John Hunter
Photo of John Hunter at Olympic National Park


Posts selected from Management Blog - Engineering Blog - Investing Blog and other blogs

  • Pine Hill Trail, Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia

    Pine Hill Trail is the longest trail in Fraser’s Hill.  I found it to be a wonderful hike. It is quite a bit of up at down at the beginning.

  • Blog Readers (for Reading RSS Feeds)

    If you read blogs and are not using a RSS feed reader you really should try using a reader. It something I can't imagine doing without.

  • Improving Problem Solving

    suggest reading this excellent paper on Improving Problem Solving by Ian Bradbury and Gipsie Ranney. As they note, problem solving is not a substitute for innovation and improvement as solving a problem solving only returns you to the status quo. The paper also considers the relationship between problem solving and system improvement.

  • The Risks of Too Big to Fail Financial Institutions Have Only Gotten Worse

    I think the risks are real and potential damage is serious. Where to hide from the storm is a much tricker question to answer. When in that situation diversification is often wise. So diversification with a focus on investments that can survive very bad economic times for years is what I believe is wise.

  • Apply Management Improvement Principles to Your Situation

    take principles first (and then tools) that are helpful and apply them to your situation/system. The business type will affect decisions (likely software businesses or hospitals will be more similar to those in their industry than others due to some features of that that of business) as will your specific organization.

    If you design a system to have much more cross training of people then it will allow you to take advantage of that compared to another organization that instead focused more on specialization.

  • Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why Placebos Are Getting More Effective

    Medical research presents significant difficulties. The funding of the health care system also distorts behavior and pushes companies to focus on being able to justify selling drugs instead of focusing on finding effective solutions. Even without incentives distorting behavior, the challenges are difficult enough. Adding the distortions just makes it worse.

    It is wonderful we have so many scientists accepting these challenges and spending their careers fighting the odds to help find us wonderful health breakthroughs.

  • Give People Enough Rope (and the Right Rope) to Succeed

    You want systems that let people take on challenges without too many restrictions but with enough support and training that you don't leave them hanging.

  • Investment Options Are Much Less Comforting Than Normal These Days

    I really don’t know of a time more disconcerting than the last 5 years (other than during the great depression, World War II and right after World War II). Looking back it is easy to take the long term view and say post World War II was a great time for long term investors.

  • Police State

    The USA (and maybe other countries) seem to think that police states are only police states if the police are consciously, actively, only interested in evil. Most of those creating and maintaining police states are not evil. They are just doing what they can within the system. The individual actions make sense to someone trying to do good. They just neglect liberty a bit in order to get things done and then a bit more and then a bit more but don't see themselves as creating a new police state.

    The USA constitution has fairly good protections in place. McCarthyism gives a extremely clear example of the dangers when those with power allow a few to abuse the system. And we have many more than a few abusing the system now.

  • Providing background material in advance of discussions

    I see a systemic failure to provide background material in advance of discussions in many organizations.

    In meetings when lots of data is provided on some issue, that normally would be better handled by an email in advance (or could be some reporting system or whatever - but an email to look at urls of certain data...) to let people review the data.

  • Introduction to Fractional Factorial Designed Experiments

    Scientific inquiry is aided by sensible application of statistical tools. I grew up around the best minds in applied statistics. My father was an eminent applied statistican, and George Box (the person in the video) was often around our house (or we were at his)...

  • Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Batu caves is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia. To reach the caves you must climb 272 concrete steps up the limestone formation that make up this site...

  • Security Theatre Thinking is Damaging the USA

    We need our watchman to care about our society. We need them to see themselves as servants of society. We don't need bullies. We need to stop accepting horrible practices from proponents of security theatre and we need to find watchmen in the vein of Sheriff Taylor not those that see SWAT teams as a sensible reaction thousands of times a year.

  • Theory of Knowledge: Can We Trust Our Memories?

    people may well overestimate their ability to predict. They therefore may under-appreciate the problems due to poor prediction. They may also not see that their predictions are not very accurate and therefore should call into question the theories upon which those predictions are based.

    Also this shows the importance of trying to cement the understanding of agreements. Sometimes people will think writing down what was decided in a meeting or in a discussion is not needed because we will remember. But memory is very malleable.

  • Effective Communication is Explicit

    Making communication explicit creates a process that is less likely to result in problems that stem from communication failures...

    Writing on a flip chart what was decided in a meeting along with all the action items (including who is responsible) is another example of a practice to make communication explicit.


John Hunter has experience in management improvement (customer focused continuous improvement, process improvement, systems thinking) and related areas. Since 1995, I have used the internet and internet technology to improve the results of management improvement efforts.

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