Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Using MyCreativity to help elaborate models


Consider this simple model. A Kettle, useful, is used to produce Hot Water, also useful. One of the first things you do when you create a Southbeach Notation model is to try and describe the important elements of your situation, and then gradually elaborate the model to include additional details.

There could be many reasons you might use Southbeach in this way. It could be you are trying to improve a situation, or work out what could fail in a newly designed process, or perhaps you simply want to understand a situation better, and modelling how the various aspects of a situation are related to each other helps put things in perspective.

In this example, we explore how some simple MyCreativity rules can be developed to provide thought provoking questions about a situation to help provoke people into fleshing out the details that could help understanding.

Starting simple, adding the following rules to the modeller:

produces(*, useful) "What (additional) resources does the {source} need in order to produce the {destination}?"
produces(*,useful) "What qualities should the {source} exhibit in producing the {destination}?"

give the following output for this model:

1. What (additional) resources does the Kettle need in order to produce the Hot Water?
2. What qualities should the Kettle exhibit in producing the Hot Water?

Two important questions. No doubt you can think of more. Lets elaborate the model further and see how else we can extend these creativity rules.

In this elaborated model, we have added Electricity and Water as Agents of Type Resource that are being consumed by the Kettle. We have also noted that The kettle needs to be quite, efficient, and fast. These are represented as Agents of Type Quality that are specifying the Kettle. The use of this additional richness in semantic supported by Southbeach Notation allows for more specific Creativity rules to generate more specific, more helpful output:

These elaboration rules:

consumes(&a=*,&r=resource) produces(&a,&o=useful) "Where is the resource of {&r} used by the {&a} to produce the {&o} obtained from?"
specifies(quality,*) "What is the {source} quality related to?"
produces(,useful) "What is the {destination} used for?"
produces(&a=useful,&o=useful) produces(&o,&r=useful) "What other than the {&a} and {&o} is necessary to produce the {&r}?"

Produce this output:

1. Where is the resource of Electricity used by the Kettle to produce the Hot Water obtained from?
2. Where is the resource of Water used by the Kettle to produce the Hot Water obtained from?
3. What is the Hot Water used for?
4. What is the Fast quality related to?
5. What is the Efficient quality related to?
6. What is the Quiet quality related to?

Note that I have already drawn on that Efficiency is related to Electricity, and Fast is related to the production of Hot Water. This allows for further specific rules related to improving quality:

These two improvement rules:

#Improvement
specifies(quality,useful) "How can the {destination} be made more {source}?"
related(quality,useful) "How can the {destination} be more {source}?"

produce this output:

How can the Hot Water be more Fast?
How can the Electricity be more Efficient?

As described in a previous example, there is a relationship between the rules and the way the model is drawn (the 'meta model') - the way the notation of Southbeach is used to represent the real world situation the model is being used to represent. This can be weak or strong. What does this mean? If there are certain specific suggestions you want rules to be able to fire that you don't want to fire for any old agent in the model, then you need to decide how you want to model reality and how you want to pick this up in rules. For example, this model uses agents of Type Resource to generate some very specific questions like: Where is the resource of Electricity used by the Kettle to produce the Hot Water obtained from? Note that the rule knows the Kettle is using Electricity because Electricity is modelled as Type Resource, and there is a Consumes effect between Kettle and Electricity indicating that the Kettle is Consuming the Resource of Electricity.

Note how the rules have a heading of #Improvement. If you were to save these rules in a file along with your other MyCreativity rule sets, this heading allows you to select these rules from this file along with other rules on Improvement from other rule files you may have to all be run against the model at the same time.

(remember these are rules generated against a model you create - so the language is not going to be perfect!... you need to interpret the output, and think about how you phrase the text in the rules and the text in the agents in the model so that when they are combined, they read well)

Lets elaborate the model further according to the questions above - e.g. What's the Hot Water used for?


Finally, the rule set looks like this:

#Elaboration
produces(*, useful) "What (additional) resources does the {source} need in order to produce the {destination}?"
produces(*,useful) "What qualities should the {source} exhibit in producing the {destination}?"
consumes(&a=*,&r=resource) produces(&a,&o=useful) "Where is the resource of {&r} used by the {&a} to produce the {&o} obtained from?"
specifies(quality,*) "What is the {source} quality related to?"
produces(,useful) "What is the {destination} used for?"
produces(&a=useful,&o=useful) produces(&o,&r=useful) "What other than the {&a} and {&o} is necessary to produce the {&r}?"
#Improvement
specifies(quality,useful) "How can the {destination} be made more {source}?"
related(quality,useful) "How can the {destination} be more {source}?"


and the output looks like this:

1. Where is the resource of Electricity used by the Kettle to produce the Hot Water obtained from?
2. Where is the resource of Water used by the Kettle to produce the Hot Water obtained from?
3. What (additional) resources does the Kettle need in order to produce the Hot Water?
4. What qualities should the Kettle exhibit in producing the Hot Water?
5. What is the Hot Water used for?
6. What other than the Kettle and Hot Water is necessary to produce the Cup of Tea?
7. How can the Hot Water be more Fast?
8. What is the Fast quality related to?
9. How can the Kettle be made more Fast?
10. What (additional) resources does the Hot Water need in order to produce the Cup of Tea?
11. What qualities should the Hot Water exhibit in producing the Cup of Tea?
12. What is the Cup of Tea used for?
13. What (additional) resources does the Tea bag need in order to produce the Cup of Tea?
14. What qualities should the Tea bag exhibit in producing the Cup of Tea?
15. What (additional) resources does the Milk need in order to produce the Cup of Tea?
16. What qualities should the Milk exhibit in producing the Cup of Tea?
17. How can the Electricity be more Efficient?
18. What is the Efficient quality related to?
19. How can the Kettle be made more Efficient?
20. What is the Quiet quality related to?
21. How can the Kettle be made more Quiet?


Note how the rules we wrote earlier for the initial model also make sense for the parts of the model added later. MyCreativity can be configured to give you the full list of output like this, or just limit the output to what is relevant to the part of the model you click on.

For instance, setting the extent to extended and clicking on the Cup of Tea, gives just this output:

1. What (additional) resources does the Hot Water need in order to produce the Cup of Tea?
2. What qualities should the Hot Water exhibit in producing the Cup of Tea?
3. What is the Cup of Tea used for?
4. What other than the Kettle and Hot Water is necessary to produce the Cup of Tea?
5. What (additional) resources does the Tea bag need in order to produce the Cup of Tea?
6. What qualities should the Tea bag exhibit in producing the Cup of Tea?
7. What (additional) resources does the Milk need in order to produce the Cup of Tea?
8. What qualities should the Milk exhibit in producing the Cup of Tea?


Rule sets for MyCreativity can be developed like this as you are building a specific model, and then reused with any other model. This rule set is quite generic. Its not complete - there are lots more ways you could elaborate, or add detail to a model... but its a start... that can be built on.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

House Move Creativity


This example is based on the template provided in the previous example. This is more or less the same model, but with the agents changed to reflect the factors prevalent in the situation of buying a house.

