Systems Thinking

“The bottom line of systems thinking is leverage – seeing where actions and changes in structures can lead to significant, enduring improvements.”

(Senge 1990, p. 114) Read More

Concept Maps

Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge.

They include:

  • Concepts – usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and
  • Relationships between concepts – indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts.


Read More

Service Design Thinking

My new favourite topic is Service Design Thinking for marketing.

In the Service Design reference book, This is Service Design Thinking, 5 principles are identified:

  • User centered: Services should be experienced through the customer’s eye.
  • Co-creative: All stakeholders should be included in the service design process
  • Sequencing: The service should be visualized as a sequence of interrelated actions.
  • Evidencing: Intangible services should be visualized in terms of physical artifacts.
  • Holistic: The entire environment of a service should be considered.

Isn’t that what the business world has been seeking for years?

Yes it is.

And it’s a race to the top with disruptive innovations to be expected, even if not seen, as the design will go on behind closed doors in organisations (such as Sabio).

And only new clients will know the full breadth of user centred, co-creative, sequenced, evidenced holistic service deployment that results.

From my experience, Service Design based Marketing is the crest of the wave for customer experience management and competitive differential development.

In a nutshell:

It’s good for business because it’s really good for customers.

Check out this Service Design Tools repository.

Edit May 2018: Check out Smaply for Customer Experience Mapping (from the authors of Service Design Thinking).

The Path of Least Resistance for Managers by Robert Fritz

Notes from the book The Path of Least Resistance for Managers by Robert Fritz, published 1999

Designing Organizations to Succeed

The difference between simplicity that trivializes and simplicity that illuminates defines genius.

The first insight is that energy moves along the path of least resistance.

The underlying structure of anything will determine its path of least resistance.

We can determine the path of least resistance by creating new structures.

First law of organizational structure
Organizations either oscillate or advance

Second law of organizational structure
In organizations that oscillate, success is neutralized. In organizations that advance, success succeeds.

Third law of organizational structure
If the organizations structure remains unchanged, the organizations behaviour will revert to its previous behaviour.

Fourth law of organizational structure
A change of structure leads to a change of the organizations behaviour

Structural Tension

Difference between current state and desired state.

Knowing what we want to create and knowing where we are in relationship to our goals – is the most powerful force an organization can have.

Fifth law of organizational structure
When structural tension dominates an organization, the organization will advance

Due dates are a significant part of the planning process. Through the assignment of dates, you are placing events in time.

Structural conflicts are not problems. They are simply structures that are inadequate to accomplish our ends.

Sixth law of organizational structure
When structural conflicts dominate an organization, oscillation will result.

Seventh law of organizational structure
An inadequate organizational structure cannot be fixed. But you can move from an inadequate structure to a suitable structure.

An obsessive focus on ‘what can we do?’ leads us away from important fundamental questions ‘ how are we to understand the current situation? or ‘what are the causes in play that create what we’re living through?

We reduce the intensity of the problem. We feel better about the situation because we feel we are addressing it. However, once the problem is less intense, there is less motivation to take further actions.

[widget id=”ad-continue-management”]ad-continue-management[/widget]Connecting Marketing with Business Strategy

An exercise I often use with clients. I make them write ad copy, because that is one of the quickest and best tests of how fluent they are in their business strategy.

Soon the room was papered with their new copy. Some of it was awkward, and some of it was rather good. The one that captured their business strategy the most was this simple statement: At Royal Ford, we make it easy.

That is their story in a nutshell.

TOC Strategy and Tactic Trees

First, understand the precise difference between strategy and tactics (link will open in new window).

Now, watch this short but knowledge-packed video with Alan Barnard on the use of TOC Strategy and Tactic Trees:
Harmony clip.PNGThe tree is only as valid as our assumptions.

  • First we make assumptions about why the change is necessary to achieve the top objective
  • Second, we ask why the specific objective or strategy is possible, or why the tactic or the how-to is the best way of doing it.
  • And lastly we make an assumption about why we claim that these changes in combination are sufficient to achieve the top objective.

S&T allows you to identify all the changes that are needed, and fill in the details of the assumptions.

The following questions are used to develop a S&T Tree:

  1. Why is the Change needed? (Necessary Assumption)
  2. What is the specific measurable objective of the change (Strategy)
  3. Why do you claim the Strategy is possible and what must be considered when selecting from the alternative ways of achieving the Strategy (Parallel Assumptions linking Strategy with Tactic)
  4. [widget id=”ad-continue-management”]ad-continue-management[/widget]What is the specific Change(s) being proposed to process, policy or measurement (Tactic)
  5. What advice/warning should be given to subordinates, which if ignored, will likely jeopardize the sufficiency of the steps they would take to implement this tactic? (Sufficiency Assumption)

Structural Tension Charting

Structural Tension Charting radically improves your approach to managing business and life.

I have taken Robert Fritz concept of Structural Tension Charting and combined it with my own integrations and the work of other noteables such as Peter Senge and Eli Goldratt to create what I am currently calling an Outcome Chart (as available inside the 7 Steps of Organizing).SolutionPath

What would it take to commercialise the following?

Freeing people to create the lifestyle necessary to fill their deepest criteria for contentment, by providing the precise information references and tools that will facilitate the manifestation of there dreams and wishes into reality.

The organizing principle of structural tension…

Structural Tension Charting

Here are the principles:

  • Tension is the basic unit of Structure
  • Tension exists out of discrepancy:  It is a dynamic of structure that causes energy to move along the path of least resistance
  • The path of least resistance is the principle that in nature, energy moves where it is easiest to go
  • Structural tension is the discrepancy between two states, our desired state as compared to our current state

Structural tension charting facilitates the resolution of structural tension through allowing the visual representation of current reality, with the building up of all the steps that will get us to the desired reality.

Each Chart is comprised of a Current Reality box, a Desired Reality box, and a box inbetween for ‘how to get from here to there. This comprises a Structural Tension Chart.

It really is quite simple…

Robert Fritz book The path of least resistance for Managers explicates the system of structural tension charting. (See an article review of the book here).

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