Best Practices and Meeting Specifications are Orwellian

Orwellian” is an adjective describing a situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. Orwellian can be deceptive and manipulative use of language.  It is Orwellian when words do not convey meaning but corrupt meaning.  This causes us to alter our perception and create a false reality. (see video)

Most of us know this happens when many politicians speak.  It is however very common in our language. Health Centers are Orwellian because they are not where we go for health, “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being”, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) but are places to treat sickness. Health  is “…not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”  There are many more examples. For instance I am reading more about quality management methods and a recent section discussed best practices and another talked about specifications.  These are examples of Orwellian terms.

Best practices and meeting specifications are the same idea in different contexts.  Best practices are generally for a service organization and meeting specifications is for a manufacturing organization. Do these practices produce the best outcome?

If we review the idea, at best, these methods would help the employee and organization achieve what is considered the minimum acceptable, NOT THE BEST.  Despite being called best practices, what would you call practices that are not the best but acceptable?   The idea  of “Best Practice” also halts a search for improvement because if it is the best practice, why search for better ways?

Higher quality or quality management practices as espoused by W. Edwards Deming means lower costs and increased productivity.  This definition is different than the general understanding and is another example of Orwellian talk. High quality is not just meeting specifications or doing what is considered best practices it is instilling continual and never ending improvement through innovation.

Meeting specifications, therefore, is the bare minimum, NOT high quality. 

Innovation is the way to improve.  Innovation, however can only happen after statistical control is achieved through reduced variation.  This means the process will produce a predictable outcome, something not possible without stability.  Innovation comes from improving the process with better methods.

Whether we are discussing products, services, or life, it is all about the process.  Do not let Orwellian speak keep you from taking action that will result in better outcomes.  Our lifestyle is our process. By continually improving our lifestyle process, the product of a better life will take care of itself.  Study, learn, and experiment so you can innovate and improve the process of your life. As you continually improve the process, the result will be a better and better outcome.

For me the way to continually improve my process is to find ways to cause all good by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic, interactions so everyone and everything benefits or the Practice of Paneuegenesis. I encourage you to engage in the practice so you can “Make it a Great Week!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

 

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The World is Moving Forward – The US Is Distracted…

For those of you who follow me, you know NYT Columnist Thomas Friedman is one of my favorite writers.  I learn a lot from him.  In his November  28, 2017 column:, “Forget Trump and Discover the World“,  he demonstrates how other countries are making big strides in creating a better tomorrow by moving forward.  For instance, India is developing its digital 21st century economy and we are missing it.  He points out how India is also building a new renewable energy power grid without any US technology.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who want to preserve coal jobs, this 800-megawatt solar farm “was built with over 5,000 skilled and semiskilled workers,” said Kolli. “We believe the renewable energy sector will create over one million new generation jobs to meet the 175-gigawatt target set by Prime Minister Modi.”

Greenko builds these plants, he added, “in five months using Chinese panels and European inverter-grid integration technologies made in India.” (Notice the absence of U.S. technology in that loop.) Greenko is also making huge strides in battery technology to store solar energy, so it can be used when the sun is not shining, and the company is now in the midst of building the first grid-connected battery storage system integrated with its solar farms.

For me his points are captured in his last paragraph.

So while we’ve been following Trump’s tweets about bringing back “beautiful coal,” India built a billion-user ID network bigger than Twitter and giant solar power plants that are cheaper than coal.

Isn’t interesting how we are focused on how to recapture the past and the rest of the world has focused developing a better tomorrow.  Creating a better tomorrow has been the focus of all my work.  That better tomorrow is an idealized outcome we must imagine and then create.  For our desired future to be realized, the necessary precursors, such as a clean energy power grid and an organization of digital information technology must be in place.

A way to make this happen is …

Practice Paneugenesis using this 4 Step to Process

  1. Determine Desired Idealized Outcome
  2. Develop Necessary Precursors to make Desired Outcome Possible
  3. Optimize the Process to Develop Skills and abilities that  Precursors possible, and
  4. Plot Progress to document, demonstrate, and celebrate Improvement

The world is moving forward toward a better tomorrow.  It seems our distractions are causing the US to be left behind.

We can move forward and contribute toward creating a better tomorrow.  The first necessary step is to look past what is wrong and imagine what could be, that idealized outcome.  We then must roll up our sleeves and work hard toward creating it.  As I have documented, moving forward to create more positives, effectively eliminates, makes irrelevant and or effectively prevents problems. In this way, even if problems aren’t a problem, we all get to enjoy the better tomorrow developed.