The situation is one many will relate to. Attention is drawn to the box highlighted in blue, the compelling event for this change; a new job in a different city. The current house/location is now harmful as it's too far to commute. The plan is therefore to sell the house, buy a new house, and move. However, the market is not moving - this could prevent sale of the current house. The situation is made more challenging by the need to have a big deposit to buy the new house. This is offset by the relocation package provided by the new job. The pay increase also enables purchase of a house in this area - perhaps a bigger one, that will lead to a short commute, and a better work/life balance. There is a risk, however, that in order to make the move a compromise of buying a smaller house with the idea of extending it later leads to ongoing disruption and cost which counteracts the sought-after improved work/life balance.

The same creativity rules are used as in the previous example.

Lets see what happens when we click around this model:

Clicking on Market not Moving yields the following creativity suggestions (numbered). The idea is these are used to drive brainstorming of specific solutions that you can use to overcome the challenges faced in this situation. Some example solutions have been filled in against each of the suggestions generated by the rules.

1. What's the root cause of Market not moving? How can we avoid that?
There is a lack of liquidity, but also some fear prices will come down and those with cash are waiting for good deals. So its a question of balancing how urgently we need to move house and setting a low price accordingly. We can offset this by making a low offer on the house we are buying.

2. Prevent the Market not moving from impacting the Move House.
Negotiate a deal with the new job to cover the cost of the second mortgage until the house can sell. Or buy a house with one of the agents that is accepting other houses as part of the collateral in the sale.

3. Isolate the part of the Market not moving that is impacting the Move House and remove it.
If the issue is sale price, then face reality and reduce the price early. Sustaining two mortgages or delaying the move for months on the dream of a high sale price could cost more in the long run than cutting the price now.

4. Convert the Market not moving into something useful before it has a chance to impact the Move House
Negotiate hard on the price for the new house. Whatever you can knock off the purchase of that you can afford to knock off the sale of your current house. Also, if the market is not moving, and estate agents are not selling the houses, then there is more competition between estate agents to be involved in the deals that are going down. Use this to negotiate a lower fee for brokering the sale.

5. Protect the Move House from the Market not moving.
Consider taking out a bridging loan to make sure once you find the house you want, you will not be stopped by failure to sell your house in time. Consider the difference in work/life balance this will make together with how much you can afford now you have that new pay rise.

11. How can you get the Move House to intensify the Living in New House without causing the Risk of negative equity if house prices fall further?
Drive a hard bargain on securing the new house to minimise the risk of negative equity. Remember the new salary and the reduced work commute may mean that some negative equity is acceptable.

12. How can you prevent the Market not moving from producing the Current house not selling.
Do the house up. Reduce the price. Place it with multiple agents.

13. Put measures in place to deal with the Current house not selling.
Rather than sell the house, look for options to rent it out to gain additional income and sell it later once the market has stabilised. The estate agent may do this, as may the local council.

14. Isolate the part of the Market not moving that is producing the Current house not selling and remove it.
This one is probably out of your control...

15. What's the root cause of Current house not selling? How can we avoid that?
Consider whether its really the market making the house not sell, or whether there is an issue with the house. Get another opinion. Fix the issues with the house - make sure price is the only issue left.

Lets look at another example - here are just a few questions generated from clicking on Improved work/life balance:


1. How can we realise the Improved work/life balance more quickly?
Move into a rented house. Get the new firm to pay for this until you find a new house. If you get an unfurnished house and move your stuff down, this could also make it clear to buyers of your old house its ready for them to move into with no forward chain.

3. How can you get more of Improved work/life balance from Living in New House?
Think about what you will do with the extra time now you have a short commute. Would this affect where you would want to locate the house?

4. How can you increase the ability of Living in New House to create Improved work/life balance?
If this is the real goal, then think about what qualities the house itself should have over and above being nearer the new office.

5. How can you intensify the Improved work/life balance without relying on the Living in New House?
Make sure you're not kidding yourself about the house being the magic bullet that will restore your work/life balance... what else do you need to do? Plans are all very well, but achieving them is useless if they are the wrong plans.

6. How can you ensure that the Improved work/life balance will be an outcome of the Living in New House?
Well? How can you?

8. What else is needed to achieve Living in New House? What are the pre-requisites or necessary pre-steps?
Finding appropriate schools in the area with easy commuting distance to the house. Reducing your commute is not going to help if you lose an hour a day dropping the kids off because you failed to think of school location or bus routes.

As with the previous model, its possible to generate creativity ideas by clicking on any or all of the agents or effects in this model. The total number of suggestions available from this rule set with this model is 156. You can extend the rule set, and you can extend the model. That's more creativity each time you do either of those things. The key is to use this as a way of opening up possibilities - to be as rigorous or as quick-fire inspirational as you want to be. The rules just encode general creativity ideas and how they apply to agents in a model. The model describes your situation. Together, they produce many new ways of looking at the situation - ways you may not have come up with yourself, even though you maybe created the model and the rules!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Situation Improvement

This example Southbeach Notation model shows how circumstances may help or hinder improvement activities designed to take you from a harmful current state to a useful target state.

This model already shows 8 factors to consider when planning the improvement activity as well as a further 5 factors that should be considered when creating and managing the newly achieved target state.

Whilst this model is general, it can be used as a template or a structured brainstorming aid to create a model that is more specific to your particular situation. Just replace agents like Risk with your actual risks, or add them as productions from the Risk agent.

The effects give some clues about how to improve the situation - whilst failures due to the current situation are obviously harmful, they are useful in creating the case for action. Whilst successes of the current situation are obviously useful, they have the harmful side effect that they counteract the desire to take action and start the improvement activity. Barriers and constraints obviously need to be removed, and risks avoided... we must try and ensure the benefits of the target state can actually be realised...

However, there are many many more creativity paths that can be generated from such a model. Southbeach MyCreativity provides the means to write rules that the modeller can then use to generate creativity output.

Here is some example creativity output generated against this model:

Setting the modeller extent to laser (to just run the rules on what you click on), and clicking on Target State could generate something like this:

1. What else is needed to achieve Target State? What are the pre-requisites or necessary pre-steps?
2. How can we realise the Target State more quickly?
3. How can you create the Benefits of change without the Improvement Activity?
4. How can you create the Sustainable improvement without the Improvement Activity?
5. How can you get the Target State to intensify the Benefits of change without causing the Unforeseen side effects?
6. How can you get the Target State to intensify the Sustainable improvement without causing the Unforeseen side effects?

Whereas an extent of narrow (runs rules on the agents and surrounding effects) when clicking on Constraints might produce something like this:

1. What's the root cause of Constraints? How can we avoid that?
2. Prevent the Constraints from impacting the Improvement Activity.
3. Isolate the part of the Constraints that is impacting the Improvement Activity and remove it.
4. Convert the Constraints into something useful before it has a chance to impact the Improvement Activity
5. Protect the Improvement Activity from the Constraints.
6. How can you prevent the Constraints from producing the Compromises.
7. Put measures in place to deal with the Compromises.
8. Isolate the part of the Constraints that is producing the Compromises and remove it.

Setting the extent to widest (run on everything)... could generate an enormous number of suggestions:
Note that each of these suggestions is different. Some are very different. Some are subtly different, for example protecting something useful from harm is different to reducing the amount of harm; Increasing the amount of something useful is different to improving the ability of something else to create that useful thing (because there could be alternative ways)...


