Two Speed World: The impact of explosive and gradual change - its effect on you and everything else Paperback – 22 Nov. 2010
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About the Author
Gerald Ashley is an advisor, writer and speaker on business risk and decision making. He has over thirty years experience in international finance, having worked for Baring Brothers in London and Hong Kong, and the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. He is now Managing Director of St. Mawgan & Co which he co-founded in 2001, a London-based consultancy specialising in strategy consulting, risk management and decision making in finance, business and risk-taking. He is a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle Business School and a regular contributor in the press.
Terry Lloyd has spent over thirty years in the world of business development. Trained as a mechanical engineer, he joined Rolls Royce Aero Engines in the compressor design office, before joining the Mechanical Engineering Department of Nottingham University, within a team solving technical problems using early computer systems. During his time there he was awarded his PhD. He then moved into mainstream computing where, at Perkin Elmer, he helped to design and develop the first commercial software suite for mini-computers. From there he moved in to financial software including trading room technology and financial data. He is now a director of St. Mawgan & Co.
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This book provides you with the grand context of change, exploring how it happens and what it means to divide changes into either incremental or disruptive, with copious erudite and well-researched examples and metaphors. My copy has many scribbles in the margin where Ashley & Lloyd have stimulated my thinking. Just occasionally I disagree with their analysis or observations, or that of their references ... and that is the point of books like this, to make us really think about stuff and form our own opinions and frames of reference.
I have referenced this book twice in my own book on the people factors of change ( How Can We Make This Happen?: Successful Change Through Incentives and Trust ), for their discussion of messes, problems and puzzles, and for their thoughts on the necessity and difficulty of future-gazing to anticipate disruptive change. If you want a set of instructions on how to run a project, go buy a manual. If you want a mind-expanding discussion of the nature of change in historical, scientific and economic contexts, then this book should be on your shelf.
The first half of the book forms a thesis exploring the two velocities of change, the consequences of each and the overall case for ensuring the right approach is adopted when one plans for the future. The short punchy sections and chapters are perfectly structured for easy absorption - it keeps the reading experience light and flowing despite the broad and deep nature of what is being described (innovation, evolution, disruption, adaptation...)
Eventually though I admit I felt the case was well proven and I was desperate to get into the second half where the focus is on what one can actually do to prepare for change. This section forms an excellent grounding in a range of tactics for considering and creating possible futures rather than just waiting for it to happen. The book doesn't aim to provide in depth methodologies - its value lies in giving a breadth of possibilities one can take away and explore. Its nice to feel that one is not just the hapless victim of unexpected and disruptive change, there are choices whether for the individual or for an organization.
The gentle style is a real positive here, it never feels like one is being battered over the head with an evangelical "true path" or single solution. Openness to myriad possibilities and the desire to engage with uncertainty in a positive fashion are the great strengths of this book and the authors' ultimate gift to the reader.