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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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We praise our phones by calling them "smart" then we toss them away, replacing them in their adolescence.

by Rick Baker
On May 9, 2021

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Our technologies are becoming as fragile as our relationships. 

Puppy Love used to apply to puppies...then it morphed toward hand-holding teenagers...now it has morphed toward hand-touched technologies. 


Humour | IT & TECH | Thought Tweets

IoT: an unlimited supply of hands holding utensils ready, waiting and able to feed product and service development.

by Rick Baker
On Oct 29, 2020

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

The Internet of Things [IoT]: Are your products and services hungry for improvement?



Definitions - Spirited Words Defined | IT & TECH | Thought Tweets

About Sticky and Wicked Problems

by Rick Baker
On Jan 11, 2017

While doing some holiday reading, the following caught my attention:

“Wicked problems have these features: It is hard to say what the problem is, to define it clearly, or to tell where it stops and starts. There is no "right" way to view the problem, no definitive formulation. The way it's framed will change what the solution appears to be. Someone can always say that the problem is just a symptom of another problem, and that someone will not be wrong.  There are many stakeholders, all with their own frames, which they tend to see as exclusively correct.  Ask what the problem is and you will get a different answer from each. The problem is interconnected to a lot of other problems; pulling them apart is almost impossible."

"It gets worse. Every wicked problem is unique..."

"Wicked problems demand people who are creative, pragmatic, flexible, and collaborative.”

Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism - New York University; Author - 'What Are Journalists For?', (1999)

The above excerpts of Jay Rosen's thoughts are from John Brockman's ‘This Will Make You Smarter’, (2012)


First, I want to thank my friend George Torok for recommending the book presented by John Brockman. I will share this book recommendation with other friends, who will appreciate the diversity of topics and thought.

PS: I liked the book so much I bought more 'edge.org' inspired, John Brockman books. 


About wicked problems...

The description provided by Jay Rosen describes some interesting problem territory. It captures elite problems that go above and beyond the problems encountered during normal business. At least, I expect the majority of people would think that way. On the other hand, considering the exponential pace of information technology advancement, perhaps all businesses face wicked problems? And, perhaps, the key considerations are whether or not business people have the wherewithal to understand the extent of their exposure to increasingly more-complicated problems and whether or not they have the ability to either evade or solve those problems.

When I first read Jay Rosen's description of 'Wicked Problems' I thought of our discussions of 'Sticky Problems'.

We describe Sticky Problems as:

  • Complicated/complex business problems. People are concerned about the problem even though they may not fully understand the extent of the problem's implications/impact. 
  • Crucial problems that must be solved in order to 'keep up with' the pace of industry-sector change, grow, increase profitability, or gain advantage over competitors.
  • Similar to Wicked Problems, problems that affect multiple stakeholders who have diverse 'frames' and needs. These diverse needs are not necessarily thought of as exclusively correct, however, they are thought of as very important keys to success. 
  • Similar to Wicked Problems, problems that demand people who are creative, pragmatic, flexible, and collaborative.
  • Problems that have a limited lifespan. Sticky Problems are important but not urgent problems. When they become urgent problems it is too late to solve them because the business is too compromised to fix the damage and/or make up the lost ground...unless the business is so well-funded it can weather and survive even perfect storms.


The people at...

All businesses face day-to-day problems. These are a combination of general business problems [finance, HR, etc.] and industry- or sector-specific problems. Most of these problems are framed in urgency. Sometimes the problems are important or involve not-routine work/tasks, however, most day-to-day problems are not important and the work/tasks are routine. [Important/Urgent - Time Management Matrix - Covey]

All businesses that want to grow, improve or be sustainable face both day-to-day problems and Sticky Problems. Many are not aware of their Sticky Problems. Some progressive small- to mid-sized businesses are working to solve their Sticky Problems and disrupt their industry sector. Some progressive small- to mid-sized businesses are working to solve Wicked Problems in order to change the world or make a dent in the universe.

All larger, more-complicated businesses face day-to-day problems, Sticky Problems and Wicked Problems. Most large businesses are working to solve or at least thinking about their Sticky Problems. Some large businesses are working to solve Wicked Problems in order to change the world or make a dent in the universe.


IT & TECH | Solutions & Opportunities

Stopping to think about CRM tools

by Rick Baker
On Dec 5, 2016

Most small businesses want to gain advantage over their competitors.

