Book review: Strategy and the Fat Smoker.

Strategy and the Fat Smoker David Maister, 2008 David Maister is the undisputed guru of professional services firms, and this is his greatest work yet. The premise is very simple: every professional firm has much the same vision, strategy and operating principles. Yet few firms ever deliver on these promises. This is the metaphor of the "fat smoker": we know what we need to do as individuals (and as organisations), but the hard part is actually doing it. Drawing on 20+ years of work in this space, Maister has seen far too many organisations struggle to do what they know

Book review: The Myths of Innovation.

I've just had my book review of The Myths of Innovation published on Boxes and Arrows. To quote: Innovation is a hot topic at the moment. Actually, innovation has been a big thing for last hundred years or more, but perhaps we needed the profusion of business magazines and books to bring this observation into sharp focus. With the tech sector on the ascendancy (again), driven in part by the Web 2.0 movement, examples of innovation are everywhere. We've moved beyond the notion of the knowledge economy to recognize that innovative ideas can be the foundation for disruptive business models.

Book review: Organising Knowledge — Taxonomies, Knowledge and Organisational Effectiveness.

Organising Knowledge: Taxonomies, Knowledge and Organisational Effectiveness Patrick Lambe, 2007 Taxonomies are often surrounded by an air of reverence and mystique. Traditionally seen as the domain of librarians, recordkeepers and botanists, they are now hot property in business circles, but no better understood. Patrick Lambe's book sets out to systematically address these issues, by introducing, explaining and exploring taxonomies. Coming from a background as a librarian, knowledge management expert and consultant, Patrick draws together many topics to provide a rich view of taxonomies in the real world. This is not a how-to manual. While a strong overall methodology is outlined

Book review: The User is Always Right.

The User is Always Right:A practical guide to creating and using personas for the webSteve Mulder and Ziv Yaar This is a book drawn from the experience of having created many personas for a wide range of different organisations. More than that, the authors have clearly been creating great personas that have had real impact on the websites they support. In a very practical way, the book works through all of the core aspects of personas. How they work, when to use them, the benefits of personas and what they look like in practice. This is all written in a

Book review: What’s the Big Idea?.

What's the Big Idea?Thomas H. Davenport, Laurence Prusak The concept of this book is a fascinating one. Rather than just looking at a single "great idea", it explores the "marketplace of great ideas", investigating what makes a good idea, how to select these ideas, and how best to put them into practice. In an age when gurus are all too commonplace, this is a topic of considerable interest. The book promises to cover a number of important topics, including: distinguishing promising ideas from rhetoric refining ideas to suite an organisation's particular needs packaging and selling the idea internally ensuring successful

Book review: The Content Management Handbook.

The Content Management HandbookMartin White The best thing about the Content Management Handbook is that it provides something that has been missing for some time: a simple and clear overview of the whole field of content management. While other books have delved in-depth into specific aspects of content management, Martin White's book aims to provide a 10,000 foot view of everything that goes into a successful content management implementation. Martin is one of the leading vendor-neutral intranet and CMS consultants in the UK, and his experience shines through in this book. This is not just the "sales pitch" for all

Book review: Leading Change.

Leading ChangeJohn P. Kotter It is widely recognised that organisations are under greater pressure than ever before to adapt to meet new conditions and challenges within their marketplaces. This has spawned many change management projects, reorganisations and strategic realignments. Most of these have failed. This book takes a much-needed look at how the process of organisational change must operate if it is to have both short-term impact and long-term sustainability. At the core of the book, is a eight-step process: Establishing a sense of urgency Creating the guiding coalition Developing a vision and strategy Communicating the change vision Empowering broad-based

Book review: Observing the User Experience.

Observing the User Experience Mike Kuniavsky This is a book I definitely enjoyed reading. More importantly, it provides a practical and pragmatic perspective on how to research user needs, in the context of a broader user-centred design process. I would certainly recommend it to anyone new to the field of usability techniques. The book focuses on a number of key user research techniques: user profiles focus groups usability testing surveys card sorting log file analysis For each of these techniques, details are provided on how to setup and conduct the activities, as then analyse the results. Tips and examples are