Sam Lowe, Lila, layered "systems", architecture, culture,.......

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Seabird

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Jul 21, 2010, 8:39:50 AM7/21/10
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I came to this posting ( https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=14755193&postID=7843295896930066312
) late - Nigel Green pointed me here in the middle of the night (at
least in the middle of the night, my time) last night. I was daft
enough to read it then, but not daft enough to write this comment
then! This comment is a cross post from my comment there.

This article is very interesting to me in that it presents the
following layers as identified by Robert Persig in Lila:

-Inorganic systems (how atoms, molecules, materials etc work) to be
the first.
-Then he identifies the biological systems (how cells, organisms, life
etc work) to be next, existing on top of the inorganic systems.
-Then he identifies the social systems (how individuals, groups,
cities, cultures etc work) to be next, existing on top of the
biological systems.
-Finally he identifies intellectual systems (how ideals, concepts,
intellectual values etc work) to be next, existing on top of the
social systems.

This presentation of layers is a nice explanatory model (a bit like
Zachman's model for identifying the piece parts that we have to
track), but doesn't really address how people and cultures work.
So in one example that Sam portrays,
"Given how often Enterprise Architecture and IT planning are compared
to city planning (inc. by me, Todd, & Villas to mention a few recent
blog postings alone) it should be interesting to anyone involved in IT
strategy or architecture. The equivalent of the concept in the
Enterprise IT world could be that an Enterprise IT estate is not the
creation of the technologies or the people involved, it does not exist
as a result of any master plan, but is a complex system that has
evolved as a result of the value systems that have interacted."

I think there is something missing. That something is the round
tripness. It is my contention (not encumbered by any facts at this
time) that city planning only really evolved once there was a city to
plan. So it isn't a question of whether we plan centrally or are
emergent in our thinking, but that we are round trip creatures.
Emergent behaviour happens, then we get to a point at which there is
sufficient (maybe its when the large consulting companies, or power
mad politicians get involved) desire to plan and manage it. At that
point we get the "planning" model coming into play.

Many of the enterprises in which enterprise architects find themselves
already exist (a tautology, I am sure). So enterprise architects find
themselves dealing with the existing organism and all of its
conflicting value systems, policies, trust relationships, etc.

How we go about it is often to "pretend" that we are planning a whole
new enterprise. A bit like saying, "London wasn't done right, so let's
take it apart, plan it and put it back together."

That's not an approach that a city planner would take - although as I
look at some parts of London, it seemed that overly zealous city
planners did just that.

A good city planner will properly consider the cultural aspects of the
city - the narrow lanes, the low skyline, the lack of highways, the
neighbourhoods, the little shops, the public transport system and
apply the planning "process" with those things in mind - as well as
new uses. The bad city planners ignore the things that make a city a
city and look for homogeneity and efficiency. Why not have strip malls
everywhere. They are easy to build, easy to get to, easy to
repurpose.
Oh but they are ugly and don't satisfy the people.

To hell with the people, what do they know about planning?

Sally Bean

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Jul 21, 2010, 1:03:10 PM7/21/10
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Nice insightful points here, Chris. When considering the city-planning
analogy with EA, I have often reflected that the most vibrant cities often
appear to be the least planned, while heavily planned cities, like Canberra
and Washington are not very vibrant at all, though they might be OK places
to live and work. (I've never been to Canberra and have only a limited
experience of Washington).

Russ Ackoff was a great proponent of the 'clean sheet' approach to
enterprise redesign, as described in his book "Idealized Design"
http://www.amazon.com/Idealized-Design-Dissolve-Tomorrows-Crisis-Today/dp/01
31963635

In that book, (which is one of many that I've bought because it looked
interesting but thus far only managed to dip into) there is a brief
description of an interesting-sounding project with Wharton Group
involvement about an 'idealized' approach to redesigning Paris in 1971. I
haven't as yet managed to track down any accessible references to this piece
of work, but I did find this interesting article about cities that need to
reinvent themselves, and the kind of changes being undertaken.
http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20050418/the-rise-of-the-ephemeral-city

Of course some of the complexity people (Dave Snowden being notable here)
are now very dismissive of idealized approaches like Ackoff's, being more in
favour of evolutionary ones......

