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[ba-ohs-talk] Marketing Software, Killer App and OHS

Peter,    (01)

I agree with analysis in your letter today, shown below, of Eric's concern about
a user interface for SDS, cited for example on 010916....    (02)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/09/16/190429.HTM#0001    (03)

...and restated on 010917....    (04)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/09/17/085151.HTM#DU5M    (05)

Eric's important concerns show that the transition from IT to a culture of
knowledge requires several stages, similar to the advance from orality to
literacy.  It doesn't happen - "boom" in a single step.      (06)

Early in the game the interface for literacy was pretty difficult.  You had to
make tablets out of wood or clay, and you had to create chisels, sharpen a stick
to make marks in the sand, or whip up something-or-other to write with, plus
there was the hassle of learning how to spell cat, scratch, ball, fetch,
foolish, lazy, etc.  You had to learn punctuation and lots of stuff.  Since busy
people didn't have time to learn and perform all of these interface issue, there
was a special role called a scribe, and probably a lot of other things less high
sounding.  But, the point is that a revolutionary new way of working comes in
stages.    (07)

Exposure of benefits using alphabet technology performed by a few people over
several thousand years led to demand for a better user interface, and so about
1455 Gutenberg cobbled something together drawing on contributions from many
sources, but at this remove he gets the credit, reported on 991010...    (08)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/99/10/10/202239.HTM#L331284    (09)

This helped make literacy the engine of civilization, an explosive change in
life-style.  As a result, for another 400 years relatively few people were
literate.      (010)

Continued struggle to about 1850 led to demand for education so that the power
of literacy would become universal.  Over the next 100 years productivity took
off like a rocket culminating in information technology, which today blocks
further advance, until the problem of meaning drift is resolved by a new way of
working based on a new kind of technology, as set out in NWO....    (011)

http://www.welchco.com/03/00050/01/09/03/02/03/0309.HTM#034H    (012)

My sense is that a similar path must be traveled to rise above information
technology.  We are at the beginning stages of having a tool that does the
trick, but it needs a better interface for universal application.  To get that
interface requires experience applying the capability in order to overcome
paradigms which currently block understanding, as Eric pointed out on 000503....    (013)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/00/05/03/191727.HTM#L401356      (014)

So, the bottom line is that enabling a new way of working advocated by Doug,
based on his experience in the 1960s with Augment, and experience using SDS
since about 1985, requires a combination of management science, cognitive
science and computer science, discussed with Terry Winograd at Stanford on
011219.....    (015)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/12/19/100008.HTM#LBZ1003      (016)

Revolutions take time because they require doing things people are not doing,
and are reluctant to even discuss, as Jack Park pointed out in his letter on
000504....    (017)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/00/05/04/150331.HTM#6082    (018)

In the meantime, the demand for intelligence grows, as related by Eric on
011003.....    (019)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/10/03/160603.HTM#L702361    (020)

Typically, when a tough job needs to be done, like digging coal to keep warm,
growing food, or whatever, people get paid to do it.  Eric made this point in
his letter on 011003....    (021)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/10/03/160603.HTM#LCH1002    (022)

This suggests that if the need becomes big enough for intelligence to stem the
tide of bumbling in order to grow the economy and protect the national security,
then people will set aside worry about interface and produce the intelligence
needed to be effective.  Broader use of intelligence will widen the circle of
people who are aware of what is needed, and so, as with literacy before, a
Gutenberg, Eric or somebody will say "Hey, I could make a lot of money, and
advance civilization by making this easier to use for everybody."    (023)

Hopefully, this hasn't been too repetitive, and is somewhat enlightening on the
issue of collaboration.  Eric and I agree that a bunch of people going in a
bunch of different directions is not effective collaboration.  Only people going
in the same direction taking complementary action enable meaningful progress. 
Once a baseline is established, only then can open source flourish in this area,
because nothing can be built without a foundation, as Eric noted on 000208.    (024)

Rod    (025)

