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  • Root Cause - Addressing Systemic Causes Not Symptoms

    It isn't that there is this "true root cause" that created the current problem. There is a way to look at the issue and find a deeper cause that will allow you to address it and improve the future performance of the system.

    Depending on how you look at the problem there can be many different "root causes" that are sensible from their different perspectives. The important thing is by aiming to fix root/systemic problems you will not just treat the current symptom you are dealing with today but eliminate future problems from occurring.

  • Investing in Peer to Peer Loans

    As long as you have a well diversified portfolio of personal loans there is a long track record of the risk. And while plenty of risky personal loans will default, and more will default if the economy has a downturn the interest rates on the loans provides good income even after such losses. And even if things go poorly the actually losses of capital should be small (over the whole portfolio)...

  • 200,000 People Die Every Year in Europe from Adverse Drug Effects – How Can We Improve?

    I think interactions is a hugely important area that needs a great deal more research. Doing so is very complex, which means it isn’t surprising so much more work is needed. The work of my father (and George Box and others) on multi-factorial experimentation is a powerful tool to aid this work (and that connection is likely one of the reasons I find the area of interactions so interesting – along with the realization there is so much benefit possible if we focus in that area more). Previous post on this Curious Cat Science and Engineering blog: Introduction to Fractional Factorial Designed Experiments.

    The human and financial costs of adverse effects are very high. That is why the discovery of new medicines is increasingly focused more on predicting possible adverse effects at the initial stages of developing a new drug.

  • National Museum of Korea in Seoul

    The National Museum of Korea is a wonderful tourist destination in Seoul. I recommend it very highly.

    The museum displays relics and artifacts in six permanent exhibition galleries: Prehistory and Ancient History, Medieval and Early Modern History, Calligraphy and Painting, Asian Art, Sculpture and Crafts as well as one gallery highlighting donations.

  • A Powerful Tool: The Capacity Matrix

    One of the things that I learned about at that seminar was using a capacity matrix to improve student learning. It is one of those ideas that when you hear about it, immediately you realize this is a vastly superior method to those current used. I am cynical/experienced enough to know that just because much better methods are available, and explained to people, is no guaranty they will be used.

  • Backyard Wildlife: Blue Jay

    This is a picture I simply could not have taken before I bought my new camera (a Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Digital Camera with 65 times optical zoom). Birds are still hard to photograph but now at least occasionally I get a decent photo of birds.

  • Teaching Students How to Use Better Management Practices

    I wrote a blog post about critical thinking perhaps being the most important catalyst to successful adoption of continually improvement management practices.

    A system that promotes critical thinking and puts continual improvement first is one that is well on the way to better management practices...

    Teaching the quality tools in combination with critical thinking is a powerful approach. Students that learn to use quality tools to experiment to achieve quality results from system will be well suited to the modern workplace.

  • Location Independent Living Can Be In Your Comfort Zone and a Good Experience

    I think way more it is about this type of thing being in your comfort zone. When I hear people talking about how they stepped out of their comfort zone it seems to me they just aren’t comfortable plodding through an office for 40 years. Doing that is outside their comfort zone. The reason they did something else was because it was in their comfort zone.

    I think there are benefits to shaking things up and trying things you are not comfortable with. I think way more often when people talk about that being successful for them what they really did was shake off the shackles of an uncomfortable situation and found one that is more in their comfort zone.

  • Great Food in Chiang Mai, Thailand

    I found lots of very good food in Chiang Mai. I found 3 places I really enjoyed a great deal (I went to each weekly, or more often). Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant is one of the places I would suggest everyone try. I see it as a highlight of being in Chiang Mai. I rarely find restaurants I feel this way about. To reach this level they not only have to provide great food, atmosphere and service but also capture some of the essence of locale.

  • Don’t Use Short URL Services

    I am against using url shortening services to redirect urls for 4 reasons.

    1. Short urls add a point of failure – they go out of business and the urls go bad (or even worse get redirected to whoever buys the url service domain) or sometimes the short urls just expire and are reused (which is really lame)...
    2. You lose the tremendous information value that a real human readable url provides users...
  • Medical Tourism

    Medical tourism (traveling overseas to get medical care) is growing and likely to continue to do so. The USA’s extremely high costs of medical care push people to find more reasonable health care solutions. Also in some countries the very rich seek out advanced treatments outside their country.

    Seeking more cost effective and more customer focused health care options are likely to lead to booming markets in catering to these customers. Many countries have seen this as a smart market to focus on. And I think they are right.

  • Utopia (Dreamland in the USA) is an Amazing TV Program

    Utopia is an amazing, biting, satirical look at modern office life at the Nation Building Authority of Australia.

  • Spend More Time Doing What You Do Well

    I think often the most productive thing is to spend time working on the system to maximize the use of people's strengths and minimize the use of their weaknesses. This often has a big impact without much effort.  Changing the system can be a better solution than pouring resources into changing people so they fit the existing system better.

  • Standardization Doesn’t Stamp Out Creativity

    Standardization (and reducing variation) are means to improve performance. They are not means to dehumanize the workforce. W. Edwards Deming presented a management system that emphasized the importance of joy in work and encouraged the creativity everyone brings to work. Thinking that creating standardized work processes to bring that about are about making everyone be the same is to completely miss what Deming proposed.

  • Beautiful View of Limestone Karsts in Yangshuo, China

    This is the view from a guesthouse I stayed at in Yangshuo, China. It was a wonderful place, and I also hired the owner as my guide.

    It was a wonderful place to stay. I ate dinner with the family one night. Her son was the driver when we needed a car. I used a bike for some exploring and a guided trip with Amy. I also talked with her high school daughter though I don’t speak Chinese and the daughter’s english wasn’t so strong. We used Google translate to help.