Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lessons from the Ig Nobels

The 2009 Ig Nobel winners have been announced. While science isn't usually my realm of expertise, I still find the research results of the Ig Nobel Laureates to be valuable. This year's winning research contains several significant PHB-relevant knowledge:

VETERINARY MEDICINE PRIZE: Dairy cows called by names give more milk than cows that are nameless. What's true of livestock is also true of employees. Cows give more milk when you refer to them by name, just as employees get more work done when called by name. I make it a point to use a person's name when giving instructions or critical feedback. "Bob, finish up the TPS report pronto!", "Brenda, why can't you do something as simple as take dictation?", or "Bill, you're going to have to stay late tonight to implement this new program feature we need." When you call out employees by name, they know you're paying personal attention to them and will get more done.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Pregnant women don't tip over due to spine anatomical adaptations. It turns out humans have evolved a particular lumbar spine curvature to account for the shift in center of mass of pregnant women. That's good to know. I was always annoyed at the coddling treatment pregnant women get. They're adapted to standing up and perfectly capable of continuing to work on their feet. Now, I've got evidence to shut people up when I suggest that women not take a load off and continue to stand and work like the rest of the productive workforce.

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas
. I personally know all about crappy research, but this example of crap research really takes the cake. Sometimes you strike gold in a stinking pile of poo. I can totally relate to the researchers of this project. I have to sift through mountains of crap work from my employees. Despite the immense amount of dung, I do usually find something usable. Even the stinking pile of software my company releases has a use somewhere. If there wasn't value even in crap, I couldn't continue running my company.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Joseph M. Scandura, incompetent moron, idiot, pompous, stupid, failure, asshole, arrogant, bullshit, micromanager of the year, technologically clueless, ignorant, condescending, senile, dementia