Yes to equality.

Yes to equality.

On Friday the Near Future principals Keith and Dermot will be voting yes to equality and we’re encouraging everyone do do the same. We believe this is a matter of human rights, and that it should be the case that”“Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” It is a simple as that. The Irish Times summed it up well when saying We devalue many lives by confining them to second class status. We tell children of “irregular unions” they are worth less, and young people struggling with sexual identity that some choices are less valid, trapping many in secret, painful worlds of denial. We tell couples their commitment to each other can never be as deep or valid as the relationships their brothers, sisters, or parents have been committed to. And that the State will not offer them the same protection, the same honour. That is not who we are as a people. We are generous and open, inclusive and non-judgmental. And we are committed to strengthening the institution of marriage. That is why we will vote Yes....
Dubunking some of our notions about support for Science

Dubunking some of our notions about support for Science

We held our first #debunk in the Project Art Centre on the 9th of April.  It’s the first in a series of free morning Near Future events in Dublin where we explore #debunking some of the truism’s that misguide us all in our thinking and decision making. After great coffee and pastries our first speaker Barre Fitzpatrick (pictured above) spoke eloquently on the nature and role of funding for basic Science research in Ireland.  This is a topic of critical importance to Ireland as a society and its place in the world. Barre pointed out that before 1999 we lacked a serious policy and investment in Science. This despite significant achievement in Science over many years. The changed with the foundation of Science Foundation Ireland in 2000 and in some respects the period from 2000-2009 can be seen as a brief golden age for Science in Ireland.  An all too brief period it seems. Despite a decade of work the foundations that were being build are starting to crumble. A letter signed by over 900 Irish Scientists appearing just before our talk served to underline this problem. A key point that Barre made, and is raised by the letter is that By their very nature, such discoveries are not predictable and cannot be prescribed by what the Government calls “oriented basic research”. Equally unpredictable are the areas in which important discoveries will be made. Basic research should be funded on the criterion of excellence alone to ensure a credible and sustainable scientific infrastructure. The Innovation Union Scorecard shows that Ireland According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014, Ireland ranks ninth on the performance of research and innovation systems in the...
Snails, Systems and Slack

Snails, Systems and Slack

Paul Quigley CEO of Newswhip wrote a lovely blogpost about the great Snail Derby of 1998. Faced with the problem of getting the Snails to race in the same direction, an innovative 6yo came up with Snail Trails.  Snail trails. Snail trails are not a product you can buy. Snail trails are a streak of water, placed in front of a snail using one’s fingertip. You see, snails prefer pushing themselves over wet surfaces than dry surfaces. My girlfriend observed that a simple streak of wetness leading directly from the snail’s current position to the finish line kept them on the straight and narrow, so to speak. Snail trails saved the day, and the snail derby of 1988 was a roaring success. Paul goes on to describe how you create snail trails for customer acquisition for SaaS businesses. There is a broader lesson for businesses in the use of technology.  Demming said that “A bad system will beat a good person every time.”  A snail trail is a better system. It’s a very clever use of lightweight technology to reduce friction in a process.  Good systems do that. They reduce organisational friction.  They drive better organisational conversations.   And the value of reducing friction in processes and conversations is very very large. One company that is building organisational snail trails is Slack.  I’m a very big fan of Slack. The value of what it’s is doing is rumoured to be up to $2 Billion. Double what it was worth 12 months ago. That’s part of the value that Slack is capturing. And it reflects a small portion of value that it is creating by building better Snail Trails. /Dermot...
The Emperor’s New Facts

The Emperor’s New Facts

“It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble, it’s the things we do know that just ain’t so.”  Artemus Ward We’re focussed on helping people improve their businesses in Near Future.  And we think a lot about how we might do that. A part of that involves improved thinking, and asking awkward questions.  I’ve found over time that most ideas are logically constructed and the best way to challenge ideas are to challenge the assumptions, the basis on which they’re built.  If the assumptions are wrong everything else falls apart. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert L Sutton wrote a wonderful book on evidence based management a few years ago called “Hard Fact, Dangerous Half Truths & Total Nonsense” which poked holes in many of the modern Shibboleths of management. One of the myths that Sutton and Pfeffer explored in their books was on the nature of Financial Incentives. The evidence shows that incentives sometimes demotivate, sometimes motivate the wrong behaviour and often attract the wrong sort of talent. Even in the best of circumstance are damn hard to get right. Even a company as clever as Microsoft has managed to design disastrous incentive systems that it has now abandoned. We are planning a breakfast event in a few weeks in. It will be on the theme of what we know that isn’t true.  It is designed to break open a few management myths, the Emperors New Facts. The event will be invite only and we have a few open slots, email dermot  @nearfuture.io if you’d like to be included in this or future events that we might...
New Year’s Resolutions and a single thought

New Year’s Resolutions and a single thought

Sometimes its better to slide up on things sideways. Somewhere along the way I got more exercise and improved my weight this year, slightly by coming to them sideways. There’s a longer thank you post to come on some of these things. I’m wary of over general advice because context is everything. So rather than making and sharing a New Year’s resolution (or many) here’s a single thought. An Uncle of mine died during the year. I used to be at a loss of what to say to people at funerals. “I’m sorry for your loss” just never sat right for some reason. It just felt wrong. When talking to one of my cousins I said “be kind yourself. Grief comes in waveSome are strong and deep and some are fast. Let them wash over you and don’t beat yourself up over things. Give yourself time.” I think the thought “Be kind to yourself” is good advice. I’m not the only one. It’s something a friend pointed out to me. If I’d being paying attention I might have figured it out sooner myself. Being a bit kinder to myself in 2013 led to some of the better things in 2014. Shit will happen. Be kind to yourself when it does. And be kind to others too. Image by Marjan Lazarevski on Flickr shared via a Creative Commons...