The Purpose of Purpose

Peter Jones Human Values

Harvard Business School professor Jim Heskett asks: Is There Too Little “Know Why” in Business? In a commentary-inquiry piece on the HBS Working Knowledge site, a dialogue asks how purpose is recognized and leveraged as a motivator in business. Heskett questions whether executives really know understand the impact of leading by purpose, and notes the paucity of examples of large companies that truly lead by purpose, such as the perennial reference to Anita Roddick and The Body Shop. Two recent books offer views of the roles of managers and leaders. The first, Know-How, by Ram Charan, sets forth eight behaviors exhibited by managers who get things done. The second, Purpose, by Nikos Mourkogiannis, could really have been titled “Know Why.” It describes four kinds of purpose, “starting points” that govern what great companies do and how they do it. Each of these purposes represents a kind of “holy grail” as opposed to goals (often merely financial), missions or visions, or even a set of values. As Mourkogiannis puts it, “Let others play with ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ and ‘management.’ Purpose is …

What is dialogic design anyway?

Peter Jones Dialogic Design

Are you guys just making this up? Weren’t you just calling it Structured Design Process a month ago? Wasn’t it Interactive Management for 20 years? (No, Yes, Yes …) Today’s discussion on Blogora with Surinder Batra on IM and KM raised the realization that many of us are viewing phenomena of collective intelligence from the perspective of different practices, and we’re not using a “lingua franca of the same realm.” Dialogic Design as Organizational KM Both IM and Nonaka’s theory of the knowledge creation cycle rely on several stages of interaction to transform the functions of knowledge, from the personal and tacit to the shared and organizationally accessible. Perhaps the most significant barrier to organizational KM is the inability to coordinate the transformation of knowledge “on demand,” for the emergent needs of the business. It would appear the SDD process creates a new type of knowledge cycle, a collaborative model, which functions as such (using Nonaka’s language): C- Combination: Originates with the explicit knowledge of multiple individuals responses to trigger question. I – Internalization: An emerging pattern of new knowledge …

Media Ecology: Emergence, Second Life, Real Life

Peter Jones Information Ecology

A second post on the Toronto Media Ecology dialogue. Starting from a prompt question (something like): How does emergence arise in design ecologies (see prior post below) when we are intending creative innovation? Optimal solutions to complex design or problem situations often arise (emerge) from the improvised mix of pre-existing features and relationships in a well-diversified design ecology, analogous to a biologically-diverse ecosystem. Of course, as human agents we can accelerate the rate of evolutionary innovation when we have some control over the resources and number and type of relationships in the ecosystem. In other words, just like an enriched home environment (with toys, books, friends, intellectual conversation) helps children learn and develop, an enriched design ecology fosters innovative outcomes that we desire. At this point inthe conversation, the turn toward general systems theory spurred a round of attaching people’s favorite theorists to the story. Buckley’s work in social systems theory, Giddens structuration, I would have tossed Banathy and Buck Fuller into the mix if we had time to go on and on. I don’t know Buckley, so if someone …

Dialogue on design ecologies

Peter Jones Dialogic Design

How rare an event to walk unexpectedly into Socratic dialogue, in process. Friday’s Media Ecology workshop at U of T, hosted by Mogens Olesen and Bob Logan, was found in Bob’s office, where he and about 7 others were in process already, and after us, 2 more walking in, into an intimately cramped space. The tight office required everyone to lean in, make contact, and attend closely. In future sessions, I would recommend alternating these informal dialogues between larger and smaller rooms to encourage the interaction that results from people having to sit on tables or stand by the door. It lends urgency and a conspiratorial air to the proceedings. Proceedings which ranged quite widely – And if you weren’t there, my reporting from notes may not make sense as a narrative flow, as it was an open dialogue. I’ve tried to capture the spirit of the dialogue here, but there may be insufficient background – that could take all day to do, if it were possible. From walking in, to ending 90 minutes later, the conversation opened a lot …