On Frameworks

A Reference Opus

What’s In A Word?

Well the word Framework has many sons and daughters. And it has many applications too — in software engineering, in governance, in formal agreements between nations and organisations and many other scenarios.

They Share Some Common Principles:

1. They’re structures that help establish a shared definition

2. They connect up the multiple dimensions and perspectives that together provide important context around a specific topic

3. They provide an element of logic against which a certain outcome can be achieved and important decisions can be inferred

Our Frameworks Embrace Some Additional Principles:

1. They’re highly visual

2. They’re designed alongside a clearly defined ‘exam question’

3. They embrace and unify the views of the many

4. They are capable of almost immediate sharing and storytelling

It Depends

Our Frameworks are utilised for differing reasons and in different modes depending on the exam question, our engagement with clients and the specific contribution we are making.

In the course of a programme we may well utilise multiple frameworks.


The Anatomy Of A Framework


Modular ‘Technology’

In our approach every framework is made up of multiple ‘modules’. And each module represents a particular dimension that we believe is specifically relevant to answering a given exam question.

The exact configuration of a framework — the modules that we select for any specific application — depend on a number of things. They are always client specific, based on the clients unique context each time — even though we are drawing from experience and a generic and proven portfolio.

Every framework contains some kind of ‘tension’ within it — something that makes sure that we have applied critical thinking to the chosen exam question.

Head To The Link Below For More Images:

The way this shows up will depend on the application for the framework and this in turn is governed by the nature of our engagement — the outcomes desired, the length and depth of the programme and the investment of our client.

Untangling The Nigerian Electoral System…The Original Structure Is 80 Feet Long x 10 Feet Tall…

Many of our frameworks are presented in a linear form but the inter relationship between modules works in different ways. Indeed in some frameworks certain modules may open up to become frameworks in their own right.


Examples That Explain The Types Of Framework

“We’re always learning and evolving —but over the years we’ve not found an application that’s beyond our framework approach…”

Strategic Frameworks That Clarify Mission and Vision

These frameworks force the critical debate about what matters.

And when in place they guide and help teams to think deeply about their purpose and ambitions, explore opportunity and make sure that they appreciate what it will take to be successful.

The frameworks provide the rationale for decision making to take place. The detail inside the frameworks are based on the right parameters and criteria to make choices. These choices are in line with the culture and DNA of the organisation.

In a dynamic, fast changing world their logic holds true while allowing new context to be embraced and strategies to evolve.

Problem Solving frameworks That Aid Understanding & Stimulate Thinking To Get To The Root Cause Of An Issue

These frameworks act in a more forensic manner and require us to delve deeper into the dynamics, drivers and influencers that sit behind any complex challenge.

They navigate through complex and entangled causes and effects to help teams better understand their challenge, explain the entangled nature of it and explore possible scenarios that can be deployed to address different aspects of the problem.

The interconnected nature of every module with each other makes it possible to test and iterate and track the effects of any action on other dynamics.


Design Frameworks That Shape A ‘System’

Often in a design mode we are effectively building architectures — frameworks within frameworks.

These are frameworks that break down silos and illustrate the systems and subsystems that flow through and between organisations.

We use the term ‘system’ to mean any coherent and connected flow of value between entities — the knowledge, processes, tools, assets and data that combine to achieve something — for example: operational models, governance systems and public services.

Design frameworks can be used to illustrate the current system to use as a baseline or a diagnostic tool or to define the system that is required in order to achieve a desired future state.


Planning & Execution Frameworks That Set Direction & Track Achievement

These frameworks can only be developed when the strategic context is clear and the leadership aligned on intention.

Planning Out The Key Milestones & Horizons…

They do not act as detailed roadmaps and action plans; life is too dynamic to try and constantly maintain a visual execution framework at a detailed level.

We always work towards the standard that the framework is establishing the right level of governance and measurement.

We also advise strongly that modern collaboration tools are deployed to manage the detail in way that best handles changing circumstances and keeps everything connected across departments and teams.


Frameworks Provide The Foundation For Powerful Tools.


Esprit De Corps

Some frameworks are designed for live co-creation with teams and to stimulate thinking and facilitate quality conversation. They represent snapshots of perspective and the result of team collaboration that will then require further work.