Re the layer model - In my OU course, we were initially introduced to a
model produced by Kenneth Boulding back in 1956, with 9-levels of hierarchy
- it looks like the Pirsig model is a simplification of this?
http://www.panarchy.org/boulding/systems.1956.html

[BTW @Nigel, I have just noticed that, in Boulding's hierarchy, 'role'
appears as a fundamental element in the 8th level (I didn't actually know
this when I started looking this up.....honest! will reflect on yr latest
tweet on this).
Sally

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Seabird

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Jul 23, 2010, 8:06:34 AM7/23/10
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Sally,

I too bought Ackoff's book, thought it was interesting at first
glance, dipped and discarded.

It is always easier to start from a green field than to wrestle with
the issues of exisitng culture. How in the green field model do we
realize that because the CEO and Janitor both smoke, that the smoking
ban would cause them to meet - giving the CEO unprecedented insight
into the low level activities in the business? Whether the CEO
"should" be bothered at that level is not the issue. It is that the
CEO can use that interaction and associated data points to get the
sense of the lower levels.

<satirealert> Of course I can see in an Accenture traing manual (or
indeed in the training manuall of every large consulting company),
"make sure you have people on the team who align with the interests of
the client..." So imagine the Accenture puppies being forced to smoke
so that they can hang with the smoking CEOs </satirealert>

Perhaps green field thinking is helpful as a way to get your head
around what is going on, but I am coming to the conclusion that unless
you are in the emergent/Snowden way of thinking, you will produce
ivory tower architecture.

On Jul 21, 12:03 pm, Sally Bean <sa...@sallybean.com> wrote:
> Nice insightful points here, Chris.    When considering the city-planning
> analogy with EA, I have often reflected that the most vibrant cities often
> appear to be the least planned, while heavily planned cities, like Canberra
> and Washington are not very vibrant at all, though they might be OK places
> to live and work. (I've never been to Canberra and have only a limited
> experience of Washington).
>
> Russ Ackoff was a great proponent of the 'clean sheet' approach to
> enterprise redesign,  as described in his book "Idealized Design"http://www.amazon.com/Idealized-Design-Dissolve-Tomorrows-Crisis-Toda...
> 31963635
>
> In that book, (which is one of many that I've bought because it looked
> interesting but thus far only managed to dip into) there is a brief
> description of an interesting-sounding project with Wharton Group
> involvement about an 'idealized' approach to redesigning Paris in 1971.  I
> haven't as yet managed to track down any accessible references to this piece
> of work, but I did find this interesting article about cities that need to
> reinvent themselves, and the kind of changes being undertaken.http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20050418/the-rise-of-the-ephemeral...
>
> Of course some of the complexity people (Dave Snowden being notable here)
> are now very dismissive of idealized approaches like Ackoff's, being more in
> favour of evolutionary ones......
>
> Re the layer model -  In my OU course, we were initially introduced to a
> model produced by Kenneth Boulding back in 1956, with 9-levels of hierarchy
> - it looks like the Pirsig model is a simplification of this?http://www.panarchy.org/boulding/systems.1956.html
>
> [BTW @Nigel, I have just noticed that, in Boulding's hierarchy, 'role'
> appears as a fundamental element in the 8th level (I didn't actually know
> this when I started looking this up.....honest! will reflect on yr latest
> tweet on this).
> Sally
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: vpe...@googlegroups.com [mailto:vpe...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of
>
> Seabird
> Sent: 21 July 2010 13:40
> To: VPEC-T
> Subject: VPEC-T Sam Lowe, Lila, layered "systems", architecture,
> culture,.......
>
> I came to this posting (https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=14755193&postID=784329589693...
> For more options, visit this group athttp://groups.google.com/group/vpec-t?hl=en.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -
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