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The New G-Spot

Before reading any further, please contemplate this Box cutter:

Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful- George Box

Now, let’s start with a pair of “model” problem-system and control-system templates:


Next, let’s hypothesize a new composite system that you designed, built, and deployed to “solve a vexing socio-technical problem“. You diligently employed the dorky BD00 templates, your brain, and your positional power to form a “semieffective” marriage between your specific problem (indicated by the blue, scoped boundary) and your specific controller (indicated by non-white components):

Effective Marriage

Although your new system may appear to be alleviating (or least containing) the problem, looks can be (and usually are) deceiving. Before you pat yourself on the back for being a “problem solver“, please contemplate these Gall-isms:

New systems generate new problems – John Gall

Systems Develop Goals Of Their Own The Instant They Come Into Being – John Gall

Intra-system Goals Come First – John Gall

Thus, according to the Gallster, the a-priori and noble “G” you designed into your fabulous controller subsystem will eventually be usurped (sooner rather than later) by the emergent “G” of the new composite system entity. Sometimes the new “G” totally obscures the original “G” so thoroughly that, given enough time, nobody can even remember what the original “G” was. D’oh!

Orig To New

And what might this new system “G-Spot” be? Could it be to perpetuate and maybe even exacerbate the original problem so that the new system (especially the controller subsystem) can grow and thrive? After all, if the problem gets solved, then there will be no more need for the controller subsystem. In effect, the new system would be devouring itself as it solved the problem. But wait! That can’t happen because it would be a fruitless attempt to violate this Gall-Shirky pair:

Systems Tend To Grow, And As They Grow, They Encroach – John Gall

Institutions Tend To Preserve The Problem To Which They Are The Solution – Clay Shirky

An alternative BD00 quote rip-off is:

Systems, like people, tend not to consume themselves as food.

Can you concoct another alternative rip-off quote?

  1. Dick Danjin
    March 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Sorry Dick,close but no cigar.Hope you are not picking this up from Livingston.

    • March 31, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      I pulled it outta my, uh, you know where.

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