Newsletter – June, 2017

On My Mind
Analytics and big data applications sometimes involve the use of an algorithm. They are often referred to as “black box algorithms” because they are controlled in a secretive manner and because they can be considered an organization’s “secret sauce.” Some algorithm archetypes include preference learning, search completion, matching, geographic spread, network connections, topic trending, and missing puzzle piece. For example, a preference learning algorithm recommends an item like a song, book, or movie based on what you’ve selected in the past. An algorithm is basically a model that produces outcomes and so it is important to remember the wise words of Dr. George E. P. Box and Dr. Norman R. Draper: “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.” A recent relevant and interesting book on algorithms is titled, “What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing” by Ed Finn. You can learn more about analytics, big data, and algorithms by reading the research report on “Quality, Analytics, and Big Data” at

Interesting Stories
You better perform or else in the corporate world! Mark Fields was recently replaced as the Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company in part because of the company’s poor financial performance and slower-than-desired pace of technology development related to autonomous and electric vehicles (see the July 23 article by Bill Vlasic of The New York Times). Jim Hackett of Ford succeeds Mark Fields as CEO. Time will tell if he can turn the Ford ship around, but he probably doesn’t have much time to do it.

Company News
The one day public Continuous Improvement for Leaders course was held June 6 at the Crowne Plaza. The next public Continuous Improvement Green Belt course starts June 28. The course brochure is available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. There are some other public events coming, but the brochures are not yet available. A one day Leading Successful Standardization Activities is tentatively scheduled for July 26. The next public Strategic Improvement Master Black Belt course is scheduled to start October 10. The 9th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference is scheduled for October 19. The one day Advances in Strategic Planning course is scheduled for November 9.

Intriguing Reads
If you want a good contemporary textbook on information systems, then I recommend the book Introduction to Information Systems: Supporting and Transforming Business (6th Ed.) by Rainer and Prince. This introductory college-level book can help you develop a foundation to better understand some of the emergent technologies in the world today. I especially appreciated the chapters on Business Intelligence and Cloud Computing and the detailed glossaries of key terms at the end of each chapter.