Design: Business Design


In an earlier post I was reflecting on the concept of a curriculum shared by Tim Brown of IDEO on his Design Thinking Blog.  At that time I shared a list of areas I felt would compose a curriculum.  I have continued to reflect on this and I have come up with the following table:


The rows in the above table are the market segments the columns are the market segment actions.

Induction, Deduction and Eight States of Change

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

For many years, people with terminal illnesses were an embarrassment for doctors. Someone who could not be cured was evidence of the doctors’ fallibility, and as a result the doctors regularly shunned the dying with the excuse that there was nothing more that could be done (and that there was plenty of other demand on the doctors’ time).

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was a doctor in Switzerland who railed against this unkindness and spent a lot of time with dying people, both comforting and studying them. She wrote a book, called ‘On Death and Dying’ which included a cycle of emotional states that is often referred to (but not exclusively called) the Grief Cycle.

In the ensuing years, it was noticed that this emotional cycle was not exclusive just to the terminally ill, but also other people who were affected by bad news, such as losing their jobs or otherwise being negatively affected by change. The important factor is not that the change is good or bad, but that they perceive it as a significantly negative event.

The Grief Cycle

The Grief Cycle can be shown as in the chart below, indicating the roller-coaster ride of activity and passivity as the person wriggles and turns in their desperate efforts to avoid the change.

The initial state before the cycle is received is stable, at least in terms of the subsequent reaction on hearing the bad news. Compared with the ups and downs to come, even if there is some variation, this is indeed a stable state.

And then, into the calm of this relative paradise, a bombshell bursts…

The Induction/Deduction Change Cycle

I think that the grieving processs is considerably more universal than it first appears.  The grieving process is in reality the way we deal with any change psychologically, social-psychologically or sociologically on a micro, meso or macro scale.  And depending on the scale, the seven stages can occur over minutes, over years, even centuries.

In the list I have below I compare the resistance or friction to change with the action of change:

  • Occurrence – Recept State – Singularity – Exception occurs – Contacts
  • Shock or Disbelief – Cord State- Attempt to maintain current schedule (events) – Factums
  • Denial – Port State- Attempt to maintain current tools (location) – Factories
  • Anger – Record State – Attempt to maintain current domains (products) Factities
  • Bargaining – Report State – Attempt to maintain current attributions (services) – Factors
  • Depression – Accord State – Attempt to maintain current organization (contacts) – Factotums
  • Testing – Apport State – Attempt to maintain current motives (goals) – Factuals
  • Hope – Accept State – Pluralarity – Attempt to maintain existence (reality) – Facts

As you can see the fit with the Systema model is quite good and my “Fact” vocabulary fits well, too.  The process is inductive, you can call it the death cycle.  It works its way through the system structure, be it a person, group or hierarchy.  It also reveals something else, how each level of the organism will react.  Followed by induction, the tearing down of a belief system, we deal with deduction, which is building up a new belief system, the deductive lifecycle.


At the midpoints of the cycle exist singularities or infinity points.  At the top and bottom of the cycle exist pluralarities or zero points.

The OODA Loop

Colonel John Boyd, understood how to use induction and deduction against the enemy.  He knew that if you could disrupt the timing of your opponent you could disrupt everything else.  If your opponent lost his timing he would be in the wrong location with the wrong product for providing the wrong service to the wrong contact with the wrong goal.  Accelerate your cycle’s timing and your opponent is overwhelmed.


Norman Dixon, in his book, On the Psychology of Military Incompetence, provides a broad range of definitions of military incompetence, however Elizabeth Kübler-Ross boils it down to two phenomna with regard to change:

Getting Stuck

A common problem with the above cycle is that people get stuck in one phase. Thus a person may become stuck in denial, never moving on from the position of not accepting the inevitable future. When it happens, they still keep on denying it, such as the person who has lost their job still going into the city only to sit on a park bench all day.

Getting stuck in denial is common in ‘cool’ cultures (such as in Britain, particularly Southern England) where expressing anger is not acceptable. The person may feel that anger, but may then repress it, bottling it up inside.

Likewise, a person may be stuck in permanent anger (which is itself a form of flight from reality) or repeated bargaining. It is more difficult to get stuck in active states than in passivity, and getting stuck in depression is perhaps a more common ailment.

Going in Circles

Another trap is that when a person moves on to the next phase, they have not completed an earlier phase and so move backwards in cyclic loops that repeat previous emotion and actions. Thus, for example, a person that finds bargaining not to be working, may go back into anger or denial.

Circling is itself a form of avoidance of the inevitable, and going backwards in time may seem to be a way of extending the time before the perceived bad thing happens.

Related Posts:

Six Unities Analysis: SuiteTwo

I have recently been exposed to a new Intel intranet appliance product called SuiteTwo. SuiteTwo is an integration of MoveableType, SocialText, NewsGator, SimpleFeed, VisiblePath and SpikeSource for the enterprise to take advantage of Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, RSS feeds, RSS aggregation and Open Source internally. Apparently, eager clients are offering plenty of ideas to even further enhance SuiteTwo and its integrated products, but let’s take a moment to analyze what an ideal tool would ultimately do from the ground up from the perspective of the Six Unities.

Note: the Six Unities are resource groups and resources are both internal and external to the enterprise.

Location – Contact Resources

Locations for each of the entities for each of the unities would be available. I would be able to track the location of staff and inventory according to internal and external coordinates be it geographic, facility, postal, telecom, internet or any other. These are all the enterprise’s touch points. Where are we receiving and transmitting to/from the enterprise? REPOSE. Where the resource contacts.

Trigger – Event Resources

Activations for each of the entities for each of the unities would be available. Ultimately, all events are reactive–dependent on internal or external entities. REFLEX. When the resource contacts.

