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Once a team of accountants runs their ruler over your business, you can bet your bottom dollar that first they will be looking at the assets in terms of plant & equipment and stock in the warehouse. Second, they will then look at the intangibles such as software, trademarks and goodwill. There will be scant consideration paid to people – those ‘strange entities’ not on the balance sheet. Or if they are on the balance sheet, it will be in terms of liabilities such as pensions, health...

I watch my 12yo daughter with some bemusement when she expertly uses Google to search for information for her school projects. She is reluctant to use my favourite source of information – books from the local library. There is a massive paradigm shift that is occurring at present where people are using search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to secure the knowledge, information and data they require by simply typing a request into a search engine. This is called fingertip...

Well; the great move to our new home up the road was (sort of) completed yesterday. To 1031 Wellington Street. Things had got untenable at our older offices with everyone sitting on top of each other or sharing desks and computers over the day. Hopelessly painful.

Thanks to young Miss Sumi MacNaughton for engineering the move with such panache. Lots of stress and sore backs but everyone jumped in with great enthusiasm.

It is a well recognized truism that science, engineering and technology are critical to economic growth for a country. So it is vital that we see a continuing flow of good engineers and technicians into industry. In 2001, the British Government commissioned an important study into "the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematical skills". The report's findings highlighted a significant fall in the number of students taking physics, mathematics, chemistry and...

I am currently travelling with a roadshow, presenting short information sessions in various mining towns in the Australian outback. It has been quite fascinating to learn what is happening in these rural towns, particularly with the massive growth in China in mind.

What was especially striking, here in outback Australia, is the enormous demand for minerals and the incredible engineering skills shortage that has arisen as a result.

There is no doubt that the boom in mining and demand for...

Last night, we enjoyed a great evening with our two kids playing in a school musical evening. The one in a choir (much to his chagrin) and the other playing the violin. What struck me about these very young adults is their  incredible ability to absorb knowledge and skills. Also their open ness to new concepts. As we have all heard before - like sponges. Over the past week, I have delighted in teaching my boy (9yo) the essentials of differential calculus. I believe when presenting in an...

After running an engineering conference with 80 odd engineers, in the beautiful surrounds of Sydney harbour and its yachts, I reflected on why some of the presentations were outstanding and others dull.  The presenters were of a similar caliber with identical resources. The presentations which lacked luster used a plethora of powerpoints and words, often delivered in a monotone and all compressed into an hour – slides were thrust out to the bemused audience in machine gun succession. And...

Stop pouring your money into formal training without pausing to consider the other far more powerful options. The US Bureau of  Labor Statistics (1996), indicated that people learn 70% of what they know about their jobs informally. Not through formal courses. Or training workshops.

According to Jay Cross,  formal training accounts for only 20% of what people learn at work. Was it wisely spent ? In many cases, I doubt it. Our experience leads us to believe that a two day short course is...

As engineers and technical professionals we are all trained to be logical and rational and rely on proven facts in making decisions. The approach with engineers is to vigorously apply the blowtorch to any concept which is rather nebulous  and stick to solid engineering design practise. However as Margot Cairnes, an Australian leadership strategist recently  pointed out: ‘This often means being conventional, boring and underperforming (when creating solutions to difficult problems). In a...

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