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Paradigm Intelligence – A Manifesto for Enterprise IT May 12, 2006

Posted by poseidongroove in Absolutism, Bazaar, Chaos, Collaboration, Edge Competencies, Edge Thinking, Microsoft, Paradigm, ParadigmIntelligence, Politics, Social Software, Web Culture, Weblogs.
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Finally, my PSP, Metal Gear Acid and a Spanking New Sony MDR-NC50 noise cancelling headphone turned up yesterday from my insurance company eSure. They're not going to replace the stolen laptop because of the cost of a T42p over £2000.00, they're going to send a cheque for £1500.00 better than nothing I guess. I've actually not had much time to look at the gear been busy with start-up related work. I've actually missed the PSP a lot. It was my replacement for the Radio. Even the freebie iPod Video I got from signing up for a new phone plan can't match it. All that trouble of Synching with iTunes before I listen to a podcast is annoying. At least with the PSP I can stream Podcasts over WIFI !!

 Anyway, for the past week, I've been thinking about a way of describing why Enterprise IT just can't handle or understand Web 2.0, this is a follow up to my previous post about Dynamic Languages. I stumbled on this link, What is Web 2.0 ? a poll of readers of the Register. Honestly, I've found the feedback in the poll fascinating. For a lot of people struggling with every new thing/buzzword under the sun I can understand.

Fundamentally, we have a problem with how we as humans process information or things we come into contact with. I think it's all about Paradigm Intelligence, the ability to stay above the fray in your respective perspective, mind map or profession and see things from the other camps perspective. It's a very rare skill indeed. Our attitudes and behaviours all flow out of our paradigms using our self awareness and rose tinted glasses to examine them. The last bit paraphrasing what Stephen R Convey said in his book. What's even more striking is the ability to see through the waffle and identify the excellent opportunities to redefine your existing paradigm for the better. All we get today is reactive language judging by the comments in the poll above.

We all talk about emotional intelligence, no one really talks about Paradigm Intelligence, if an Ulster Protestant can see things from the perspective of his Catholic Ulster-bretheren and vice-versa then they're paradigm intelligent.

This morning I was listening to Dr Moira Gun's Technation Interview of Dr Amartya Sen it suddenly struck me that India is perhaps the best example of a nation that is exhibiting Paradigm Intelligence tendencies. The UK is also an excellent example in parts. I especially like what Dr Sen, a Nobel Prize laureate of Indian background said about radical Islam plays on fear to whip up hatred against the West. I've therefore come up with a series of phrases to describe what it means to be Paradigm Intelligent and otherwise.

  •  Paradigm Intelligence is recognising that social networking and participative architectures present an opportunity for IT to engage real users and re-energise enterprise architecture,
  • It's not reacting negatively to every thing even though it starts up looking like another buzzword, it's your job to identify the substance,
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not your race, colour or creed taking over your common sense and appreciation of another person or their culture,
  • Paradigm Intelligence is there for everyone to see in a Nation with a Sikh President, an Italian Born female party leader and a Muslim Prime Minister,
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not scare mongering and acting in a protectionist manner when a foreign company attempts to take over a crown jewel,
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not voting on tribal lines and blind ethnicity as is the case across Africa,
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not blindly buying everything from IBM, SAP, MSOFT or any other supplier for that matter regardless of the stupidity of your judgement, Who told you no one ever got fired for buying from these guys. Well, some day you will !!
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not sniffing at Dynamic Languages and calling them crap and chaotic, I've been there, I was once guilty of this !
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not rubbishing everything from Apple, okay most of it is good albeit every Apple product is hyped to death, (Guilty)
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not Blair and Bush invading Iraq without a plan B,
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not Pastors or Religious leaders being brazenly richer, rotund and looking healthier than their congregation in third world countries,
  • Paradigm Intelligence is most certainly not putting street signs and council leaflets into ethnic languages in an English speaking country. Thank you Mr Council official we don't need you wasting tax payers money. If you can't speak English go back to wherever you came from.
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not DRM'ed music and films, hey guys, we're not kids your epoch, era or whatever type of control you're imposing will not last,
  • Paradigm Intelligence is being pragmatic about using whatever tool is best for the job in the context of IT as opposed to being dogmatic and bigoted. (Very difficult one, I'm guilty of this sometimes).
  • Paradigm Intelligence is not believing everything you hear or read in the Fox News, Mail or the Guardian (UK Newspapers, masters of polarised views),
  • Finally, Paradigm Intelligence is understanding the relevance of open source bazaar software development approaches in delivering really useful solutions that end users use for play and work.

If you can think of anymore, go ahead and add your own or write about it. The more you ask yourself are my paradigm intelligent looking at this issue, the more likely that you'll be able to understand things better and not get too arrogant about your reactive clouded absolutist views. Remember, no one, is totally, paradigm intelligent !! 

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Epistemic Arrogance – Opportunities and Threats in Software Development February 10, 2006

Posted by poseidongroove in Absolutism, Chaos, Collaboration, e-WorkPlace, Edge Thinking, ESB, eWorkPlace, Graveyard Portal, Magic Quadrant Syndrome, Mashup, Mashup SOA, Social Software, Web Services.
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It’s not often you listen to a podcast two or more times except, it’s a music mix. I found myself replaying an excellent podcast by Nassim Nicholas Taleb titled What Do We Know – The Scandal of Prediction from the IT Conversations Feed. I listened to the podcast several times today as it brings to the fore something I often remind myself. We’re prone to making assumptions and are more conservative than we’re prepared to admit in the software business.

