The Pile for January 19, 2010

The Pile is our weekly guide to what we’re reading to become better managers.

Booz open collaboration“Open” is the management word of the moment, even more so than “green.” Every company claims to be open, some actually are, and we’re developing a special report on radical transparency (visit our LinkedIn group to be part of the discussion). Amidst the hype, it’s helpful to read a sober piece that lays out the pros and cons of going open. In The Promise (and Perils) of Open Collaboration, from strategy+business, Andrea Gabor calls on the usual examples (IBM, P&G) and spells out seven strategies to make it more likely that your open initiative will succeed: craft a leadership message, collaborate with your customers, build an open culture, cultivate continuous improvement, build a flexible innovation infrastructure, prepare your organization for the new skill sets, align evaluations and rewards. Granted, each of the items on that list could fill a full article, but the piece provides a good roadmap for those going open.

RoslingPart of being an effective and open manager is telling people what you’re thinking. There are few people better than that than Garr Reynolds, who we spoke to as part of our special report on design thinking. So when he suggests you pay attention to the way someone presents, you should pay attention. In Hans Rosling & the art of storytelling with statistics, Reynolds shines a light on someone who proves that statistics don’t have to be boring. Watch his talk!

And not only his. Finally, here’s not something we’re reading to become better managers but something we’re looking at to become better managers. We’re big TED fans here and we’ll be covering its marquee conference next month in Improvisations, and the website that serves as a public hub for the conference has recently gotten much better, adding a slew of tremendous videos not associated with TED and, just this week, adding TEDMED videos (TEDMED is an independent conference that is sort-of related to TED in ways too convoluted to describe here). Go to the site now; in two hours you’ll wonder where the time went.