subject that matters to me. I had the benefit of working with a speaker’s coach and mentor which helped a lot.

Update April 3, 2010.
You can now watch Speaker at Øredev 2009, the video

JK Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech

On Twitter @ColinLewis mentioned the JK Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech from June 5 2008 on the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. It’s a brilliant speech with wit and wisdom, I have listened to it several times already. Total time is around 20 minutes, time well spent.

There are several versions available, these ones have great sound:
• J.K.Rowling speaking at Harvard part 1
• J.K.Rowling speaking at Harvard part 2
• J.K.Rowling speaking at Harvard part 3

This is part 1:

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

TEDx Copenhagen

I am a big fan of TED and TEDTalks. TED has spun off a series of TEDx-events, learn more at TEDx.

In the spirit of “Ideas Worth Spreading,” TEDx is a program that enables schools, businesses, libraries or just groups of friends to enjoy a TED-like experience through events they themselves organize, design and host.

We’re supporting approved organizers by offering a free toolset that includes detailed advice, the right to use recorded TEDTalks, promotion on our site, connection to other organizers, and a little piece of our brand in the form of the TEDx label.

Wemind, @wemind on Twitter, is now officially planning TEDxCopenhagen, see also the TEDxCopenhagen Facebook page. You can also follow @TEDxCopenhagen on Twitter. Copenhagen is close to where I live and this can be a really interesting event.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.