UK Design Council: Flat Worlds and Flat Words

Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver

In the field of design I am of the opinion that the Pareto principle holds.  Eighty percent of “design” is simply “craft” and twenty percent of “design” is truly “creatif”.

I’ve spent the morning researching the UK Design Council as I consider the refinement of the Czerepak Framework.  One of their major research projects was to visit and study the design departments of eleven of the UK’s most successful companies and to generalize a design process based on their findings.  Personally, I consider their findings to be anti-climactic.  I have studied design since the early 1980s and I don’t see anything new or even optimal in the model the UK Design Council produces as a generalization.  I agree with a four part process, but I get the impression they are constrained by both flat world thinking and legalistic vocabulary to come up with a model that portrays design as a bipolar disorder cycle instead of an incrementally clearer focus on the desired outcome.

There is a way to win and a way to lose in any venture.  The UK Design Council’s research has not found a consistent way to win.


Cognitary, Inc.


As of 2009 January 01, I am for hire as a Cognitary.  You can contact me through the website.

If you have a system, any system, we can provide solutions giving you a competitive advantage.


Universe: Czerepak Framework R0.2

I have been thinking about the terms “convergent” and “divergent” in Tim Brown of IDEO’s Design Thinking and realized that they were products of planar (2 dimensional) thinking.  This has lead me to alter my definitions of what convergent and divergent are and to also redefine “vergent” and add “trivergent”.  I also realized that the convergence point is at the center of the ellipsoid and each verge (radius) point is separate and distinct.


Converge, diverge, verge and triverge all come from the same Latin root “verto”, to turn out.  All of the polyhedron vertexes are representations of the intersections of radii with the surface of not a sphere, but an ellipsoid.  Therefore each vertex is a unique dimension or radius.  However, there is one thing that is still not recognized.


Roll, Pitch and Yaw ellipses alone are an incorrect representation of orientation in space because they fail to include orientation relative to the observer.  Roll, Pitch and Yaw are flat earth concepts.  You cannot represent an ellipsoid with three radii.  The minimum radial representation of an ellipsoid requires four points on the surface of the ellipsoid.  The tetrahedroid is the minimal representation of the inscription of an ellipsoid.


The above three ellipse object and four ellipse object are both ellipsoids, the only difference between them and the three ellipse ellipsoid above them is the perspective–they have been rotated in space.  Using the four dimensional representation gives us the table below:


While I was illustrating the above table it became apparent to me that it accurately reflected  John Boyd’s OODA Loop.  It also became apparent to me that the OODA Loop could be conceputally simplified to:

  1. OBSERVE: Range
  2. ORIENT: Direction
  3. DECIDE:  Elevation
  4. ACT: Fire

The OODA Loop or the Czerepak Framework cycle can be graphed as a simple two dimensional sine vertice:


Now, that’s all sure and fine and it provides a way of thinking with a minimum number of variables.  However, if we think about John Boyd as a military combatant it is not the right set of variables.  The model has to cater to the following needs:

  1. OBSERVE: Who and Why
  2. ORIENT: Where and When
  3. DECIDE: What and How
  4. ACT: How Many and How Much

Suddenly, it becomes obvious that in a system involving living organisms there is added complexity and layers of consciousness.  The following table is my first attempt to illustrate this:


The yellow row and column headers are what is of importance.  The naming of the white cells will have to come later.  Obviously, there are considerable changes in the order of the columns and rows, but I believe John Boyd is closer to the truth about the process than anyone else.  Therefore I am redefining everyone else’s concept to fit his.  What is important about the table is that in the columns each icon represents a set of ellipses that one ellipse at a time intersects with the ellipses above it to converge on a subset that is the target.


Colonel Boyd’s model was simple.  Deviations from it are based more upon misunderstanding than anything else.  This is the fundamental System Development Lifecycle (SDLC):

  2. ORIENT = INSERT = ANALYSIS = CLIMATE and TERRAIN = TACTIC = DIVERGENT THINKING = When and Where are the exceptions?
  3. DECIDE = UPDATE = DESIGN = FUNCTION and FORM = OPERATION = VERGENT THINKING = How and What are the exceptions?
  4. ACT = DELETE = DEVELOP = QUALITY and QUANTITY = GOAL = CONVERGENT THINKING = How Much and How Many are the exceptions?

