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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jason Fried: "Why Work does not Happen at Work"

I found this talk on Ted.com by Jason Fried : "Why Work does not Happen at Work"
I am reproducing Jason's talk here in order to spread the idea which I wholeheartedly endorse.
On a related point, people learn, think and process in different ways.It's a pity that many decision makers in industry know little to nothing about cognition, so most workers are herded into one type of working environment under the misconception that there is one way to learn and one type of environment to work in. Creative people and deep thinkers thrive if given the freedom to express their perceived off-kilter views in an atmosphere of openness and respect. This means the freedom to work in multiple environments which are not necessarily enclosed within an office space.

It's not just that great ideas come from people who are allowed space and time for creativity, but that there is a need for education of managers to understand differences in cognitive processes. Not all jobs use the same processes for analysis, perception, reasoning, or mechanical or emotive abilities. So to reduce the intellectual thought processes that comprise analysis, reasoning and judgment into a set of discrete steps that can be read by a computer is really an artificial construct. It's the bean-counter trying to measure a concept he has no real understanding of. It's like trying to capture the air we breathe and put a price on it.
Heaven forbid that the day comes when we have to pay for the privilege of thinking. Then we'll really know that the machines have taken over!





Saturday, December 4, 2010

Frangipani- A Poem of Loss

My blog is a little different today. If I were a musician I would express myself with music, but having no such God-given or acquired talent, I will say it with poetry.
Some things are too difficult to reveal, so we have to find ways of release that don't betray too much or make the reader uncomfortable.


FRANGIPANI- A POEM OF LOSS

How can one fragrance open so many of the senses?
Tonight I breathe the scent of frangipani and have the sensation that I am falling backwards in time.
To a place where I used to live.
Memories tumble back haphazardly into my mind,
From wherever they have been all this time.
Where do thoughts go when we're not thinking of them?
Where do they reside?
I wonder what is the common denominator for all things:
Thoughts, feelings, objects, time, colour, music.
Love and death, father, mother, child and God.
Experience is a teacher but we imperfect beings don't always learn the lessons.
Some of us never do.
Intuition is the only teacher when all else fails.
Life is what it is.
Are we never to know the answers?

Or maybe death is the only key to the mysteries
Maybe it is the door to truly knowing.
I cannot conceive of nothingness
My mind is not capable of such a concept
Black holes make sense
But my not existing does not
Some things I experience fill me with a sense of such deep happiness
and fulfillment,
That nothing else matters in that moment
I am complete, filled up, and there's no room for wondering,
what more there is.

Frangipani, oleander, gardenia, jasmine and lilacs
Their fragrance take me to a place where there is nothing
But sensation in the moment
Pure and sensuous pleasure
In those moments I surround myself with music
Heart beating in an ancient rhythm.
And then I know I feel
And I know how truly alive I am
And I have so much love to give...

Will I ever see the ones I have loved,
Are they truly lost forever?
Why is it so real when we see them in dreams.
Is there a place where we meet again.
And when we get  back to that original state of being,
Will we know each other again?

Friday, November 26, 2010

YouTube Blog: Wong Fu film premieres on YouTube

YouTube Blog: Wong Fu film premieres on YouTube I just spent one hilarious half hour watching these talented guys of Wong Fu productions, in their first film premiering on You Tube. I really hope this goes viral! Have a look at this short movie and spread the link around.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Social Media and its Impact on E-discovery

  This is my latest writing on JD Supra which is a professional site on LinkedIn for posting up articles, news, legal and related information, and re-purposed blogs etc.


Social Media and the Implications for E-Discovery


It’s 8 o’clock. Do you know where your employees are?

It seems to make no sense to ask such a question, does it. After all what employees do on their own time has always been considered none of an employer’s business and to ask may seem to border on invasion of privacy.
The question we need to consider though is “Are the times changing so much that we should wonder what goes on outside the office walls?”
In a world of instant distributed access, hitting the ‘send’, ‘post’ or ‘publish’ button can be added to the old Chinese saying “Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.”
The prevalent use of social media as a form of global grapevine has revolutionised the way we communicate, collaborate, and form popular opinion. The use of social media by employees has also impacted on the way that companies need to view the extent of the data that needs to be preserved in the event of a litigation hold.
The ubiquitous nature of social media gives rise to several issues that every Legal Department should be cognizant of.
A major one would be to recognise the true extent of the data to be captured in order to be litigation ready. Most responsible companies these days already have some system which mines the data from emails, file shares, document management systems and other repositories which store the myriads of documents and communications which pass between employees. But recently the courts have had to consider the completeness of disclosure in e-discovery situations. Turns out that there is much more to be disclosed than soft copies of documents. And this is where the legal department needs to get up to speed on the full impact of social media upon the e-discovery process.

Courts are being called upon to consider for the first time, whether statements, commentary and postings made by employees on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, are discoverable. Statements made in instant messages (IM’s), group discussion boards, forums, and conceivably skype and the new google chat, are open for legal debate in the courts. And ‘data’ extends to that kept by employees on mobile devices such as blackberries, iphones, ipads, laptops and the new generation of tablets currently hitting the markets. Data is also to be found in “the cloud”, whether it lies on hosted servers or in the public cloud.

The kinds of social media platforms and the devices that enable their use are changing at such a rapid pace that e-discovery rules lag behind in their application. The courts are therefore being called upon to rule on matters on which there is no solid guidance. Judge Stephen Robinson, now a partner with the firm of Skadden, Arps in a recent webinar produced by the New York Law Journal made the point that not all judges are familiar with the technology systems that support social media. Courts assume that documents (and by extension, data), are collected, retained and easy to find. So it is in counsel’s interest to set the scene depicting “information at large” in social media, and explain the technology and the terms to the Court.

