Blog: Postman Pat has called
Dave Leggett | 4 June 2004
A couple of things in the post today stand out from the usual circulars. One is a review copy of a book from MIT Press, ‘The Second Century’ (‘Reconnecting Customer and Value Chain through Build-to-Order’). I thought BTO had been done to death, but this book is described as a ‘vital follow-up to The Machine That Changed The World.’ That really was a seminal work on lean production that came out of the International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP) in the early ‘90s. The new book is also based on IMVP-funded research and has some pretty good testimonials on the sleeve, including one from Machine's leading light, Dan Jones (I wonder what he's doing now? - he seems very quiet these days). I will try and find the time to read The Second Century over the next few weeks, if for no other reason than to see if there's anything new in it.
I’ve also got something from Toyota Europe that takes a little time to get one’s head around. I think it’s basically all about corporate citizenship and a major league jamboree in Barcelona that lasts the whole summer. Toyota is a leading sponsor of the UNESCO-supported ‘Universal Forum of Cultures’. The event’s three core themes are:
· A celebration of cultural diversity
· Conditions for peace
· Sustainable development
All worthy stuff, with people like Mikhail Gorbachev involved as speakers. It’s a cultural thing with concerts and exhibitions but also a great big talking shop, with no fewer than 1500 speakers over 141 days. The blurb says, ‘This is the first edition of a gathering that will move the world.’ It would be nice to think so, but the UN – for all its good works and talking shops - seems pretty powerless in dealing with the big problems that face the world these days. I fear that events like this play into the hands of those who argue that the UN is an expensive waste of time. My own view is that it is obviously ineffective in some respects, but a global forum giving rise to some level of international consciousness and cooperation is still better than none at all.
Toyota have invited me along to Forum Barcelona 2004, but much as I fancy a few days in Barcelona, I don't think I can really justify it.
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