Business Organization

capitalism + collaboration = collabitalism

Evolution of the office

by scott pickard

Preparations are all already underway to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the cubicle into the American office scene. The man called the father of the cubicle — Bob — was asked to characterize the legacy of his brainchild and he said, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The week-long festivities which some are calling the “Super Bowl of Office Furniture” will be held in Toledo, Ohio, which has the largest concentration of Red Roof Inns in the nation. Events will include workshops on cube art, hospitality cubes, a tradeshow showing the latest cubicle designs with a sneak preview of the industry’s new experimental models. The week ends with a gala dinner /dance hosted by once-good-golfer David Duval.

Not everyone is happy with the cubicle, though, and the discontent has sparked a revolution among office thought leaders promoting fresh ideas, such as: (a) telecommuting, the “second office”; (b) sprawling out your papers and laptop and muffin with bits of cream cheese on your table while talking annoyingly loud on your cell phone in a Starbucks, the “third office”; and now (3) the “fourth office,” TBD.

The “fourth office”

Just what the hell is it?  It’s just out of our reach, but visionaries have theories as to how the “fourth” will manifest itself.

“I see it as an office of the mind,” explains Dart Maxn, head curator of miscellaneous things at Milan’s Museum of Heavy Industrial Objects. “No paper, no calendars, no nothing! You carry everything around in your head. If it’s important you will remember it; if not, then you won’t remember it. It’s nature’s perfect system of prioritization.”

“For instance, if you miss an important meeting with your most important client, then you won’t get the sale. So in the fourth, companies will have smaller revenues but there will be no need for wastebaskets.”

One radical idea has been developed by Jason Calpt, parking lot security guard at a Fortune 500 Corporation, in charge of fixing the lift-gates when they break.

“It dawned on me one day that all those cars in the corporate parking lot were sitting empty all day and then whammo, it came to me: every car in the lot is an office!  Think about it. You’ve got space, privacy, HVAC, tunes, and adjustable leather seats.”

in general: boxoffice460 | capital planning/asset management system: | CCTV: Agility Video | search:, regus | shared facilities: wework | virtual office: | working at Google: facilities management: How often does the company evaluate the cost-effectiveness of its branch office(s)? | automated Irrigation: | on-demand asset lifecycle management: | quantified office: Robin used: heavy equipment: questions for landlord: How long have you been renting to the company?  How many square feet does the company rent from you?  Does the company make its rent payments on time?  Have you ever had to contact the company to get your payment?  Does the company maintain the property in good condition?  Would you rent to the company again? books: Corporate Interiors Yee | The Other Office: Creative Workplace Design Stewart

Make a statement where you work by being that person always first to arrive and last to leave the office.

Tickets to the 40th anniversary of the cubicle will be available soon.


RadioShack files for bankruptcy

Development of Technology Innovation  RadioShack files for bankruptcy. Garages are the authentic American fablab. sp | Will Uber’s autonomous cars destroy millions of jobs? Is innovation predictable? Does every innovation begin with a question? What can pirates, terrorists, computer hackers and inner city gangs tell us about the misfit economy?  Where do big ideas come from? Does public scrutiny and high expectations of stock value impede corporate innovation?  Do your innovation teams have a blend of cognitive types? (a) creative’s; (b) detail-oriented; (c) conformists Who is the greatest innovator of the past decade?  How is innovation management handled across the enterprise?  What internal and external resources are used to stimulate and guide innovation?  What percentage of revenues is from new products introduced in the last two years?  Is innovation blocked or stagnated in the company?  Why? (a) too many layers of approval required; (b) bad decisions due to lack of info flow up through the organization; (c) unsynchronized incentive systems; (d) slow response time to customers and market; (e) "not invented here" syndrome; (f) "always done it this way" syndrome; (g) creativity and innovation are driven underground; (h) overall frustration and dissatisfaction; (i) customers are angry and alienated  How fast can a new idea be tried out at the company? Months? Weeks? Days? Hours?  Does the company's new product satisfy the requirements for rapid diffusion into the marketplace? (a) Simple; (b) Compatible; (c) Observable; (d) Trialable  Do we focus our creative efforts toward the creation of value for others?  Do we consistently see opportunity in the face of adversity?  Do we cultivate collaboration through diversity in our social and professional networks?  Do we make the most of our programs for learning and training?  Do we cultivate a healthy work/family balance?  Do we work on becoming good presenters?  Do we have a good understanding of our core competencies and how to focus them on opportunities in the marketplace?  Do we periodically challenge long-held assumptions (assumption busting) to open up possibilities for novel solutions that are rooted in a fundamentally different understanding of the problem? in general: Create a path that makes it easy for good people to do good things, and they will do it. | | digital literacy | conferences: innovation.economist | commercialization: copycats | corporate sponsorship: Shell’s GameChanger | crowd-sourced: openIDEO | design: catapultdesign | digital brainstorming: branddelphi | energy: ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit | enterprise social innovation: 3ds | federal sponsors: NSF I-Corps | follow the patents | quid | games: disruptus | global innovation index: | government impact: Permissionless Innovation Thierer | incentivization | innovation ecosystem | marketplace: planeteureka | museums: nobelmuseum | on-demand management: acceptsoftware, brightidea | resources: strategos, centricsoftware, ninesigma | product lifecycle management:, rymatech, | states: illinoisinnovation | students: Design for America, hackathon | team building: | timeline: stages of evolution | ultra high-speed networks: gig-u | young innovators: Disney's Big Hero 6 - XPRIZE Challenge academic research: Research Excellence Framework REF breakthroughs: FAST’s top 50, popular science top 100, Wharton’s 30 over 30 disruption > obsolescence: What added value does your retail outlet offer the customer today vs buying real-time/online? | A Total Disruption | Blackberry | creative destruction: ice > refrigerator | devices: sliderule | education: imagine K12 | gigaomnetwork | publishing: The Great Amazon Debate salon | retail: RadioShack bankruptcy | taxis: Uber |  top 10 | trends: techie xprize: Revolution through Competition | exponential innovation: overview | big ideas | tricorder books, articles, essays, portals: Abundance Diamandis | Closing the Innovation Gap Estrin | Creating Innovators | Epistemology of Innovation Vojak | fastcoexist | Open Innovation Chesbrough | Reverse Innovation Govindarajan | Ten Steps for Innovators Houtman | The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel Fallows | The Innovator's Dilemma Christensen | The Medici Effect Johansson | The Power of Two Shenk Retail | Jobs | Entrepreneurship

