Visualize it! ISP MBA guest lecture

September 26, 2012

Today I’m giving a guest lecture at the ISP MBA of the university of St. Gallen: I’m really excited to meet the international excecutive students, and discuss with them the topic of Global Management Communication. The presentation “Visualize it! Improving global management communication across cultures with visual mapping” is available online.

After the lecture:

This is the link to the TED talk on Indian vs. Western mythology we talked about in class:

University of St. Gallen top in rankings

September 20, 2012

The University of St. Gallen is getting top marks, according to the Financial Times and the Handelsblatt Ranking, the reference journal for the German speaking business world.

The Financial Times ranks St. Gallen master in Managment as number one worldwide, for the second year in a raw. The CEMS master, of which St. Gallen is a partner university, is ranked third.
The Handelsblatt ranks the University of St.Gallen as the strongest Business Administration faculty in the German speaking world.

Congratulations St. Gallen!

Visual Literacy for Management

September 20, 2012

The presentation of the course Visual Literacy for Management, which I teach at the University of St. Gallen, is now online in a completely new format: a prezi presentation with a temple metaphor. It is also potrayed as ‘Visualization of the month’ on

Note: you need a good internet connection to be able to open it

Supercomputer in Lugano

September 12, 2012

The CSCS (Swiss National Supercomputing Centre) moved the biggest Swiss supercomputer to Lugano. The new building is right in front of the stadium.

Recently the center had an open day in which the general population could tour the new center and learn about the uses of supercomputers for research. The event has been very instructional, and attracted a large number of people.
Here’s how the supercomputer Monterosa looks like:

But, as the CSCS expert said, this is just the tip of the iceberg: below this level there are two floors wherer the resources (electricity and water for the cooling system) are stored and distributed. The floor dedicated to the distribution is usually around 60cm, but here in Lugano they like to do things well… their floor is 6 meters!

And here’s the picture of the backstage, the floor below the supercomputers, where the water for the cooling system is distributed from the ground floor  to the upper floor where the supercomputer is located:

And finally a view inside the supercomputer:

The supercomputer actually uses the same processors as in our normal computers, but it uses thousand of them in parallel. Indeed the difficult part is to coordiante them. Only in supercompuers you find that each board has an (expensive) part dedicated to the communication with the other processors.

At the center they had conferences and talks to explain the history and function of the supercomputers.
The following poster explains (visually) the evolution of Swiss supercomputers… impressive. The supercomputer of year 1991 had half the computational power of a normal laptor we use nowadays!

The biggest supercomputer they have in Switzerland, the Monterosa in the picture above, can calcualte in one day what your computer could calculate in 64 years!

And what do they do with all these computational resources? Supercomputers are used mainly by scientists for two tasks: simulation (astrophysics, analysis of structures, chemistry simulations, etc), and for the analysis of large quantities of data (i.e., for the recent CERN particle acceleration experiment or to analyze genetic data). The service is free for scientists, which have to submit a proposals for their project: an international panel fo experts evalates the projects and their scientific relevance, and eventually grant access to use the facilities of the center. Nothing is secret here, the scientists are expected to publish the results of their studies for which they used the suercomputer. The supercomputers are also available for commercial use, but not for free. For instance the center for Weather forecast is using one of the supercomputers to pridict the weather in Switzerland.

Apperently, a huge supercomputer will be created in Zurich in the near future for analyzing social data, for which the European Union has given a budget of 1 billion euros (yes, billion, not million). The project is called FUTURICT “an initiative backed by the European Commission’s Flagship Programme supporting extensive, visionary research initiatives to determine ICT’s role in society.”

Sketching at work auf Deutsch

September 5, 2012

The book Sketching at Work is now available in German, and is the best seller of the’s category on Presentations. Congratulations to the authors Prof. Martin Eppler and Roland Pfister.

The English version can still be viewed here and ordered here.

Testing your skills in color vision – gender differences

September 4, 2012

You might have had the impression that women can see and name more colors than men. You are actually right.

Ten percent of men have some kind of color deficienc: mostly, they cannot distinguish red from green. Color blindness is easy to test: can you see the numbers below? If not, you have some degree of color deficiency.

Yet, how is it that women distinguish more colours than men? You can take a test yourself here:

The scientific explanation lies in the receptors we have in the eyes. Human usually have three receptors: one which distinguish black and white, one for blue and yellow, and the third recept distinguishes red from green (sometimes). Apparently some women can have up to 4 receptors!

Universidad del Pacifico – Visualization for Organizational Communication course

September 4, 2012

Thank you to the Universidad del Pacifico, Lima – Peru: I had a great time teaching the executive course “Visualization for Organizational Communication”.

Here’s the great team, Sunday at 7pm after 16 hours of teaching!

And, as promised, here are the results of the strategy communication game we have done in class:

The results confirm what we have discussed in class: the students exposed to visual format liked the strategy better. Not only the presentation format, but the content of the strategy! In terms of cross-cultural comparison, we see that our tiny sample of Peruvians prefer the mountain visual metaphors to the linear timeline, like Indians 🙂 Comments?

And finally, here’s the result of the roadmapping exercise:

Looking forward to receive the course assignments by Sunday September 9th (Swiss deadline!)

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