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David Ratcliffe, President, Pink Elephant

If you're interested in what we're doing here at Pink Elephant, then feel free to post a comment - I'll do my best to respond as quickly as I can.


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    Recent Entries


    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

    My I Minute Video Message on Cyber Security & Resilience!

    Start your day with just a little education on one of the biggest issues we’re facing in IT & business today!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 04/29 at 09:14 AM
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    Monday, September 08, 2014

    ITSM Leadership Masterclass - Kuala Lumpur

    A great session today!

    Here’s the visual aids I used:


    Also, a link to the “Why” clip from Louis CK’s TV sitcom! Remember, if you really want to understand something - keep asking “Why?”

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 09/08 at 05:05 AM
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    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    Extreme Leadership Lessons From Gregory Peck

    Over the past few years I have written and talked a lot about leadership in IT service management. And it’s often been helpful to refer to general leadership examples elsewhere in society to illustrate such critical factors as communication, goal setting, integrity, empowerment, etc.

    A few years ago I led a series of workshops at Pink events where we used the movie “The Guns of Navarone” to highlight the 8 step process for leading change that Professor John P. Kotter discuses in his leadership books. (To be perfectly honest, this workshop was originally developed by my good Pink buddies at the time - Jose Stijntjes, now with itSMF NL, and Paul Wilkinson, now with GamingWorks).

    We all love a good adventure movie, especially the ones based on a big “project”. Some of my favourites being “The Magnificent Seven”, “The Great Escape” and “Indiana Jones”, but there was something quite special about “The Guns of Navarone”. It almost seemed like it had been scripted in order to fit Kotter’s teachings. How very convenient!

    Well, a little while ago I heard about another special movie that teaches us many of these timeless key leadership principles. And last weekend I had the chance to watch it. As with “The Guns of Navarone” the leading character in “12 O’Clock High” is played by Gregory Peck. I actually found “12 O’Clock High” to be a much more interesting movie. It doesn’t have the glamour of any of the other movies I just mentioned, but it does have a most powerful, engaging and emotional storyline along with the valuable leadership messages. I’ve since learned that even though it was shot in 1949, it is still required viewing in many of the US services officer training schools and colleges. Timeless indeed!

    To justify what I mean by “Extreme Leadership ...” here’s what Gregory Peck had to say to his men ...

    ” ... Stop making plans. Forget about going home. Consider yourselves dead. Once you accept that idea it won’t be so tough.”

    Extreme indeed! You can watch a longer version of the speech in this video clip ...

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 02/26 at 05:47 PM
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    Thursday, May 31, 2012

    Ideas For Keynote Speakers At Pink13

    We’re at that time of year when we have to be decisive about keynote speakers for the Annual Conference. We already have one confirmed, Sally Hogshead, who will talk on the Tuesday morning about how to get others excited about your ideas.

    Remember, I have blogged before about the criteria we apply when assessing our potential keynotes. We’re looking for speakers who can EDUCATE, INSPIRE & ENTERTAIN. Sally definitely fits the bill. Now, here’s something of a random short-list of other options we’re looking at for the remaining keynote slots. I wonder what you think about them, feel free to let me know.

    Matt Ridley has a different perspective on the subject of “ideas”. In fact the title of his talk really grabs your attention - “When Ideas Have Sex”. I have to admit I’m a sucker for everything Matt Ridley writes. His book Genome is one of my all-time favourite reads.

    Charles Duhigg has recently released an interesting book - “The Power Of Habit” - where he explains, amongst other things, what we need to do to break unwanted habits. I can think of a few habits I’d like to break! See him talk about the concept here:

    Is there anyone in North America who isn’t already familiar with Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger? We may know what he did (emergency landed a plane on the Hudson River in January 2009), but there’s a heck of a back-story about the man’s mind-set and his methods. What I really like about what Sully has done since he hit the news is that instead of simply writing a book about his own experiences he’s actually knocked on doors, researched and interviewed others about stories of vision and courage from “America’s Leaders”. You can read all this in his book “Making A Difference”, or maybe come along to Pink13 and hear what he has to say (and get him to sign your copy)! I saw him a couple of weeks ago on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and here’s the clip:

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    And, just for fun, watch what David Letterman did with the “Sully Story” .....

    For me, one of the smartest men on the planet right now is Neil deGrasse Tyson. Do you think he’d be a good fit for Pink13?

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 05/31 at 10:44 AM
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    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Leadership Fun In Mexico

    I enjoyed talking to our customers at the opening to the 8th Annual ITSM Conference in Mexico City yesterday. The session kicked off with a short video highlighting leadership qualities demonstrated by recognizable leaders from the past and present. I can’t post the video here, but I have included a copy of all the still images and statements in this file. BTW, how many of these great leaders can you name?

    However, the point I wanted to make in my talk was that you don’t have to be a “Designated Leader” with great power over resources in order to show leadership. We can all be “Everyday Leaders” in the eyes of our co-workers and friends if we demonstrate some of the qualities I outlined.

    Look through these PowerPoint slides to get a better idea of what I discussed; including suggestions for what we can do to improve our leadership abilities when we’re not in charge.

    What do you think? Have you seen leadership in action from those who aren’t in charge?