It is clear is that the rules of litigation have changed irrevocably and we are sailing in uncharted waters. It is for this reason that advice coming from commentators is about the prudence of instituting a social media policy. The first step is to understand your data universe. A survey of social media use last year showed that about 50 % of companies have some sort of presence on social media sites, whether on LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, YouTube, Facebook ,blogs etc. Not as many as 50% have a social media policy though. Many companies today adopt the conservative approach to the use of new media and social media, under the misapprehension that proscribing the use of the internet during work hours somehow makes employees produce more work.The efficacy of such policy is another debate for another time. Suffice it to say that in a world of mobile personal connectedness, there is far more information from and about your company floating around the internet than you are even aware. Witness photos and real time “video in maps” from sources such as Bing Maps and Google maps which stitch photos from individual contributors, including photos on Flickr to give us a bird’s eye view of office buildings and more in town. Not to mention blogs,micro blogs,wikis (“law-wiki” is a recent one rating law firms and lawyers), Twitter, instant messaging and chats, and the list expands rapidly. Information is written about your company in the social media sphere, whether you like it or not.
Even a recommendation from a supervisor on LinkedIn can resurface as evidence in a wrongful dismissal suit.
So it is in your interest to ‘get with it’, see what is being said about you, and join the discussions.
Keep up to date with the happenings in social media.Place yourself on wikipedia and law-wiki before someone does it for you. In other words, do the damage prevention before you have to do damage control.
Some commentators have observed that one can safely assume that nothing that gets uploaded on to the internet is ever really destroyed or gone forever. Deleting an item may move it out of sight, but the content may have migrated and been spread to another place on the web through a third party. And this may not be malicious at all. A friend could share data (whether it’ s photos or writings), innocently enough. A sent and deleted email could already have been forwarded by the recipient to a third party. Search engine spiders or bots trolling the web periodically, have already indexed the web page on which the posting was made. (And scarily, a criminal record though expunged from the records, may still be found in an archived paper or magazine online).

So this is a sample of the data universe in which e-discovery has to take place in today’s digital world. The current uncontrolled reach of relevant information gives rise to issues of possession, custody and control of data during e-discovery. Both General counsel and External counsel need to be aware that information exists in places beyond the reach of the data management systems and the custodians thereof. Counsel needs to be aware of what exists too, because what he requests of opposing counsel is what he will be expected to produce for his own client.

When employees post statements (say for example, on Facebook) that may be of relevance in a potentially litigious matter, the question that often arises is, within whose possession, custody and control are those statements. The issue of compellability of such evidence rests upon the relevance of the data, and how much of a burden is its retrieval. Privacy concerns are also factored in.The issues of whether or not Facebook can be compelled to produce defamatory statements made by employees, who have made those statements under their page ‘privacy’ setttings are matters that are currently making the court circuit. It is a nascent area of law and it would be interesting to see where this is all going to lead.

A social media policy is arguably the best protection in a charge of incomplete discovery of documents in an action. Given the dearth of legal procedural rules to guide social media discovery, a company’s best offence is said to be a written policy.It is more defensible to refuse to give up data when you can show that you did everything to follow your policy.This gives the court some reference for making a ruling.

Here are some factors I have pulled together, which should be addressed when drawing up a social media policy for your employees. These include:

  • Educate employees, management, C-Suite and the leadership about general benefits and the risks and repercussions of the use of social media
  • Identify an officer to monitor the social media environment for the latest development in new media and your company’s name in it (e.g. new wikis, new features in web applications -eg geographical mapping where your company might show up without your knowledge, new search features etc)
  • Data-map the social media sites that employees are using to guide the defensibility of non-disclosed data
  • Map where the data resides so it can be tracked quickly in the event of a litigation hold
  • Where data is in the private cloud in the form of wikis and blogs and such, determine a time period for retention and disposal
  • Identify the departments that should be involved in the ‘custodianship’ of social media data (is it IT, Legal, HR, and/or practice group?), as part of a litigation readiness program
  • The policy itself should be short, simple and concise. The more detailed you make it, the more you open the door to an employee thinking that what is not specifically prohibited, is permissible.
  • Educate employees about what constitutes defamatory material-what is not acceptable
  • Proscribe the divulgement of trade secrets, confidential and sensitive information
  • Be clear on what kinds of documents/statements made by employees, are privileged and not
  • Document best practices and update policy regularly, in light of the changing face of social media





Thursday, September 23, 2010

Save the Wave: Creative Ways to Use GoogleWave


I read a blog post a while back, which referred to news of the anticipated demise of Google Wave.
The comments about wave were less than favorable.
To sum up , it was basically “See you buddy, won’t be missing you”.
This probably captures the sentiments of all those people who tried and eschewed the wave, as just another tedious thing to learn. After all email is still the communication medium of choice of office workers everywhere. Anything you find, send it off in an email to everybody else.

I guess it would take something fabulous and out of the ordinary (and VERY easy to use), to   displace email. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE email and am on it all day, checking every new item that reaches my inbox. I could not imagine life without email after all.
(On another note, the generation born after the Millennials think that email is way too slow. But that is another blog...).
However, who has time to read all the dozens of references sent so kindly to us by co-workers in the spirit of sharing all the good stuff they find online, when time is at a premium and deadlines are to be met. It’s interesting to read “Look what I found about the feedback on the Galaxy Tab, or sales of the Ipad, or about “The Apprentice”, or even a very relevant link to a topic that’s related to a work project on your schedule. But you don’t need all those article links in your inbox. It just creates a mountain of data  to wade through.
Worse yet, when you’re ready to settle down to work on that project, you may not remember that little link that you or some kind co-worker found, way back in April. You could do an email search, but it brings up a host of irrelevant ones.
Now this is where I have been using the Wave to great advantage, and I’ve been asked before, why Wave, when there’s Google Docs.
My answer to that is that Wave is so much more.
I think Google Docs is a great tool for working on a document in collaboration with other people. Several persons can work on the same doc at the same time, editing and adding, thereby shortening time spent back and forth between contributors. You can add links and pictures as well.
However I see Google wave as being open to several other uses (and being more user friendly for those uses).

To create new ideas and designs
It is a wonderful tool for a project/team/business manager, or anyone who holds a lead role. I see it as a repository for all kinds of wonderful stuff that could seed the next great idea or service or product for a business.
Let’s say we are thinking of what’s on the agenda for next year’s customer or client offerings and need to brainstorm the ‘what can we create’ process.
Well the wave is a super e-bank for storing all bits and pieces of information that we find interesting and possibly predictive of future trends. Any item, in any electronic medium could be a diamond in the rough that if you look closely and think about long enough, may spark a new idea. You can open a new wave for every new topic or subject matter you want to develop. It then becomes a convenient drop-box where anyone you’ve  added to the wave, can leave anything they find related to that topic. So let’s say our company is in the business of designing baby products. You can open a wave for the next new baby design. Now anyone in your company who is not even on the design team, can contribute their ideas. Every person who is a parent, or takes care of babies, may have some views they want to express. E.g., They want a particular kind of bag with so many pockets, compartments etc , to hold certain baby items when taking baby out. Some people might have come across pictures of bags/receptacles that are native to some far flung community for instance, which might be a worth looking at as a model. These pics may be thrown in as well. Someone could have come across an article dealing with issues moms face that could shed some light on their needs from a  design or health standpoint. A link to the latest amendments to regulatory standards. An interview that discusses fashion trends for next year. A video from any source that shows parents toting babies around in the mall, the streets, the park, the beach etc. A news documentary, a book, a magazine. In short a cornucopia of raw data from different electronic media, plus staff just posting up their thoughts in a conversational format. Perhaps links to blogs, tweets, facebook pages etc etc.
The thing to note here is that each piece of information or link in the wave may not be of much use by itself. However, when you look at all this stuff from a larger, global type perspective, you may see an idea emerging. Something begins to take shape and assume a form, and this could  be the genesis for the next new product you design. The stuff in the wave are simply the touch stones which may set off the lightbulb in your head. I see it as a great medium for collaboration to take place in, among people from different kinds of disciplines, who come at the same issue from different perspectives.For example people with scientific, artistic, business economic or marketing backgrounds, giving their take on the same issue, but informed by their particular type of training and experience.