1. How can you get the Improvement Activity to intensify the Target State without causing the Risks?
2. How can you get more of Improvement Activity from Current State?
3. How can you increase the ability of Current State to create Improvement Activity?
4. How can you intensify the Improvement Activity without relying on the Current State?
5. Try and work out what part of the Current State is producing the Improvement Activity and minimise the unnecessary parts that are producing the harm
6. How can you get the Current State to intensify the Successes without causing the Failures due to current situation?
7. How can you get more of Successes from Current State?
8. How can you increase the ability of Current State to create Successes?
9. How can you intensify the Successes without relying on the Current State?
10. Try and work out what part of the Current State is producing the Successes and minimise the unnecessary parts that are producing the harm
11. Prevent the Successes from impacting the Improvement Activity.
12. Find ways for Improvement Activity to make more use of Current State
13. What's the root cause of Current State? How can we avoid that?
14. Ensure the Target State also leads to Improvement Activity before the Current State is replaced
15. Ensure the Target State also leads to Successes before the Current State is replaced
16. How can you get the Current State to intensify the Improvement Activity without causing the Failures due to current situation?
17. Isolate the part of the Successes that is impacting the Improvement Activity and remove it.
18. Protect the Improvement Activity from the Successes.
19. How can you prevent the Current State from producing the Failures due to current situation.
20. Put measures in place to deal with the Failures due to current situation.
21. Isolate the part of the Current State that is producing the Failures due to current situation and remove it.
22. What's the root cause of Failures due to current situation? How can we avoid that?
23. How can you intensify the Improvement Activity without the Current State?
24. How can you get more of Improvement Activity from Failures due to current situation?
25. How can you increase the ability of Failures due to current situation to create Improvement Activity?
26. How can you intensify the Improvement Activity without relying on the Failures due to current situation?
27. Try and work out what part of the Failures due to current situation is producing the Improvement Activity and minimise the unnecessary parts that are producing the harm
28. What else is needed to achieve Target State? What are the pre-requisites or necessary pre-steps?
29. How can we realise the Target State more quickly?
30. How can you create the Benefits of change without the Improvement Activity?
31. How can you create the Sustainable improvement without the Improvement Activity?
32. How can you get the Target State to intensify the Benefits of change without causing the Unforeseen side effects?
33. How can you get the Target State to intensify the Sustainable improvement without causing the Unforeseen side effects?
34. Intensify or get more of the Improvement Activity so you can have more of the Target State.
35. How can you get more of Target State from Improvement Activity?
36. How can you increase the ability of Improvement Activity to create Target State?
37. How can you intensify the Target State without relying on the Improvement Activity?
38. How can you ensure that the Target State will be an outcome of the Improvement Activity?
39. Intensify or get more of the Target State so you can have more of the Benefits of change.
40. How can you get more of Benefits of change from Target State?
41. How can you increase the ability of Target State to create Benefits of change?
42. How can you intensify the Benefits of change without relying on the Target State?
43. How can you ensure that the Benefits of change will be an outcome of the Target State?
44. How can we realise the Benefits of change more quickly?
45. Prevent the Issues from impacting the Benefits of change.
46. Isolate the part of the Issues that is impacting the Benefits of change and remove it.
47. Convert the Issues into something useful before it has a chance to impact the Benefits of change
48. Protect the Benefits of change from the Issues.
49. How can the proportion of the Issues impacting the Benefits of change be reduced?
50. What's the root cause of Issues? How can we avoid that?
51. How can we avoid, prevent, or delay the Issues?
52. How can you prevent the Risks from producing the Issues.
53. Put measures in place to deal with the Issues.
54. Isolate the part of the Risks that is producing the Issues and remove it.
55. What's the root cause of Risks? How can we avoid that?
56. How can we avoid, prevent, or delay the Risks?
57. How can you prevent the Improvement Activity from producing the Risks.
58. Put measures in place to deal with the Risks.
59. Isolate the part of the Improvement Activity that is producing the Risks and remove it.
60. How else could the Improvement Activity be accomplished that would not result in the Risks?
61. What else could give the benefits of the Improvement Activity that would not result in the Risks?
62. Prevent the Issues from impacting the Sustainable improvement.
63. Isolate the part of the Issues that is impacting the Sustainable improvement and remove it.
64. Convert the Issues into something useful before it has a chance to impact the Sustainable improvement
65. Protect the Sustainable improvement from the Issues.
66. How can we realise the Sustainable improvement more quickly?
67. Intensify or get more of the Target State so you can have more of the Sustainable improvement.
68. How can you get more of Sustainable improvement from Target State?
69. How can you increase the ability of Target State to create Sustainable improvement?
70. How can you intensify the Sustainable improvement without relying on the Target State?
71. How can you ensure that the Sustainable improvement will be an outcome of the Target State?
72. Prevent the Compromises from impacting the Sustainable improvement.
73. Isolate the part of the Compromises that is impacting the Sustainable improvement and remove it.
74. Convert the Compromises into something useful before it has a chance to impact the Sustainable improvement
75. Protect the Sustainable improvement from the Compromises.
76. What's the root cause of Compromises? How can we avoid that?
77. How can we avoid, prevent, or delay the Compromises?
78. How can you prevent the Constraints from producing the Compromises.
79. Put measures in place to deal with the Compromises.
80. Isolate the part of the Constraints that is producing the Compromises and remove it.
81. What's the root cause of Constraints? How can we avoid that?
82. Prevent the Constraints from impacting the Improvement Activity.
83. Isolate the part of the Constraints that is impacting the Improvement Activity and remove it.
84. Convert the Constraints into something useful before it has a chance to impact the Improvement Activity
85. Protect the Improvement Activity from the Constraints.
86. How can you prevent the Compromises from producing the Unforeseen side effects.
87. Put measures in place to deal with the Unforeseen side effects.
88. Isolate the part of the Compromises that is producing the Unforeseen side effects and remove it.
89. What's the root cause of Unforeseen side effects? How can we avoid that?
90. How can we avoid, prevent, or delay the Unforeseen side effects?
91. How can you prevent the Target State from producing the Unforeseen side effects.
92. Isolate the part of the Target State that is producing the Unforeseen side effects and remove it.
93. How else could the Target State be accomplished that would not result in the Unforeseen side effects?
94. What else could give the benefits of the Target State that would not result in the Unforeseen side effects?
95. Prevent the Barriers from impacting the Improvement Activity.
96. Isolate the part of the Barriers that is impacting the Improvement Activity and remove it.
97. Convert the Barriers into something useful before it has a chance to impact the Improvement Activity
98. Protect the Improvement Activity from the Barriers.
99. What's the root cause of Barriers? How can we avoid that?
100. Intensify or get more of the Enablers so you can have more of the Improvement Activity.
101. How can you get more of Improvement Activity from Enablers?
102. How can you increase the ability of Enablers to create Improvement Activity?
103. How can you intensify the Improvement Activity without relying on the Enablers?
104. Intensify or get more of the Resources so you can have more of the Improvement Activity.
105. How can you get more of Improvement Activity from Resources?
106. How can you increase the ability of Resources to create Improvement Activity?
107. How can you intensify the Improvement Activity without relying on the Resources?
108. Intensify or get more of the Compelling Events so you can have more of the Improvement Activity.
109. How can you get more of Improvement Activity from Compelling Events?
110. How can you increase the ability of Compelling Events to create Improvement Activity?
111. How can you intensify the Improvement Activity without relying on the Compelling Events?
112. How can you create the Target State without the Current State?
113. How can you create the Target State without the Enablers?
114. How can you create the Target State without the Resources?
115. How can you create the Target State without the Compelling Events?
116. How can you create the Target State without the Failures due to current situation?
117. Find ways for Improvement Activity to make more use of Resources
118. Find ways for Successes to make more use of Current State
119. Find ways for Improvement Activity to make more use of Enablers
120. Find ways for Improvement Activity to make more use of Compelling Events
121. Find ways for Improvement Activity to make more use of Improvement Activity
122. Find ways for Target State to make more use of Improvement Activity
123. How can the proportion of the Compromises impacting the Sustainable improvement be reduced?
124. Find ways for Benefits of change to make more use of Target State
125. Find ways for Target State to make more use of Target State
126. Find ways for Improvement Activity to make more use of Constraints
127. Find ways for Sustainable improvement to make more use of Target State


