My Week

Hobson’s choice

Saturday before last as I stood in line to vote, the woman next to me said she did not believe that either of the major parties had policies that were helping Australia. I said that view was widely shared. Between us we decided to vote for the Party that fielded a local female representative and also a federal female representative on the basis that if we had enough women we could moderate the most egregious of  profit seeking decisions and instead focus on proposals that helped people. The election results were hardly cheerful in that regard. 

Yet the sun still shines, the leaves turn russet and gold, and we continue to do our best.  I cannot complain. Any week in which you reconnect with an old friend and also solve a month’s long problem has to be a pretty good week.

David Ness – and the impact of overbuilding

I am a member of Research Gate, an academic organiation that keeps track of citations of your articles so you know who is using your work and what they are doing.  Even though I ceased to be an academic years ago, every week I get one or two citations and this past week I discovered that David Ness, one of my first PhD students, and now an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia, was launching his first book ‘The Impact of Overbuilding on People and Planet” published by Cambridge Research Scholars.  We had lost contact with each other years ago as both of us busied ourselves in our own work and David travelled extensively in Asia whilst my own travel was mostly Europe and North America.   I rang to congratulate him and we met for coffee and talked for hours.  A happy time. I will tell you about his work in my Wednesday post.

A problem solved.

A couple of months ago while I was in Melbourne to promote the ideas we were developing in Talking Infrastructure, Sally Nugent (the former CEO of the Asset Management Council) had suggested that if we wanted people to think more seriously about infrastructure decision making we would do well if we could develop a framework that others could use, and also find a way so that the fruits of their application of the framework coud be made widely available so that all can share in the learning.  I had to agree it was a great idea, but at the time I could not think of how we could do it.  So it sat on the back of the head as ideas do.

Meanwhile I had met Kate Quigley (at a bus stop!) a visiting American who was teaching Civil Aviation Management at the local campus of the University of South Australia.  We discovered we shared an interest in teaching the art of creating good questions and she asked me if I would speak with her students. I agreed, and in designing an approach that I thought would be both educational and entertaining I thought of the hypothetical I had created for EAROPH in Brisbane and designed a question version that would lend itself to classroom teaching.  As I thought about this it seemed to me that it also fitted Sally’s requirements.  With Laura Mabikafola,General Manager, Skills Lab, (a Sage Group company), we are now in a testing phase, but it definitely seems to have promise for application not only in a lecture theatre but also within organisations or associations.  Early days yet, but I will post more after we have done our testing.

Reading

David Ness: ‘The Impact of Overbuilding on People and Planet”

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