Most small businesses want more sales.

Most small businesses want to keep track of their operating activity.

And - the operations of most small businesses become far more complicated than outsiders [and most insiders] would have guessed or expected…and much of that complication is unnecessary. Considering this from another perspective, most small businesses do not perform basic planning activities such as SWOT analyses and 80/20 Rule analyses.

Consequently, most small businesses struggle with business development actions and business development results.

CRM to the rescue...

Well, maybe not!

Here's why [not].

There's lots of small-business talk about finding simple and user-friendly CRM tools and using those CRM tools to improve management of actions, improve monitoring of results, and grow a base of satisfied customers. Yet, relatively few of these small businesses are ready to use a CRM system. In addition to the lack of planning introduced above, there are two main reasons why they are not ready for CRM tools:

  1. they cannot [clearly and concisely] describe their existing operating actions
  2. they lack knowledge about CRM tools, in some cases they cannot even define what the abbreviation 'CRM' means

So - let's start by defining CRM.

Here's the definition-picture provided by Wikipedia -

Now, that picture introduces CRM...as long as you agree "CRM" is an abbreviation of "Customer Relationship Management". And, for now, let's work from that base, CRM = Customer Relationship Management. If we accept "CRM" means "Customer Relationship Management" then we should also be able to agree CRM tools/systems do not include business tools/systems for on-line sales/ordering or inventory-control. While CRM does not include these tools/systems, CRM may or may not link with these and other tools/systems.

More about CRM in future Thought Posts...




Business Plan: Writing Plans | IT & TECH | Marketing | Sales | Thinking as in Think and Grow Rich

The Internet of Things: Our IoT Vision

by Rick Baker
On Nov 7, 2016

The 'Internet of Things', you've heard about it.

You may be talking about it, asking “What exactly does it mean?

Recently, that question was discussed at our office, “What does 'Internet of Things’ mean?

At our meeting, Chris Labrador posed a vital question, "In the Internet of Things, what is the main thing?’" 

After some discussion, we agreed - the ‘main thing' in the Internet of Things is People

The Internet of Things [IoT] exists to serve people; IoT exists to deliver value to people…to enhance people’s lives.

IoT is an advanced, multi-faceted tool.

What other things does IoT contain?

The IoT has some fundamental components:

  • data/information,
  • connectivity in the form of wires, routers, switches
  • computer hardware, and
  • software

For more technical details, see Wikipedia’s IoT description.

Why have IoT?

What value does IoT deliver to people?

On the macro scale: IoT will soon be the most powerful tool devised by Mankind…embraced around our planet…by billions of people…delivering value for personal use and delivering value for business/organization/government use.

On the micro scale: IoT will present unique value to each person who decides to put it to good use…imagine advanced person-by-person concierge & valet services…customized thought-concierge & valet services…decision guidance…action recommendations.

The thought-concierge & valet value you obtain from your IoT activity will be different than the thought-concierge & valet value I obtain from my IoT activity.

The First Level of Value is: IoT provides information to people; IoT connects with information and delivers information to people.  This information helps people understand their situations and environments and improve their decisions. Information-value is a subjective thing; decision-making process is another subjective thing. So, to provide the first level of value IoT will learn what information-value means to each person. Then IoT will gather pertinent information for each person. Timing of information delivery will always be a key thing, in summary - the quicker the better.

An example of IoT’s first level of value: today, we use software apps to control our sprinkler systems. These software apps are programmed to ensure the zones in our property are watered at pre-set times for pre-set durations. Without us taking any action, these software apps monitor local weather stations, override the pre-set watering instructions and stop the watering when a certain level of rain is expected or has occurred. These software apps notify us every time our pre-set watering programs are overridden. This very-basic IoT has been created to ensure we do not over-water our lawns and gardens…this basic IoT saves/conserves electricity and water…and that helps our environment and saves our money.