So those were detailed examples of kinds of data that can be thrown into the wave.
Here are some other ways that the wave can be used:

For project leaders to see what data team members have come up with so far on a creative project.
Project design and management software the wave is not. But instead of sending emails to update or share information with the team, the wave is one central location where the leader or members can see all the information that’s available on the project so far. Links can be pasted to documents, charts, memos, and other works related to a project.This use may be of interest to the smaller businesses who don’t have funds to purchase expensive software.

To collect relevant information and data, to write that next article, assignment, or book
I am constantly collecting information from all kinds of web sources to  inspire me to write something new, whether it’s for my blog, or a work related article.
Some of the material I collect is my research for writing, or simply to educate myself about a subject I am interested in.
There are many very good add-ons and extensions which work with my browser (Firefox), which have become indispensable to help organise my work. I mentioned several of them in my last posting about the old ways and good days (zotero, pearltrees, read later, delicious etc).
These add-ons are excellent for helping me capture links or screen shots of webpages which contain information I want to store for later. Sometimes I don’t have time to read it, so one click on my ‘Read Later’ button ensures I can find all of them together when I want to sit down for a good read.
However when I am ready to put together a piece for a presentation, blog, article, paper etc, it helps to pull only the relevant web pages together in a wave, for there’s a mass of interesting info that I’ve collected in these other bookmarking tools.
Usually though, when I am not generally browsing, but searching for specific topic-relevant info, I put them straight into the wave. This way I only have highly relevant data that I know I want to use to construct the piece.

I was very disappointed to hear the news of the Wave’s possible/probable/certain? demise.
Now what will I use that is free, to do all the stuff I described above?

I am open to any and all suggestions.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Old Ways and Good Days?

I am working on a new article for posting on JD Supra and find myself challenged to locate my source material and quotes, despite the cool technology aids I have on my computer.
I use add-ons such as zotero, pearltrees, read later, amplify and delicious (not all at once...that would lead to chaos), in order to store webpages and snippets of research for later, or to comment on. I extract informational gems I wish to keep together and put them in one location in a google wave for easy retrieval when I'm ready to write on a particular topic.
When first I started, I compared the way that technology enables me to work faster and more efficiently than the days of yore. In pre-digital days one would collect numerous tomes, or pages thereof with the prized information that would form the basis of one's next great discourse. A large table or desktop ( latter not to be confused with the machinery that sits on the top of a desk), was essential to the whole writing process as one had perforce to spread out all the necessary papers in order to organise one's thoughts and information.

Then along came the internet. And then came the more recent advent of applications, add-ons and such, with which to make the internet more easy to use, and use more of it.
The above-mentioned add-ons have enabled me to collect so much information from scholarly and news sources, and it's all stored on one little portable machine. And I don't even need a large desktop (or top of a desk), to keep all the stuff on!
So here I am with tons of research purportedly at my fingertips and it should be a cinch to write an article. Right?
Well, truth be told, I am butting up against the bane of technology...information overload!
To be using that term today is so 'yesterday', I know, I know, but here's the thing:
I am finding that while I can open several windows and tabs with the various sources of information (usually articles, whitepapers etc etc), there just isn't enough real estate on a laptop screen to view it all in perspective.
Woe is me!! I got the smallest one that is not a netbook, in order to tote it around without it steadily becoming heavier, as light things are known to become with distance (ever held a newborn for hours at a time?).
But even if it were a large screen, desktop or laptop, it really would not be able to give me that facility of the days of yore.
You see, it's a matter of being able to put it all in visual perspective. When I had my papers spread out on the traditional desktop, I got a bird's eye view of all the information I had. Somehow seeing it from that overview, makes a difference. It's like looking at a puzzle and seeing where all the pieces should fit. Even though Windows 7 allows me to snap to two screens quickly, and I could open more screens if I wanted to, it's not the same. The screen shots get too tiny to be of any real use. And I have so much information now, that it's quite tedious to go into each source to extract the passages or pertinent parts that I would want to refer to in the article I am writing.
I never thought I would be saying this about enabling technology, but today I am a little nostalgic for the old days and the older ways, when life was much less complex.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday and the City

One lazy Saturday morning in the city...

What a way to live I thought. Strange enough, there are ways to find serenity in a big, busy city.
Toronto is not New York, but we do have a population of about 5 million in the GTA.
The metro area in the city centre has a concentration of about 2.5 million.

So how I found my serenity in the downtown core of this busy city...
It is rather easier on a Saturday morning when the business folk take the time to reconnect with living outside the office domain.I did what I felt like yesterday and this is how it went.

Got up early and was out for a trot walk by 8am. I took the tree and garden-lined streets with names like Kilbarry and Dunvegan to find my way to Lonsdale Road where I turned towards Spadina and stumbled happily upon Forest Hill Village. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Hill,_Toronto
This village is tiny and oh so charming. The pic here doesn't do it justice as I did not use my camera.
I stored it away in my mind for breakfast at some future date.

