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Richard Spragg

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Top Stories by Richard Spragg

Engineering has developed a tough reputation as an undergraduate degree. This reputation is unlikely to be contributing to desperately needed intake into the industry at ground level. So what's the story and do these accounts really convey the reality of university programs in engineering related subjects? The recent National Survey of Student Engagement took 416,000 full-time and first-year students and also seniors at a total of 670 universities across the USA to find out which majors offer the hardest ride. They produced a Top 7: 1.       Engineering 2.       Physical sciences 3.       Biological sciences 4.       Arts and humanities 5.       Education 6.       Social sciences 7.       Business It's not the first time engineering has been thrown under this particular bus. And let's make no mistake about it - this is not good news. While those who have comple... (more)

Everybody's Free to Shut Up

Richard Spragg offers his own long overdue advice to the graduating classes of the next generation. There is no mention of sunscreen. Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2013. Shut up. This is the best advice I can give any of you. You can leave now if you promise to follow that one piece of advice. If I had done this more often than I did I would know twice as much as I do and would have twice as many friends. You will probably not manage to shut up until long after the person talking to you has given up trying to make you listen. I didn't. I was fortunate to have met a few pe... (more)

Cracking the Myth of Effective Multitasking

It was only fairly recently that I cracked the myth of multitasking, and found an attitude toward it that I am comfortable with. These days, I see it this way. A housewife (if you'll forgive the 1950s stereotype that follows - but the idea of the multitasking superwoman is perfect for this purpose) needs to cook dinner, tidy up the lounge of toys and change a nappy. She leaves some sauce simmering on the stove, picks up a couple of soft toys and throws them in the toy chest, then takes care of the baby's nappy. She returns child to crib, washes her hands, picks up the books that... (more)

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace Being Wrong

There are times in life when you have to put your hands up to being in the minority, especially when you're in the business of putting your opinions out there in the market for all to see. As a lifelong holder of minority opinions, this is not new to me. So effusive was the disagreement with my first blog in this series, that arrived from all corners of our growing community here, that I feel compelled to present the opposite view. I will wipe the spit and fumes from my face and in all probability convince myself that I was actually wrong in the first place. The source of our di... (more)

Snakes and Ladders

The only thing you know for certain about the budget, said an old mentor of mine, is that it's wrong. One way or another, you're going to have issues with the plans you made in November for the year ahead. Not surprising, given that you aimed to somehow foresee the next year's market conditions, predict the performance of your customers and anticipate everything from super storms to the attrition of key personnel.  Then you reconciled this guess work with your shareholders' aspirations - which are seldom modest or undemanding - to produce ‘the plan'. Beyond the obvious problem... (more)