The Second Level of Value is:  contextual consciousness.  In the not too distant future, IoT will gain a level of consciousness…let’s consider that to be the first ingredient of intelligence. Soon, IoT will go beyond understanding the data you are interested in, how to gather that data for you, how to combine it, how to package it, and how to deliver it to you. Venturing beyond these things, IoT will begin to understand why you want this data and your IoT will understand all of the nuances around your 'why', i.e., your IoT will understand your specific 'why'. Your IoT will understand your preferences and why you make certain decisions. Your IoT will be able to extrapolate and interpolate, understand why you change your mind, make basic decisions for you, and hone recommendations to help you as you make your important/advanced decisions. With contextual consciousness, your IoT will automatically improve your personal organization and mentor your personal growth.

An example of IoT’s second level of value: Consider the water-sprinkler example presented above and let’s add a complication: let's say we have two little dogs and one of the watering zones in our yard is called ‘The Dog Walk’. We want to ensure that zone gets as much water as possible. So, every time the software app notifies us it has turned off this zone we [using our smart phone or computer] visit the software app [web-tool] and we manually water The Dog Walk zone. In the not-too-distant future, the software app will gain a small piece of contextual consciousness…it will recognize/learn that we have special needs in The Dog Walk zone and it will automatically adjust itself to (1) leave the watering ‘on’ at The Dog Walk zone when it shuts off the other zones and (2) adjust its note to let us know, “Rain is predicted so we are turning off your sprinklers but, don’t worry – we will continue to water your Dog Walk zone”.

Then…a little later, but still in the not-too-distant future…

IoT will expand its ability to extrapolate and interpolate – it will do even more reading outside the lines and reading between the lines of our actions, understanding why we change our minds, making basic decisions for us, and honing recommendations for our important/advanced decisions…improving our personal organization and mentoring our personal growth.

As IoT uses its contextual consciousness to gain intelligence we will see it take advanced steps. The history of technical advancements, strongly suggests these advancements will happen rapidly and be exponential.

An example of an advanced step: again, consider the above sprinkler system examples. As sprinkler-control companies build IoT value for their clients their software apps will send notes like this to our neighbours who use sprinkler systems, “Some of your neighbours choose to water their Dog Walk zones even when it rains. If you see merit in this strategy, press this button and we will make sure your Dog Walk is watered rain or shine.


The Internet of Things - what amazing things now on all our horizons...coming our way so quickly.




Beyond Business | IT & TECH | Vision: The Leader's Vivid Vision

The short-lived comfort of Avoiding Complexity

by Rick Baker
On Oct 20, 2016

Sure, you are busy and you want to do things as quickly and easily as possible. Speed, ease and simplicity align with your busy life...I mean, your too-busy life. You feel and think too-busy.

So you avoid complexity at every opportunity:

  • rarely digging into details, 
  • rarely building and testing new and better processes and procedures, 
  • limiting interactions for training and educating staff

You minimize the time you spend on planning, let alone planning for future complexity.

Unfortunately, this avoiding complexity approach to your work is moving you deeper into problem-territory. 

Complexity is increasing all around you and your workplace -

  • data is increasing...rapidly expanding the depths of detailed information
  • monitoring and measuring is entering a new era of sophistication, with arrays of remote connections, all pulsing in real-time...shortening the 'information cycle' and exponentially expanding the volume of information to be analyzed
  • connectivity is expanding...the advancing world is embracing the Internet of Things, allowing tech-smart businesses to innovate, create and deliver 'ever-smarter' products and services

You see example after example of quick-and-easy user interfaces built on the shoulders of complex networks of tech-advancements. [For example – just look at the immense power of your ‘smart phone’.]

The trend of tech-advancement is working against you and your business as you try to avoid complexity.

So, it is time to for you to consider a new approach.

Accept the realities of business complexity. Understand these complexities demand your best thinking. Consider the value of building tech-smart thinking throughout your business. Help your people embrace the tech-advancements now at their fingertips. Show your people a vision of your and their tech-advanced future, a better and more-sustainable future laced with tech-smartness…tech-smartness embedded in your people’s minds, your business culture, your products and your services...tech-smartness enjoyed by your clients.

Help your people understand how tech-smartness can remove detailed-and-boring work from their lives and replace it with more-stimulating, more-creative, more-rewarding work. Teach and think in terms of Routine and not-Routine work.

Bring tech-advancement to your business - ensure your people have the opportunity to enjoy more-fulfilling work experiences.


Seek Simple and take advantage of complexity.


INSPIRE PEOPLE - GROW PROFITS! | IT & TECH | Seeking Simple! | Thinking as in Think and Grow Rich

Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.