Being near St Clair, I walked down to the streetcar line and waited for the streetcar to take me to the subway station. There I found Ms Recently Divorced and got into a conversation with her. (That's how I know she was recently divorced). I used to think it is unusual for Canadians to strike up conversations with strangers, but more and more I am finding this is not true. Some people are quite willing to talk, if given a chance, though it is evident that the older folk are somewhat more delighted to of share themselves.
Ms R.D. was probably in her 50's and was starting life over after 17  years of marriage in a city she had returned to after spending most of her life away. That's tough and she said as much.
I rather enjoyed listening to her and offered moral support.
Then the streetcar came along and we separated.
I got on the train to take me downtown to the St Lawrence Market where I would normally drive to pick up veggies for the week. But not this morning...I had other things on my mind.
Breakfast in the market, yummmm!
But there was one sour note though. I discovered that a $20 bill had fallen out of my unzipped pocket somewhere on my way. I had stuffed a couple bills there as I could not take anything else during a morning jog. I was truly miffed at my loss. Anyway I had a $10 left and that was more than enough for a market breakfast. So I chose to get something from Mustachio's , the Italian place which had a Saturday special for under $4, excluding coffee.It was really not the best choice. I had the western omelette without the ham and absolutely did not enjoy it!. Eggs were overcooked and there was nothing in it but cheese...Aren't there supposed to be some onions and green peppers in there too?
But nothing was going to spoil my Saturday city jaunt, no sirreeee.
I wandered about the south market which is an inside market on two levels.
Website is here
It was really lovely. So many people to bump into, families, screaming kids...ok, maybe they weren't all screaming , but i did hear a baby...
The shops are sooooo enticing. I spent more than half an hour in the kitchenware shop. They have everything there! There's been so much stuff invented for needs you did not even know you had in the kitchen.
 Get this, tiny plastic 'pinch' bowls to elegantly dispense your spices and herbs into your cooking pot. The inventory of gadgets would have driven my dad into ecstasy. Dad so loved to buy useless kitchen stuff which my mom would store in a cupboard somewhere, as dad never did cook. I even saw my briki (at a much higher price than I paid), and the most darling little ceramic kitsch to hold your olives, sugar cubes, berries and heaven knows what else.
There's a bakery, several cheese shops, a mustard shop, olive oil shop and so much more.
Here's an (admittedly bad) pic of the mustard shop with some olive oil over top.

And a group of musicians who were playing classical music at the entrance door.











And I saw the oddest dog outside the market. Let's just call her "Mop the Dog" because that 's exactly what she looks like!:
After the market I went across the street to the gardens on King Street. This little park is even more beautiful now, late in summer.
Here's what the flower garden looks like:

      
And I saw these pigeons taking a bath in the fountain...lots of pigeons:

      

Later in the afternoon I went to the hall on Bloor and Spadina and danced salsa to my heart's content.
Maybe not totally though. I can never get enough salsa and this evening I'll be going for more at Dovercourt House.

I so enjoy living in this city!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How Corporate Counsel Challenged Law Firms

I just joined JD Supra on LinkedIn and my profile page is here .
So I posted up an article concerning recent trends in the legal industry and hope to continue doing this on a regular basis. It's part of what I do at my new position in the management consultancy.
I am reproducing the article here so you can see the professional work I do in addition to my other personal postings here!


How Corporate Counsel Challenged Law Firms

2009 was reputed to be the worst for budget-slashing and layoffs in recent memory in the legal
industry. As companies struggled to keep afloat while the markets were crashing, clients’ legal
budgets were slashed by any figure from 5 to 20%, with increasing pressures to reduce legal
spend. Corporate counsels’ response through the ACC Value Challenge to law firms was:
“Show me the value”.
Towards the end of 2008, the ACC Value Challenge had been launched to address the
concerns that in- house counsel had with the traditional business model long held dear by their
counterpart external counsel.
For many years previously, there had been much chatter in the corporate fraternity about
bringing costs in line with value as regards services rendered by external counsel.
However although ‘value’ remained a hot topic in corporate circles, it was not until the recession
kicked in by 2009 that corporate counsel really got down to business, seriously challenging the
billing model, and experimenting with creative alternatives to re-align costs with value.
Since a legal department’s success in the eyes of its CEO is measured by the value it adds to the company, it is no surprise that ‘value’ is the major driver in the call for change. Providing
value, value added, value add-ons are now standard vocabulary in the negotiating arsenal of
corporate counsel in the new client driven marketplace.
For the first time, the value propositions of law firms were held up to public scrutiny in the
technologically-enabled medium of the ACC Value Index and external counsel were alerted that
they might not be driving that bus (er, BMW) any more.
The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) describes itself as “the world’s largest
organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the
legal departments of corporations, associations and other private-sector organizations around
the globe”. Credited with “25,000 members employed by over 10,000 organizations in more than
70 countries”, when those members decide to speak up and deliver a common message, the
law firm community would be wise to start paying attention.
The Value Challenge is an initiative to ‘’revolutionize the legal services marketplace by
promoting dialogue among corporate counsel, law firms, law schools and others’’ interested in
driving the alignment between cost and value. One objective is to develop metrics for corporate
counsel to assess their legal service providers and to create tools to share those findings within
the client community. Coupled with training exercises to hone management and business skills,
it would send the message to the C-suite that legal departments are fully on board with the
corporate vision for driving profitability by improving business efficiencies.

