Exploitation as contradiction in ideality

2 really disparate examples of exploitation here, I will do a couple of illustrations for defining these contexts as contradictions in players’ ideality and then applying a trend.

One from the affordable internet efforts and why even with reducing capex and opex telecom companies would not cut prices to customers and continue to exploit.

Player Function Ideality Contradiction and resulting exploitation
ISP/Carrier/Operator connect subscribers                          to internet not lose subscriber base, increasing revenues/cash flows, decreasing spend, monopoly increasing average revenue and profit per user directly contradicts with customers ideality to pay
Customer/Subscriber connect to internet for access to services and information pay nothing for connectivity, highest speed possible, always connected ties with devices, price increasing data plans, speed limitations, and forced congestion from operators
Investor invest for returns in companies that make profits reducing capex and opex with increasing revenues and profit is approaching ideality reduced customer service levels and migration of customers, puts revenue and profits on a decline, hence the stock value as well
Media Industry create and distribute media monopoly for content and affiliated business, no other competitive media / distribution channels becomes viable Access to media from internet directly contradicts with their business model to sell content from traditional forms of discs, cable tv content

Second example is around immigration from the recent Syria crisis, even though legal immigrants add value to the migrated place, why politicians continue to exploit voting population by fueling negative perceptions around immigration. But still continuing to turn a blind eye on labor exploits of immigrants to continue with a not so competitive economy.

Player Function Ideality Contradiction and resulting exploitation
State/Politician development and upholding state  sovereignty zero dollars spent on regulation, and citizens get all priority services from government, and never lose an election allowing cheap immigrant labor into non-subsidized industries maintains a bad economy building a false perception around immigration maintains status quo and votes from conservative population that wants to maintain sovereignty
Immigrant Labor to industry every border is open, every country is ‘migration’ worthy, on par with citizen benefits, rights protected lack of labor law to govern their employment means giving away rights, without votes or rights deprived of having a voice in the country
Industry/Employer Value creation for economy, investor, and customers cheap and exploitable labor use and less than minimum working conditions for higher profits, no litigation on violations lack of labor inspection / governance maintains  status quo, including less than worthy labor conditions and pay to immigrants and this as the only way to maintain competitiveness in a falling economy
Citizen Tax payer and uses benefits from state.Also customer for industry. Subsidized sectors, and unemployment benefits for citizens, Pay/Benefits without job. Subsidy perceived as right and any state capital spent on immigrants is actually something the citizen could be deemed eligible for as lost/wasted.
Border Control Regulate migrant flow into state no immigration (legal / illegal) means no patrol or control necessary migrants posing threats to sovereignty, and citizen welfare, calls for massive spend in border control and leading to a back passage creation

Now in both cases at super system level, you could add regulations that will move some functions from the players to another neutral authority. So Regulatory Authority could standardize price plans, open up migrations across, just like they do in insurance policy terms and conditions. Similarly new technology like unlimited connectivity say from Google Moon or, open id, could turn functions in favor of customers/migrants, while skewing for specific types of businesses and not the legacy ones.

In both cases simple system completeness trend will show deficiencies in the governance bit, and a massive undercut of benefits from customers/migrants as a driving force for the functions delivered.


Community Stimulation Ideas 2

In this post, I will touch one aspect of the stimulation exercise viz. visioning (not those usual platitudes, but something more real and has utility to the community). Both the methods are very similar and rely on the same simple cognition fact that we cannot tell lies backward in time. We can easily build a grandiose of lies as we move forward in time but try doing it backward, we cannot go farther than 2 steps. The methods are

  1. Ideal Final Result from the TRIZ method portfolio
  1. Future Backwards from the Cognitive Edge method portfolio

IFR/Ideality as it is popularly known is a combination of 3 things is defined as [Benefits/(Cost + Harm)]

Instead of taking incremental steps forward in time, you take a far reaching jump to sometime in future and assume that the functions/benefits of the community is achieved without any harm and cost to the members. As you move backwards you can notice the number of options/choices increase.

Once you have done this, you search for solutions for intermediates back from the IFR, you can bin time as is convenient to the community

3 questions that should be asked in the same order during this process are

  1. What is the IFR of my community?
  1. What is stopping me from achieving that and why?
  1. How could you make that disappear? What resources are available to help?

Finally you can possibly find other communities that have already solved those problems.

During the process of doing IFR you can actually surface many conflicts that exist between community and members, as IFRs tend to be vastly different, mark them as key opportunities or issues that need resolutions/agreements.