Here are the MyCreativity rules that generated this output:

#Improve.IncreaseUseful
increases(useful,useful) "Intensify or get more of the {source} so you can have more of the {destination}."
increases(*,useful) "How can you get more of {destination} from {source}?"
increases(*,useful) "How can you increase the ability of {source} to create {destination}?"
increases(*,useful) "How can you intensify the {destination} without relying on the {source}?"
increases(harmful,useful) "Try and work out what part of the {source} is producing the {destination} and minimise the unnecessary parts that are producing the harm"
decreases(*,useful) "Prevent the {source} from impacting the {destination}."
decreases(*,useful) "Isolate the part of the {source} that is impacting the {destination} and remove it."
decreases(harmful,useful) "Convert the {source} into something useful before it has a chance to impact the {destination}"
decreases(*,useful) "Protect the {destination} from the {source}."
increases(useful,useful+potential) "How can you ensure that the {destination} will be an outcome of the {source}?"
increases(&a=*,&c=useful+potential) increases(&b=*,&a) "How can you create the {&c} without the {&b}?"
increases(&a=*,&c=useful+!potential) increases(&b=*,&a) "How can you intensify the {&c} without the {&b}?"
useful+goal "What else is needed to achieve {this}? What are the pre-requisites or necessary pre-steps?"
harmful "What's the root cause of {this}? How can we avoid that?"
useful+potential "How can we realise the {this} more quickly?"
harmful+potential "How can we avoid, prevent, or delay the {this}?"
replaces(&a=*,&b=*) increases(&b,&c=useful) "Ensure the {&a} also leads to {&c} before the {&b} is replaced"
increases(&a=*,&b=useful) "Find ways for {&b} to make more use of {&a}"
#Improve.ReduceHarmful
increases(*,harmful) "How can you prevent the {source} from producing the {destination}."
increases(*,harmful) "Put measures in place to deal with the {destination}."
increases(*,harmful) "Isolate the part of the {source} that is producing the {destination} and remove it."
increases(useful,harmful) "How else could the {source} be accomplished that would not result in the {destination}?"
increases(useful,harmful) "What else could give the benefits of the {source} that would not result in the {destination}?"
decreases+potential(&a=*,&b=useful) "How can the proportion of the {&a} impacting the {&b} be reduced?"
#Improve.Simplify
increases(&a=*,&b=useful) increases(&a,&c=harmful) "How can you get the {&a} to intensify the {&b} without causing the {&c}?"

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Creating TOGAF Checklists with Southbeach MyCreativity

This Southbeach Notation model shows the phases of the The Open Group Architecture Foundation (TOGAF) Architecture Development Method (ADM). Reference: www.togaf.org


The method defines the inputs, steps, and outputs of each phase of the cycle:

A. Architecture Vision
B. Business Architecture
C. Information Systems Architectures
D. Technology Architecture
E. Opportunities and Solutions
F. Migration Planning
G. Implementation Governance
H. Architecture Change Management
Requirements Management

Some of these have been shown on the extended model below, with inputs shown as blue boxes, or activities that contribute to the phase, steps of the phase itself are shown as productions (arrows) out of the phase and outputs, or artifacts created by the phase, are shown using the created effect (star). Here we show the steps of phase A above that phase, with the inputs to the left, broken down hierarchically as defined in TOGAF, and the outputs to the right. We also show the inputs to phase B, business architecture similarly broken down.

Using the MyCreativity add on to the Southbeach Modeller, it is now possible to write rules that refer to the model and generate output. You will see how the rules below for the different effect types correspond to the appropriate output; anything that contributesto the phase you click on is listed as an input, anything that phase produces is listed as a step, and anything that is created by that phase, is listed as an output. Note also how in the case of contributesto, we have an additional rule called a 'triple' that matches secondary level contributions. (See the MyCreativity manual for more details.)

This is just one way you could model the parts of TOGAF and write rules in Southbeach to create checklists. This mapping of effects to meaning used to interpret the model in a specific way, this creativity meta-model, is important. Think about this - about how you want your rules and your model to interact - so you have a consistent way to generate creativity output from the model.

For example, the following script:
#Process
//Use extent extended
* "{selected}"
#Process.Inputs
contributesto(action, goal) " Inputs:"
contributesto(action, goal) " {source}"
contributesto(&a=action, &b=action) contributesto(&b,&c=goal) " |--{&a}"
#Process.Steps
produces(goal, action) " Steps:"
produces(goal, action) " {destination}"
#Process.Outputs
creates(goal,action) " Outputs:"
creates(goal, action) " {destination}"

Generates the following output when clicking on Phase A. Architecture Vision:
(This output appears in the MyCreativity window beneath the model when you have the plug-in - just right click in there and set extent to extended to make sure it generates all the secondary inputs).

A. Architecture Vision
Inputs:
Organizational Model for Enterprise Architecture
|--* Governance and support strategy
|--* Requests for change
|--* Budget requirements
|--* Re-use requirements
|--* Constraints on architecture work
|--* Roles and responsibilities for architecture team(s)
|--* Maturity assessment, gaps, and resolution approach
|--* Scope of organizations impacted
Tailored Architecture Framework
|--* Tailored architecture method
|--* Tailored architecture content (deliverables and artifacts)
|--* Architecture Principles, including business principles, when pre-existing
|--* Configured and deployed tools
Populated Architecture Repository
Steps:
* Define Scope
* Develop Enterprise Architecture Plans and Statement of Architecture Work; Secure Approval
* Identify the Business Transformation Risks and Mitigation Activities
* Define the Target Architecture Value Propositions and KPIs
* Develop Architecture Vision
* Confirm and Elaborate Architecture Principles, including Business Principles
* Assess Readiness for Business Transformation
* Evaluate Business Capabilities
* Confirm and Elaborate Business Goals, Business Drivers, and Constraints
* Identify Stakeholders, Concerns, and Business Requirements
* Establish the Architecture Project
Outputs:
# Additional content populating the Architecture Repository
# Communications Plan
Architecture Vision
# Tailored Architecture Framework (for the engagement)
# Capability Assessment
# Architecture Principles
# Refined statements of Business Principles, Business Goals, and Business Drivers
Approved Statement of Architecture Work

and the following output when clicking on B. Business Architecture:

B. Business Architecture
Inputs:
# Approved Statement of Architecture Work
# Architecture Principles, including business principles, when pre-existing
# Enterprise Continuum
# Architecture Repository
|--* Re-usable building blocks
|--* Publicly available reference models
|--* Organization-specific reference models
|--* Organization standards
|--* Refined key high-level stakeholder requirements
|--* Baseline Business Architecture, Version 0.1
|--* Baseline Technology Architecture, Version 0.1
|--* Baseline Data Architecture, Version 0.1
|--* Baseline Application Architecture, Version 0.1
|--* Target Business Architecture, Version 0.1
|--* Target Technology Architecture, Version 0.1
|--* Target Data Architecture, Version 0.1
|--* Target Application Architecture, Version 0.1


You can create as many different rule sets as you like, use them interactively like this to help you think through your approach, or facilitate a project kick-off or review session, or audit an already running project. Southbeach modeller now has the ability to hide certain kinds of elements like actions (the blue boxes here), so you could build a very extensive model of a process that includes inputs, activities and outputs as here, whilst only showing the simple process steps on the screen and still having the creativity rules accessing the full richness of the model - but only showing it when you want to, when you click on the agents you are interested in.

Here is a screenshot of the application. The top left panel shows the models available in the explorer, below that is a list of creativity rule sets available for use with this model. The model is in the centre - with the action agents (blue boxes) hidden to keep the interface simple. On the right is the agent tab showing the description of the selected TOGAF phase, describing its objectives and approach. Beneath the model is the output of the creativity rules showing the inputs to that phase.



See southbeach-creativity.blogspot.com for more examples of how to use MyCreativity and some explanations of the different kinds of rules you can use to add creativity to Modeller. You can get the MyCreativity plug-in to Southbeach Modeller here.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Southbeach templates for your methodology


This model illustrates the questions to be asked, and the model templates to be developed, if one was starting out to develop a Southbeach 'kit' (set of abstract and 'starter' models) to support an existing methodology. The output of the exercise would be a set of Southbeach template models of two types:

1. Models to illustrate the approach, phases, steps and activities of the methodology itself. This would help communicate the methodology to the client and delivery team. They could be adapted for different engagements. Improvements gathered from each engagement would be integrated back into the master set.

2. Abstract models, to support the development of 'work products'.

An abstract models is effectively a 'visual check list' - which can be brought into a workshop, and, through model elaboration and changing the text of agents, converted to a specific model.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Policy Engineering and Process Improvement


This model shows how Southbeach can be used to model processes, in this case, describing the steps that might be taken in policy engineering. Once the basic steps in a process are captured, the blockers to and harmful side effects of those process steps can be added to the model. This then provides the basis for brainstorming how to overcome the blockers, or how to improve the process.

Action Oriented Southbeach Modelling


Using Southbeach to understand a situation is just the first step. Actions are necessary for change. This model provides one example of the steps you could take to be more action oriented with Southbeach.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Offshoring considerations - balancing cost and quality in transition

This model highlights what is considered by some to be a key focus of the transition to an offshore delivery model. It says:

Whilst offshoring reduces cost over time, there is inevitably an initial ramp up period that has the risk of creating quality issues and delays that counteract sales or services and hence impact profitability or cashflow. The knowledge transfer required to ensure quality and timeliness requires onshore delivery capability, sometimes perceived as high cost. This investment in the present must be balanced against the potential losses and gains of the future. The knowledge transfer and the management of this transition to a fully offshore model must be the initial focus of attention.

Friday, 30 October 2009

NHS culture opposed to Innovation?

This model was developed following lectures at the London School of Economics (LSE) - entitled "Innovating out of the Recession in the NHS". The speakers were Jim Easton, NHS National Director for Improvement and Efficiency, Dept of Health; Steve Barnett, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation and Prof. Patrick Dunleavy, LSE Public Policy Group. Mr. Easton is responsible for driving measureable improvements in service quality and productivity through the system. The meeting was chaired by Howard Glennerster, Prof. Emeritus of social administration at the LSE, holding various advisory positions to UK Government.

Despite significant funding and resource increases for the NHS over the last ten years, it has been insufficient to produce needed increases in productivity and quality. (dotted line). These are needed now to counter funding gap of £20B projected over the coming years. The theme of the lecture was the NHS culture and ethos which, it is claimed, is opposed to processes of innovation and change. Nothing less than a transformation is needed - gradual incremental downward pressure on prices and costs won't be enough. The cultural problem arises from a public ethos of mediocry, rather than excellence, and a passionate dislike and disinterest in service/process innovations over medical advances. Future models will focus on the interactions and root causes between culture and innovation.





Thursday, 29 October 2009

Innovating out of Recession in the UK NHS

There is a lot of interest in public sector innovation, both here in UK, but also in the USA and in other major economies. The recession is forcing a hard look at funding, productivity and quality in service delivery - while maintaining clinical excellence. Last night, I attended a series of lectures at the London School of Economics (LSE) - entitled "Innovating out of the Recession in the NHS". The speakers were Jim Easton, NHS National Director for Improvement and Efficiency, Dept of Health; Steve Barnett, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation and Prof. Patrick Dunleavy, LSE Public Policy Group. Mr. Easton is responsible for driving measureable improvements in service quality and productivity through the system. The meeting was chaired by Howard Glennerster, Prof. Emeritus of social administration at the LSE, holding various advisory positions to UK Government.

I developed this Southbeach model (below) based on remarks which recurred throughout the sessions. I will be developing more models of the positions taken at the meeting. This model says:

The economic downturn has led to a £20B gap in funding. This reality, and the politics around it, will challenge NHS social principles unless there is a step change in productivity and quality. According to Jim Easton, incremental improvements will not achieve this, a transformation of the healthcare 'industry' is required (action). Only this can counteract the funding crisis and avoid much cherished principles being compromized. According to the speakers, a root cause is the NHS culture/ethos, which is harmful to the dissemination of innovations in service delivery, even if it does deliver clinical excellence and patient care. A major theory/reason stated for this is the harmful tension between national programs and local programs. This tension counteracts each of their contributions to the the dissemination of innovations, which are required, but insuffient (dotted line), for the productivity needed (scale up). At the same time, productivty can (questionably) lead to improved clinical practice, yet there is a sense in which silo clinical practice is counteracting productivity. There are unanswered questions here. Of course, if NHS principles are challenged the 'system' cannot counter the funding crisis with an appropriate step change in innovation, there will be a counteracting impact on the culture/ethos. In the model, this has been determined to be useful (green line) because the impact is directed to a harmful element (red box), the culture ... despite this having many useful qualities such as clinical excellence (green box). This illustrates the power of Southbeach to allow for the modeling and resolution of differing 'perspectives'.