The most significant tool to emerge out of the Value Challenge is the ACC Value Index. It is an
online forum where corporate counsel get to rate external counsel in six categories and the
ratings are shared by members. Analogous to “product review” websites, it could provide a
useful reference for the selection of external counsel as members are encouraged to provide
explanatory comments for their ratings. It is also a good place for law firms to find out how they
are perceived by clients.
More than law firm-bashing, the ACC cautiously points out that content has been fairly balanced
so far in that it reveals those firms which apparently “get it”, with respect to the value that clients
expect to receive.
What better and freer advertising than peer reviewed commentary (when it’s good). Of course it
works the other way around too...
While participation appears sparse so far (2783 evaluations of 855 firms as at August, 2010,
remembering that the ACC’s 25,000 members come from 70 countries), the statistics point to an
interesting observation. While the rating criteria of “expertise”, “understanding of objectives”,
and even”communication”, got decent scores of 4.4 + out of 5, “predictability of cost” and
“efficiency/process management” lagged behind at 3.9 and 4.1 respectively.
It is therefore no surprise to find out that corporate counsel are concerned not merely with price,
but with the predictability of cost.
This was one of several issues addressed at the Law Firm Evolution Conference concluded in
March, 2010 at the Georgetown University Law Center.
The conference was sub-titled “Brave New World, or Business as Usual”, and considered
adjustments by Big Law to prevailing market conditions. Speakers and panelists drew on new
trends happening globally in the legal industry and wondered whether the new “ efficiency”
business practices by law firms herald a wind of change which would benefit corporate law
departments or whether it’s only a temporary disruption to the traditional law firm business
model.
What emerged out of the conference was that external market forces have catalyzed the recent
commoditization of certain types of legal services. While the bespoke nature of legal services
will always ( in the foreseeable future) be the core business of the law firm, the rise of
outsourcing services over the last year has had a disruptive (good disruptive) effect on business
strategy.
The increasing pressure brought to bear by general counsel upon law firms for transparency in
billing and more value for cost has led some of the major law firms in the UK and US to rethink
their value proposition. At least one US law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath, created for the first time
the position of Chief Value Officer as a direct result of the firm’s buy-in to the Value Challenge.
The intent is to institute business efficiencies to create more value and predictability for clients.
A few corporations took the unprecedented step of reviewing and reducing their panels of law
firms in an effort to clean up and streamline the complex assortment of external counsel for
various legal needs. Perhaps the most quoted example is in 2006 when Tyco in the UK reduced
its panel of 250 law firms to just one - Eversheds. The arrangement must be saving Tyco a
bundle since the agreement with Eversheds was recently renewed for a third time.
It was these kinds of shifting attitudes that spawned the development of the outsourcing market.
Some of the issues which forced law firms to reconsider the way they do business happened
when general counsel started questioning the composition of fees. One sore point is not just the
number of hours billed, but the fact that junior associates are often billed out at rates anywhere
from $300 plus, per hour for low level work that could equally be done by a non-lawyer at a
lower charge out rate. Conversely, partners and senior associates bill at costly rates for lowerend
work that could be handled by a junior associate.
This was the scenario in 2009 which provided a fertile breeding ground for the growth of the
legal process outsourcing industry. Firms were under pressure from corporate clients to find
ways to compete on price and value and legal outsourcers had the means to provide those
ways.
Perhaps the most significant trend was the rise of off-shore outsourcing in India where new
outsourcing firms, staffed with lawyers and support staff began to offer the lower end repeatable
legal work at far cheaper rates than in North America and the UK.
Right on cue in 2010, a sprinkling of onshore outsourcing companies in both North America and
the UK are beginning to enter the market with a variety of offerings designed to take over the
grunt work in high volume processes such as document review and assembly, legal
transcription, legal research, e-discovery and other aspects of litigation support and readiness.
2009 to 2010 has also seen a rise in the number of legal management consultancies offering
higher end strategic and risk management services aimed at the managing partners and CEO’s
of law firms, and general counsel as well.
The message to Big Law is becoming clear. Profitability rests not only upon the rainmaking
capabilities of counsel, but upon a revision of business processes for maximizing of efficiencies
and delivering more value for cost.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summertime!

I have not posted a blog in over a month now.
Since it started to heat up I have not been spending much time online.
I am on leave for summer!

There's too much sunshine and activities outside in Toronto and I can't bear to spend as much time on the computer these days.
I'll return here when it gets too cold to lollygag outside.
But here's the link to my photoblog which is something I will be updating during the summer:
http://365project.org/sweetsadie/365

The 365 project is cool. It's a public project where you commit to posting a photo and commentary every day for one year. I have about 15 photos so far (just started), and find it a lot of fun. I hope to do all 365 days.
Family is visiting as well.
I have however been looking  at tv online with this add-on for firefox, called "TV Fox".:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/11200/

It's great to see live BBC news and HBO movies (when the links work because they don't always). But there's enough working at any time for me to remain hooked on this free service.

I've been doing trot-walks in the Forest Hill area. Also been doing a garden photo-series for my sister who just retired. She loves gardens and my photos and the books I got her, will hopefully inspire her to design a fascinating garden where she lives in the tropics.
I actually find jogging through the garden-lined residential area, to be far more enjoyable than the designated trails. The engaging experience of looking at the scenery distracts me from the tedium of trying to  reach a landmark  which tells me that I can turn around and head back home.
Ok this is it for now.
Gotta get out for a morning jog and there's salsa dancing on weekends.
Way too much to do.
Happy summer!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The 'Design my Wish' Project- Calls for collaboration

I am reproducing here the content of a conversation that I posted on www.theworldcafecommunity.org
I am seeking collaboration to develop an idea I have for my "Design a Wish" project.
Apart from being a concept that I am excited about, I am experimenting with the use of social media in designing solutions that have mass appeal.
I'd like to see how or whether this idea can take off, simply by putting it out into the global community on the internet.
Eventually I 'd like to relate my experiences about a world where we share ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect, understanding and tolerance for people from diverse disciplines and backgrounds.

So read on and please reply here or directly to my email address if you wish to be private:
shariali555@yahoo.ca
Thanks!

I have been mulling around an idea in my mind and want to throw it out to you for comments and feedback.

For want of a better name, let's call it the "Design my Wish" Project for now.

I want to use a design thinking approach and solicit open collaboration in developing this idea. It would be an exercise in harnessing the power of the internet to bring together minds from all over the world to design and work through an idea.
This idea centres around product design issues and impacts on everyone.

The challenge:

As consumers we have all wished at some point that somebody would invent something to solve a particular problem we have.
It could be something for the kitchen, the car, our workspace, shoes, baby or anything under the sun.
There are innumerable products and devices which have been designed to take care of our needs, but some how they either come up short, or miss some functionality that we want.

Design companies traditionally work with market research and design teams who conduct focus groups and other market research to determine what the trends are, in order to brainstorm the next new product for the market.
So traditionally they design what they think we need based on their market research, and there are many companies which specialise in market research, as you know.

The Idea:

What if there were a place where we the consumer and end user, could post up our ideas for a design we need to make life easier. Everyone and anyone could go to this one place and state what it is they want to help solve their issue (I'm talking consumer items to begin with).
It could be a concept similar to craigslist where people say what they are looking for, but in this case seek a design solution.
An example could be like a problem I described on my last blog here:
http://my2senseandcentsmaking.blogspot.com/2010/06/ive-been-thinkin...
(This is about how women need something like a tiny stocking which
only covers the tips of their toes, to prevent the nail polish from
getting rubbed off when wearing shoes).
And see:
http://my2senseandcentsmaking.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-women-shop-e...
(Where I talk about how I wished for a device that looked like an e-reader with the functionality of a pc, and then the ipad came out. It does not have the functionality I wished for but it sure looks like it, and that's a start!)