I look forward to hearing about the progress you make in generating comprehensive improvements by practicing pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic acts by practicing paneugenesis.  This means you are creating all good so everyone and everything benefits!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

There are No Problems — Just Opportunities

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.                                                  – William Shakespeare

If we want a better world, we should take action to make it so.  To make it so, Einstein suggested:

The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.  ~Albert Einstein

and…

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” –Albert Einstein

In other words, there are NO PROBLEMS – Just opportunities to improve…  Once again it is perspective.

Our perspective can change from how to find and fix problems to imagining what could be and how to make it so.  As Simon Sinek suggests…

Before we can build the world we want to live in, we have to imagine it. Greatness starts with a clear vision of the future.

and…

We have to dream. How else will we make a future that does not yet exist?

In other words, we must use our imagination to think about how to create better.  Marienne Chism describes the change as creating:

Creating is different from problem solving.  As long as therein a problem to focus on, we spend time and resources making new policies and fixing what is broken.  As long as there is a problem that has been fixed, there will emerge in its place yet another problem to be fixed.” – Marienne Chism from “No-Drama Leadership: How enlightened leaders transform the workplace”

Creativity is needed because:

Intelligence looks for what is known to solve problems. Creativity looks for what is unknown to discover possibilities. – Simon Sinek

Bad things happen that need to be fixed, however we should always work to create more good. An example of how they are doing both  in Vermont is in the video, enjoy!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Robots Will Empower Us, They Won’t Take Over

Will we invent a computer smart enough to replicate itself and take over?  I guess it is possible, however we can also use computers for good.  The computers of today can help us be better versions of ourselves.

Together we can do so much more. Together today means working with technology.  Thomas Friedman refers to it as “intelligent assistance”. We often believe we need to do things ourselves to get it done right, however together we can do so much more because computers can help us unlock our potential.

The possibility of good or bad outcomes are always possible.  Using computers has made it more likely we can generate improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  We also have seen the potential of the harm it can cause.

I am finding with my research, intelligent assistance can help students and schools perform better and that computers can help people increase engagement in health behaviors.  I am building and testing applications that provide ntelligent assistance.

Maurice Conti’s TED Presentation, “The Incredible Inventions of Intuitive AI” clarifies this concept.  It

I look forward to sharing results from my research with you soon, please share how you are using intelligent assistance to improve your lives.  Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

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Healthy Fast Food? Will it work?

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Will this be a trend?  Amy’s Drive Thru is offering local sourced healthy, organic fast food at a restaurant.  Many of you have probably already seen her products at your local grocer.  Here is the menu of the restaurant.  Below is the FastCompany article about this new restaurant.

If you have been to this restaurant or not, please share your thoughts about the experience and or idea.

America’s First Meat-Free Fast-Food Restaurant Is Getting Ready To Expand

Launched two years ago in a small town in Northern California, Amy’s Drive Thru has been a runaway success–much to the surprise of the owners, who now hope to take it nationwide.

BY EILLIE ANZILOTTI5 MINUTE READ

Off Exit 484A on 101 North through Rohnert Park, California, you’ll find the usual roadside offerings: There’s a Burger King and a Taco Bell, and marginally more exciting, there’s a Chick-fil-A and an In-N-Out Burger. But right off the road that bisects the interstate, you’ll find a fast-food restaurant that’s like the others only in format. Amy’s Drive Thru is America’s first vegetarian, organic, gluten-free-optional fast-food restaurant, and much to the surprise of the owners, it’s doing more than holding its own against its greasy competitors in the Rohnert Park off-ramp complex.

Business has been so booming at Amy’s Drive Thru in its two years of operation that it’s beginning a franchise. A new location is slated to take over an abandoned Denny’s further south off the 101 in Corte Madera in 2018, with an eye to five more Northern California locations soon to follow. The ultimate goal, director of operations Paul Schiefer tells Fast Company, is to open Amy’s Drive Thrus all across the country.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

A nationwide franchise of Amy’s outposts was far from inevitable when the company first began to mull the idea of a drive-through location a few years ago. For 29 years, the Petaluma, California-based Amy’s Kitchen has gained a cult following as a purveyor of family-style, vegetarian frozen meals, from macaroni and cheese to burritos, all handmade fresh in three operating facilities across California, Oregon, and Idaho, and shipped nationwide. The ingredients are sourced locally and organically, whenever possible, and the recipes are not put through the usual taste-test-and-tweak ringer; instead, they’re often sourced from employee’s family recipe books, and given a green light if a handful of Amy’s staff agrees that it tastes good. “There’s something about all culture’s home-cooked food that really speaks to everyone,” Amy’s food researcher Fred Scarpulla Jr., who started at the company in 1996, tells Fast Company. The go-with-your-gut, family-centric approach, Scarpulla says, makes Amy’s unique, but translating that ethos into a fast-food joint able to compete with the mass-produced likes of Burger King posed a challenge.The things that make franchises like Burger King and McDonald’s so ubiquitous are low costs and efficiency. Look at a menu in one of those restaurants, and you won’t see a lot of specialization: Sure, there’s a gluten-free option, but it’s a burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf, not in a gluten-free bun. And good luck finding anything vegetarian or vegan. They know their market, and they mass-produce to meet it accordingly, driving down costs in the process.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