Future Backwards is a complexity based facilitation technique that is used "to increase the number of perspectives that a group can take both on an understanding of their past, and of the range of possible futures. It can be used to discover what entrained patterns of past perception in an organization are determining its future"

In a Future backwards you will have

· Current state (the situation that we are currently in and going backwards what decisions, events and turning points led to it)

· Hell (if Murphy’s law was in full action ("everything that can go wrong, going wrong"), what events can lead to it and what would happen to the situation in a specific time period usually 1-2 years)

· Heaven (if everything was going right, what would the situation look like and what events might lead to it in the period)

· Turning points or Accidents (that can lead from one event to previous i.e. backwards in time)

Like in the picture below

You will start with explaining the current state and drawing key ideas/events. Choose one of the most significant idea/event and keep going back in time identifying prior turning points. This is step 1.

Start from top right to map back from the impossibly extreme heaven and do the same process of mapping backwards turning points possibly towards a past event. This is step 2.

Next start from the bottom right to map back from impossibly extreme hell and do the same process of mapping backwards turning points possibly towards a past event. This is step 3. Time stamps are optional for all the events. Facilitation takes 2-3 hrs with some deep silences in between.

Several outcomes are possible from the above 2 methods that include visions, roadmaps, patterns of entrained thinking, seeing how past influences our future, marked differences in different groups’ understanding of the current state etc.


Community Stimulation Ideas 1

I presented the below concept map to one of our client managers for stimulating a community. We did an ideation afterwards and came up with ideas relevant to each facet of the map. This post is a listing of some of those ideas.

To start with I am picking members and their identity, this is one of the most important foundation of the entire community movement itself. Without a shared sense of identity and purpose there is no community action, but it is necessary for us to keep them independent. Example, A local Rajinikanth fan club (the identity) might take up a community drinking water project (the purpose). In IT Services industry we tend to overlay identity and purpose a lot and hence neither becomes magnified well enough for action.

Subroto has this ‘twice away’ rule, that the purpose should be for someone who is twice removed from the community like a ‘customer’s customer’. This rule makes you keep the identity and purpose distinct in a natural way. There have been communities within MindTree that have used this in their roadmap specifically Technical Leadership community.

Here are the ideas on identity

  1. Creating a visual identity, these could be logos, icons, website themes, etc
    1. Better will be to allow the community to come up with its own images
  2. In addition to the visual identity catering to other senses like having a slogan or tag line
  3. Gift these logos in forms that can be used, worn, shown, carried around. I call these ‘props’ these can include mouse pads, bags, pens, vendor ware type t-shirts, mugs, etc
  4. Have the community identity/logo printed in business cards
  5. Introduce members to the community in a rigorous schedule like 3 per week and continuously for 30 weeks. There are several ways to do this
    1. having a standard set of 5 questions and leaving the last question for the member to ask and answer
    2. Sabre asks its employees their hometown while profiling and that is a strong identity
    3. Including a personal version of the vision from every member
    4. Asking specialization while introducing
    5. Allowing for self declaration of expertise
  6. Building expert locator page from above introductions
  7. Have a competency mapping that is not more than 2 levels
  8. In a loosely connected virtual world it is unfair to assume that members will only use your community space, poll for where majority members are and move your community action there
  9. If members are participating in external discussions or conferences magnify them internally. Example that is popular is participation in forums, commenting on external blogs etc
  10. (Re-)Publish case studies of members that are openly available, this will add value and recognition to the virtual space in the set identities
  11. Allow and finance members to take field trips to proximal domain areas in academics or industry. Supply chain community will want to spend a day in UPS to see what is their supply chain process like.
  12. Arrange academics to come in and present new concepts to the community
  13. Identify local chapters of larger communities and get invites for events to members
    1. Get active members to go together
    2. After the event get them to present it internally
  14. Find and encourage behavior of active members. Move peripheral members to participate with one action example is marking “like”, rating content etc
  15. If a member is active, remove any road blocks to further activity
  16. Publish non-intrusively about member activity, live feeds, activity streams are doable
  17. Give active and central members role to play in strategy and plan meetings
  18. Identify at least 5 heartbeat measures example sessions, views on site, discussion responses, connects, new members, introductions, newsletters etc
    1. Support all of them
    2. Set targets for all of them and follow up rigorously
  19. Empower financially to the allowed maximum as per budget
  20. Identify a social object that members relate to

    You have more ideas? please do comment…


    Community at the verge

    I had this naïve understanding of CoPs, that there will always be only one dominant identity (location, technology, role, batch, gender etc). But the more closely I observe them, the more interesting they get. In reality conversations in groups get richer only when 2 identities collide, mingle, may be even conflict and disperse.

    As I reflect on my own professional life in hostile client locations I have worked from, it starts with the conflict of identities, the typical consultant (aka the devil) versus client (aka been here done that). When I took conversations forward towards any objective even with conflict, trust relationships were always built by default.