What added value does your retail outlet offer the customer today vs buying real-time/online?


Finding a neutral party to facilitate a merger of two businesses

by scott pickard

I wanted to run something by you, which may or may not be something you want to do or you may not have the time. But I thought of you immediately and think that you are well suited to this task.

I have a very good long-term friend who recently asked for my help to identify someone who could facilitate a negotiation between my friend and another owner with the goal of merging their two respective businesses. They have in effect reached a “gentleman’s agreement” to merge the businesses after having teamed together on some research proposals for the last two years and been very successful doing so. They’ve been talking about this for the last two years. Now they just need a neutral facilitator who can help them close in on the best plan and legal framework for merging the two businesses into one, and that’s where you would come in.


I can give you a few specifics:

  • These two businesses are both involved in highway pavement engineering and research.
  • One is located in Portland Oregon; and the other is located in Tampa Florida.
  • The two companies are of the same approximate size, each generating $800K – $1M per year in revenues and they are both profitable.
  • The two owners feel that the companies complement each other perfectly.
  • Both the owners and staffs are compatible and have already worked together.
  • The two owners are certainly prepared to pay the going rate for professional services of this kind.
  • I don’t think they are looking for any further capitalization, but I do know that they want to grow the merged business.

These two Owner/CEOs are looking for a trusted third-party to help them talk through the process and reach a consensus on the best way to merge their two companies from several perspectives: legal, operational, strategic, and financial/tax.

If you are willing to consider this, I would like to suggest your name because I believe you have the integrity, personality, insight, and overall business background to help them pull these pieces together and agree on a plan of action so that they can go to their respective attorneys and say, “Here’s what we want to do, draft an agreement that we can sign so we can get started.”

So, what do you think? I’ll give you a call and see if this is something you’d like to take on.


Board Governance: Champaign Public Library

Preservation of Knowledge Libraries Let this be a holy place for the human spirit consecrated to the forces which magnify the soul. Edmund James History 21st century advocacy: EveryLibrary censorship disruption: Libraries: At the EpiCenter of the Digital Disruption Kinds of Libraries Library architecture Library materials digital content magazines: zinio streaming: hoopla Interlibrary relations The Library profession and professional financial sustainability: local fundraising campaigns organizations: Center for the Future of Libraries | IMLS in general: Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) | Micro-libraries: Little Free Library sharing | beautiful: The 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World, 20 Beautiful Private and Personal Libraries Change | think2ool | Books | Digital | Future | Innovation | Search

Champaign Public Library

Scott Pickard joined the library board in October 2013.

Describe the importance of public libraries.
I often run past the UIUC underground library, and one day I stopped to read the words inscribed on the stone wall: “Let this be a holy place for the human spirit consecrated to the forces which magnify the soul,” and, “Books are alive to the man who knows how to use these sources of inspiration and power.” The clarity and truth in these quotes has made a lasting impression on me and emphasizes so well the importance of libraries.

Describe your background and what you bring to the board.
My background is a combination of engineering, entrepreneurship, and writing/editing. I have served on many for-profit and non-profit boards, so good governance is a special interest of mine. My family has lived in the same house for 30 years only blocks from the CPL, so this library has played a special role with our family and my kids growing up.