Data – Product Resources

Inventories of all entities for each of the unities. I would know the quality and quantity of any fixed, virtual and liquid assets of the company according to internal and/or external metrics internally and externally. Data is a repository of all enterprise resources allowing check in and check out. RECORD. What the resource contacts.

Information – Service Resources

Functions performed by all the entities for each of the unities. Whether digital, mechanical or manual all the processes would be documented in human readable form. The work and play done and being done within the enterprise and externally. REPORT. How the resource contacts.

Knowledge – Human Resources

Social Network for all entities for all unities. In every case someone is responsible for every entity internally and externally. Who are we, who do we report to, who do we share with internally and externally? RELATE. Who the resource contacts.

Wisdom – Policy Resources

Meaning and mantra for every entity for every unity. It is important to know the motive of everyone and everything both internally and externally that involves the system in order to know whether they will abide by the greater goal of the enterprise. Why are we united according to internal and external rules? REVISE. Why the resource contacts.

Take a look at the products SuiteTwo integrates and ask yourself if they answer the needs of the six unities. In my opinion SocialText’s Wiki is bearing the brunt of the requirements, but does it stand up? I don’t think it does, because it does not correctly incorporate location, event and inventory.






SQL: Old Soldiers Never Die

Structured Query Language (SQL) has been a phenomenally useful language for the relational database era. But I see that era coming to a close.

One of the primary flaws is SQL allows for database Alters, Drops, Updates and Deletes. When diskspace was expensive this made perfect sense, but with the unlimited disk resources we have today a greater principle holds true: NO SCHEMA OR DATA SHOULD BE ALTERED, DROPPED, UPDATED OR DELETED.

A second flaw is the lack of interactive modification of the schema in real time. Changes still blow most applications all to hell.

A third flaw is supertype/subtype hierarchies. Such things should not be hard coded into a design.

That being the case SQL has four unnecessary statements just waiting to be abused. We need a better language. In fact, we need a better database architecture.

A new language would provide no means for updates or deletes. I created the first Releases of this language I called “Structured Thinking Language” (STL).

STL has the following commands:

  1. CREATE – affordance concept (creates entities)
  2. DIRECT – affordance context (relates entities)
  3. POSIT – affordance method (entity output)
  4. OBJECT – affordance pragma (entity input)
  5. NEGATE – affordance cosmos (entity security)
  6. INTUIT – affordance chronos (entity manipulation)

As you can see there are no means to delete data.

Each entity (noun) has only one “attribute” in the relational ERD sense and each entity value is unique.

Each relationship between entities is called an direction with a subject, verb and object.

What we are actually dealing with is a database that has data states. Data being no longer affected by Alters and Deletes are instead affected by change of state without physical alteration or deletion.

After looking at STL recently I realized I had created a command language for an existing database architecture: The Associative Model of Data by Simon Williams.

The Book on the Model and a free copy of the Enterprise Edition software is available here.

An old release of STL can be found here.

The Brain: Intuition

blink.jpg malcomgladwell.jpg

While thinking about the Seven Hat, Six Coat Framework I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book blink and I realized that here I had an indepth analysis of the Manipulation row otherwise known as Red Hat or Intuition.

Malcolm’s book is about how our intuitive thinking process works, how it can be developed and how it can be compromised. It is a perfect extension to de Bono’s definition of intuition and a great way to approach the manipulation perspective of each of the focuses. There is simply a certain amount of “Red Perspective” that influences the system even before domain or “White Perspective” is recorded.

Below is a ring diagram describing the perspectives as concentric circles.


The progression is as follows:

  • RESORT: Orange Hat: Medium : Media
  • RENDER: Red Hat: Manipulation : Intuition
  • READY: Black Hat: Definition: Pessimism
  • RECORD: White Hat: Physics: Data
  • REPORT: Yellow Hat: Logic: Optimism
  • RELATE: Blue Hat: Context: Control
  • REVISE: Green Hat: Concept: Creativity

As you can see there is a hiearchy from outermost “medium” or “Media Hat” to innermost “entity” perspective or “Creativity Hat”. Also note that the focus need not always be data. Any of the Six Coats can be used.

I might also add as a footnote that Blink style judgements may be looked at as heuristics.

The Six Hats, Six Coats: A Methodology



I had the chance to have a very rewarding email exchange with John Zachman regarding his framework and mine. John has come out with a new version of his framework which you can find here. A key point is John has confirmed my framework is also a methodology. Below I attempt to lay out the groundwork.

1. All human systems can be viewed as having six networks called “coats”:

  1. Green: Cause (Motive) – the goal network
  2. Blue: Observer (Person) – the social network
  3. Yellow: Energy (Function) – the process network
  4. White: Mass (Data) – the inventory network
  5. Black: Space (Node) – the location network
  6. Red: Time (Event) – the temporal network



2. Each of the coats has six states of development called “hats”:

  1. Green: Revise (Entities) – the conceptual network
  2. Blue: Relate (Relationships) – the contextual network
  3. Yellow: Report (Attributes) – the logical network
  4. White: Record (Constraints) – the physical network
  5. Black: Ready (Definitions) – the spatial network
  6. Red: Regulate (Manipulations) – the temporal network

This gives us the following framework:


3. The Six Hats, Six Coats framework is fixed and consequently a methodology. This is because the Six Hats are fixed by definition and consequently so are the six coats. The following structure:

Can also be expressed:

The resulting framework stresses the importance of each of the six coats hierarchically as well as the importance of the six hats hierarchically. It should also be noted that the relationships between the coats are many to many and the relationships between the hats are many to many.

The foundation concept is simple, the coats are the six major parts to a system, while the hats are the six major stages in creating the system.

Related Posts:

Systema: Seven Hats, Seven Links