MTV: 2 Techniques from Athens


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Module 6 from Creative Modeling for Tech Visionaries

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MTV: 2 Techniques from Athens

  1. 1. Creative Modeling for Technology Visionaries Qualitative & Simplified Quantitative Modeling for Product Creation Module 6: Two Techniques from Athens David E. Goldberg University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Illinois 61801 [email_address]
  2. 2. Back to the Tabula Rasa <ul><li>How do we design when we don’t know how to talk about what we are designing? </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s start at the beginnings of conceptual clarity. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s start at the beginning of formal philosophy. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s start with two key techniques from Athens. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Roadmap <ul><li>Category creators vs. enhancers redux. </li></ul><ul><li>When in history have large number of new thoughts been thought? Athens! </li></ul><ul><li>Socrates and dialectic. </li></ul><ul><li>Critical & creative tactics of dialectic. </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotle and creative data mining. </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking example. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Category Creators v. Enhancers <ul><li>Premium is on category creators —those who creates new categories of product and service. </li></ul><ul><li>This requires different skill set. </li></ul><ul><li>Right-brained thinking: integrative, creative, intuitive. </li></ul><ul><li>MFA + Engineer vs. MBA + Engineer. </li></ul><ul><li>But also poses challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering education assumes we are talking about well-defined categories. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Need for Creative Modeling <ul><li>Creation of new products requires return to basics. </li></ul><ul><li>New product creation demands: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asking and answering the right questions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language to discuss features. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dimensionalization of product space. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rough quantification. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little quantitative models of essential product functions. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stick with qualitative for now. </li></ul>
  6. 6. What Examples of New Thought? <ul><li>Clearest examples are from philosophy. </li></ul><ul><li>Presocratic  Socrates  Plato  Aristotle. </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanisms of the new thought: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Socratic dialectic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aristotelian data mining </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Socrates and Dialectic <ul><li>Socrates was a pain in the neck. </li></ul><ul><li>Walked around Athens asking everyone impossible questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Then proved their answers were wrong, but rarely gave an answer himself. </li></ul><ul><li>Nonetheless, Socrates’s method was useful. </li></ul><ul><li>Conversation trying to probe what things really are (or might be). </li></ul>Socrates (470-399 BCE)
  8. 8. Socrates and Plato <ul><li>Socrates (470-399 BCE) was Plato’s teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>Plato established The Academy (ca. 387 BCE). </li></ul><ul><li>One of Plato’s students was Aristotle. </li></ul><ul><li>Academy continued until 529 AD. </li></ul>Plato (427-347 BCE)
  9. 9. Dialogue: Meno <ul><li>Meno. Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice; or if neither by teaching nor practice, then whether it comes to man by nature, or in what other way? Socrates. . . . And I myself, Meno, living as I do in this region of poverty, am as poor as the rest of the world; and I confess with shame that I know literally nothing about virtue; and when I do not know the &quot;quid&quot; of anything how can I know the &quot;quale&quot;? How, if I knew nothing at all of Meno, could I tell if he was fair, or the opposite of fair; rich and noble, or the reverse of rich and noble? Do you think that I could? Men. No, Indeed. But are you in earnest, Socrates, in saying that you do not know what virtue is? And am I to carry back this report of you to Thessaly? Soc. Not only that, my dear boy, but you may say further that I have never known of any one else who did, in my judgment. Men. Then you have never met Gorgias when he was at Athens? Soc. Yes, I have. </li></ul>( http:// )
  10. 10. More Meno <ul><li>Soc. Then as he is not here, never mind him, and do you tell me: By the gods, Meno, be generous, and tell me what you say that virtue is; for I shall be truly delighted to find that I have been mistaken, and that you and Gorgias do really have this knowledge; although I have been just saying that I have never found anybody who had. Men. There will be no difficulty, Socrates, in answering your question. Let us take first the virtue of a man-he should know how to administer the state, and in the administration of it to benefit his friends and harm his enemies; and he must also be careful not to suffer harm himself. A woman's virtue, if you wish to know about that, may also be easily described: her duty is to order her house, and keep what is indoors, and obey her husband. Every age, every condition of life, young or old, male or female, bond or free, has a different virtue: there are virtues numberless, and no lack of definitions of them; for virtue is relative to the actions and ages of each of us in all that we do. And the same may be said of vice, Socrates. Soc. How fortunate I am, Meno! When I ask you for one virtue, you present me with a swarm of them, which are in your keeping. Suppose that I carry on the figure of the swarm, and ask of you, What is the nature of the bee? and you answer that there are many kinds of bees, and I reply: But do bees differ as bees, because there are many and different kinds of them; or are they not rather to be distinguished by some other quality, as for example beauty, size, or shape? How would you answer me? </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Probing of Dialectic <ul><li>Questions directed at the essence of things. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the meaning of a common phrase? “What is virtue?” </li></ul><ul><li>Answers often betray our lack of knowledge and understanding. </li></ul><ul><li>Examine answers critically, often with more questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask penetrating questions about the answers. </li></ul>
