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[ba-unrev-talk] CASE STUDY - The Newest Warfare Tool: Collaboration

          "The World will not evolve past its current state of
          crisis by using the same thinking that created the
          situation." - Albert Einstein.    (01)

          "Revolutionary fire needs air," he said. "One should
          let the flames dance for a while to see how they
          will change the landscape before jumping in to
          smother them out of fear that they will destroy all
          that we have built before." - Michael Powell, FCC
          Chairman, tells U.S. Chamber of Commerce regulatory
          barriers stymie Internet progress. (4/30/02)
          >    (02)

          "Greater even than the greatest discovery is to keep
          open the way to future discovery." - legendary
          scientist John Jacob Abel    (03)

What happen?    (04)

On October 2001, technologyreview.com published as interesting article
about DARPA's Disruptive Technologies: It gave us the Internet and the
mouse. Today, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency remains
a powerful engine driving ...
<  http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/talbot1001.asp >    (05)

Then, on  1/15/02, DARPA issued a press release: Special Operations
Command invite scientists to help America.
<  http://www.darpa.mil/body/NewsItems/wordfiles/socomconferrelease.doc
>    (06)

But, on Feb. 7, 2002 Information Week reports:    (07)

               "The U.S. Navy's deployment of Lotus's
               Domino server and Sametime application
               have been such a hit that the
               collaborative tools have been--and are
               continuing to be--extended to allied
               forces.    (08)

               With so many of the world's nations united
               in the antiterrorism campaign dubbed
               Operation Enduring Freedom, coordinating
               military efforts is key. Recognizing the
               importance of collaboration, the U.S. Navy
               is working with Lotus Software to extend
               its on-ship collaborative capabilities to
               British, Canadian, German, and New Zealand
               forces." ...
               >    (09)

As Doug remarked*: "Doesn't anyone ever aspire to serious amateur or pro
status in knowledge work?" ...    (010)

*April 27, 2002 - Improving our ability to improve: A call for
investment in a new future
Keynote address, World Library Summit, Singapore
by Douglas C. Engelbart, The Bootstrap Alliance
< http://www.fleabyte.org/#rf-x >
[Continued: <  http://www.fleabyte.org/eic-11.html#q > The rewards of
focusing ...]    (011)

Highlights relative to this case study - The Newest Warfare Tool:
Collaboration:    (012)

Oxymoron: "Market Intelligence"
"One of the strongly held beliefs within the United States is that the
best way to choose between competing technologies and options for
investment is to "let the market decide."  In my country we share a
mystical, almost religious kind of faith in the efficacy of this
approach, growing from Adam Smith's idea of an "invisible hand"
controlling markets and turning selfish interest into general good.  The
"market" assumes the dimensions of faceless, impersonal deity, punishing
economically inefficient solutions and rewarding the economically fit.
We believe in the wisdom of the market and belief that it represents a
collective intelligence that surpasses the understanding of us poor
mortal players in the market's great plan."    (013)

The seductive, destructive appeal of "ease of use."
"A second  powerful, systematic bias that leads computing technology
development away from grappling with serious issues of collaboration -
the kind of thing, for example, that would really make a difference to
disaster response organizations - is the belief that "ease of use" is
somehow equated with better products.    (014)

Going back to my tricycle/bicycle analogy, it is clear that for an
unskilled user, the tricycle is much easier to use.  But, as we know,
the payoff from investing in learning to ride on two wheels is enormous.    (015)

We seem to lose sight of this very basic distinction between "ease of
use" and "performance" when we evaluate computing systems.  For example,
just a few weeks ago, in early March, I was invited to participate in a
set of discussions, held at IBM's Almaden Labs, that looked at new
research and technology associated with knowledge management and
retrieval.  One thing that was clearly evident in these presentations
was that the first source of bias - the tendency to look solely to the
invisible hand and intelligence of the market for guidance, was in full
gear.  Most of the presenters were looking to build a better tricycle,
following the market to the next stage of continuous innovation, rather
than stepping outside the box to consider something really new.    (016)

But there was another bias, even in the more innovative work - and that
bias had to do with deciding to set aside technology and user
interactions that were "too difficult" for users to learn.  I was
particularly disappointed to learn, for example, that one of the
principal websites offering knowledge retrieval on the web had concluded
that a number of potentially more powerful searching tools should not be
offered because user testing discovered that they were not easy to use."    (017)

Moving from "invisible hand" to strategy
"The good news is that it is possible to build an infrastructure that
supports discontinuous innovation.  There is no need at all to depend on
mystical, invisible hands and the oracular pronouncements hidden within
the marketplace.  The alternative is conscious investment in an
improvement infrastructure to support new, discontinuous innovation
(ref. 5).    (018)

This is something that individual organizations can do - it is also
something that local governments, nations, and regional alliances of
nations can do. All that is necessary is an understanding of how to
structure that conscious investment.    (019)

ABCs of improvement infrastructure. - The key to developing an effective
improvement infrastructure is the realization that, within any
organization, there is a division of attention between the part of the
organization that is concerned with the organization's primary activity
- I will call this the "A" activity - and the part of the organization
concerned with improving the capability to perform this A-level
function.  I refer to these improvement efforts as "B" activities.  The
two different levels of activity are illustrated in Figure 1." ....    (020)