Tuesday, 29 September 2009

An example method for developing Southbeach Notation Models

Whilst Southbeach Notation itself does not impose any methodology, it is sometimes useful to see how other people have been using it. This example is one way of assessing a situation, brainstorming improvement options, and establishing action plans involving the need to consult large numbers of people. It includes a very simple Southbeach model of a manufacturing firm by way of illustration. Several iterations of the model are shown to demonstrate how a model may be built up through structured questioning. At each stage, the new agents that are added to the model are highlighted in yellow.

Four phases of activity are described below:


More details on example activities and pointers for each phase are provided below:


Model the situation:

Identify & interview stake holders

What are the priority areas?
What are the goals?
What’s helps achieve the goals?
What are these dependent on?
What’s counteracting the goals?
What are the real issues?
What causes those issues?
What’s the root cause?
What other resources do we have?

Assess the differences in perspective
Break differences of opinion down into their parts to get to the issues
Agree what’s important and why, remove the rest


Cost, harmful, and considered a risk, counteracts Profit, which is useful and the goal of the firm. We keep this model deliberately trivial for the purposes of illustration and gradually expand on it below.



Tips

Don’t ask leading questions
Your opinion is irrelevant; Mine their knowledge
Watch body language; Ask pointed questions
Differentiate opinion or hearsay from fact
Seek corroborating evidence

What is most important? What are the goals and risks?
What is most useful? What is most harmful?
What led/is still leading to this situation?
What resources are available? What are the enablers?
What are the risks, blockers & constraints? How can we mitigate against them?
What is the ideal outcome?


Elaborate and refine the model
Who else should be consulted?
- Specialists?
- Customers?
- Suppliers?
- External experts?

What’s missing from the model? (stand on each block and ask...)
- What else does this produce?
- What else produces this?
- What else does this counteract?
- What else counteracts this?
- What are the enablers and positive forces for change?
- What are the blockers and inhibitors?


Here we look at what produces the Cost and Profit and what is counteracting them. Sales leads to Manufacturing, which generates both Revenue and Cost. The revenue contributes to the profit and the Cost counteracts it. The Profit is also counteracted by Corporation Tax.



Tips
Keep asking what causes this until you get to the root cause
See all sides of the argument
Decompose contradictions into their parts
- “Cut costs” + “Increase marketing budget” = ???
- - Choose between one or the other?
- - Move budget from elsewhere?
- - Improve marketing efficiency?
Remove unnecessary information
Differentiate hobby horses from the real issues
E.g. absence of something is not necessarily an issue – it could be the interviewee leaping to conclusions about what the solution is…. “The problem is we have no leadership”… or is it just that this person does not agree with the leadership?


Brainstorm Improvement Options

Each of the questions below targets a different creativity centre in the brain, and focusses on a different part of the problem in the system. Consider each question carefully and make sure to answer them specifically (e.g. consider the harmful effects of pollution: protect from harm (e.g. using a mask to avoid inhaling pollution) is quite different from reduce harm (e.g. using unleaded fuel), is quite different from reduce ability to produce harm (e.g. reduce engine size or speed limit), is quite different from prevent harm (e.g. pedestrianize the town centre), is quite different to avoid harm (e.g. don't go into the town, stay in the country).

Ask what could improve the situation?
- What are the enablers for this?
- What are the blockers and how can we overcome them?
Ask what could worsen the situation?
- How could we prevent this?
- What are the risk mitigations for this?

Increase usefulness
- Introduce more kinds or quantities of useful agents into the system
- Find a way for useful agents to last longer or be more efficient or effective
- Change agents somehow so they are more useful or have more uses
- Make more use of...
- Increase the ability to produce the useful, Find other ways to produce the useful
- Go to where the useful agents already exist or are available
- Find another way to get the useful that is not affected by the harm
- Find another way to get the useful that has not harmful side effects
Decrease harm
- Prevent harmful agents from coming into existence
- Remove harmful agents altogether
- Change agents somehow to decrease their harmfulness
- Reduce the ability to produce harm
- Protect useful agents from harm
- Avoid the harm

Improve
- Find a way to increase the usefulness without increasing the harm
- Find another way to get the usefulness that does not produce the harm
- Separate the conflicting behaviours or tensions
- - in time / space / by perception / condition
- - Transition to super-system / sub-system / alternate system / inverse system
Step back and consider alternatives
Move to the next generation of the system
Remove the need for the system




Here the ideas for improving the system are shown as blue boxes. Blue boxes are not yet part of the system being diagnosed, but rather, represent the recommendations arising from the analysis of the Southbeach Model of the system. Here Offshoring is designed to counteract Cost, as is Reduced Stock, which is achieved by implementing a Build to Order process. Sales are increased through additional Marketing activity.



What are the risks?
What are the external influences that could adversely affect us?
In what way might we be harming or harmed by the environment?


Here we examine what additional external factors may affect the system. Competitors, considered harmful, counteract Revenue. Warranty Activity contributes to Cost which erodes Profit. This causal chain is saying that both Competitors and Warranty Activity indirectly erode Profit, so we had better do something about it.



What can we do about those risks?
Can any of those harmful factors be turned to use?
How can we work in better harmony with the environment?


Research & Development is recommended here to identify Potential (dotted box) new Products that could counteract Competitors who do not have comparable products, giving us some of the market share that was previously with competitors, as well as directly increase Revenue by winning new customers attracted by this new Product. Continually asking 'what other benefits does this have?' yields R&D tax rebates which increases Profit further. Warranty Activity is reduced by an Improved Quality Assurance process. Note that the new process and products will have their own costs, which will erode profit. These are not shown here as they are a necessary part of the idea evaluation - the business case for each blue activity block - they are not a part of the system we are improving until those blue blocks are implemented.



Tips
Brainstorm improvement options, in the above categories, or directed in some other way
Collect improvement ideas
Group ideas together to create better ideas

Run professionally facilitated workshops
Use independent third parties who are not blinkered by history and have no bias
Consult experts as needed, from within the firm and outside
Use the wisdom of crowds – run virtual idea management campaigns using services from firms such as imaginatik.com
Consider what others in the market are doing

Consider the implications, what could the unforeseen consequences of your actions be? How can you protect against them? How can you make your solution last?

Planning Tips
What are the consequences of taking these actions, Useful and Harmful? (Impact analysis)
What preparatory steps should be taken?
What resources are available?
What other activities could our plan integrate with or leverage?
Consider what change management activity will be needed
How can we ensure adoption of the new solution?
Communicate and Educate far and wide
How can we ensure realisation of the benefits?
Consider planning in a benefits realisation phase
Establish metrics
Identify roles and responsibilities
Establish governance and necessary support or operational processes

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Can the UK manage investment in its energy infrastructure to avoid future brownouts?

(Our thanks to technology and policy futurologist, Chris Yapp, for the inspiration to publish this example). Here is an example of the use of a Southbeach grid, to clarify the factors that could lead to powere brownouts in the UK. The model clarifies actions and plans in the present, and possible futures.

If we decommission coal and nuclear power stations on current dates and energy consumption rises this will increase the possibility of brownouts on a scale similar to New England a few years ago. This can be alleviated by extending the lives of these power stations till new capacity comes on board. That reduces the brownout risk at one level. However extending the life of power stations beyond their design limits risks unplanned outages which are harder to deal with. What lowers the risk on one timescale raises risk of a different nature on a different timescale.

