“To be great at many
things, not just one. My clients will be well rounded and competent in all areas of fitness. They will be able to take on any physical challenges and succeed. I help people change their lifestyles for a healthier tomorrow.”Arthur Hsu
Two complementary modes of getting
unstuck Directional systems thinking Operational systems thinking Finding the right question Finding the right answer Attributions: Fox: Rob Lee Hedgehog: Lars Karlsson 9
Foxy Systems Thinking Done Wrong
Employers didnt start offering health benefits roughly 60 years ago because they were experts in medical decisions. It was a way of circumventing the World War II wage and price controls. Barred from offering higher salaries to attract workers, employers offered health insurance instead. Aided by an IRS ruling that said workers who received health benefits did not have to pay income taxes on them, and by the fact that employers could write off the cost of the health benefits as a business related expense, this accidental arrangement became the primary way most Americans access health care. -- WSJ, December 10, 2008 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122887085038593345.html
Where foxes get terminally stuck,
Hedgehogs are most hedgehogs get started comfortable developing momentumDEVOPS = FOXHOG? Foxes are most comfortable finding direction Where hedgehogs get terminally stuck, foxes get started
The fatal hedgehog error: understanding
how a system works isnecessary for understanding how to work the system The fatal fox error: an elegant insight into the workings of a system is sufficient for building an elegant system that works
2x2 diagrams Motifs Equipment in
the Foxy GymArbitrage NamingAphorisms NarrativeArchetyping Non SequitursBloody-mindedness OverloadingBricolage ParablesBrowsing ParadoxesCaricature Pattern recognitionCollage RandomnessConstraint Triangles SerendipityFree-lunching TheftGonzo longform TriageHacks Surprise seekingImprovisation Viral Venn DiagramsMaps Yin-Yang diagramsMetaphor
MotifA tangible symbol that evokes
the gestalt of a complex system andsuggests a useful organizing perspective.Test: if you make a mind-map with the motif at the root, you willend up with a different diagram than if you start with the abstractidea.
Why this can get you
unstuck:Good motifs naturally allow our minds to pick out the important patternsrather than the conventional ones.Drawing a mind-map starting with a new motif is like reseeding a randomnumber generator in your mind.
AphorismAn aphorism is a succinct
statement that captures an essentialinsight into the workings of a complex system, withoutcharacterizing it in detail.Test: Retweetability
Why this can get you
unstuck:Good aphorisms are extremely high-leverage decision simplificationprinciples that allow you to eliminate entire classes of possibilities at thesystemic level and supply good defaults at the detailed level.
Metaphoric MapA metaphoric map is
a visualization that uses the rich phenomena ofgeography to represent complex realities in ways that show things inthe right relative proportions and relationships, suggest a set ofcoherent meanings and guide high-level prioritization.Test: How often your map gets cited by others.
Homework (3 hours): Draw a
metaphoric map of your industryThings to use:• walls, mountains, gorges• rivers, lakes, oceans, deserts• forests, swamps• villages, cities, countriesPRIZE: Free hour of consulting if you agree to post your finished map in public
Why this can get you
unstuck:Good maps suggest the right sense of proportion and rearrange priorities.• Are you ignoring something huge?• Are you wasting attention on something trivial?• Are you missing a relationship?• Are you underestimating the size of a barrier to action?
Advanced material: the 2x2 DiagramA
good 2x2 diagram discriminates a complex and messy reality intofour more tractable and equally rich classes by employing twoorthogonal but mutually relevant dichotomies.Test: How easily you are able to name each quadrant with anarchetype label or motif.
Another oneThe four elements of
Blitzkrieg*1. Einheit (“culture”)2. Fingerspitzengefühl (“instinctive skill”)3. Auftragstaktik (“tactical contract”)4. Schwerpunkt (“commander’s intent” or “focal point”)*See Chet Richards’ Certain to Win for an accessible introduction
7 rules for 2x2s1. No
unlabeled quadrants…2. …but labeled-and-empty is okay3. Name the prototypical instance, not the class4. Bonus points if x and y axes are strongly related or identical5. Drop either the axes labels or the end points labels if you can…6. …but not both!7. The middle must be unoccupied (related to Taleb’s “barbell principle”)
Prize!Final exam, Part I: (5
minutes)Draw a 2x2 relating to application lifecycle management.(extra credit: take a picture and tweet it to @almchicago)
2Final exam, Part II: (5
minutes) Prizes!Organize the following into a 2x2 matrix.Hacker, Hustler, UX designer, sysadminExtra foxy credit: try and come up with two alternative 2x2s
Fox tools Hedgehog tools1. Blank,
one-sided print outs 1. Bound, ruled/graph notebooks (“free lunch”) 2. Post-it notes2. Index cards 3. Pencils3. Pens 4. Complex, specialized software4. Simple, versatile software 5. Takes serious training5. Intuitive or easy to learn
• Question like a fox,
answer like a hedgehog• See like a fox, do like a hedgehog• Imagine like a fox, execute like a hedgehog• Create problems like a fox, solve them like a hedgehog• Startup like a fox, scale like a hedgehog