Tell us a little bit about your family, pets, etc.
My wife Karen and I have been married 42 years. We have three children and three granddaughters. I’m an avid runner, tennis player, golfer, traveler, reader, writer, and tinkerer.

What have you read, watched, or listened to lately?
Read: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Watched: The Golden Globes, mostly to see and hear the comedy genius of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I listen to NPR just about all day, every day.

Due Diligence List

Due Diligence List has over 2,000 good due diligence questions organized under fourteen major functional areas of the business.  There is also a sister book, Leaders Ask Good Questions, which has the same questions organized alphabetically.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

by Scott Pickard

People still like to do business on the basis of good faith and a handshake.  The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can put in writing what you want to do based on common sense and plain english.  It should be one page, take you less than 30 minutes to write, and you’re off and running.

Methods of Business Organization Legal Information and Compliance Antitrust | Arbitration | Competition | Compliance to Regulations | Content Security | Contract Signing Authority | Cybersecurity | DIY | Employees equal opportunity | Financial | Government Contract Administration | Intellectual Property | Knowledge crowd | Law | Lawsuits | Methods of Business Organization | Network | Nonprofit Organization | North American Free Trade Agreement | Outsourcing | Purchasing | Recycling | Regulations | Risk Management | Sarbanes-Oxley Act | Taxes | Truth-In-Advertising | Water Are backups of all key documents in a secured, disaster-proof location?  Are the board minutes up-to-date and secure?  questions for lawyer(s): What is your evaluation of management?  Is management listening to your best advice?  What has been the trend in outside attorney fees for the last three years as a percentage of revenue?  Is it reasonable?  Is the company's cost for carrying inside counsel resources reasonable? environmental regulations: Have any environmental regulation violations or warnings been given to the company?  What actions are being taken to resolve the problem(s)? The cost?  Is the company a candidate for accreditation under the ISO 14000 standards?  Is the air quality odotech of the plant internally and externally in compliance with relevant environmental laws?  What percentage of the company's revenues is spent to maintain air quality to mandated levels?  Is it reasonable or getting out of control? | carbon monoxide detection: | EPA Regulations: | smartphone sensor in general: ABA LawLink: | corporate counsel: law | create documents: | digital signatures: echosign | enterprise document management: intralinks |  FindLaw: | Hieros Gamos: | Lawyer Locator: | outsourcing:, | SEC :, class actions | spend management: Federal/State Codes: Code of Federal Regulations: | State Code: | Tax Code | US Code: regulatory agencies: Has the company ever been a defendant in any enforcement proceedings by regulatory agencies?  Any actions threatened or pending?  Is the company in compliance with all federal, state and local laws?  What are the troublesome occupational hazards for the company?  What has the company's record been with past OSHA inspections? Any fines?  Has the company corrected all violations? waste production and disposal: How much and what kinds of scrap or waste are generated by the production process?  How is waste/scrap disposed?  Is the company in compliance with environment control regulations for each type of waste or scrap byproduct?  Are there any major capital requirements needed in the future to maintain compliance? Has the company allocated funds in the long-term financial plan?  Has the company ever had an industrial spill?  Does the company carry sufficient catastrophe insurance? | residential: thebagster |  medical wastes: Stericycle | optimization of pickup: enevo | solar compactor: godawn | treatment and recycle: newearthsolutions


On “leadership” when it’s not

by Scott Pickard

On the occassion of Ted Bishop being ousted as president of the PGA of America after sending an insensitive tweet directed at Ian Poulter a day earlier:

I guess I’m not as complementary of Bishop’s “leadership” in the midst of the storm. His letter takes accountability, but he still uses it as blatant self-promotion on the way out the door. You and I have both seen so many “leaders” and politicians that are incorrigible self-promoters and/or hacks caught in their own screw-ups and scandals (but really, this isn’t a screw-up, it just reveals who he is or he would not have said it) and they never really apologize and just keep moving forward either in a state of denial or perceived invincibility.

Sports Golf When will you shoot your age? Is golf a sport? who cares, we love it in general: big hole golf | Fedex Cup | foot golf | handicap: formula | magic | online game:, Virtual U.S. Open | outings: player grid sp | PGA: pgatour | performance: priming | Ryder Cup: Ryder Cup, Ryder Cup Diary 2012 sp | rules: smartphone, videos | sand: soft sand, hit hard; hard sand, hit soft | social: topgolf | speed golf | soul of the game | trends: The Future of Golf | youth: Drive, Chip & Putt courses: top ten: Chicago books: Golf Rules Finder sp Entertainment | Equations | Change | Unequivocal | Gaming | Family My guess is, it’s not the first time Ted Bishop has made eyes roll among his staff, constituents, and most importantly, his board of directors. You notice there wasn’t much hesitation in the board’s response. For just once I would like to hear one of these guys (like Blagojevich, Clinton, Bishop, Christie, and the list goes on and on), say, “I screwed up, all my fault, I’ll take what’s coming to me, goodbye,” and just leave it at that.