I know some companies already use their websites and blogs to tap into customer feedback on their own products and service and use this as a means to improve product design and internal efficiency etc.
However 'Design my Wish' is about us taking the initiative to tell the designers what we need before they design products for us. And our wishes would all be found in one central location. It's similar to the way that craigslist is one location that everyone knows about, where they can post what they are looking for.
It would be a growing global field where designers can go and look for seed ideas to germinate into what will eventually become a product to take to market. It would supplement current market research methods.
So it would serve both the consumer and the designer and manufacturer.

How to make it work:

I am soliciting the help of anyone who knows about website development (not just design ), business development, marketing, and any other skills and expertise that would be necessary to grow this idea.
My desire is to use social collaboration to work through issues and come up with an appropriate business model.
Eventually this would become a case study in how to harness the power of global intellect to work harmoniously on a project simply by leveraging the power of social media (or something like that!).

We could use a blog forum or something that is free and simple like google wave to capture the conversations. Or we could use any better idea that will allow us to communicate easily.

The important thing to note is that everyone can contribute and each person's contribution is of value.
Questions help us to anticipate and deal with issues we may not have thought about.

I would really appreciate feedback from everyone here. Feel free to refer to anyone who might be of help.
I will accept emails directly to my email address as well:
shariali555@yahoo.ca

Thanks for reading and I look forward to having conversations with you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to find out what your customer wants

I've been thinking of an idea that is so obvious that I wonder that it's not common practice, or if it's done at all.
This is my two cents for designers and manufacturers who would like to get into the minds of their customers.
Why not put a page on your website where customers can say what they would like you to design for them.
Seems to me hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent by design and manufacturing companies annually trying find out what end users want. Ethnographic studies and focus groups among others are conducted to generate new concepts and ideas for the next new product.
However as a consumer, I know exactly what I need and what I cannot find in the market and I am dying to tell you so.
So why not give us all a forum where we can post up our ideas, needs, wants and wishlists.

Take for example, a woman's need for something to protect nail polish from rubbing off her nails when wearing closed shoes. (I actually had a woman ask me about this in a dance class several years ago).
For some reason, you put in immense elbow grease to get the nail polish off with remover, but it comes away effortlessly when it should not.
There are lots of fine articles for feet but what women need is something like a fine stocking which covers only the nails of the toes and which will not show above the top of the shoe.
There is widely available a slip-on stocking which goes on just over the foot but it tends to slip off from the heel when walking, or it's too hot for summer, and peeps out over the top of the shoe. In a word, "unsuitable".

Realising that Dr Scholl and the stocking companies were just not up to the task, I decided to take a trip to the neighborhood of those most inventive of people: Chinatown!
And there they were- the perfect little nail polish savers that fit discretely over the nails without peeping out of the shoe.
Not only that, but there were tiny stocking parts made to fit around the foot like a band, and some that could be worn with open toe shoes and sandals to protect your feet without being visible.
Some are also to be found at the Pacific Mall in Toronto.

You have to give the Chinese credit. They may make cheap imitations and flood the market with designer knock-offs in clothing and accessories. But when it comes to household products and accessories to nip, taper and tuck women into their clothes and shoes, these people must be applauded for their inventiveness.
They come up with common sense solutions that are not paralled in the West. I would love to investigate the sources of the innovations. Where do the ideas come from and to what extent if at all, is it a design thinking process. Who comes up with new concepts, and how do the needs of the end users find their way to the designers.
(And while I'm at it, who invented bubble tea?
Have to say it Starbucks- bubble tea trumps your watery iced teas any day!)

In the meantime however, I'll settle for a section on the website of each company that designs products, where customers can post up wishes for design solutions to problems.
Wouldn't it save time and effort if the head of design and research could find out exactly what customers need all in one place. This way he/she can detect the trends in what people want and plan what designs need to be worked on in the upcoming business year.

How women shop- An ethnographic observation

A few weeks ago I was out to dinner with some fine ladies and the conversation turned to buying laptops. An interesting point struck me about the way women make certain buying decisions, and it is not based on hormones.
Alice (not her real name) pointed out that she had been in the market for a laptop with certain specifications which need not concern us here. Now Alice apparently had some leeway with spending money, so was not limited to the cheapest choice. However Alice pointed out that despite the fact that one brand and model had all the features she desired, she actually decided on another one which was just a little more elegant looking, and which did not have quite the capacity of the other. "It was just prettier!"

That reminded me of the reason why I had already decided that my next device would be an ipad rather than a netbook.
(For the record I got neither, after some education on their respective capacities).
From the moment I (a pc user) witnessed the launch of the ipad through a live streaming blog site early in the year, I (like a million others apparently, who bought it), developed a deep yearning for its light, sleek, transportable and sexy design. To my untrained mind, thinking like the average non-tech savvy consumer, this was freedom to carry around all the information I would need, in my handbag. And to access  that info on a large enough screen that was not a blackberry or iphone would make all the difference.

Just days before I had been complaining about the weight and design of my clunky laptop which was seriously compromising my mobility after work hours. The thing was so heavy that I could not contemplate going anywhere but straight home to dump it, after a day of working with it. It was impossible to make a few stops on the way home to get groceries, meet a friend, catch a movie or anything else. It certainly imposed restrictions on a city lifestyle where one gets around by foot or by subway.
So I had been dreaming of a device that was no bigger than an e-reader, when Steve Jobs announced the launch of the ipad.
I felt like a prayer had been answered!
Someone pointed out that if size and weight was a problem , why not just get a netbook?
But know what... How ugly is a netbook compared with the ipad.
Put a sleek device like an ipad next to a cute little netbook, and cute suddenly appears ugly.
So I the pc user was prepared to cross the floor, just for the sake of beauty.

Having said all that, I sadly trekked backed to the pc camp when I realised that the ipad is not actually a business machine. I now await delivery of my new small screen notebook as I also learned that a netbook is not a true pc.
I am a bit disappointed that I'm limited to black as that vendor did not have it in white.
How I would have loved to have an uncommon pristine white little laptop.
But for the designers out there, consider making a really elegant gold coloured one and watch what happens to sales.

As a total non sequitur  I noted an amusing difference in the way men and women shop for handbags when I owned a retail store a couple years back.
Women would hold the bag against their leg in front the mirror and make the decision based on how it looked against their person.
The boyfriends/husbands however, would examine the details of construction of the handbag and recommend the purchase to their partners.
How's that for an ethnographic observation!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life is a Tango

It is sometimes said :
"It takes two to tango", "Life is a tango" and "You have not lived life unless you've danced the tango" (to paraphrase).

