The Art Of Framework Science™
Value Emerges At The Intersection Of Framework Science And Creative Thinking.
Life Today Is More Fluid & Interconnected Than Ever Before.
Our work, our family and our leisure time is becoming ever more difficult to separate. For many of us it’s a meaningless distinction, for others it’s a constant battle to maintain a healthy balance.
Our actions have huge ripple effects within our communities and across the globe and we have so many influences that determine the choices we make — who we buy from, how we consume, what causes we support, where we travel, how we judge others and what we value (to name a few).
Our reliance on the resources of the planet and our responsibility to each other, indeed all living beings, has never been so much in the balance. Nor has our ability to do harm, directly or indirectly.
“To apply oneself to great inventions, starting from the smallest beginnings, is no task for ordinary minds; to divine that wonderful arts lie hid behind trivial and childish things is a conception for superhuman talents.” — Galileo
We All Need To Make A Difference!
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Life is complex and the complexity it breeds challenges us most significantly when we are engaged in our chosen pursuits — whatever the purpose. It shows up in our attempts organise, to plan, to achieve our goals and ultimately in the ways that we engage with our ever growing networks.
It could all be better. A lot better. There is so much that we can and should do to really make a difference to how we live and manage our lives. If not us then who?
Our aim is to make ‘our’ difference make a difference.
Making The Right Choices
Work, by our definition, is everything that we do to perform our activities in whatever area that we engage in. It’s the defining idea of human endeavor. In business, in society and in pursuit of our ideals and dreams.
Our ability to make the best choices about WORK — and where, when and how we make progress (and what we define as constituting progress) is extremely important — in many cases life and death.
The subtlety and nuance required to make these decisions and deduce the best actions to achieve the difference we want requires a far more scientific approach — one that can appreciate all of the parts in play — and the part they play.
Science, by definition, is both an intellectual and practical activity. It ‘encompasses a systematic study of the structure and behaviour of a particular field’. Framework Science, our specific domain, deals with the complex nature of both the tangible and intangible characteristics of work and how to make that fit and ready to deal with the world.
The Advent Of Framework Science
Framework Science is applied through forensic observation of a situation, the application of creativity and collaborative development.
All of that relies on us unlocking the right information.
And once we have that information determine through genuine logic and reasoning which bits we determine will create value and allow us to make the right choices.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — R. Buckminster Fuller
The world needs such tools and techniques so that it can accurately respond to ‘real’ situations and the vitally important challenges that now prevail.
The Science Of Frameworks
The science allows us to see all of the moving parts in the system, understand their interactions and implications, and act accordingly. Once understood it’s possible to motivate and mobilise all players to engage within a common ‘framework’.
“Frameworks ensure a supremely well armed, ready and unified movement — one that’s equipped and moving with confidence towards a genuinely valuable outcome.”
What follows explains the model underpinning our ‘science’ and how we apply this when building assignments — what’s often called a programme of work. A dangerous term as it suggests something more temporary and fixed than we intend.
Whatever it’s called it’s both a mentality and a detailed manifesto for how to make a difference and how to make that difference stick.
The Enterprise, Society and The Natural World.
We have decided that for us (Group Partners) these are the three aspects of the world that fire our passion.
This is where we intend to make a difference. These three areas are where we’ve learned what does and doesn’t work and where we believe our philosophy and approach are ideally suited.
As with all things these aspects operate through manmade or natural systems, and in each there are leaders that make key decisions about how things happen — directly or indirectly — and operational models that make things happen, good and bad. They are each inextricably linked and interconnected.
Each cannot exist without some kind of impact on the others.
In The Natural World our focus is specifically on the organisations and institutions that help our fellow species and natural resources — the one aspect that has no voice of its own and whose fate is heavily resting on the decisions of mankind.
In Society we aim to work with organisations who care about the impact they can make beyond their bottom line and the organisations on a mission to make lives better. Many will fit in the Enterprise category — that would be nirvana.
In the Enterprise our focus is primarily on the business, its purpose and the creation of value. This aspect in particular has such a significant part to play as in most cases the organisations we work with hold the power to positively impact the other two aspects.
Challenge AND Opportunity
Each of these ‘aspects’ faces a range of opportunities and challenges. It is these opportunities and challenges that are the focus of our attention. Our purpose is to work with our clients to help them to make a difference, in whatever challenge or opportunity they choose to take on.
“Making a Difference is an easy thing to claim and aspire to — but this has to go way beyond a mission statement. In our new programs we intend to make it integral to everything that we do.”
From the very start we need to be clear about the difference we intend to make and to be absolutely sure we go into this with eyes wide open, so that we can design a programme that we know will achieve the intention.
The 7 Themes
Clients challenges all have their own unique dynamics but in our experience there are typical scenarios where we are most likely to provide the kind of help needed. We have categorised these challenges into the following themes.
The 7 themes represent the broadest areas of challenge. They denote a need by an organisation (business, institution or authority) to get something done.
