Posts in: marshall mcluhan

Book Review: Leaders Make The Future by Bob Johansen

By its very nature, the future has always been uncertain; recently, the level of uncertainty seems to be increasing and leaders can no more be immune for anxiously wonder what it will mean for them than anyone else. Books such as Leaders Make The Future are, perhaps, only to be expected: that Johansen is one of a small number of authors essaying serious attempts to address this audience is to be welcomed.

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I am, therefore I text …

It’s called Jevons Paradox: the more efficient and easy we make something, the more we do it. It was originally applied to coal use (in Jevons’ 1865 book The Coal Question which observed that “It is a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth."), but it can be applied more widely. Adding lanes to motorways increases congestion rather than reducing it: getting there by motorway becomes so ‘easy’ for everyone that we all do it. And then it’s harder for everyone. While we can just accept that an inconvenience is often no more than a convenience we have over-used, there is a more radical challenge: using business process re-engineering to make some things just that little bad harder to do. We can’t predict where life – or work – will lead us, but an over-used convenience sounds like a destination to avoid.

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