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Back to the Future with Mick Jagger

By Shlomo  Maital  

                  Mick Jagger young        Young Mick

Mick Jagger old Mick age 70

 On July 26, Mick Jagger will turn 70!    You wouldn’t know it from his tours and stage appearances.  It’s the same Mick/Rolling Stone as they were in the 1960’s, when they were a counterculture bad-boy opposite to the clean-cut Beatles.  

   One of my all-time favorite columnists is Financial Times’ Lucy Kellaway, who always has a unique, and sometimes funny, perspective on things.  Here is her ‘take’ on what we can learn from Mick Jagger.   I would add:  He was an economists student, around the time when I was too.  But he did what Nietzsche recommended: “Become who you are!”.   (He became a rocker).    I did not.    Alas. 

     “There they all were, ginormous and wearing just the sort of clothes the Stones ought to wear and playing “Gimme Shelter” just as it sounds on the 1969 LP Let It Bleed. It’s true that you could also see the deep furrows on their faces – but those merely served to mark time and make the lack of any other change all the more remarkable.   The Stones’ tour should be made into a business school case study on when change is called for – and when it isn’t. Change is good if it means being better, faster, cheaper – if it leads to clearer sound and cleaner images. But in anything that touches our emotions, change is a very bad thing indeed.  This applies to rock bands – and it applies to chocolate. The other day I bought an Orange Club biscuit and felt a similar surge of gratitude on finding it identical to the ones I used to have in my packed lunchbox. Equally, when I went to a Clarks shoe shop recently and found the original blonde desert boots with the same orangey stitching and white soles, I would have bought them on the spot, only my feet – like Jagger’s face – seem to have collapsed and spread out and so they no longer fit.   We notice when the things of our youth are tampered with, as that was a time when our memories functioned perfectly. Every word of every Stones song is preserved forever in the aspic of my cerebrum – unlike, say, my newest computer password which never seems to get purchase at all. The Stones wisely don’t mess with our memories, unlike Bob Dylan, who spitefully and perversely performs his old songs as if defying anyone to recognise them.”



How to Get a Child to Intensive Care Fast?  Check Out Formula 1

By Shlomo  Maital  

                       CHINESE GRAND PRIX F1/2008 -  SHANGHAI 18/10/2008  Red Bull Formula 1 Pit Stop

    If you wanted to benchmark world-class best-practice teamwork under time pressure – where would you look?

   How about Formula 1 racing, where a pit stop to change tires can take …only 40 seconds (all four tires) or less?   Check out:

   In today’s Global New York Times (July 8:  Global Manager – The importance of being imperfect), Julia Werdigier interviews Jan Filochowski, who heads one of the world’s greatest children’s hospitals, Great Ormond St. Hospital, London. 

    He had a problem: How to transfer kids, after open-heart surgery, from the operating theatre to intensive care, super-fast (this transition is the riskiest part of the whole procedure).  Here is how he defines the problem, and his innovative solution:

    “In order to operate on the heart, we have to take the heart offline and operate on it for a while. It’s incredibly risky, and the riskiest time is the transfer from the operating theater to intensive care. Everyone had done everything they could to get that riskiest moment down to 9.5 minutes, but they were thinking that this still was too risky. Then one of the staff said, “Let’s look in a different area altogether. I love motor racing and Formula 1, where they manage to change all tires in a pit stop in 40 seconds.” So we invited Ferrari and McLaren (two Formula 1 car racing teams), and they came and looked at our procedures. As a result, we reduced our change-around time by another 1.5 minutes to 8 minutes. It was very exciting. It turned out that everybody needs a very precise task that they do without any variation whatsoever. By applying those techniques, we were able to do something that was impossible.”

    This is creative thinking.  Ask, how can we do this differently?  Better? Faster? Who can help us?  Look WAY beyond your nose, way beyond hospitals, to …race tracks!   Look for places where seconds are absolutely crucial (a Formula 1 race can be won by only a second or two). 

    No, you don’t need to invent the wheel to be creative.  Sometimes you just need to learn how experts change them.

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
July 2013
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