Others have a more enduring role and — when included in a programme — will evolve into team tools that can be integrated with their ongoing operations so that they get the most out of their engagement with us.

There is no binary relationship between category and application, although some categories are more suited to certain uses.

When it comes to the application of a framework the main variables are the level of detail, the type (and volatility) of content required to support them and the degree of structure required to support the users of the framework.


In Application

Describing some of the most popular applications of frameworks as tools…

The Art Of Conversation

These are the frameworks that are designed to be used in live discussion, that build in real time with the teams direct input.

The ‘tension’ that is built into these frameworks makes sure that the team are guided to discuss the right things and what gets captured is building a rationale that can be justified later.

Any content that is populated ahead of a workshop is chosen deliberately — either to recognise things that are non negotiable, to test assumptions or definitions or to expose potential gaps or ambiguities.


As Communication Devices

The outcomes of any engagement will invariably need to be communicated to people who were not involved in the programme.

In some cases communication of a complex topic is the primary aim of the programme.

What holds true is that the framework typically created in a workshop with the team will hold the raw ingredients that need to be communicated but they are not intended for wholesale communication themselves.

For More On Systems For Communication Click The Image Below

A framework serving as a communications device will provide a consistent and coherent high level story that is relevant to all audiences and then have the ability to break down into more detailed stories that are targeted to specific audiences.


Information Portals & Dashboards

Behind any module in any framework is a wealth of data and insight. This is because the subject matter represents quite volatile, fast changing data.

It makes sense to capture and maintain the data in some kind of knowledge system — our preference is to use modern digital collaboration tools for this.

Every engagement throws out a lot of valuable insight and we will always contribute our own observations and experience. By default this is captured in a supporting narrative to the framework/s developed by and for the team.

In some cases where the team is fully committed to adopting the logic and maximising the use of the approach we will develop these as living portals or dashboards. Systems and ways of working that provide access to detailed data that sits behind the high level structure of its governing framework.

This tool can be used for tracking progress of actions in support of the conclusions reached or to direct people to definitions and explanations.

Information portals and dashboards are interactive tools that allow users to navigate through their information in different ways, to filter it and to engage in conversation about any aspect contained in the framework.

They can be deployed as desktop or mobile applications, or accessed via web sites. We will connect our visual tools with preferred online platforms that share their API.


Systems Maps

A system map takes a different visual approach to the typical linear style of framework as its primary role is to show the interconnectedness of its subject.

These are very powerful devices for helping teams to overcome silo thinking and to appreciate a ‘bigger picture’ than the one that tends to occupy them on a daily basis.

A system map may be necessary to explore and understand the complexity of an issue or topic so that we can carry out more detailed examinations of current challenges or work on possible new scenarios to solve a problem or change existing models.

They help us to understand what needs to change and how it impacts the organisation

Our systems maps are multi dimensional architectures that can represent any form of system and its sub systems to varying degrees of detail.

In reality there is never a single discrete system with a clear boundary so we will focus on the most important dimensions for the programme and to help with sustaining outcomes. System maps also work as information portals when they are made interactive.

Creating The Architectutre For Operational Excellence…

Organisational Blueprints — blueprints are design frameworks that are engineered to a sophisticated level of detail.

They provide all of the components needed to implement a new model in a more sustainable manner — whether that is the design of the organisation, the customer experience, a partnership model or any other design in support of a clearly articulated vision.

Using What’s Been Learned To Develop Enetrprise Engagement…

These cannot be created until the foundations are clear and so typically develop in later phases of work. They build on modules within the frameworks created in earlier engagements.

The Common Themes

What all our programs have in common — along with our mission and philosophy — is the need to sustain new insight / concepts / intentions.

Creating The Framework For Complex Multi-Year Programs…

And in the majority of cases there is a high degree of importance in being able to replicate a way of doing something — what that ‘thing’ could be may vary but the aim is always the same:

1. Leverage what is known to work

2. Deliver a consistency of quality and experience

3. Achieve scale

4. Operate effectively

5. Cope with Change as it shows up

6. Join up all of the moving parts and prevent silo’s

Blueprints often work with system maps and act as the ‘specification’ for the design of the system.

Putting All Of This Into Context — Click The Image