“What are we deleting?” You may ask.  We are deleting exceptions that existed in the previous system whatever that system may have been.  We are never dealing with a non-existent system.  We are SELECTing a set of exceptions the current system does not handle.  We are INSERTing those exceptions into the current system.  We are UPDATEing the system to handle those exceptions.  We are DELETEing those exceptions from the system.  I still have to work to reconsider the names for each of the cells, but I am converging on that.  The differences between methodologies are really ones of scale and nothing else.  It’s how many exceptions do you intend to address at a time.

This effort is requiring a lot of work and rework because I have never dealt with eight interrogatives before, however the fit is conceptually the best I have ever had.

Universe: Interrogative Spaces


In my previous post I gave thought to Tim Brown of IDEO’s “design thinking”, Clayton Christensen’s “Innovator’s Dilemma”, Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point”, and Buckminster Fuller’s “Synergetics” concepts.  What emerged was the above Czerepak Framework.  My claim is this framework is fundamental to designing a system.

The thing that the above table shows is interaction within what I am now going to call the “Interrogative Spaces”: HowSpace, WhatSpace, WhySpace, WhoSpace, WhenSpace, WhereSpace, HowMuchSpace, HowManySpace.  Each ellipse I call a “vortice”.  The Interrogative Spaces are composed of one or more vortices.  The Framework above shows how Spaces are composed within the Interrogatives,  but what about interactions between the Interrogative Spaces?   A good example is speed or velocity.  Speed is the intersection of WhenSpace and WhereSpace:

v = r / t

Where v is velocity, r is radius and t is time.

If you are increasing Speed, which is acceleration, you have one dimension of WhereSpace and two dimensions of WhenSpace:

a = r / t’ * t”

Where a is acceleration, r is radius, t’ is the first clock and t” is the second clock.  You cannot measure acceleration with one clock. This uniqueness of every vortice applies to all the Interrogative Spaces and all inter-relationships between all of the Spaces.  .

Another way to look at the Interrogative Spaces is as sets and subsets.  The first row are the complete Space vortice sets.  The second row are the first Space vortice subsets.  The third row is the intersect between the row two and row three Space vortice subsets. And the fourth row are the intersects between the row two and row three and row four Space vortice subsets.

I do not believe that anything is constant.  Not the speed of light, not gravity, not cosmology.  Every intersection of dimensions creates a vortex in Universe and every one is unique.  We are simply unable to measure and manage the uniqueness of everything, therefore we make generalizations which create models that can always be falsified.

Universe: The Czerepak Framework

I just visited the archive of Tim Brown’s Design Thinking Blog and came across the following post:

Definitions of design thinking

Tim Brown » 07 September 2008 » In design thinking »

In my HBR article I gave a ‘definition’ of design thinking. It was:

Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.

On reflection this is a narrow description that focuses on design thinking’s role within business. The next sentence that I wrote.“….design thinking converts need into demand” , which I borrowed from Peter Drucker, broadens things out a bit but still assumes an economic motivation.

I am grappling with two questions as I think about this.

1. Is there a general definition of design thinking?

2. Is it useful to have one?

I think Tim has something very good here and suggest that the following would be a further breakdown of his classification:

  • Viable: Business
    • How Much: Quality
    • How Many: Quanitity
  • Feasible: Technology
    • What: Material
    • How: Process
  • Desirable: Human
    • Why: Goal
    • Who: People

Obviously, if you have been following my blog, you can see the same pattern appearing and reappearing as we explore other’s concepts.  The six interrogatives continue to reassert themselves.  However, I think I finally nailed one more aspect on the head.  I hate to say it, but it came to me in a dream about working on a programming project:

  • Reliable:
    • Where: Location
    • When: Timing

Quantity and Quality are two aspects of design/system thinking that are continually overlooked by academics and specialists, but not business people.

Interestingly enough this perspective is not new.  Clayton M. Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma discusses a four part model that fits nicely with this:

  1. Availability
  2. Compatibility
  3. Reliability
  4. Cost

I consider, Clayton’s the most empirical ordering.  Consequently, I would like to mesh Tim’s, Clayton’s and my perspective into the following:

  1. Feasibility: Technology
    1. How
    2. What
  2. Compatibility: Personality
    1. Why
    2. Who
  3. Availability: Market
    1. Where
    2. When
  4. Viability:  Business
    1. How Much
    2. How Many

Now, looking at this I am reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Tipping Point, and it adds the following character to the model:

  1. Feasability: Mavin
    1. How: Processes
    2. What: Materials
  2. Compatibility: Connector
    1. Why: Goals
    2. Who: People
  3. Availability: Salesman
    1. Where: Locations
    2. When: Schedules
  4. Viability: Customer
    1. How Much: Costs
    2. How Many: Units

Universe: A Multi-Dimensional Medium

Let’s do a thought experiment.  I want to take design thinking and abstract it to a system.


