recentpopularlog in

jerryking : top-down   7

Bolts from the blue test our fragile systems
Andrew Hill YESTERDAY

Resilience, a spokesman told me, was “built into the design”, just not enough resilience to soak up that one-off lightning strike, the original metaphor for everything that seems vanishingly unlikely to happen. Until it does.......Resilience used to be a low priority but only after the 9/11 attacks violently woke all Manhattan businesses and residents to the potential shortcomings of their back-up plans. For a time, we had our own family resilience plan, complete with pre-determined emergency meeting points, and supplies of duct tape, bottled water and canned food. Likewise, it took the financial crisis to galvanise many banks, regulators and governments to think about how to respond to, and protect against, previously unimagined threats [JKC: that is, heretofore "unthinkable"]. All this prepping for uncertainty and change is, of course, positive. But it is also easier than resolving some of the wider pressures that make resilience training essential......our obsession with efficiency.....has made economies more productive, cut poverty and improved living standards. But.....it has also become “the god that we worship unthinkingly”. Efficiency has led to (over)consolidation. Such monocultures are fragile and vulnerable to calamities.....resilient workers are better able to respond to such changes.....but deep down organisations might be hoping that their newly flexible, gritty managers & staff serve in the vanguard of another push for efficiency, without due regard to the system’s safety......Roger Martin’s solutions to such global weaknesses involve adding more friction to the system, from the top down. They include rules to oblige investors to hold stocks for longer, more active antitrust policies, and targeted trade barriers. This would require a degree of intervention and co-ordination that may be beyond most governments.....organisations cannot afford unlimited insurance. ....But in too many places, too many people are running a single, consolidated system, with little or no resilience.
9/11  co-ordinated_approaches  concentration_risk  disasters  disaster_preparedness  efficiencies  financial_crises  fragility  frictions  monocultures  resilience  Roger_Martin  rule-writing  stress-tests  top-down  uncertainty  unexpected  unimaginable  unthinkable 
june 2018 by jerryking
Hidden language of the streets - FT.com
March 6, 2015 | FT| Edwin Heathcote.

Each city has its own visual and filmic shorthand for its streetscape (should read "cityscape"). There are the monuments — the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Empire State Building and so on, but at street level there are markers of urban identity as potent as the great monuments and which, in fact, have a far more meaningful impact on everyday life, as the fragments that form the backdrop against which we live our public lives.
...Street furniture and the in-between architecture that populates the pavements defines the experience of walking through the city. ...Streets and their furniture are designed for an ideal public but they can also be vehicles of control....The question is, what kind of meaning does our contemporary streetscape communicate? Throughout the history of public space, urban markers have been used to convey a sense of place, of centre, connection and of context. ....Then there is a rich layer of what we might call in-between architecture, the market stalls, newsstands, food carts and hot-dog stands, caramelised-nut vendors and seafood stalls. To a large extent these are among the elements that make up the experience of the city yet they are rarely regarded as architecture. Instead they represent an ad-hoc series of developments that have evolved to an optimum efficiency....This layer expresses the story of the desires, the fears, the entrepreneurialism and the attitude to privacy of a city. But the most intriguing thing is that it is simultaneously an expression of the top-down and the bottom-up city.
cities  design  identity  architecture  public_spaces  furniture  cityscapes  iconic  top-down  bottom-up  street_furniture  streetscapes  overlay_networks  streets  landmarks  shorthand 
march 2015 by jerryking
Why Listening Is So Much More Than Hearing - NYTimes.com
By SETH S. HOROWITZ
Published: November 9, 2012

The difference between the sense of hearing and the skill of listening is attention.

Hearing is a vastly underrated sense.... hearing is a quantitatively fast sense. While it might take you a full second to notice something out of the corner of your eye, turn your head toward it, recognize it and respond to it, the same reaction to a new or sudden sound happens at least 10 times as fast.

This is because hearing has evolved as our alarm system — it operates out of line of sight and works even while you are asleep. And because there is no place in the universe that is totally silent, your auditory system has evolved a complex and automatic “volume control,” fine-tuned by development and experience, to keep most sounds off your cognitive radar unless they might be of use as a signal that something dangerous or wonderful is somewhere within the kilometer or so that your ears can detect.

This is where attention kicks in.

