Flipping the Flowchart

June 4, 2007

In the basic Creative Strategic Thinking (CST), the facilitator leads the group through the following steps:

  1. Goal setting, an “anchor in the future”
  2. Strategy/Criteria development
  3. Evaluation Criteria in terms of priority.
  4.  Alternative (or Choice) development
  5. Evaluate Alternatives in terms of contribution to each Criteria.
  6. Selection/synthesis of “best” Alternatives

What we’re doing here is inserting the Criteria analysis stage before the choice stage of decision-making.  Knowing how you will determine if a choice is good is the key to CST.   In practice, however, people are familiar with making choices, and unfamiliar with even the need for Criteria analysis.  I am experimenting with turning the process on its head:

  1. Alternative (choice) definition — enter some obvious alternatives, perhaps not all.
  2. Criteria definition — by what measures will we evaluate each choice?
  3. Additional choices — the act of defining criteria may feed back to the Alternatives.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 until done.
  4. Establish the goal (anchor in the future).
  5. Evaluate Criteria in terms of priority.
  6. Evaluate Alternatives in terms of contribution to each Criteria.
  7. Select/Synthesize the best

This may help new users work through the process with no mentor, which is a major barrier to fielding next-gen Consenscious tools.


Vertical Integration

June 4, 2007

There has been some thinking that the best way to deploy software tools that use creative process stuff is vertical integration: create a creative “Things to Do” application, rather than a general divergent/convergent creativity tool.  I love lists, so I can see some sort of planning tool that records brainstormed lists, then supports evaluation of the list items, could be useful.  For an interesting list of lists, see this.


User Interface

May 20, 2007

Currently, plans call for delivering Creative Process software by July, but you know how things go. As I’m refining the design I began to review the UI. The biggest struggle is finding a decent metaphor for the profiling process. While this has been detailed in some earlier posts, let me review the basic goal.

In an effective planning process, there are two places where creativity is highly effective. The first is in presenting a series of choices that represent a wide range of possibilities. The second is in developing an equally wide set of criteria for judging the success of the planning process outcome. You can be creative about the solution, and how the solution is measured.

Read the rest of this entry »


Seven +/- Two

May 18, 2007

Human short-term memory, the stuff we use when someone tells us a phone number, is five to nine “buckets” long. Supposedly, that’s why phone numbers are seven digits. Any more than that, and we have to write it down. Later in life (where I find myself now) we have to write it down anyway.

I love making lists, which is a good thing, because without them I would lead a very confusing life. I’ve used almost every paper and software planner and scheduler out there, and now I’m trying MasterList Professional. My early impressions are quite favorable.  MLP, as it is called, offers to arrange my life in a series of projects, which are composed of tasks, which are further composed of the standard (description, due date, etc.) and some neat classification features and checklists.  There is real depth in this program. Read the rest of this entry »


Building a Business/6 Questions

May 15, 2007

It has been awhile since I posted. I got out of the habit, and only now got back. Also, life has been in a bit of turmoil.

I have the opportunity (a little bit of time and money) to start my own business. Part of that business, I think, should be a blog about the products and services of the business, chatty and informative and all that. Whatever it winds up being, I value the community that gathers around shared ideas. But what I would really rather write (and read) is about the process of creating this business. I know there are people out there with good ideas, very little money, a bit of time, and a desire to connect to the marketplace. Perhaps you’re one of them. Maybe I can help by sharing my experience.

Micro-ISVA book that has been quite helpful: Micro-ISV From Vision to Reality, by Bob Walsh. Yes, it’s on amazon.com, but I can’t get a URL for you that isn’t full of tons of tracker and personalization crap. Just search http://www.amazon.com for ‘Micro-ISV’.

Right now I’m on page 56, which suggests the very first step on the yellow brick road is to answer these six questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. Why are you here?
  3. What do you believe in?
  4. What territory do you want to own?
  5. Who do you want to connect with?
  6. What kind of relationship do you want to have with them?

When I know, you’ll know.


Ian Summers Post on George Land

January 10, 2007

From the Heartstorming blog. I don’t know Ian Summers, he must have worked with George before I did. Anyway, good to see someone else influenced by this important work.


Teaching 3/5/07

January 10, 2007

I got invited to teach a class at USC. The full title is
ISE585 – The Strategic Management of Technology. It is taught
in the Daniel Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering,
Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California (this
naming academic departments and schools after major donors is getting out of
hand – the first sheet of every letter must be occupied with the letterhead!).

Here are my slides (Markets as Systems ). I will probably buff them up before I use them. If you have comments, I’d love to hear some feedback.