Within each of these themes there are countless and differently articulated motivations (statements) that drive the leader to reach out for answers.
We call that statement the ‘exam question’. Without it we risk solving the wrong problem. As we develop the exam question we explore mandates, motivations, drivers and aspirations so that we ensure we arrive at the best expression of that exam question.
One that will enable us to answer the actual challenge.
The 4 Dimensions Of Work
Work is a very abstract and widely variable term — it’s a helpful construct because it’s the fundamental component of activity in any organisation.
Each of our aspects (and the themes that weave around within them) will be implicated by the nature of the work done and the way that work gets done.
In our experience the way work gets done often holds many clues to existing challenges and can throw up artificial barriers to opportunity.
Existing definitions of work — mostly focused on some kind of variation of People, Process and Tools — lead organisations down well trodden paths and to organisation structures, policies and processes and enforced systems. It’s how it’s always been done.
We want to shake up our mental models a little from the very start and so we have introduced four dimensions of work that we think present a more progressive, creative way to refocus our energy on what it means to ‘do work’ in the 21st century.
The 5 Tests
We’ve learned that subjectivity is the natural state for everyone inside an organisation. Objectivity is a powerful part of any scientific method of discovery. It doesn’t get swayed by bias or judgement.
Objectivity ensures that we achieve the best possible result of our tests. Experience shows that challenge is important if we are to overcome making the same mistakes.
Experience avoids us using outdated thinking to tackle new issues, it helps to overcome the fear of the unknown which is increasingly where the better answers lie.
All of this means we will undertake a series of tests to ensure that the client in each case has sufficient capacity, appetite and passion for truly solving the stated challenge and we will work with them to achieve that aim.
Some tests will directly guide the design of the programme, others will help us stay on track and identify when adjustments need to be made. Between them they tell us what matters at any stage of the programme and give us the clues as to what we should do about that.
The Resulting Requirements
Our ‘tests’ allow us to see what’s going on and to understand what’s going to be needed to respond to a given situation or challenge. This feeds into the definition of requirements — the things that we have to include in our programme for it to be successful.
The tests will provoke responses that add vital data — information that we will need to begin fleshing out our appreciation of the existing ‘systems’ of work and crucially how that may need to change.
That Data Thing
The data that we refer to is the data that throws out insight and clues. They suggest how we need to think and how to design the best approach to tackling the challenge.
From the very first test, even before we are formally engaged, we are gathering information that will grow in meaning and value as we progress.
Our search for the hidden insights, the underlying issues and clues into what does and doesn’t work — and why — will be a constant throughout.
In each of the aspects, within every theme each test and across every requirement involved, there will be different disciplines applied. At different times, sometimes solely by us, sometimes by the team deployed to carry them out, mostly in collaboration.
The disciplines of framework science and creative thinking are what we bring to every assignment — they have been gained over many years.
We are constantly exploring and learning, so these disciplines are regularly refreshed and always tailored to each program of work — while staying true to our core framework science principles and the logic explained here.
These disciplines bring together the experiences we have had in a wide array of other cases and the tools we describe below to equip the teams to deliver and execute.
Alongside each assignment a number of tools are brought into play at different times. Some are used perpetually and others come and go as required. In framework science a tool has a wide definition.
All our tools have specific utility.
We use tools to describe the forcing mechanisms for thinking, to capture and foster the gathering of information, for collaborating online and in the real world — for communicating and for far reaching operational performance and sustainability.
Humans Need Tools
In each situation we are stimulating, analysing, storing, creating, reporting, displaying, conveying and equipping everyone involved with visual and verbal information. The value increasing over time and with each wave and phase of work.
We see this ‘new equipment’ — these tools — as essential to making a difference.
These tools are deliberately designed to be inspiring to use, to encourage conversation, creativity, faster and more accurate decision making, immersive communication and motivate engagement in and ownership of the results of this work.
The Difference Engine
Making a difference is our intention in every case.
Making a difference is unique — designed specifically to suit the challenge in each case. It’s a collaborative endeavour built with those who have the mandate and capability to execute.
Our techniques promote the surfacing of what matters through structured and visual thinking and framework science.
In the new world this demands scale and pace coupled with simplicity and ease of use so that it can constantly adapt to the changes that occur each day at the same time as reducing complexity and lack of engagement.
This requires automation and the deployment of new technology if it’s to stand any chance of engaging everyone required.
Making a difference has to be measurable.
We are building an engine to enable all of this.
The ‘Difference Engine’ is just that — it’s the ‘machinery’ that supports the initiative. It allows each assignment to be built as a team effort — built on purpose and to enable us to work together throughout the challenge within the discipline of framework science.
It allows that to be done on a geographically dispersed basis.
This innovation will allow us to run both the direct and indirect parts of each wave of activity — the tests and their subsequent requirements as well as the results and effects of the disciplines and tools that are applied.
The result of this is both an efficient and effective interface to the work being done and a repository for what’s been achieved — ultimately though it’s the platform for sustained difference.
A Major Work In Progress!
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