“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 didn't 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 momentum DEVOPS = FOXHOG? Foxes are most comfortable finding direction Where hedgehogs get terminally stuck, foxes get started
The fatal hedgehog error: understanding
how a system works is necessary 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
Motif A tangible symbol that
evokes the gestalt of a complex system and suggests a useful organizing perspective. Test: if you make a mind-map with the motif at the root, you will end up with a different diagram than if you start with the abstract idea.
Why this can get you
unstuck: Good motifs naturally allow our minds to pick out the important patterns rather than the conventional ones. Drawing a mind-map starting with a new motif is like reseeding a random number generator in your mind.
Aphorism An aphorism is a
succinct statement that captures an essential insight into the workings of a complex system, without characterizing it in detail. Test: Retweetability
Two from yours truly Keep
your psychology complex, but your morality simple Civilization is the process of turning the incomprehensible into the arbitrary
Prize! Exercise #2 (3 minutes):
Tweet your own aphorism about application lifecycle management in 120 characters to @almchicago (hint: try to start with a few different motifs)
Why this can get you
unstuck: Good aphorisms are extremely high-leverage decision simplification principles that allow you to eliminate entire classes of possibilities at the systemic level and supply good defaults at the detailed level.
Metaphoric Map A metaphoric map
is a visualization that uses the rich phenomena of geography to represent complex realities in ways that show things in the right relative proportions and relationships, suggest a set of coherent meanings and guide high-level prioritization. Test: How often your map gets cited by others.
Homework (3 hours): Draw a
metaphoric map of your industry Things to use: • walls, mountains, gorges • rivers, lakes, oceans, deserts • forests, swamps • villages, cities, countries PRIZE: 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 Diagram
A good 2x2 diagram discriminates a complex and messy reality into four more tractable and equally rich classes by employing two orthogonal but mutually relevant dichotomies. Test: How easily you are able to name each quadrant with an archetype label or motif.
Centralized and Hierarchical Another Good
2x2 (Microsoft: Rasmus/Salkowitz) Organization Continental Proud Drift Tower More More Regionalized Globalization Globalized Frontier Freelance Friction Planet Networked and Distributed
You can make up the
grid and find the motifs (easier) or You can start with motifs and get to the 2x2 (harder) Example: Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw
Noble One possible solution Why
wouldn’t the following work? Hufflepuff Gryffindor 1. Good versus evil 2. Works smart/works hard 3. Loyal/disloyal Follower Leader Ravenclaw Slytherin Selfish
Another one The 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 2x2s 1.
No unlabeled quadrants… 2. …but labeled-and-empty is okay 3. Name the prototypical instance, not the class 4. Bonus points if x and y axes are strongly related or identical 5. 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)
2 Final exam, Part II:
(5 minutes) Prizes! Organize the following into a 2x2 matrix. Hacker, Hustler, UX designer, sysadmin Extra foxy credit: try and come up with two alternative 2x2s
Fox tools Hedgehog tools 1.
Blank, one-sided print outs 1. Bound, ruled/graph notebooks (“free lunch”) 2. Post-it notes 2. Index cards 3. Pencils 3. Pens 4. Complex, specialized software 4. Simple, versatile software 5. Takes serious training 5. 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