We have to keep improving management practices. For me, there are three streams that I’m working on: the management of unknown-unknowns, the creation of intelligence-led project management, and challenges of transforming great visions into practice.

As background, I’m a creature of two worlds. My career over the last 25 years has been in management, handling ambitious and difficult situations. My fiction writing has focussed on espionage stories.

The things I’ve seen at work have influenced my fiction. And now the fiction is influencing the work. A poetic circle.

Managing unknown-unknowns

Unknown-unknowns are the surprises that we couldn’t realistically have predicted.

That’s different to the predictable risks to which we can estimate and manage. It’s also different to the improbable risks which we optimistically hope won’t happen.

Managing unknowns is about handling the unknown with professional efficiency. And understanding the limits of existing methods of managing project risk.

Intelligence-led methods for improving management practices

Sometimes we have to take projects that are absurdly ambitious. The conventional tactics are to stop the project as quickly as possible, or get the senior stakeholder to underwrite whatever goes wrong. That could include costs, delays and reduced ambition. The incorrect tactic is to pretend it’s under control, then run away when things get bad. That leaves the pain for other people.

There’s now an alternative, that works in some situations: use intelligence-led project management. It uses well proven techniques from the intelligence profession, and adapts them to industry.

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Transforming visions into practice

Business entrepreneurs have ambitions that need to be developed into a profitable reality. Intrapreneurs in large companies have visions of change that need to be “operationalised”. Political leaders see structural changes that need to be incorporated into existing systems, or replace them. And social visionaries use public opinion and existing systems to bring about change.

I’ve worked with entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, converting their dreams to reality. And I watch the political leaders and thought leaders with fascination.

The articles and stories coming here will explore visions, and how they’re converted into practice.

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