But a question remains? What can cause new capacity to come onboard?



To get more insight from this model, we have added an agent to represent the intention (potential) to plan and prepare for building new power production capability. This 'thought' can exist in the present, and it is what brings new capacity onboard in the future.

If it does not occur (not realised) then the brownouts will occur if the decommisioning continues. If the plans don't come about, they do not counteract the life extension projects, and the life extension will therefore continue, with the risk of unplanned outage risks.

Both extending the life of stations, and planning for new build, are useful (green), but are in some kind of opposition (tension). Both cannot fully 'live' together - and it is this tension we would explore for further analysis as indicated in the model below.



There are therefore three risks to power in the UK:

Risk1: If new capacity does not come on board in the future, brownouts will not be counteracted.

Risk2: The surplus life extension will lead to unplanned outages.

Risk3: Planning intentions in tension with extending the lives of the existing power stations.

Further analysis would proceed by interviewing experts around the three causes of uncertainty - centred on the focal point: planning. Over time, models would become more detailed, and more compelling, and the root causes of uncertainty would be revealed. These models could then suggest directions for changing the situation.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

UK energy policy

In this model, we show a summary of the landscape in which the UK develops energy policy. The model seems to imply that energy choices (coal, renewables, nuclear, gas) - coupled with national interests and the politics of global warming, are creating an uncertain environment for planning, investment, choices and options.

21 Drivers for the 21st Century - War, Terrorism, Insecurity (outsights.co.uk)

Southbeach can be effective at visualizing and asking questions about 'scenarios'.

Scenario planning is a strategic planning method that some corporations and many public sector organizations use to make flexible long-term plans. It is considered by some as part of 'corporate innovation'. Related terms include futures studies, horizon scanning, forecasting and roadmapping.

Outsights is a leading practitioner of scenario planning and horizon scanning - helping clients (including public sector organizations and NGOs) to anticipate, interpret and act on important developments in the external world. Their latest work is entitled '21 Drivers for the 21st Century'. Here is a small Southbeach model based on the summary ideas within one scenario.



Forthcoming Southbeach|MyCreativity can add rules to such models, to bring sripts, questions and best practices to life in the context of the current model. Here is an example showing this in action:

Thursday, 16 July 2009

UK to introduce vetting of adults who spend time with children

Southbeach can be used to express important social issues and debates between government, policy makers, lobby groups, the media and citizens - so as to ask deep questions about the kind of society we create for the next generation as we sleep walk and widen the reach of the existing surveillance society. Models can be developed from multiple perspectives, exposing fallacies in the causal logic of those who argue to seek to restrict our remaining liberties. Here is one perspective.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Contrasting perspectives - Spirals of change

This example shows how different perspectives on a situation can be compared and contrasted by using multiple Southbeach Notation diagrams to show the potential consequences of different behaviors or solutions.

The two models below show the same situation, with different choices being made at each stage of development, and different consequences resulting, which cause further choices to be made.


These models were created from the perspective of someone who believes in 'planning for the future', as shown by all the agents below being useful (green) and many of the agents above, starting with 'short term'ism' are harmful (red).



Whilst neither of these models are either complete or balanced, they serve to show a perspective on different approaches, with what are considered to be the key elements of the argument laid out to make it clear what is being said.

A further activity after creating models like this might be to create more detailed and complete models that provide both sides of the story, and weigh up the pros and cons of taking actions in the short term versus taking a longer term approach.



Monday, 1 June 2009

The trouble with Wind Farms - economic and environmental

There are problems with wind farms. Opposition is growing. The following Southbeach models were developed as examples to show the dilemna and contradictions. If you disagree with these models, develop some of your own, and send them to feedback at southbeachinc dot com.

Europe's largest wind farm is not producing enough power. So advocates for wind farms are advocating an expansion of scale. As if 140 turbines 110m high were not enough! Here's the problem. Large wind farms near to be close to areas of population, to drive down costs of power distribution and servicing. But they also have to be in area of open ground and subject to high wind. That means, the green areas close to conubations are precisely those at risk, and valued by the community. Here is another view:

In this model shows the insufficient power production of wind farms counteracting the economic case. That case can only be made by contributory factors of location, location and location. The expanding scale of wind farms, and their ideal location (for the economic case to be made) are in contradiction. The economic case is strongly related to the availability of the wind 'resource'. Environmentalists are split:

And it's not just industrial scale problems faced by Wind Farms. Noise, even for single turbine units 'micro generation' is already disturbing animals, and neighbours. To make matters worse, the high winds required for more power (see models above) are precisely the conditions under which turbines produce more noise. It's a lose lose situation.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Simple Business Improvement Model


This Southbeach Notation diagram illustrates some of the Southbeach Semantics in a simple model of a business. Its purpose is both to describe the situation and provide a basis from which to agree on key facts (e.g. there are insufficient sales) and priorities (e.g. marketing is the focus of attention). Southbeach models exist to support the analysis process in improving the situation. Thus, each element of a Southbeach model can provide a pivot point for improvement. Some examples are provided below.

Here is how to read this diagram:

Spending produces (arrow) materials which are used (small box end) by the manufacturing process to create (star) products which produce sales which produce revenue which produce profit. The profit is the goal (solid green box), and it is counteracted by the spending, considerd harmful and hence shown in red. Spending also produces marketing which increases the sales from the products. However, competitors (harmful) counteract the production of sales. Sales are shown as insufficient (dashed box) and marketing is the focus of attention (yellow highlight). Note the filled circle at the start of some effect lines indicating that the agent is necessary for the effect to occur, e.g. Spending is necessary to increase materials, manufacturing, and marketing.

Note the short dashed lines across some of the effects. These indicate that the effect occurs after a delay. For example, there is a delay between acquisition of the materials and use of those materials by the manufacturing process to create the product.

Here are some improvement alternatives illustrated by this diagram:

All green boxes are useful, so increasing them is likely to increase the usefulness of the overall system. Red boxes are harmful, so need to be reduced, but a balance must be struct as although spending is considered harmful, it has multiple useful effects - spending is necessary - so the reduction of spending is only useful if it can be achieved without reducing the useful products of that spending (materials, manufacturing, and marketing). Similarly, delays on useful effects are opportunities for improvement as they represent a delay in realisation of potential value held in the system. Note that competitors have no useful function in this system as they are harmful, counteract the useful production of profit, and have no useful side effects (from the perspective of the business), so finding ways to avoid, prevent, remove, or diminish the impact of competitors is worthwhile investment as long as it does not cost more than the profit (i.e. as long as the business is actually viable).

There are more subtle ways in which creativity techniques can be combined with Southbeach models. For example, the sales are insufficient. So how can we resolve that? From the model, we can spend more on marketing to increase the production of sales from products, or we can spend more on manufacturing to create more products - more kinds of products to hit more of the market, or more products to places where it is needed if the market is not uniform in its consumption. We can find ways to diminish the effect of the competitors; by selling the products where our competitor has no influence, by removing the competitor through acquisition, by branching out into markets not addressed by our competitor. We can also move into other kinds of sales than products; perhaps there is revenue to be made by providing service contracts. Combining creativity techniques of various forms with Southbeach models as a mechanism for driving a structured brainstorming approach can be a very powerful way to create improvement directions that will be more complete and more directed to where they are needed most.