Attention is not some monolithic brain process. There are different types of attention, and they use different parts of the brain. The sudden loud noise that makes you jump activates the simplest type: the startle. A chain of five neurons from your ears to your spine takes that noise and converts it into a defensive response in a mere tenth of a second — elevating your heart rate, hunching your shoulders and making you cast around to see if whatever you heard is going to pounce and eat you. This simplest form of attention requires almost no brains at all and has been observed in every studied vertebrate.

More complex attention kicks in when you hear your name called from across a room or hear an unexpected birdcall from inside a subway station. This stimulus-directed attention is controlled by pathways through the temporoparietal and inferior frontal cortex regions, mostly in the right hemisphere — areas that process the raw, sensory input, but don’t concern themselves with what you should make of that sound. (Neuroscientists call this a “bottom-up” response.)

But when you actually pay attention to something you’re listening to, whether it is your favorite song or the cat meowing at dinnertime, a separate “top-down” pathway comes into play. Here, the signals are conveyed through a dorsal pathway in your cortex, part of the brain that does more computation, which lets you actively focus on what you’re hearing and tune out sights and sounds that aren’t as immediately important.

In this case, your brain works like a set of noise-suppressing headphones, with the bottom-up pathways acting as a switch to interrupt if something more urgent — say, an airplane engine dropping through your bathroom ceiling — grabs your attention.

Hearing, in short, is easy. You and every other vertebrate that hasn’t suffered some genetic, developmental or environmental accident have been doing it for hundreds of millions of years. It’s your life line, your alarm system, your way to escape danger and pass on your genes. But listening, really listening, is hard when potential distractions are leaping into your ears every fifty-thousandth of a second — and pathways in your brain are just waiting to interrupt your focus to warn you of any potential dangers.

Listening is a skill that we’re in danger of losing in a world of digital distraction and information overload.

And yet we dare not lose it. Because listening tunes our brain to the patterns of our environment faster than any other sense, and paying attention to the nonvisual parts of our world feeds into everything from our intellectual sharpness to our dance skills.

Luckily, we can train our listening just as with any other skill.
10x  listening  attention  hearing  senses  information_overload  distractions  perception  empathy  signals  physiological_response  bottom-up  top-down  pay_attention 
november 2012 by jerryking
Top-Down Disruption
May 23, 2005 | Strategy + Business | by Nicholas G. Carr.
As Clayton Christensen warns, look out for the underdog — but also beware the leader of the pack.

A single-minded focus on bottom-up disruptions, the model is also potentially dangerous. It may lead managers to overlook a very different sort of disruption — one that emerges not at the bottom of the market but at the top.

In stark contrast to the bottom-up variety, top-down disruptive innovations actually outperform existing products when they’re introduced, and they sell for a premium price rather than at a discount. They’re initially purchased by the most discriminating and least price-sensitive buyers, and then they move steadily downward, into the mainstream, to recast the entire market in their own image. A top-down disruption is as revolutionary as a bottom-up one. But the good news for incumbents is that they have a much better chance of surviving, or even spearheading, the former than the latter.
Nicholas_Carr  Clayton_Christensen  outperformance  disruption  innovation  large_companies  top-down  bottom-up  dangers  dual-consciousness  overlooked  single-minded_focus 
july 2012 by jerryking
Don't Try This at Home
SEPT. / OCT. 2010 | Foreign Policy | BY MARGARET O'MARA. I've
met with officials from Bangalore, Barcelona, Chennai, Dublin, Fukuoka,
Helsinki, Shenzhen, Stockholm, and many American cities as well. They
all want to know the same thing: How did the Valley do it? And how can
we duplicate its success? Unfortunately, there are a lot of wrong ways
to go about building the next Silicon Valley...Yet I still have a hard
time convincing the never-ending delegations of urban planners of the
importance of the other, broader things government can do, like
liberalizing immigration rules and creating an environment full of
educational opportunities and start-up capital for untested young
entrepreneurs. This simply doesn't resonate for many of the would-be
silicon cities being constructed by the Russias and Chinas of the world;
with their long histories of centralized control, they are still
convinced they can order up success.
cities  public_policy  location  innovation  top-down  centralized_control  Russia  China  urban_planning  Silicon_Valley 
september 2010 by jerryking
Innovation In Its Place - Forbes.com
01.13.09 | Forbes Magazine | by Dane Stangler

Cities prosper through spontaneous enterprise, not top-down planning.
cities  economic_development  strategy  spontaneity  planning  Dane_Stangler  San_Antonio  top-down 
february 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read