I like to ask myself frequently what do I not know? What I don’t know now might be relevant in affecting a significant change in my design pattern or an accepted architectural orthodoxy. Therefore, I cannot make a prediction that what I know now is the only and best answer for the problem. I guess, that’s why I’m not hung up on any specific software platform. It’s also meant, I’ve worked on several platforms in my career. We can’t afford to be arrogant about what we think we know.

Once, we’ve come up with a design pattern or architecture, we think job done and there’s not much else to add. The edge thinkers are more or less excluded once the mainstream conventional thinkers have had their say. It’s this predictability that makes the Magic Quadrant by Gartner and such likes a bore. Once Fortune 500 companies have looked at it and decided the supplier based on analyst predictions end of story, innovation isn’t coming from anywhere else.

The freshest thing about the social networking phenomenon is the ease with which ideas can be shared, learned and debated. I’ve never known a time when application development was such an innovative activity. As an Architect that specialises in Collaborative Technologies and Web Applications Development it’s fascinating to see that finally, we can eliminate the “limits of scale” of organisational intelligence as described by Tom Gruber the inventor of Intraspect now owned by Vignette.

It’s with this in mind that the edge part of my brain didn’t like Web 2.0 and SOA as mutually exclusive technologies or what ever you wish to call them. The collaborative part of my brain and the Enterprise Architecture part tell me that SOA is meaningless unless it has a social context and is a means to this social end. That end is as a consumable service beyond UDDI Directory to end user at home and at work in anything from cars to Media Players.

Social Networks are viral. SOA can become viral and useful in an organisational and Web 2.0 context. I’ve been working on an Idea I can only describe here as the Collaborative Services Description Language (CSDL). I’ll develop this in another post. There is a fantastic opportunity for IT to finally become a “necessary good”.

SOA must become pervasive. Our conventional thinking right now means we’re building Enterprise Service Buses expecting UDDI to be relevant beyond the IT department. I think not. Right now, were building or thinking more of hard core business processes. Very little attention is paid to exceptions to the process. These classes of activities that fall through the design crack are actually the ones we need to be conscious of the most. They are the ones that end users will most benefit from. It’s also where the social context exists. They are very coarse grained e.g. Dispute Resolution Team Room between suppliers, an Ideas Generation, Document Approval Process, Brand Management, Drugs Discovery, etc.

These class of processes are not best served by hard edged SAP, eCRM type applications such as salesforce.com, it’s only possible to create such applications using a class of platforms that have agile written all over them.

Would it not be nice if we had a common language that allows Business Processes and Collaborative Work Processes to be orchestrable and re-useable regardless of CRM, ERP Platforms. This means, a create Team Room or Document Approval Request can be propagated from SAP to the e-WorkPlace application bundling the meta data associated with the request, an event message to the SIP compliant platform, a bunch of documents and video files associated with for example, an Invoice in Dispute into an RSS Feed. SOA patterns sometimes describes it as Workflow Automation. I think this is a cop out. Oh It’s too amophorous lets leave it out !!

Folks lets stop the bigoted arrogance of our conventional thinking, we got work to do.

Absolutism-The New World Order January 29, 2006

Posted by poseidongroove in Absolutism, Edge Thinking.
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It’s easy to think that Bloggers are navel gazers on an ego trip. I think some bloggers do try to discuss issues mainstream media and economic thinking rarely reflects. John Hagel’s post on Zero-Sum Thinking comes to mind. The two points that stick in my mind the most are, squeezing suppliers and the marginalization of innovation.

It’s almost like certain things have become absolutes, like it’s a given to outsource anything to low cost economies. How about digital rights management spy-ware, the music and film industry are forcing DRM on unsuspecting users when they buy content from the web. I wonder how many people realise that they’d have to buy their entire digital content again if you keep changing your disk drives or computer. The ironic thing about mainstream media and economic thinking is that the very thing the religious absolutes are being accused of by relativists is exactly what is happening in mainstream media and economic thinking.

For all my love of digital media, nothing will ever persuade me to buy digital media from the web until a new paradigm is established for distribution of digital content.

Think about the poor ISPs, who have to foot the bill for our digital consumption. I firmly believe the only fairplay in town is one which protects and reward the artist and the content providers using an implicit payment model that rewards ISPs and is managed by ISPs. They can include content download royalties in our broadband subscription. Effectively, this allows the ISP to meter what you’re downloading and pay the rights owner just like mobile phone companies cross-charge for network connections. It shouldn’t really matter if you’re downloading content from iTunes or Bittorent. This is the only way to eliminate piracy. I really believe Bittorent is the most viable medium for content delivery and rights management. It allows the industry to accurately collect royalties and reward artistes accordingly.

On the second point about marginalization of innovation, this applies to the music industry as much as software. Arctic Monkeys would never have become the fastest selling debut band album in the UK if it weren’t for the fact that they allowed users on myspace to build grass-root and cult following by giving their music away for free download. If the quality of the content or software is excellent. The community will surely cast the right vote. It prevents all those crazy clones been forced on us by the music industry from seeing the light of day. In the world of IT. This will prevent “Magic Quadrant Syndrome” from rigging RFI questionnaires that customers put out to suppliers.

Think about it, when you outsource IT development and other supposedly non-core business activities to India or China, even though it seems like a good idea on the balance sheet, I strongly believe over a period of time, competitive advantage is lost or become non existent given the ability to innovate is not there. If you and your competitors are doing exactly the same thing, using the same call centres, development sweat shops name it. Where is your innovation coming from when the very thing that will deliver that advantage is outside your control? I know this assertion does not apply in every single case.

In summary, I think the current world order is more about absolutes than we’re prepared to admit. The problem this creates is that it’s difficult to challenge the status quo except something revolutionary occurs. Here’s to you Arctic Monkeys!!!