    UPDATE - Just loaded the video to YouTube!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 05/24 at 04:30 PM
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    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    A Few Videos From Pink12

    Nice job by Barclay Rae in recording a few videos at the recent Pink Conference.

    Here’s the one he did with me: I remember this was recorded at around 6:00pm on the last full day of the Conference. I talked for a while about the Conference itself - how it has evolved over the past 16 years and what’s in store for the next couple of years. Plus my perspective on the opportunities - and need - for improved leadership in ITSM.

    The IT Skeptic, Rob England: believes that COBIT 5.0 will gain faster traction in ITSM in the USA because it’s invented there; as opposed to ITIL which was “not invented here”. He goes on to say that maybe that’s also why various ISO standards haven’t taken off in the USA. He’s really a big COBIT fan these days!

    Ian Clayton: tells us that the USMBOK (Universal Service Management Body Of Knowledge) is about to be published by TSO. He describes the need for us to take the next step in Service Management thinking. It’s not just about processes anymore, the primary focus needs to be “service” and “customer experience”.

    John Custy: is clearly as frustrated as me with the folks in our industry who spend too much time arguing about words and phrases in this book or that framework. Stop the semantics, we need to focus on the real issues! The work we do in ITSM, particularly the results. Everyone has the opportunity to do things differently (better) and contribute towards valuable outcomes.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 03/22 at 10:56 AM
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    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Watch The 16th ITSM Conference & Exhibition Keynotes LIVE HERE!

    For the first time (it’s only taken us 16 years!) we’ll be streaming the keynote sessions from this year’s Conference live via the web!

    Watch live streaming video from pinklive at

    You can either come back here and watch us, or better still go directly to and you’ll be able to engage in chat. Let us know what you think, maybe even take the opportunity to ask a question of the speaker.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 02/17 at 02:33 PM
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    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    What The Utilitarian Philosophers Can Teach Us About Prioritization!

    I’ve been watching - and loving - the series of lectures on “Justice” (freely available online) by Professor Michael Sandel from Harvard, and I can’t help thinking that what I’m learning can be related to some of the aspects of ITSM we find challenging. In Episode 2, for example, he discusses the concept of Utilitarianism originally introduced by 19th century philosopher Jeremy Bentham (the “utility” pre-fix gives you a bit of a clue as to where we’re headed here!)

    Professor Sandel explains that one of Bentham’s proteges, John Stuart Mill, went on to promote how cost/benefit analysis could be done to identify which of our collective values, or preferences, were more “right” than others! Sound familiar? Now if only we could apply this to how we prioritize Incidents, or maybe how one Service should take precedence over another when our systems are under stress. Well - at least I saw the parallels, even if you don’t!

    To illustrate the challenges of such a cost/benefit anaylsis, Professor Sandel facilitates a sometimes hilarious discussion on which of three video clips delivers the “highest experience of pleasure”. The choices are an excerpt from Hamlet, a promo for “Fear Factor” and a clip from The Simpsons. You might be surprised at what the students have to say to justify their preferences. I was quite impressed. But after all, these are the folks at Harvard!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 10/25 at 04:46 PM
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    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    A Lesson in Capacity Management in Singapore’s Sim Lim Square

    As usual, when they’ve got time to spare on a Sunday afternoon in Singapore - where else would a couple of geeks find themselves but in Sim Lim Square. The Tech Mall to top all Tech Malls. Somewhere on the 3rd or 4th (or was it the 5th or 6th) floor, George Spalding and I found a little store with every possible size of portable disk drive. Check out the video and see for yourself.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/06 at 03:11 AM
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    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Islamabad to Lahore in 4 Hours - By Car

    The countryside was spectacular, so I tried really hard to get some decent pictures out of the car window today. But we were traveling so fast on the highway that they are all too blurry to post. I suspected that might be the case so I started shooting video. But I didn’t get anything too exciting there either because Gary Case was prattling on non-stop about work the whole time.

    Once we’d finished giggling about playing cat & mouse with the Highway Police, just listen to Gary go on and on about training IT consultants. Take a break Gary, we’re in Pakistan for heaven’s sake - look out the window!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 09/11 at 02:23 PM
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    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Surround Yourself With Happy Thoughts!

    Great idea from Chris Gardner - check out this video tour of his “private space”.

    I now have some work to do to clear out a bunch of meaningless momentos from my office.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 07/24 at 04:14 PM
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    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Behind the Elephant!

    We had a very, very special guest at the Conference last week.

    Tai, the 40-year-old female elephant from the Santa Ana Zoo. She was great!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 02/26 at 11:14 AM
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    Sunday, February 24, 2008

    Memories of the 2008 Conference

    Just got back from Las Vegas and the 12th Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition.

    I’ve lost track of the number of people who’ve already asked where they can see videos from the event. We’ll likely be posting a number of memorable videos on our website. But for now - check this out!


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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 02/24 at 11:06 AM
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    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    Preview Of The Upcoming Las Vegas Conference

    George Spalding and I recorded a podcast the other day to preview what’s in store next month at the 12th Annual ITSM Conference and Exhibition.

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 01/22 at 03:32 PM
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    Saturday, November 24, 2007

    Service Catalogs are hot in Singapore!

    Troy DuMoulin and I had a little fun walking along the Boat Quay in Singapore last Saturday afternoon!

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    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 11/24 at 04:35 PM
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