The saying "It takes two to tango" captures the essence of what latin dancing should be in a social dance setting. It refers to that perfect balance between dancers where there is just that right amount of support from the man to allow his partner to lean in to his frame to execute her moves.
One cannot tango with oneself because of the need for mutual support from the partner in the dance.
If one picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is a video worth I wonder?
I think the best way to demonstrate this perfect balance in the absence of the words that fail me, is to look at the tango in motion.
Click on this  link  to a wonderful tango performed to "La Cumparsita", which shows the intricacy of the footwork and the man's hold, which allows his partner to make those delicate but fully controlled steps which are characteristic of the Argentine tango.

And have a look at this link to see a video of the milonga, which predates the Argentine tango. Milonga is even more amazing to my mind, in the perfection of balance required for the woman to maintain her stance. As you can see she appears to be leaning quite heavily on her partner, while still maintaining her own body weight.

I have tried dancing the Argentine tango but was never able to attain the competence to dance it socially and effortlessly. It's the one dance that I would love to master before I die.
So now I dance salsa which is a lot of fun and does not depend absolutely on perfect balance as does the tango.
There are different stages in the evolution from student to accomplished dancer.
If you are not Latino and born with the rhythm, dancing with your family at events from the time you were a baby, chances are you start the learning process in a school setting.
At the very beginning you struggle just to count the beats in the step. Then rats...they play the music and you have to count beats and step to the music at the same time...how do they expect you to do the two things at once?
And to add to your woes, if you're of the male persuasion you have to learn how to lead (what is that?) and think in advance of what move to do next to keep your partner from feeling bored, or worse yet, giving you that condescending look that says, "So , u'mmm you're on your second lesson, right?"
I am not a guy, but judging from the beads of sweat and pained, but thoughtful expressions I see on the dance floor, I would say that thinking 'what next' while remembering to keep your feet in time to the music is a difficult task for most, if not all beginners.

But fear not men, it's just a matter of time and practice, practice, practice, before you conquer the dance floor and have the ladies lining up to ask you to dance.
Here's how the process works as you persevere in your chosen art form.
In the beginning yes, it is challenging to multitask and coordinate limbs with counting beats and thinking of the next move all at the same time. But as you repeat the steps your neuroplastic brain kicks in to turn on the  autopilot and you'll find your feet begin to move of their own accord, allowing you to actually pay attention to the music.
I can't guarantee that this is how it happens to everyone, but my personal experience is that one day, something just clicks and you find yourself moving in time to the music without thinking of the mechanics of the steps and counting the beats in your head. This is the stage when your brain has learned the steps and your feet move to the rhythm by rote.
At that exquisite turning point my friend, you become a salsa dancer.
It's the moment when you respond to the sheer pleasure of the music and and it tells you what to do. It's as if guys, you don't really have to contemplate what next because your body is on autopilot and you channel the music in your moves.
Believe me, it really happens, so take heart.

Just one word of advice for dancing in social settings.
We dance salsa for many reasons- fun, self expression, unwinding, excitement, meeting new people, a little weight loss perhaps.
The dance is supposed to make you feel good. Then you can go back to your routine work, full of endorphins and ready to take on what your career throws at you.

Salsa dancing for a performance or competition is quite different than dancing for pleasure on the social scene, such as clubs or socials, parties and the like.
Salsa is not about command and control. It's about two people enjoying each other's energies and having fun with movement. When we are now learning it's necessary and important to do the "school moves" because it's a valuable teaching tool to help you execute the steps in time to the music. Also, when learning it does help both partners to know a pattern of steps that's predictable, for if we were not learning a move, we won't necessarily know how to put the steps together to make a pleasing choreographed movement.
However once you have reached that exquisite turning point when you move from learner to dancer, then dance to express the passion in the music.Having learned the school steps feel free to arrange them spontaneously in combinations that please you. And ladies, the best way to follow is to allow the guy to lead you without trying to guess which move he is trying to take you into.
Some guys stick to school steps and others dance spontaneously, so you have to let go of anticipating his moves and begin to just enjoy moving your body to the music and let him take control. I know that's hard, but you can't have two leaders in a dance as you will never move together.

Now here is what distinguishes the accomplished dancer:
Everyone is going to make mistakes in a social setting where you dance with several different partners throughout the event.
But it is how you come back from the mistake right into the rhythm in a smooth movement, that demonstrates how proficient you are. It's not about who is right and who did not follow. Remember this is supposed to be fun!
Men, it is very challenging that you have to know how to lead, as well as think in advance of your next move.
However women also face a different kind of challenge in that every time she changes partners she has to accommodate to the guy's rhythm. Different people have different rhythms while dancing in perfect time to the music. Some have slower, longer motions, others shorter arm reach, some do a lot of waist movement, others don't. Some are a bit more staccato, others more fluid, some sharp, some sensual. And all this is done in time to the same music.
I found that I have to adjust my own natural rhythm, in order to follow some partners. Sometimes you simply have to walk through the steps with the timing , in order to balance your partner's rhythm.

So as men and women, leaders and followers in the dance, we both face a different challenge in a social setting where we continuously change partners. The key to looking accomplished is to cut your
partner some slack. If she moves out of reach or does not go where you intended her to, then it is not ok (unless you are a tutor), to say "No, no, that's not it".
Your proficiency and knowledge becomes apparent when you modify your intended move in a fluid movement.
For example, she did not grab your hand this time around, then catch her on the next step.
Or she took the wrong hand, so allow her to spin and then find the correct hand.
And when the mistakes happen, well that's when you make use of your shine steps. Move apart, show off a bit, then come together again as a couple.

That people, is my two cents on latin dancing for social events!
Here's a nice little salsa video to inspire you. It's unrehearsed and spontaneous and a great example of the accommodation I speak about. Enjoy!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amO1sDZlrkI

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fighting cancer with food?

Yesterday in my blog "The cook, the artist- how to love with food", I mentioned the growing awareness of certain foods which contain phytonutrients which are known to reduce cancers.
I said then that there is only anecdotal evidence about the cancer-fighting properties of these foods.

However since then I came across this video presentation at http://www.ted.com/talks/william_li.html  where Dr William Li, the head of the Angiogenesis Foundation, reveals his research into this topic. Consider it another piece of research into possible supplementary and non-medical treatment for cancer.
It's a 20 minute video.Dr Li talks about their research into angiogenesis which is the process by which cancerous tumors are fed by blood vessels, causing cancers to metastasize.
He refers to results of their treatment of animals with anti-angiogenesis drugs developed by his Foundation, which were found to reduce certain cancers by cutting off the blood supply to the cancerous cells.