Amy’s, Scarpulla says, has never been about driving down costs, or ignoring more niche markets–instead, it’s prioritizing sustainability and quality as its core values. The drive-through is powered by solar panels, and the tableware is recyclable. Using mostly organic and local produce for ingredients is more expensive, but it’s what customers expect from the company, and while Scarpulla admits that Amy’s makes little to no profit on its gluten-free options like pizzas, the owners, he adds, “have always felt that there’s a service piece to our business, and that’s to serve people who don’t have other options.”Instead of a swift-moving, utilitarian kitchen, the culinary operation at Amy’s Drive Thru is necessarily divided into thirds, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options all prepared separately so as not to cross-contaminate. Whereas a standard fast-food restaurant has around 15 employees per outpost, Amy’s Drive Thru employs over 90 because it takes many more people to prepare the food. Even so, all are paid at above minimum wage, and with full benefits. And with a single-patty veggie cheeseburger clocking in at $3.99, just around a dollar more than the McDonald’s offering, Amy’s is not exactly pitching itself to a higher tax bracket.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

With all those considerations–wanting to keep prices low, hold onto their values, and not cut production quality or staff–Amy’s Drive Thru, at the beginning, was just hoping to stay afloat and break even. “There were a number of us at the company who were involved in the planning, and before we opened the first location, we threw around a couple revenue numbers that we would have considered ‘a success,’” Scarpulla says. Though Amy’s does not release financials, Scarpulla says the company doubled or tripled those numbers in the first year alone, and have been breezing past them since. “It’s just been ridiculous for us,” he says.

When Scarpulla started at the company in 1996, this would not have been the case. But in recent years, he says, he and the staff at Amy’s have noticed an uptick in interest around plant-based foods, and an increased awareness of the harm meat does to the body and to the planet. While Amy’s has emphasized the home-cooked, family-style nature of its recipes over the fact that they are all vegetarian or vegan, Scarpulla has found that people lately have more naturally gravitated toward the health aspect of its offerings–a trend that has certainly carried through in the success of the drive thru; other healthy fast-casual ventures, like Everytable in Los Angeles, and this salad-based drive through in Arizona, have also benefited.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

A true cross-country empire of Amy’s locations is still far off, but Scarpulla is optimistic that the company can make it happen. The company wants to expand slowly, to ensure that they can partner with local farmers and producers around each location (Scarpulla is particularly excited about indoor growing ventures for sourcing organic leafy greens), and to understand where the drive-throughs could have the greatest effect in breaking up health-food deserts. But the fact that the company is beginning to plan for this kind of expansion, he adds, is symbolic in and of itself. Drive-throughs are some of the most stereotypically American places to consume food, and right now, “when you think about drive-throughs, it’s all so focused on industrial meat, and one quick look at that industry is enough to tell you that it’s pretty nasty,” Scarpulla says. What if quality, local, meat-free fast-food could come to be seen as just as all-American as a Big Mac?

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Updated: Hope for a Way forward so Everyone & Everything Benefits – John Oliver Agrees

Climate talks inspired this post.  Remember, the earth will be fine (see Did we give up? Hospice for Earth? We Need Better!), humans ability to live here however may be compromised if we do not find better ways.  While many are disappointed about the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement, there is hope.   Despite no carbon legislation in the last decade, we have dramatically reduced emissions (see Great Read: Climate of Hope by Bloomberg & Pope)

What may help increase efforts was a plan conservatives are offering a possible solution based on Carbon Dividends, “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends“.  They claim this plan should reduce carbon emissions and help us be able to live better.  This plan is authored by noted conservatives James A Baker, III, Henry Paulson, Martin Feldstein, George Schultz, Ted Halstead, Thomas Stephenson, N. Gregory Mankiw, and Rob Walton.  Authors also provided this column  in the NYT’s about the plan and TED Talk  below.

I am learning.  I am surprised Republicans offered a taxing solution. Despite flaws, at least this proposal brings republicans into the conversation about doing something about climate change. There does not seem to be a consensus about this plan so I hope you can share what you know.

There are many questions about this plan. Dave Levitan of Scientific American offered Conservative case for carbon dividends: Republicans offer to tax carbon emissions, others offered these: American Enterprise Institute offered The Deeply Flawed Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax, EconoMonitors Ed Dolan offered The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends: A Bad Marriage of Two Good Ideas? and the Atlantic’s article, The Republican Carbon Tax Is Republican, Say Republicans suggests republicans may be an obstacle here.

