Synthesizing your thoughts in one image

For many years I have created concepts, developed products and written articles related to the domain of accessible, assessable and actionable knowledge. A domain that is near to my heart, being a 21st century librarian. On my desktop I used to have an image that synthesized core elements of my thoughts in one single view. I have often used that image in all kinds of conversations with participants of various levels. It turned out to be it extremely useful as a storyline for presentation, argumentation and discussion. Creating such an image is perhaps useful in your situation as well.

The image that I used conveys crucial concepts for actors in the knowledge economy in general, and knowledge intensive industries in particular. The concepts are placed in circles. This allowed me to start a conversation at any point, depending on the situation and interest of my conversation partner.

The synthesis

The image allowed to speak about values and norms that we have in our society, company and personal live. They are the basis for the rules, agreements and regulations we (have to) adhere to. Such rules may vary from personal and professional standards, procedures and operating practices to legally binding requirements of all sorts.

All rules apply to a certain context. In our daily and professional lives we take countless decisions based on a specific context at hand. That may be our personal context, the context of a customer that is applying for a decision, the context of a situation at hand or a combination of these.

Decisions lead to actions that result in some form of outcome. If this outcome conflicts with our value and norm system and the rules that are applied, we tend to adjust the rules system. Over time, and in certain cases, we will also adjust our values and norms system.

The image contains also a connection between events and a source of shared executable essential knowledge. The connection enables conversations between the external world (actors like humans and systems) and a request and response actor that navigates a model driven multidimensional knowledge network.

The conversations are established through bi-lateral connected Signs. The reader may be familiar with these signs from the semiotics literature. This type of connection provides a meaningful response based on a specific context. It enables to handle situations of multi-reality. This means that needs, rules, roles and capabilities of participants are situation dependent aligned in order to realize real added value and support the 'process of me'.

Events are the trigger for our conversations. In order to take a decision or perform an action we need to make sense of the situation at hand. By means of conversations with our knowledge system we can assess the meaning of the situation and decide what to do and how to do it. This assessment is recurrent and takes place after every action, thus providing the guidelines and constraints for the next possible action.

Of course is using only one image not mandatory. If the situation it required I used sometimes some extra images like the ones beneath to go deeper into certain details.

The virtuous spiral

Becoming an entrepreneur of meaning is vital for the 21st century intelligent enterprise. Especially conversations with an automated system tend to be cumbersome, if this system is not designed for contextual intelligence and built for human centric goal driven interaction. Only then can lower order logic be executed automatically, thus freeing our time and attention span for aspects that require human cognition and conscious decision making. Else the frustration gap of all participants will widen over time due to the increase of complexity in the business environment.

By using the term 'shared executable essential knowledge' we stipulate that not all knowledge must be (and can be) transformed into a set of models, or any other form of codification. The focus should be on knowledge that is essential and can be made actionable in order to enable users to interpret a situation/condition and perform an action/transaction.

The folder in the image emphasizes that 21st century work needs case based support. Events become the unit of work that is carried out by means of collaboration between various actors in spontaneous networks. The work is based on a context and the conditions that are applicable in that context. Constraint based processing is inevitable and only possible by using some form of contextual intelligence. The case folder provides the glue between separate elements and acts moreover as an auditable source of truth. A next generation intelligent Business Process Management System (iBPMS) can provide the required agility and meet the governance, risk and compliance requirements.

An intelligent enterprise of the 21st century will have to create services, based on shared executable essential knowledge network that levers the logic of the business operating system. The network enables users (customers, clients, employees, partners, supervisors etcetera) to take decisions in context and move from insight to action seamlessly and instantly. It supports customized user journeys and omni-channel conversations as well as efficient goal driven operations and continuous feedback and improvement, without deviating from the organization's goals and objectives.

The integrated value chain

In order to keep its knowledge source and service up to date an enterprise needs to organize a provisioning chain. This provisioning chain can be based on the principles of the OODA loop. It requires in any case a regulatory capability and policy management to keep the knowledge and rules set actual and to simulate impact before releasing changes. This way an organization can maximize its return on rules and regulations.

Needless to say that it is crucial that the provisioning chain is tightly integrated with the primary value chain of an organization. Both must ultimately fuse into an integrated value chain in order to fully support the business motivation model and the new way of digital working. Tight integration is also required in order to create a sustainable actionable governance capability.

For further reading about these - and other - thoughts the reader may be referred to the publications on and presentations on SlideShare.

Hopefully can this article act as an incentive for creating your own image. Feel free to use the above example and tweak it to your specific situation. Needless to say that a reference to the source is be appreciated.

Thei Geurts


Note: This post is also published here.