The model below shows how these improvement ideas can be arrived at by working around the agents and effects in the diagram:

Blue boxes are improvement actions.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

Human dominion over nature?




It used to be that humans had dominion over the world. The world was there to take. We invaded foreign lands, took the resources we needed, and created the built environment. Now we are not so sure. We sit at an uneasy juncture - somewhere between opposing mind sets. We are unsure of how to prevent the dilemmas we face.

(This model illustrates two new semantics in Southbeach 0.9 - 'prevents' and 'contributes to')

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Analysing the water crisis in Australia's Marray-Darling Basin

This model was created as part of an open ideation event run by http://circleofblue.org/.
It shows some of the problems being caused by over extractraction of water from the Murray-Darling basin in Australia. And also some of the solutions (blue boxes) being considered. This is a world issue that has manifested in many countries and will continue to manifest as our water consumption increases with population and adoption of water hungry appliances and crops in areas that require artificial irrigation.

Here is how one might go about developing a model like this:
1. Create a model, a hypothesis - describing the problem, and consequences of attempted solutions to date 
2. Elaborate the model with subject matter experts - from all walks, agriculture, industry, government, science, ... - Bring in other people's perspectives on the model 
3. Elaborate further, creating sub-models for drill down into complex or contentious areas 
4. Perform a root cause analysis to understand how this situation arose 
5. Share the model and report with others to gather feedback iteratively
6. Capture the feedback in terms of model elaborations and ideas entered into the report 
7. Create a plan of action, and show the to-be model next to the as-is model 
8. Do an impact and risk analysis on the plan of action and refine it by mitigating risks and protecting against adverse impacts 
9. Create the final report and action plan for improving your situation
10. Execute

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Viral Change (TM)



This model is based on the work of Leandro Herrero, a viral change specialist. The Southbeach model is based on a figure on page 16 of his book, Viral Change - The Alternative to Slow, Painful and Unsuccessful Management of Change in Organisations.

The model illusrates two new "experimental" effects in Southbeach - 'Specifies' and 'Implements'. These effects have no standard Southbeach visualization at this time, and are simply denoted by a standard closed arrow head and text label.

The concept of 'Implementation' is broad. A implements B means, in effect, that A is part of the 'engine' behind B, for example, a CPU chip 'implements' the logic required for a computer to work. A process engine, in BPM, implements the process design. Our brain 'implements' our conciousness. We are sure you can think of many other examples.

'Specifies' is another experimentation effect in Southbeach. It is a related effect to 'Implements'. A software design document 'specifies' a software program. A blueprint 'specifies' a building. A manager who sets out policy 'specifies' the way processes should be administered.

Experimentation effects in Southbeach are released in the software once it is clear that they are 1) useful, 2) have a well defined and distinct meaning (over other effects) and 3) once a clear visual representation has been agreed and developed.

Monday, 4 May 2009

You can now Draw in Southbeach too!



This image shows some of the drawing tools in Southbeach 0.9. It includes lines, boxes, circles, elipses, polygons and flexigons - solid, dashed and filled. Also provided is a text object and a block arrow.

These drawing tools are typically used sparingly to annotate key aspects of a model, for example, to draw a boundary around a set of agents. The tools provided are 'enough' for most purposes, and cover the common idioms we often see used in analytical diagrams.

Drawing tools in Southbeach have been implemented in their own 'layer', separate to the modeling agents, choices, decisions and effects. This makes selecting, moving, resizing and modifying agents and drawing objects separately very convenient. Even unfilled objects such as dashed boxes can be dragged by clicking anywhere inside the area.

Value chain transformation



This model illustrates some of the new features for modeling situations in Southbeach 0.9(Beta imminent). The model also illustrates a situation common in business. Here, a supply chain is represented, comprising parts manufactured by supply chain partners, contributing to a final legacy product. This product, and its supply chain, is owned by the supply chain leader. Way down the chain, a contract manufacturer of parts is aware of an innovation that can lead to a new product. In effect, a part is transformed. If this innovation were released on the market, the emcumbant supply chain would be de-stabilized. A choice (diamond) has opened up in the marketplace and is being driven by the two forces operating.

Thus, the supply chain leader has foreseen this and interjected a patent fence to counteract the transformation occuring (or at least to retrade its emergence in the marketplace).

This model also shows one of the new drawing tools in Southbeach. Lines, boxes, circles, pologons can now be drawn in solid, dashed and filled.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Intervening with Actions

In Southbeach 0.9, a new type of colored box has been introduced. What management consultants told us was that in client presentations it would be useful to them to distinguish their recommended actions and interventions to solve the client's problem. We call these agents 'actions', and they are shown in blue in order to distinguish them from useful boxes (green) and harmful boxes (red).



Actions can be considered to be in some ways 'outside' of the model, or superimposed on the model - intervening on it. In TRIZ, this could be called the 'supersystem' or 'external environment'. In effect, the consultants that gave us the feedback that led us to add 'actions' to Southbeach, are 'external' to the client as they make their proposals for change/transformation.

Whether you are a management consultant or another kind of problem solver, we hope you find these visually distinctive 'action' shapes useful in your work. Formally, 'actions' are considered 'useful' in a Southbeach model.

In the example model above, also note the use of 'insufficient'. There is both an action to increase the 'insfficiency in the system'. There is also an 'insufficient action' which may or may not be sufficient to address problem area three.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Potential of 'ideation' in the enterprise




This model shows the top 5 benefits of 'ideation' (large scale collaborative problem-solving using tools like Imaginatik's Idea Central). As companies come to understand these benefits, it raises an issue they must focus on - how to take advantage of the capability ideation provides. They must understand the tool has no value in the absense of appropriate business challenges. If the company can be proactive and set ideation challenges, they will enjoy proactive participation from staff. If they can turn this participation into results (our goal) via the idea development, evaluation and conclusion process, this will amplify the organization's willingness to set more challenges, generating more results. This virtuous circle is what empowers every well-founded ideation program.

This model illustrates two new features in the coming release of Southbeach Modeller. A grouping box has been used to highlight the benefits of ideation. An 'issue' lozenge shape has been used to highlight the question that enterprise's must ask themselves.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Charities partnering Service



This Southbeach model describes some of the challenges and capabilities that charities have, and how if they could find a way to partner with other charities with complimentary capabilities and needs, they could help each other more effectively utilize their own capabilities to produce solutions that meet their goals.

The idea is that a Charity Partnering Service could consume capabilities from some charities that are then paired with challenges faced by other charities to help them meet their mutual goals. For example, one charity needing funds for projects may receive donations from another charity where those projects also meet the needs of the other charities charter. Similarly, one charity may have a distribution network in place for delivering aid, whereas another charity may have access to supplies that could be delivered through that distribution network.

Social media is sited as one example of how such a service could enable charities to share information about their resources and needs to enable a 'dating-agency' for charities to match them with potential partners.

The model was inspired by a discussion with Andreas Rindler, the Finance Director of the UK arm of the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre-UK (MDAC-UK).