********************    (026)

Peter Jones wrote:
> Kevin Keck wrote:
> >Again, the challenge isn't just to
> > identify an opportunity for improvement; nothing happens until the
> > customer/user _recognizes_ that opportunity and the changes to their
> working
> > habits which will realize that improvement.
> I think the group needs to hook up with some business analysts or process
> re-engineering consultants.
> They'll be able to spot target customers and feed the recognition.
> Then there just needs to be a tool to sell.
> >To me, the most remarkable thing about the Englebart excerpt above is the
> >enthusiastic, subjective perception of radical improvement of productivity
> >in the context of collaboration, despite the professed total lack of
> >a-priori effort to cultivate it. This is in such striking contrast to your
> >POIMS/SDS accounts that I'm at a loss to come up with an adequate
> >explanation for such a phenomenon.
> I'll have a stab. Task-tool-people-process synergy. Doug's been there
> already.
> There are some folks in jobs all of which are related to some larger end.
> Each person has roles to fulfil. The roles plug together to meet the end
> (ideally).
> To the extent that tools are needed to pursue the roles, then tools that
> don't 'get in the way' of individuals getting the work done, and optimise
> production, are the ideal.
> If the end requires that individuals need to collaborate with respect to
> their roles, then the tools not only need to enable the individual, but also
> feed the greater end. The more effectively the tool does this, the better
> things get.
> So, the theory goes, the game is to insert the right tool(s) into the
> process then have it disappear from the users' consciousness.
> Again, the more effectively the tool does this, the better things get.
> Then you need to take account of the fact that the tool might feed change in
> the process, so the tool needs to adapt.
> (Sound familiar?)
> If you can build in the adaptivity in advance, without the resulting active
> changes confusing the users, then you win again.
> That's a really big fish to catch though.
> The argument Eric has thrown at Rod often enough is that the interface to
> SDS is too steep a hill to climb.
> It doesn't 'disappear' fast enough, because it doesn't trade on existing
> reflexes. (My views on IBIS have been similar.)
> Rod thinks the climb is worth it.
> So the question is: Is there a reflex path (interface design) up Rod's hill
> that won't put Eric off?
> If there is, then the tool will sell (so my theory goes).
> --
> Peter
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Kevin Keck" <keck@kecklabs.com>
> To: <ba-ohs-talk@bootstrap.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 9:50 PM
> Subject: Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Marketing Software, Killer App and OHS
> > on 2002/02/26 10:13 PM, Rod Welch at rowelch@attglobal.net wrote:
> > > [...]
> > >> And OHS's largely collaborative focus only amplifies the need for
> > >> minimal-risk trial, because in order for anyone to genuinely try using
> it
> > >> they'll need to have collaborators using it with them, all of whom
> would
> > >> need to endorse the risks of money, time, and potential vendor lock-in
> > >> associated with trying out a proprietary product.
> > >
> > > This point seems to conflict with the record showing Doug Engelbart's
> goal is
> > > to
> > > augment intelligence.  On 010428 Gary Johnson pointed out that
> intelligence
> > > begins with individuals....
> > >
> > > http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/04/08/091208.HTM#L110714
> > >
> > > ...which opens the prospect that individuals can be aided by a KM-type
> > > technology, without the suggested burden of requiring collaborating
> > > colleagues.
> > > There is undoubtedly significant savings in time and expense from using
> this
> > > capability to build and maintain shared meaning through organizational
> memory
> > > that reduces bumbling, but this is quite different from the view that
> > > entails a bunch of people interacting with a single software program and
> a
> > > central server somewhere.
> >
> > I think it's worth pursuing this point further, since I agree it is not
> > nearly as well accepted as most of the others.
> >
> > Looking back at "Augmenting Human Intellect", I actually confirmed both
> your
> > assertion about Doug's goal(s) and my assertion that the 10X barrier is
> only
> > broken through the synergy of augmented collaboration:
> >
> > http://www.histech.rwth-aachen.de/www/quellen/engelbart/3examples.html#B.7
> >
> > "Remember the term, synergesis, that has been associated in the literature
> > with general structuring theory? Well, here is something of an example.
> > Three people working together in this augmented mode seem to be more than
> > three times as effective in solving a complex problem as is one augmented
> > person working alone--and perhaps _ten_times_ [emphasis added] as
> effective
> > as three similar men working together without this computer-based
> > augmentation. It is a new and exhiliarating experience to be working in
> this
> > independent-parallel fashion with some good men. We feel that the effect
> of
> > these augmentation developments upon group methods and group capability is
> > actually going to be more pronounced than the effect upon individuals
> > methods and capabilities, and we are very eager to increase our research
> > effort in that direction."
> >
> >
> > Almost spooky, actually...
> >
> > >> Furthermore, the improvement to productivity will be greatest between
> > >> collaborators with the fewest other tools or mechanisms for
> collaboration at
> > >> their disposal (such as geographically-dispersed, informally affiliated
> > >> groups with little budget for clerical and administrative assistance)
> and
> > >> who are less worried about missing deadlines than they are about
> maintaining
> > >> sustained co-participation despite such resource limitations. In other
> > >> words, the easiest users to recruit would be among the very most
> difficult
> > >> groups of people to win as paying customers.
> > >
> > > Experience seems to show that the biggest improvement to productivity,
> > > earnings
> > > and stock prices comes from adding intelligence to management of big
> > > organizations, because culture that magnifies fear of accountability
> also
> > > magnifies bumbling from taking conflicting actions by relying on guess
> and
> > > gossip in meetings, cell phones and email. This creates a huge target of
> > > opportunity for improvement.  Adding just a little intelligence has an
> > > exponential effect of enabling complementary action, as explained in
> POIMS....
> > >
> > > http://www.welchco.com/03/00050/01/09/01/02/00030.HTM#8536
> >
> > Except that, as you have so tirelessly documented, you wind up stuck in a
> > Catch-22 in which the ignorance you're trying to address is an
> overwhelming
> > impediment to getting it addressed. Again, the challenge isn't just to
> > identify an opportunity for improvement; nothing happens until the
> > customer/user _recognizes_ that opportunity and the changes to their
> working
> > habits which will realize that improvement.
> >
> > To me, the most remarkable thing about the Englebart excerpt above is the
> > enthusiastic, subjective perception of radical improvement of productivity
> > in the context of collaboration, despite the professed total lack of
> > a-priori effort to cultivate it. This is in such striking contrast to your
> > POIMS/SDS accounts that I'm at a loss to come up with an adequate
> > explanation for such a phenomenon. Nonetheless, I've experienced the same
> > subjective difference myself, so I don't doubt the veracity of Doug's
> > account. And whatever the explanation, I think the phenomenon is something
> > that can clearly be exploited to help convince people to adapt.
> > --
> > Kevin Keck
> > keck@kecklabs.com
> > 510-523-8317
> >
> >    (027)