  12. 12. What’s This Got to Do with Products? <ul><li>Conversation is at roots of all new products. </li></ul><ul><li>Spark of insight may come as flash, but dialectic necessary in new product creation. </li></ul><ul><li>Three roles of questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Probe customers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probe organizational hurdles. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probe product developers. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Probing Customers <ul><li>Focus groups are immensely powerful. </li></ul><ul><li>Can be informal conversations with potential customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Can be formal focus groups behind the one-way mirror or over web. </li></ul><ul><li>The surprise of Nextumi. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Organizational Hurdles & Dev <ul><li>Need to understand needs of insiders: Organizational hurdles. </li></ul><ul><li>TVs view “politics” as another problem to solve. </li></ul><ul><li>Need to understand views of developers: Who can play what role? </li></ul><ul><li>What views do they have of product and how to design and implement? </li></ul><ul><li>Nextumi: Story: disconnect between prod & R&D. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Tactics of Dialectic <ul><li>Critical: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Equivocation: use of term in different senses. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Question begging: assuming the conclusion. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infinite regress: infinite sequence implying incoherence. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of contrast & emptiness: distinction with little or no difference. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creative: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition: Seek essential distinctions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analogies: Certain dialectical similarities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thought experiments: Hypothetical w/ true premises that does not follow. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Aristotle <ul><li>Called The Philosopher by some. </li></ul><ul><li>Amazing range and scope of work. </li></ul><ul><li>Created many of basic categories of college curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>Founded a school the Lyceum. </li></ul><ul><li>We have 1/3 his output (2000 pages in 30 books). </li></ul><ul><li>Categories and Metaphysics. </li></ul>Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
  17. 17. Aristotelian Data Mining <ul><li>Method very modern: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Empirical search for data. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Considered attributes, which he named. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Classified data according to his attributes. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can we break this down? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Definitions versus Descriptions <ul><li>Description as a marking off from other things. </li></ul><ul><li>Definition as listing essential quality or nature of something. </li></ul><ul><li>In Aristotelian data mining we seek list of essential qualities that delineate products or services. </li></ul>
  19. 19. A Hierarchy of Things <ul><li>Notion of genus and species comes from Aristotle. </li></ul><ul><li>Things divided into groups of like kinds. </li></ul><ul><li>Can be subdivided further. </li></ul><ul><li>At the bottom are particulars or substances. </li></ul><ul><li>10 categories: substance, quantity, quality, relation, place, time, position, state, action, and passion. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Aristotelian Product Spaces <ul><li>Consider space of existing products that are related or similar. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for different exemplars that represent different types of products. </li></ul><ul><li>Taking viewpoint of the customer here. </li></ul><ul><li>May need separate decomposition for design. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider, for example, social networking space. </li></ul>
  21. 21. MySpace
  22. 22. Facebook
  23. 23. Flickr
  24. 24. Yahoo
  25. 25. What in Common? What Different? <ul><li>Can we make a list of attributes that separate the space? </li></ul><ul><li>Can use J. S. Mills methods or methods of modern data mining. </li></ul><ul><li>Attributes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mode of communication (email-IM-mobile-wall) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sense of community (ind-group-friends) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gate to community (edu filter-anybody) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What shared (text-docs-photos) </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Some Techniques with Attributes <ul><li>Dimensionalization of spaces very helpful to high-level thought. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to discussions and try to dimensionalize quickly. </li></ul><ul><li>3 techniques that come to mind: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cartesian products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expert systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypertrophy of the dimensions </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Cartesian Product Thinking <ul><li>Consider enumeration of Aristotelian product space. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiplication rule from statistics. </li></ul><ul><li>Example 5*3*2*3=90 distinct possibilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask whether they are all covered? Well? </li></ul><ul><li>Helps locate your notion in idea space. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Expert System Thinking <ul><li>Are some cases good, and some cases bad? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you find common features of the bad cases? </li></ul><ul><li>If A1 = X, A2 =Y then bad product, otherwise good. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Dimension Hypertrophy <ul><li>Are there missing categories on the dimensions? </li></ul><ul><li>Did we capture all the modes of things shared? </li></ul><ul><li>Example, text-photos-docs: What about videos? </li></ul><ul><li>Is that a good idea? </li></ul>
  30. 30. YouTube & $1.65 Billion Buyout
  31. 31. Bottom Line <ul><li>Two techniques from Athens for qualitative modeling. </li></ul><ul><li>Socratic dialectic & Aristotelian data mining. </li></ul><ul><li>Came from origins of formal thought as thought in ancient Greece. </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant to TVs in customer needs, organizations, & products design. </li></ul>