Is convenience even more fundamental to an enterprise than either efficiency or effectiveness? That’s the curve-ball that Nick Gall threw to me, in a comment on my earlier post ‘Efficient versus effective‘. It’s quite a long comment (and, unfortunately, quite…
What is efficiency? From whose perspective? Just a quick follow-on to the previous post ‘Efficient versus effective‘, with a couple of insights that came up just after I’d published it. First is that the distinction between efficient and effective is often…
What is ‘efficiency’? – in particular, ‘efficiency’ in any system that’s subject to real-world variances? Starting-point for this one was yet another passing item in my Twitterstream: RT @MentalHealthCop: If providers are contractually obliged to run hospitals at 98% capacity, is…
I’ve often said the future belongs to the dot-connectors. Webber’s Rule of Thumb #7, the System is the Solution, describes it perfectly:
My point is that embedded in every company, in every organization, is a system. When you see the system and not just the individual pieces you increase your chances of winning.
Most people look at a company and see the organization chart. Or the pyramid of functions. Or the products and services the company offers as output.
Systems thinkers see the relationships, not the functions. They see the processes, not the stand-alone components or the final products. It’s the difference between looking at a fence and noticing the barbed wire running horizontally rather than the fence posts standing vertically.
Sometimes it helps to do something as simple as drawing a picture with arrows to show what would otherwise be invisible connections. A drawing of a three-legged stool isn’t a sophisticated operations chart, but it makes the point about how magazines need to operate as a system.
Systems thinking can also help when you’re trying to solve a perplexing problem. If you want to untangle the clues as to how something went wrong, think like a detective: figure out who all the players are and how they relate to each other. Usually it’s the system, not one person or department, that explains the real cause of the problem.
One thing is sure: the future belongs to systems thinkers.
For extra credit, see Rule #10 A Good Question Beats a Good Answer:
Why do questions matter more than answers? If you don’t ask the right question, it doesn’t matter what your answer is. And if you do ask the right question, no matter what your answer, you will learn something of value.
Questions are how we learn. Which means questions are how we create change…
Source: Webber, Alan M. (2009-04-10). Rules of Thumb (p. 32). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
One more comment on the ‘certification for enterprise-architecture’ farrago, and then I’d better move on. The other day I spotted a one-liner from ‘gamechanger‘ Mike Bonifer that I can only describe as quietly brilliant – and painfully pertinent to this…
What is the profession of enterprise-architecture? And what should we do about certification, to define and protect that profession? Yeah, it’s much the same questions as before – but perhaps becoming a bit more urgent as the thrust from Open Group…
It was the smell that caught my attention first, I guess – the smell of chemicals as I walked through through the front door of their supposedly upmarket offices. But it’s something I’ve come to recognise, to watch for, as…
As the last post of 2012 I’d like to lead the way to the thinking of Russel Ackoff. There is a lot more of Russel Ackoff to be found on the web.
So, have you asked these two questions lately:
- What possibilities for action does a system allow its participants?
- How might participants in a system overcome or subvert its constraints?
If you haven’t asked yourself some version of these questions then you have not yet understood, social identity, consumerisation, BYOD, mobile, and a whole host of so-called disruptive technologies – because you don’t understand how they disrupt your system.
Never fear, these two discussions of cell-phone subjectivity should help fire up your imagination.
Author: Alex Matthews – Twitter: @remembermytweet “Complexity theory predicts that we cannot rely on predictions.” This post is a series of excerpts from the following brilliant presentation on Complexity Theory. […]
Many organizations are to some extent dependent on using information technology to deliver products or services to its customers. This applies to organizations within the private as well within the public sector. There is some form of hierarchy among strategies that relates to the enterprise information technology strategy (IT strategy) and there might be some […]
Several people picked up on this one after Gerold Kathan sent out a note about it, but perhaps David Sprott said it the best: davidsprott: RT @gkathan: John Seddon – a master class in how NOT to use IT in services. Optimize value, not cost. Brilliant. http://tinyurl.com/dygdcpg It’s a 40-minute video (split into three parts) […]