In a FastCompany article, they suggest Pulling Out Of The Paris Agreement, Trump Just Threw Away America’s Biggest Business Opportunity and how it is the opposite of winning.  Another FastCompany article suggests, Solar And Wind Energy Aren’t “Alternative” Any More.  And citing what people are doing, another FastCompany article, that relates to my post Great Read: Climate of Hope by Bloomberg & Pope, explains how Defiant U.S. Mayors Vow To Uphold Paris Climate Accord. Other thoughts about the decision to exit the Paris agreement include: Bill McKibben  and NYT’s columnists David Brooks and Paul Krugman on June 2, 2017.  NYT Editorial Board offers Our Disgraceful Exit From the Paris Accord.

Here is another great FastCompany article, Green Jobs Are Still The Future Of Work After Trump’s Paris Accord Pullout, about how green jobs are more dominant than fossil fuel jobs and how cities will help us meet Paris protocols.  Bloomberg even pledged money to meet our obligations on the Paris protocol.

This linked note from the mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris also pledged “…the only way to do right by Pittsburghers and Parisians is to abide by the principles of the Paris Agreement…”

In the recent episode: Paris Agreement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver  related information is shared.

No matter the value of this proposal and the US exit from the Paris Accord, I hope these actions will inspire more to work together and develop a way forward so everyone and everything can benefit.

Choose to Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Conventional not Organic Farmers Should Pay a Premium

To practice paneugenesis means to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  Incumbent with these efforts means we will also be redesigning reality.  To redesign reality this means we need to build a better system that supports, encourages, nurtures and reinforces improvements.

To build a better system, a system must have multiple interdependent parts that can function as much on their own as possible while also contributing to making the whole system better. That means that each part contributes to the whole system and does not take from, or is a detriment to it.

This past week I attended the first East Carolina University Sustainability Symposium.  It was excellent.  While being inspired by speakers and from discussions with colleagues, we realized a way we could help redesign reality to improve the system and encourage paneugenesis.  A discussion with Anna Martin, Program Coordinator at the Water Resource s Research Institute, led to this post. The symposium and related discussion yielded these ideas to generate improvements…

Currently, organic farmers pay a premium to grow and sell organic food – while conventional farmers pay nothing additional.  This also translates to a higher cost to consumers for organic food.  Thus it is a deterrent from buying or growing organic food. Despite the premium costs associated with organic foods, reports suggest purchases of organic foods are growing dramatically, over 100% per year.

From a systems perspective, organic farmers are a positive contributing interdependent component of the whole system.  Organic farmers improve the system while contributing to it, by providing healthy food to humans, without taking away from the whole system.  Conventional farmers on the other hand are not able to function without getting external inputs in the form of petroleum fertilizers to be able to produce their output.  The fertilizers then hurt the whole system in many ways such as contributing to climate change, leaching carbon, and by hurting other species such as bee’s and in many other ways. (see figure below)

Assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming in the four major areas of sustainability.

Assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming in the four major areas of sustainability. Source: Nature Plants 2, Article number: 15221 (2016) doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.22it

Obviously, having contributing organic farmers pay a premium while damaging conventional farmers pay nothing does not make sense.  After thinking about it, we realized a simple change would yield a better system.  Instead of having organic farmers pay to grow their food, have conventional farmers who pollute the land, water and air with petroleum based insecticides and herbicides pay the premium. Currently conventional farmers defer those costs to consumers and citizens who pay for it with damaged water, air, and land which leads to a lower quality of life and additional disease care costs for all.  In addition this situation creates a system that nudges or encourages people to make unwise choices.

Despite a system that gives organic food a disadvantage, consumers are choosing organic foods and science indicates it is better for the people, land, water, and air.  To improve the system, shouldn’t the polluters, so-called conventional farmers, rather than the organic food producers, be the farmers who pay the premium?  Costs to grow organic food are rightly used for inspections and the certification process.  It seems it would make more sense to charge farmers who choose to pollute the food and land to pay for inspections and certifications.  This then means they could avoid that premium by growing food organically instead of growing food by adding ecologically damaging petroleum based herbicides and insecticides.

If  polluters paid a premium, the system would change from encouraging the use of polluting methods to supporting, encouraging, nurturing and reinforcing health promoting practices.  Such a change could have dramatic positive effects on the quality of our personal and planetary health. This change would also make organic, not petroleum laced food, the less expensive and natural, or default choice.

Contact your senators and the USDA to advocate for smart policies like this that support, encourage and reinforce agriculture practices that contribute to healthier personal and planetary health. Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

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