Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-10-20 - 10:28 p.m.

My appalling time management is still catching me out - especially with the Learning Grid Research Strategy. I have got an updated strategy paper and written up the survey we did last Sunday at Goodwood so that it bears some relation to the strategy. Tomorrow I need to visit Capt P so that the documents sit suitably in the knowledge-management system and (I fear) this weekend I need to design the next survey (which will be done in a week’s time) so that it hangs together logically. We also have a work out a graphic summary of what is emerging so that people can easily see the emerging headline results.

I have got hold of a list of criteria from a Californian group which sets down the sorts of ability and attitude which makes for great product leadership. That is - what kind of person is needed to develop a successful new product in a fast moving globally competitive market place, I think this is going to be a key part of next Saturday’s survey.

The Manufuture draft strategy arrived yesterday and I went through that highlighting the points at which it touches LG. There is a conference in Derby in early December - like the one that I went to in Milan two years ago and we are deploying the LG as a leading edge example of Manufuture thinking (which I genuinely believe it is). I managed to book myself into it by the skin of my teeth. Next week we are getting together in Loughborough to work out the UK position on the draft.

Earlier this week, to help give me some momentum on some of this, I put a version of the LGRS on Wikipedia to see what would happen. It got marked for deletion on account of it being original research within their categorisation. Fair enough.

Today I sat in on the first team meeting for developing the new qualification in supply chain management. On the one hand this doesn’t sound very exciting - but the whole point about globalisation is that it involves globally extended supply chains - and they don’t work unless they are properly managed. I thought the team was pretty good as a matter of fact.

I managed to find out more about how the manufacturing strategy on the Bentley is working. Although Nissan plant in Sunderland counts as the most productive in Europe it all depends on how you measure the goal The Bentley plant in Crewe is amazingly productive in terms of value added per person - maybe two and a half times Sunderland. Part of the reason for this is that there are craft processes there which do things to the car interior which make it highly desirable - literally creating value in the eye of the (well-heeled) purchasers. Anyway I learned more about the way that the European supply chain operates for Bentley - what happens where across Europe and why.

Amidst all this utilitarian reflection I seem to have slipped into a new ‘platform’. Platform-theory is an aspect of that Californian style of thinking about new products. Successive ‘new’ products have an organizational commonality eg in terms of the capabilities required to create them - these capabilities evolve less rapidly than the products do - and this represents the platform. Platform evolution has implications for knowledge management. Unfortunately Manufuture has extended the platform metaphor in a way that is likely to cause confusion.

My platform used to be based on cheap versions of Cubase but I have migrated away from that. For various reasons I have been wondering about going back - and I have been keen to find out what the current cheap version is. The market has shifted since the last time I looked. I think they have decided that cheap versions of Cubase are too cheap - and they are dead right. If they sell the version two year’s old for a tenth of the price it is a cracker in terms of value for money.

So I started to trawl around and I have stumbled across Making Waves which is a kind of tracker-sequencer. The first sequencer I learned on the Amiga was a tracker - MED from Finland. I have downloaded the free version of MW and I am seriously tempted to upgrade to the twenty quid version. Why is this? Well - for a while I have been working with Wavelab - its very immediate for software - you get a good sense of intimate engagement with sound. I am looking for something that gives a bit more packaging round a Wav but doesn’t completely destroy the sense of connection.

The version I have downloaded includes a really nice old softsynth with lots of control of sound fundamentals. I still haven’t got my Casio CZ101 repaired - and this thing is like a CZ101 with two levels enhanced functionality. I feel very attracted to it - feel I want to put pieces into that environment and expand them.

I have a new interim car. It feels like a boat. It has French diesel engine - in fact it’s the French company that’s collaborating with Ford on new generation diesels. I am very sad not to still have the old car but I have to say that EBTG Walking Wounded sounds well on the stereo - one of the few features that I can work out how to control. I am really beginning to wonder how they put that stuff together.

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