Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Innovation, disruptive innovation and market volatility 29: innovative development at the business-to-marketplace collaboration level 7

Posted in business and convergent technologies, macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on November 11, 2016

This is my 29th posting to a series on the economics of innovation, and on how change and innovation can be defined and analyzed in economic and related risk management terms (see Macroeconomics and Business, posting 173 and loosely following for Parts 1-5 and Macroeconomics and Business 2, posting 203 and loosely following for Parts 6-28.)

And as a key element of both this blog and of this series in it and its narrative, I have been discussing a new approach to visualizing business process and transaction flows in terms of cause and effect patterns, and how that can bring new insight to strategic and operational analysis and planning: causal linkage mapping (see my concurrently running series: Intentional Management, and its Part 30 and following for a more detailed orienting discussion of this methodology itself, and also see recent earlier postings to this series for an at least opening discussion of how this approach can be applied in addressing a set of specific real-world business analysis and planning needs.)

I have been discussing as a part of this series, how overall business systems can only realistically be visualized using causal linkage mapping, and in three dimensions. It is possible to abstract out meaningful and functionally useful two dimensional cuts from its overall three dimensional representations, but a complete business systems representation here would only be possible with that third dimension added. And I have offered a list of contexts and reasons where this type of enhanced visualization would offer explicit new sources of value and insight that cannot be obtained by more traditional strictly-two dimensional visualization means (see Parts 25-28 of this series.)

Then at the end of Part 28, I raised the by now obvious question of how to actually do this, as a matter of practical, economically realistic application.

• How can the details and the dynamism of an approach to business visualization as offered in causal linkage maps, be made as easy to draft and use, as a standard tree model representation?

I also added, and in specific anticipation of this posting, a lead-in note as to how that might be accomplished:

• This is where virtual reality imaging tools and their data representations come into their own, and it is the type of application of that technology where at least for business analysis and planning purposes, virtual reality imaging might find its killer app.

My goal for this posting is to at least take a first step in outlining how this can be done. And the approach that I would take here, is one of establishing a functional specifications wish list for what this proposed hardware and software would do, and prioritizing it according to specific needs, priorities and goals for what it would be used for.

I have at least occasionally written and spoken of the perils and I add the avoidable expenses of attempting to develop all-inclusive software that can do everything. Start planning and developing and next-step planning and developing again, in terms of the most crucial features and functionalities that would specifically offer meaning and value to the user, and that would be of sufficient significance to them as to bring their businesses to investing in this new technology.

• Remember – that means up-front costs of purchasing and installing new systems, but it also means the ongoing learning curve expenses of training personnel in its use and in how best to organize and share insights gained from it – where that can mean at least some training for non-user audiences too, who would need to be able to effectively use results obtained – and who would in many cases want to be able to at least view the visual representations that key findings were drawn from.

A key to this is that the tool(s) proposed here need to be dynamically adjustable and with affected process to process and node to node dependencies highlighted, when a change is considered, and with undo and redo functions for testing and reconsidering possible alternatives there. But the real key to making this a practical approach is in making it cost-effective and realistic. Start with the types of usage scenarios that I offered in this series in its Parts 25-28 and ask what you would most want to know, and both for specific areas of your business and for that business as a whole, where functionally mapping out its activities and their interconnecting dependencies would offer real value.

• I have only offered a few possibilities here, and it is likely that any business strategist in any specific business or industry would come up with at least a somewhat different high priority starter list for themselves.
• But what are the common denominator wish list requirements that would show up on at least most if not all such lists?
• Where do you start for arriving at that key features and functionalities list?

I am proposing a new and novel technological approach here, that would appeal primarily, and certainly at first, to a pioneer and early adaptor audience, and primarily in industries driven by the new and exciting and by the disruptively novel. If I were to advise a software development company that wanted to enter into this challenge, on where and how to start, I would suggest that they seek out input (and at least potential buy-in as possible future customers) from business owners and strategists who fit that target market pattern, to find out what they would want – and I would start by asking for needs and requirements, and not by focusing on how they would be addressed.

• Say visualization for example and not 3-D visualization in your initial presentation
• And make note of how your new software tools and their underlying business process approach will be more effective in being able to present and trace functional patterns,
• And for identifying areas where a business could be run more effectively and more cost-effectively,
• And hold off on preconceptions as to how this would be done, to avoid distractions from blocking the message of what this would do.
• Talk more about what your offerings would do and the underlying business systems reasoning behind that, rather than getting caught up early in the new and novel gee-whiz technology potential of how you would actually offer business model visualizations.
• And gather data and insight from any and every appropriate source you can reach and connect into, at least until you have a sense of what a real market would want and buy into.

Then when you have a good, target market sourced starter list of high priority functional requirements, start designing and building to meet them and just them at first. Bells and whistles can always be added in later – where they actually add real value from the end-user perspective. And prototype and bring in people who you gained functional needs insight from to watch them try out what you have built – and both for carrying out real tasks (even if on simplified data set simulations), and for testing ease of use. What do they like and what do they find frustrating?

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment, where I will add to my design and development discussion as begun here. I will then turn to consider new and novel tools and approaches in general – and successfully developing the disruptively new and bringing it to market. In anticipation of that, I will discuss how novel new approaches qualify for that disruptive label, and how they can become adapted and with time more widely used in spite of their initial barriers for that. And in the case of this posting’s particular new analytical approach and the software and hardware that it would call for, that means beginning with the right target audience, that would be more inclined to be pioneer and early adaptors for it. I refer there to business management consultants and their (mostly larger-scale) change management and business reorganization requiring clients. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

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