Category Archives: Snips

Leanings toward heresy

Complex and Simple
By acknowledging that societal issues and solutions are complex, do we then believe complex solutions are the only options? Is it true that a complex issue cannot have a simple solution?


Data is neither good nor bad. It offers no explanation and on its own cannot provide a definitive sense of progress or under performance. We determine such judgement by holding pieces of data in comparison to one another. We are selective. We have to be, but what we select is also always about what we do not select.  I suggest that is what we do not select that is often the real culprit when it comes to spin.

Sometimes our love of data is not as strong as our love of data that affirms us.


Understanding is not agreement or disagreement. Mutual understanding about an issue or a condition or a model is not strategic alignment. We move too quickly toward strategy without understanding one another, which results in positional arguments based primarily on one’s interests, biases, experiences, and individual perspective pitted against another’s. I am not saying that taking positions is avoidable or even should be. I am wondering what position-based exchanges might look like if those holding opposing or conflicting positions actually did so from a foundation of understanding one another.


Models are not plans or prescriptions, far less recipes. They are organized ideas gathered into a structure that the modelers put forward based on research, evidence, best and emerging practice and their own ingenuity. They are not meant to be followed as much as they are offered to you as consideration. They are well articulated suggestions that are not intended to be followed in a rote manner.

All models are imperfect. Their genius is revealed in how you use them to build your purpose and the work necessary to fulfill intent. In other words, you are the genius of a model, unless of course you fall short of your expectations.

Follow me @mjholmgren

Snips: Wager. Think. Data. Face Book.


I bet that homeless people don’t sit in a circle in the back lane trying to define poverty before they can go seek shelter and a sandwich.



When we talk of the marginalized, we marginalize them even further.



Data points at signals and combines together into patterns that often defy our assumptions. Data is not truth. It cannot generalize the human condition or human potential. As soon as data becomes our religion, it becomes false hope at best or worse a restraint used to deny innovation its possibilities and impact.



Face Book’s feature that displays what you posted on Face Book one, two, three years ago from “today” hardly ever offers me anything to re-post.

I did get a message once, however, that offered: Nothing again. Get a life.


What’s Different About Me?

I saw a colleague at a meeting. He said, “Something is different about you.”

I shrugged. I had no clue.

He kept looking at me.

“Hey,” I said. “You’re staring at me.”

He laughed.

I laughed.

We joined others for our meeting.

Half way through, he leaned over, grinned, and said, “I just realized what’s different about you.”

“Okay,” I said. ” I’ll bite.”

“It’s your hair,” he said.

“My hair?”

“Yep,” he said. “It’s combed.”