Posts Tagged ‘Design by committee’

A Loss Of Heart

Messmatiques And Empathic Creators

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Assume that you have a wicked problem that needs fixing; a bonafide Ackoffian “mess” or Warfieldian “problematique” – a “messmatique“. Also assume (perhaps unrealistically) that a solution that is optimal in some sense is available:

The graphic below shows two different social structures for developing the solution; individual-based and group-based.

If the messmatique is small enough and well bounded, the individual-based “structure” can produce the ideal solution faster because intra-cranial communication occurs at the speed of thought and there is no need to get group members aligned and on the same page.

Group efforts to solve a messmatique often end up producing a half-assed, design-by-committee solution (at best) or an amplified messmatique (at worst). D’oh!

Alas, the individual, genius-based, problem solving structure is not scalable. At a certain level of complexity and size, a singular, intra-cranial created solution can produce the same bogus result as an unaligned group structure.

So, how to resolve the dilemma when a messmatique exceeds the capacity of an individual to cope with the beast? How about this hybrid individual+group structure:

Note: The Brooksian BD/UA is not a “facilitator” (catalyst) or a hot shot “manager” (decider). He/she is both of those and, most importantly, an empathic creator.

Composing a problem resolution social structure is necessary but not sufficient for “success“. A process for converging onto the solution is also required. So, with a hybrid individual+group social structure in place, what would the “ideal” solution development process look like? Is there one?

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