He also postulates that the reason why anti-cancer drugs may not be completely working to kill cancerous cells, is that the treatment often comes too late into the game, when the growth is too advanced.
He asks "How can we prevent the tumors from growing in the first place?"
The answer says Dr Li might lie in eating certain foods which have been found to prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Here is the link to the slide which lists those foods that have been found to be anti-angiogenic.

He refers to a Harvard study which followed 79,000 men over 20 years. It was found that men who consumed 2-3 servings of cooked tomatoes a week, experienced up to a 50% reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer.
While end stage cancer is difficult and expensive to treat Dr Li says, we can all benefit from a diet based on local , sustainable and anti-angiogenic crops.

For me, this is another piece of information to add to my quest into the causes and prevention of cancer.
It's worthwhile to check out the video and see for yourself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The cook, the artist -How to love with food

When you look back over your life you realise there were times when your attitude towards a certain person or event or task, or some other thing, changed. It's not always possible to identify the moment of change. For me though, I can recall the exact event which caused my attitude towards cooking to change and evolve over time.
Some years back (actually just after the turn of this century), I saw the movie "Tortilla Soup" with Hector Elizondo and Elizabeth Pena. Thank goodness for wikipedia because now I can put this link here for you to read all about it if you haven't seen it .
And click  here for a short trailer which shows some of the delectable images which changed my attitude towards cooking.

I do not remember  too much of the storyline, but over the years there was one image that stayed with me. When I saw those opening close- ups of Martin Naranjo preparing a meal in a well appointed Mexican kitchen, I was mesmerized. The images made you open your eyes and salivate over something that you couldn't even smell.The colours of those vegetables, the homey sounds of the spoons and knives in action, the steam emanating from the pots, and the sheer efficiency with which the chef moved from one area of the prep table to the stove and back, gave me an instant paradigm shift.

This was not the way I reluctantly dragged myself around my kitchen, wishing that I could just eat out instead.
This was an artist in motion, his palette the colours of eggplant and avocados, bell peppers and cilantro, pumpkin flowers and tomatoes, corn and cheese.

After that I began to see my fresh ingredients in a whole new light. When the veil of jadedness is pierced, you finally begin to see the artistry of making food. Cooking does not have to be a chore. It is a channel for expressing your desire to create something that is unique to you. And cooking for people you care about, and feeling the appreciation for your endeavours, gives us another way to define ourselves. We can add 'cook' to our portfolio of roles.

Even more, I enjoy cooking with a partner who savours the experience as much as I do. What a whole new level on which to connect!...But that's another conversation...

When you see food as art that you can create, that is when you cook with love. It's been said, when some people cook you can feel the love that goes into it. Why does it taste different when your grandmother makes it special for you (assuming your grandmother cooks, of course!) ?
I have a theory on that based on my own experience. When I used to cook because I had to, because it was another chore, I would rush through the process, coarsely chopping the seasonings and other ingredients. Stuff it in the pot and be done with it was really the approach. Now I find myself savouring the colours and aromas from my raw ingredients ( none are raw meat...see below). I appreciate the goodness of my fresh materials and carefully grind and chop and blend. I think that feeling we put into it is the love we feel in the food.

It's unfortunate that some of us only see the drudgery of the kitchen. And drudgery it certainly is at times.
It is unfortunate when we cook only out of necessity, to save money. Or when we don't cook, to save time.

I never actually follow recipes (something to do with a hearty dislike for regimentation).
No, what I like is the excitement of creating something new out of "found" ingredients. (That's the stuff you find in and around your kitchen). And there's so much stuff to be found in the farmers' markets, the little ethnic groceries, and for the strong of heart, Chinatown. That's one of the things to love about Toronto. Such a vast landscape of ingredients waiting to be experimented on. Pity that much stuff comes with foreign language labels with no indication of whether it's fruit, dried animal or vegetable. Or if you're supposed to cook or eat it raw.
Nonetheless, I have found that the proprietors of the small establishments (when not overwhelmed with customers), are quite willing to translate or explain what you do with some of the quaint items on their shelves.
However not being a consumer of creatures that walk, run, or fly, I restrict myself to those that swim in seas,  rivers and other water courses.

Since moving to Toronto I've been so inspired by both wholesome and hearty foods, as well as exotic fare from the east that I now store spices, herbs and seasonings like star anise, pumpkin seed oil, coriander, galangal, cardomum, fenugreek, and many others.

Admittedly cooking is not entirely haphazard in method. You can throw ingredients together to see what emerges, but not all ingredients are made for each other.
It is good to look at the methods of various styles of cooking, just so as not to waste ingredients that don't sit well on the palate in certain combinations.

The cooking shows on tv and the posts on Youtube are an excellent starting point for getting an idea of methods and for picking up tips to save time and improve flavor among other things. If you want to cook beyond wholesome and hearty, then my friend, you may want to consider chef school.

For most of my life I cooked only for taste and enjoyment.
However I only recently became exposed to the specific health benefits of certain vegetables and spices.
While I have found no scientific surveys of the curative properties of certain foods, there is much anecdotal reference to the relation between these foods and the reduction of cancerous tumours and heart disease etc.

Please note that I am no expert, nor even educated in the relationship between food groups and disease.  The views that follow are my personal beliefs.

 My personal view is that because certain foods have been linked to, or 'studies show that' foods like garlic, broccoli, shitake mushrooms, flax seed, tumeric etc are known to reduce tumors, I would rather structure my diet to include these foods. In other words I no longer cook only for flavour, but incorporate the 'wonder foods' in those flavours.

As I say, it's my personal choice. But before I had started researching the healing properties of foods (beyond vitamins and minerals etc), I never knew about the recently identified phytonutrients in those foods that are linked to reducing specific diseases.

It is best to do your own research, speak to your nutritionist , doctor, wholistic practitioner etc, to make up your own mind.

Here are a couple books which I use that are a good starting point for bringing flavour and health benefits together:

Cooking with Foods That Fight Cancer  The Doctors Book of Food Remedies: The Newest Discoveries in the Power of Food to Treat and Prevent Health Problems-From Aging and Diabetes to Ulcers

And this is a link to a wonderful book by Carol Rajah with seafood recipes from places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, India and Pakistan etc.to name a few.
Seafood Sensation: More Than 150 of the Best Asian Seafood Recipes

Granted the stresses of daily living do not always conduce to spending time in the kitchen.
But when you do manage to find time to create, then cook with love, make art, and eat yourself to wellness.