    So it is with CoPs. Trouble comes when K Managers are given responsibilities of nurturing communities but not necessarily improving the conversation quality. Hugh Macleod, Doc Searls all say conversations can be controlled only by improving them and for that independent thinking from multiple perspectives (hence identities) is necessary and that only smart conversations scale (without the central KM team probably)

    If you are a K Manager here is a measurable objective, of the N conversations that you enable (?) or participate, what % of them improved (?) by your action, opinion, setting.


    ? defined by someone else as always…change this


    Fitting KM

    Business drive comes in different flavors,

    1 Take state bank of india that is predominantly process driven average age of employees is in the high 40s and there is a huge wave of retirements upcoming, and without understanding of the processes it will be difficult to improve productivity beyond a point at branch level. Other than the usual training, employees seem to have no access to other learning methods, and networks seem to form only around personal magnets, people who get transferred most or as part of some union or an executive initiative. Really there is no in built support for natural communities to form and develop. Is this not a problem that KM can solve?

    2 Or Idiom whose business is really creative endeavors When we vis,ited Idiom (equivalent of Ideo in India and has done some great work) the entire KM system (they don’t call it that) was with one librarian (they don’t call him that), who simply knew from the company’s history what work had they done and where we can find references (which are typically pieces of design). None of this is re-used, just because of the nature of their business. What they do with these design artifacts is observe how it had evolved and retain them as props to tell better stories and give all employees a sense of history. Much of their ground floor in the Bangalore office is occupied by these artifacts, it is really a walk down memory lane. Is this not great KM?

    3 Or a Qualcomm that is purely technology driven, Where weak signals on technology evolution direction need to be surfaced and magnified. Tremendous scope for multiple safe-fail experiments outside the scope and investment of RD department that will have direct business tie-in. Most likely there is already something brewing, is it not necessary to know where techies are putting their time outside of their day job just on pure passion? If we came to know of it, will the company invest to just encourage it. (OK lets for a moment forget privacy, IP concerns etc). Is this out of bounds for KM? Point I am trying to make is “fitting KM” comes from understanding the organization drive, nature of business and culture and designing actions to suit the motives at ground level. I am sure then KM will not be called “intervention”.


    Stories and Community

    In my organization we did “joy of giving” week, and a community within our organization used these specific stories below to inspire giving to an NGO called Goonj. The community (Dhriti: the woman’s network within the company) did an awesome story campaign based on unsung  heroes  from ibnlive

    Campaign images are below


    Community Leaders Revitalization

    Here is a list I thought would be relevant to build skills/mature on specifically for community leaders.

    •  Building Trust
      • With a person
      • With a service or a system
      • With an organization
      • In relation with the belief and value system of community members
    • Persistence
      • Finding the right thing to persist on
      • Reasoning on why persistence is needed
      • Ability to make a group of people persist on something
    • Volunteerism
    • Tenacity
    • Managing Adversity
    • Finding Purpose

    I think there is more than what I have outlined above, and it is in the complex domain


    Imagining India

    Nandan Nilekani made this point in an interview recently.
    Vested interests by factions have divided the nation vertically examples that are prominent are language, caste, religion, IT-nonIT people, State etc. His point was to make significant integration at a horizontal level for example take healthcare, education, response to terrorism, transport, governance mechanisms, availability of credit among other developmental needs. If we as a country do this then we can possibly move ahead into a better future. Sounds possible.

    Let us start small do you see vertical divides in your community stopping progress on the horizontal critical needs of the community. What are you going to do about it?


    Knowledge Opportunities

    1 .The PSU banking industry is going to face a large scale retirement and there will be a significant knowledge loss from the work force by end 2010.The current retraining, increasing productivity, recruitment processes are not enough for addressing this huge knowledge issue. What can KM processes do to help the bank?

    2. The real estate sector has made the leap from horizontal to vertical living space.The people who dwell there are prime candidates to form communities around the needs, interests and concerns that they have. You may not know your neighbour but you will trust him more than you do a stranger on the street, because end of the day he will return to be your neighbour. Trust is not default but a level of it can be assumed in such setting.How can current IM and SM tools help collaboration within this setting catering to different identities and support it background processes and create a lively community?

    3. The innovation capacity of educational institutions are usually high and with more than 500000 engineers passing out from the colleges, what are we doing about continuity of knowledge/project/innovation started by one batch to the next as well as having a deep engagement with industry. What can open innovation, open content platforms do to help the country?


    Reorg and communities

    Once in a while usually after a re-org exercise I get to be part of discussions around forming a community. Depending on who gets what after a reorg, suddenly the idea of forming a new community pops up. A new name, new objectives, new branding, new enthusiasts etc…

    Shawn’s test on the sort of identity that reverberates within at least a set of people is crisp and possibly can stop forming of those mushroom communities that will die down before the next re org.

    Why dont people get it!!! your dominant identity is not your new org structure bucket?