Friday links, April 9

Next time execs at your company say "innovation is a top priority," show them this tweet:


The source for the bar chart is a 2018 MIT Sloan Management Review article, which you can find here:

This year the US government will allocate $750bn in defense spending using a budgeting process invented in 1961, and which reliably guarantees inertia and incrementalism.  Everybody realizes it's not fit for purpose. Former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, who's been an advisor for the Defense Department, has argued that it's an "outdated, industrial-age budgeting process [that] creates a valley of death for new technology...preventing the flexible investment needed in prototypes, concepts, and experimentation of new concepts and technologies like AI."  And yet it persists. Bureausclerosis in action, my friends:

Competing in time: Ensuring capability advantage and mission success through adaptable resource allocation | American Enterprise Institute - AEI
The keystone of the Department of Defense’s institutional architecture is not acquisition, but rather the budgeting process. Congress and DoD need to cooperate to overhaul the resource allocation process to allow the United States to compete with other nations like China.

"If everything in a large organization must go up and down the hierarchical ladder, bureaucratic arteriosclerosis along with CYA sets in, and that company’s life expectancy is substantially shortened."  

From Jaime Dimon's latest letter to investors, worth a read:

Letter to Shareholders from Jamie Dimon, Annual Report 2020 | JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Letter to Shareholders from Jamie Dimon, Annual Report 2020.

A great overview of Oliver Hart's (Nobel Prize 2016) recent thinking on contracting.  Haier  has taken this general approach to regulate relationships between their thousands of microenterprises.  I've heard Haier CEO Zhang Ruimin cite Hart's incomplete contracts theory on several occasions!

A New Approach to Contracts
How to build better long-term strategic partnerships

Are you seeking to make a positive change in your organization, or catalyze a movement that transcends institutional barriers? Then do yourself a favor & enroll in the "School for Change Agents" by Helen Bevan--one of the leading thinkers and practitioners when it comes to large-scale change.   Starts April 19:

The School for Change Agents - Online Course
Develop the skills to make a difference and create change in your organisation on this course targeted at health and care staff.

You can learn more about the work and Helen do at the English National Health Service here:  (we profile Helen and her work in our book).