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

Again, Doug describes well the _objective_synergy_, which is also
convincingly supported in the articulation of "Brook's Law" (see
But my comments were related to _subjective_ experience with collaboration
tools, contrasted with the _subjective_ experience of using a personal KM
tool. Specifically, my contention is that the _subjective_value_ of the
collaboration tools commonly exceeds that of personal KM tools by a much
greater factor than their relative _objective_value_, for reasons
attributable to as yet impenetrable intricacies of human psychology.    (01)

Perhaps we simply overestimate our own ability to manage without tools,
perhaps by misattribution of personal failures to Murphy's Law as Rod
suggests, but are more objective in our assessments of the performance of
others. Perhaps it is because the shared KB is widely recognized early on as
a valuable product in addition to the nominal product itself. Perhaps it is
because the collaboration tools improve the tenor, as well as the
effectiveness, of the collaboration, thus understandably impacting morale
even more than it does strictly objective performance. Perhaps the
collaborative tools even enjoy a "halo effect", as it were, from a
singularly strong emotional "rush" that can spring from delightfully
successful collaboration, as Henry seemed to affirm in his comment. Perhaps
it is just a corollary of the 10X rule already mentioned, i.e., it just
pushes the marginal value over a critical subjective threshhold. My guess is
it's some combination of all the above, and maybe a couple more I haven't
included; but I don't have any real data from which to estimate the relative
significance of each of them.    (02)

And the nature of the mechanism is not nearly as significant as the
existence and magnitude of the effect. If it does exist and is sizable, then
it seems almost inevitable that the first KM tool[set] to "cross the chasm"
(to borrow Geoffrey Moore's phrase) will be one of those positioned as a
collaboration tool rather than as a primarily personal one--even were it not
for the compounding influences of "viral marketing" and Metcalfe's Law
effects.    (03)

But of course at this point it is little more than a working hypothesis, and
I'd love to find some additional datapoints against which to consider it...
Kevin Keck
510-523-8317    (04)

on 2002/02/28 12:04 PM, Peter  Jones at ppj@concept67.fsnet.co.uk wrote:    (05)

> Kevin Keck wrote:
>> 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
>     (06)