Monthly Archives: July 2006

TED Talks 2006

The TED conference is posting videos of their talks. TED was founded by Richard Saul Wurman in 1984. To quote the TED site:

>TED was born in 1984 out of the observation by Richard Saul Wurman of a powerful convergence between Technology, Entertainment and Design. The first TED included the public unveiling of the Macintosh computer and the Sony compact disc, while mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines with his newly discovered fractals and AI guru Marvin Minsky outlined his powerful new model of the mind. Several influential members of the burgeoning ‘digerati’ community were also there, including Nicholas Negroponte and Stewart Brand.

The TED Conference 2006 videos are very entertaining. My favorites so far (I haven’t watched them all yet):

  • David Pogue – very funny talk on usability and design. One inteteresting point that he makes is that computers used to be used by experts alone. That has changed and everyone uses a computer now. Interfaces must be designed simply and intuitively for multitudes to use.
  • Sir Ken Robinson – Another funny talk with dry British wit about our schools and how we are ceasing to teach creativity. I think that he has a very good point. I am an I.T. Architect. I am also an artist – I paint and draw, and a designer. I have the ability to think about spaces and forms and shapes and interconnections. My art skills formed parts of my brain which are important to my work as and I.T. Architect. My abilities to visually represent complex systems (modelling), to see larger patterns and to find connections. What happens when our children lack these creative skills? Will they be able to think of creative solutions to the issues that world faces?
  • Larry Brilliant – I’ll quote the TED site: “TEDPrize winner Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist who led the successful WHO campaign to eradicate Smallpox.” His talk is rather amazing. Scary but amazing. It makes you want to quit your job, sell everything and take off to save the world. It is wonderful that we have people like Mr. Brilliant on this planet.
  • Han Rosling – this is an amazing talk. Mr. Rosling has developed software – Gapminder – that brings epidemiological and global census data to life in wonderful and creative animations. Absolutely marvelous. I wondered at the software and I learned a lot about the complexity of world.

The TED talks are a marvelous resource. Go and enjoy some of the best and brightest.

Centers of Excellence – Human Integration

I was struck by a line out of a Burton Group document that I’m reading.

>… the creation of user groups… are the human equivalent of a technology integration strategy.

In Service Oriented Architecture, I.T. Portfolio Management and Model Driven Architecture; Center’s of Excellent (CoE) are a key part of the infrastructure. A key to the CoE is that it has broad representation and derives its expertise from both technical and business experts. A key outcome of forming CoEs is that you begin to form integration points between the PEOPLE in various parts of the enterprise. The CoE should bring in end-users and business experts and connect them with the correct technical experts.

DoIT (the Division of Information Technology at UW-Madison) spends 62% of our budget on interfaces and integration according to our Deputy CIO who handles finances. I wonder what part of our budget is spent on integration and interfacing the people within the enterprise?

One of the key things that I.T. Architecture does is to help form these integration and interfaces. We try to gather input from across the enterprise. We form groups with representatives from business, end-user and technical areas to formulate road-maps and gather requirements.

I guess this quote made me realize the importance of this activity and the importance of the various Centers of Excellence that we are working towards.