Imagine that there are no solids, liquids, gases or plasmas or particles.  That the Universe is a fluid medium swirling between equilibrium and non-equilibrium in multiple dimensions.  What we perceive to be solid, liquid, gas or plasma are not states, but intersections of dimensions that describe interdimensional vortices.  Energy is the intensity of a vortice.  Mass is a vortice of a set of dimensions.  Light is a vortice of a set of dimensions.  All of the particles are vortices of sets of dimensions.  Each influence the other based upon which dimensions they are composed of.

R. Buckminster Fuller clearly states in his work that we should perceive the systems as finite four dimensional spheres.

There are only four fundamental states:  vortice verge, vortice converge, vortice emerge, vortice diverge.


Everything we perceive are combinations of these vortice states.  The states are +/- vortice yaw, +/- vortice pitch, +/- vortice roll.

If any vortice is spiraling toward you it is positive, if any vortice is spiraling away from you it is negative.  By definition, no vortice can be stationary with respect to you.

There are only eight fundamental vortices: How, What, Why, Who, When, Where, How Much, How Many.

This gives us the following eight vortice, four state table:


Take the time to look at the terms defining each of the white cells in the table.  Each row is the addition of a dimensional vortice.  For example: Each additional “when” vortice is another separate clock.  Each additional “where” vortice is another separate radius.  All of them are factors in a system or a design.

And even this representation is inaccurate.  If we consider fractal geometry and chaos theory, there are no points, no straight lines, no arcs, no planes, no circles, no polygons, no polyhedrons, no spheres, only vortices that are above, within or below our range of perception.  Space cannot be filled with any geometric shape.  Everything is composed of vortices–spirals.

We have to abandon the flat world, flat space models we currently cling to.  The world and the universe are not infinite planes.  The world is a finite island of non-equilibrium in a predominantly equilibrium universe.

And that is it, the Czerepak (Chair-eh-pak) Framework.

Copyright (c) 2008 Grant Czerepak.  All rights reserved.


Buckminster Fuller: In, Around and Out


There is no “up” or “down”.  There is only “in”, “around” and “out’.

– R. Buckminster Fuller

What Buckminster says is not so hard to understand if you think about planetary bodies.  You can fall into the gravitational well, orbit the gravitational well or escape the gravitational well.  There are only the three choices.  The same goes for all forces ultimately.

Nationalism: “Natural Born” Feng Shui


I have been stumbling into some blogs recently that have been claiming to be objective about their mud slinging.  The one that pushed my button tried to rationalize the ineligibility of Barack Obama to be president because of his place of birth.

Now let’s stop for a minute and think about this constitutional requirement.  What magical power does being born within the boundaries of the United States give you?  Since every American is descended from immigrants it certainly doesn’t mean you were molded by some deity out of American clay.  And is American clay contagious?  The boundaries of the United States have been changing continually.  Am I more American if I was born in Pennsylvania than if I was born in California?  What are national boundaries if not some type of ancient Feng Shui or geomancy?  Or is it something more simple and arcane?  Perhaps you are the property of the incumbent power structure of the United States if you are born there.  Oh, yes you are.

What was the American civil war about if it was not a battle over human resources and whether humans should have all their needs attended to by the plantation and bound with chains or none of their needs attended to by the company and bound with debt?  Who won?  Have Americans eliminated their debt?  Have Americans eliminated their enemies?  Have Americans eliminated disease?  Is that what you are ultimately born into if you are not in the top 10% of the power structure?

Does being born in the United States make you a better scientist?  Does being born in the United States make you a better leader?  Does being born in the United States make you a better professional?  Does being born in the United States make you a better accountant?  Does being born in the United States make you a better soldier?  Does being born in the United States make you a better worker?  By what magical power?  By what divination?

“Natural Born” is a meaningless pedigree for a people without any claim to fame except that they randomly plopped out of the womb and into the world within a national boundary that may not be around in 100 years.  It is as meaningless as being born among “God’s chosen people”.  It is as meaningless as being born with a particular pigmentation of skin.  It is as meaningless as being born in January versus December.

The only thing that gives our boundaries meaning is our division and our conquest by the incumbent powers.