Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Iceberg


THE ICEBERG OF INFINITY

What does this image represent to you?

- Could it be the hidden sub-prime losses of the major banks of the world?
- Or perhaps the off-balance sheet funding of the UK Government (soon to be boosted by Northern Rock bonds)
- Or the deeper story behind Jerome Kerviel's unfolding saga in France?

It could of course be any of these things; what it is to me is pure switch off boredom. Increasingly this image is used by all management consultants to present some idea, where there is a hidden aspect to a problem. I have seen it used in the last few weeks alone in at least 10 different presentations on utterly different topics by separate organisations.

Hence to me it means boredom, the same old ruse used by people to try to elicit interest. Images like this get used all the time, but this one has got to me. Soon no doubt it will be used in the newspapers too as it filters down into the print media.

So, what does it mean to you and have you any other examples of similar images done to death in the corporate world?

18 comments:

Steven_L said...

To me it demonstrates that icebergs melting do not neccessarily cause sea levels to rise.

If anyone tried to use that picture to explain their latest hand-me-down management gobbledegook I'd just sit there and bite my cheeks.

James Higham said...

Iceberg of Infinity? Are you on the substances again, CUS or speculating about the Caribbean? Maybe it's just the Quantum of Solace you're hankering after. :)

Surreptitious Evil said...

The distinction between management competence and ignorance?

I tend to introduce posters and images from these lovely people: Despair Inc. You probably wouldn't be amazed how many people don't get it.

They had some brilliant video pod-casts up for a time too.

Anonymous said...

When I lived in Sweden it was always a picture of a duck. Apparently calm on the surface but paddling like crazy under the water. It was supposed to indicate calm professionalism to the outside world but frentic activity behind the scenes. Strange, since the Swedes don't really do frenetic activity. Even after 12 cups of extra strong coffee they can barely manage "activity".

I took to saying "oh for f*cks sake!" very loudly whenever some sad excuse for a manager came up with that picture.

Praguetory said...

Any bunch of captions arranged in a circle interconnected by arrows. It's either far too simplistic or is stating the bleeding obvious.

Sackerson said...

Melting icebergs cannot cause the sea level to rise, because they are already displacing their own weight of water. Melting glaciers are the threat.

Anonymous said...

I need a beer - to match this thinking out of the ice box! Happily all this crap management consultant/know-it-all trainers stuff is no longer part of my life. I also never met a management consultant who told me anything I did not already know. The only difference was they had written it all down in a thick file.

Bill Quango MP said...

Since New Labour we have at least 5 a day.

When Dave Cameron first showed us the new conservative logo he got it mixed up with something baby Arthur Cameron and samantha bought home from playgroup.

Actually not entirely sure they got it all sorted out in the end.

In the old days Ken Clarke just used to give Johnny Major a piece of paper with INFLATION at the top and INTEREST RATES at the bottom and a couple of arrows indicating up or down / good or bad.

Well it was enough to see off Kinnock.

Anonymous said...

"What does this image represent to you?" Time to go to the dentist again.

Mark Wadsworth said...

It reminds me of that really sad film with that lass with the big boobs, where the boat crashes into an iceberg and her boyfriend dies but she survives but then all of a sudden she's an old lady it makes you shudder to think that something like could nearly have happened in real life it's a good job they always have enough lifeboats ...

Mark Wadsworth said...

Actually, the picture is upside down. Contrary to popular belief, nine-tenths of an iceberg are above sea level.

Bill Quango MP said...

It makes me think 'We used to have square sugar cubes. Nowdays we always have these lumpy organic concoctions.
Are they called demerera or is that just brown sugar ? And why don't they dissolve properly either .. ?'

Is this meeting still going on ? chuck another one in .. see if it takes longer to melt now the teas colder.

Henry North London 2.0 said...

Aids Dont die of ignorance

CityUnslicker said...

a nice set of comments, cheers.

Anonymous said...

It's not that the iceberg metaphor is bad, it's when it's used as a crutch for poor communication by HR, management, or whomever.

Getting the obvious metaphor across (there is much we do not see! oo!) takes a moment - it's the mechanics of dealing with the situation at hand, whatever it might be, that isn't easily solved with a glib photo.

The second-level metaphor, of course, is that the "unsinkability" (i.e. purported wisdom) of management runs up against the 'iceberg' (reality) of limitations. blech. I sound like one of *them*.

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