Thursday, 9 April 2009

From points to patterns and crosses

The 15 services sold and the 4 different implementations found in the previous post are quite unrelated to each other, both the initial 15 and the current 4 implementation have little links between them. 

This inspired me to have new look at Dave Snowden Cynefin model to see if there was anything in there that would help understanding what is going on and find hints at how to proceed from here. 

Than I remembered a question Dave asks quite often: what does a paratrooper do when he jumps from the plane above the forrest? Well, for the first part of the journey downward the only thing he can do is look out for any signs of human activity (smoke, movement, etc), but normally during wartime everyone makes sure no such signs are present during daytime. So the paratrooper gets no valuable information at all. Not even about any shooting going on as he can't hear because of the falling speed. But as soon as he lands (hopefully still alive), what is the first thing he does? ..........

Well, he acts, he moves behind the first tree in sight, then he listens if there is any shooting going on and what direction it comes from. And if it comes from his side of the tree, he changes sides.

This chain of events, act-listen-change, is a well known combi in the Cynefin model, where it reads, act-sense-respond and belongs to the chaos domain. So lets have a look at the Cynefin model (Snowden/Kurtz, The new dynamics of strategy: Sense-making in a complex and complicated world, IBM SYSTEMS JOURNAL, VOL 42, NO 3, 2003): 

In the lower left corner (the chaos domain) we find four dots (in our case the 15 services sold) and when we follow the lines we find that two of them lead to the cross (they fail) and two of them lead to a bleu dot (a pattern is established). So our 4 implemented services can be understood as 4 new patterns.

By following the line we have also crossed the chaos-complex boundary which tells us that our 4 new services are alive, but far from business-as-usual. They are only 4 tiny little operations in a big sea of other concerns. How to handle this situation and achieve/build some more sustainabillity is the subject for next time.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Perspectives on Services Innovation

After dumping my SIM model in the previous post it's time to start rebuilding. 

One of the major mistakes I've made over and over again is to see new services from the perspective of a developer. It is so entrained to say "oh, there is a need for (something new) at customer X, we need to start a project to develop it. WRONG!

There are numerous examples where new services or modifications of existing services arise naturally. Sometimes from the daily operations, in other cases by delibarate efforts of the services people. If have found that for R&D people it is very difficult to acknowledge that new stuff emerges without them.

But the facts are there. Recently we found that over 15 instances of new services were sold in our organisation without any central decision to develop the business in that direction. From this we can learn (or see) that in distributed organisations - and many services-operations are distributed - where there is enough autonomy to develop new practices a variety of initiatives will lead to an increased diversity in the services field. 

And that happened to us too. We also found that under the same notion (in this case digital mailroom) at least 4 completely different implementations were found (and counting). 

Ofcourse there was at least one thing similar: mail was opened and scanned, but the reasons to do that, the operational proces, the purpose, the hardware used, the types of documents scanned and the way the digital mail was delivered gave little evidence that these four implementations lived under the same name.

From an R&D perspective the development of these new services seemed to be totally chaotic and unrelated. And yes, maybe they are unrelated but chaotic? Not for the services people and customers involved. For them the services were simply fact of life.

This observations must - I think - form a basic ingredient for the new SIM model that is under construction.