Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Dark days ahead - modeling insufficiency

This idiom in very common in a wide range of models. An insufficiency of something useful, leads to harmful side effects. Some of these harmful effects are introduced to the system to counteracts other harmful effects. Breaking out of this loop can be the focus of problem solving and situational modeling. In this case, the UK has insufficient power generation capability. It therefore leans too heavily on foreign gas supplies.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Minimise time of intermediate result - recession

If A produces B, and B is harmful, one can start to ask questions about the situation to try to improve the situation. Questions that immediately come to mind include: is there a way to prevent A producing B, can the link between A and B be broken, can we minimize the impact of B, do we need A at all? In Southbeach 0.9, many new effects can be used to create patterns like this, patterns that represent solutions or problems. Here is an example:

The new effect is 'becomes' - a transformation. A question prompted by this model would be: find a way to shorten the time the harmful intermediate state exists, in order to avoid the consequences that might otherwise result. Using a topical example:

Otherwise, the recession may 'create' a depression.

We can add elements to this model to show the direction in which the problem solving is taking us. Here, we show the depression as a 'potential' risk (dotted line) and using a 'delay' to show there is a lag between the recession and possible depression. As that delay runs out, it becomes more and more important to get across the chasm to the new period of economic growth, i.e. to reduce the time the recession lasts:

We have also added actions to the model - illustrating the use of 'counteracts' and 'prevents'. And we could use the model to suggest even more solutions. Here - we try to head off the recession turning into a depression, and, try to accelerate the passing of the recession so there is less opportunity for it to turn into a downward spiral of depression:

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Insufficient prevention leads to need for counteraction

Regulation cannot prevent financial crises altogether, but it can minimise the devastation. A common idiom in life, illustrated here using the banking crisis example. Note the use of 'insufficient prevents', a new effect in Southbeach 0.9.

'Prevents' is not the same as 'counteracts', since it occurs in advance. If you use the Southbeach Modeller, you'll see the synonyms for 'prevents' as prohibits, blocks, precludes, forestalls, annuls, stop, foils, holds at bay, overrides, disallows, vetoes, averts, avoids, nips in the bud, renders harmless ...

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Think, Play, Do = Innovation

A simple view of 'Innovation', inspired by the company and book Think, Play, Do.

The company was founded by Professors David Gann (Imperial College) and Mark Dodgson (University of Queensland). Headed by Professor David Gann, the I&EG at Imperial College now boasts the largest academic group focussed on innovation and entrepreneurship management in Europe and is closely linked to top academics across the world. Think, Play, Do

Sunday, 10 May 2009

What will you model in Southbeach 0.9?

Idioms are small models that illustrates key facets of a problem or situation. But where is the line drawn between a complete model and a small idioms? Take this model for example. It's clearly not a complete model, but it's larger, and more complex, than typical 3 block idioms. We call it a pattern. This pattern, while unusual, could occur in the real world. In fact it is drawn from the real world ... any guesses?

This model illustrates several of the new features in Southbeach 0.9.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Money does NOT create happiness

In Southbeach Notation 0.9 every effect can be tagged 'NOT'. In addition, effects can be 'potential' (signified in the same way as potential agents using a dotted line).

In this model, money (useful) does NOT create happiness, but money sure has the potential (dotted line) to increase happiness. The ? on the line signifies 'questionable'. That is, the assertion would be disputed by some. Questionable effecs are another new feature in 0.9.

Using NOT is not the same as the counter effect. For example, NOT creating happiness is not the same as destroying happiness.

In Southbeach, effects often form pairs of counter effects, for example:

Contributes To/Detracts From

It is important to understand the difference between these pairs of opposites and NOT. For example, the counter effect to 'Prevents', is not 'Allows'. 'NOT Prevents' is 'Allows'. So what is the counter effect to 'Prevents?' We'll leave you with this exercise.

The introduction of NOT in Southbeach 0.9 allows models to express deficiency and requirements in new ways. This is important in business problem solving, since the absense of something (i.e. NOT), itself may represent a problem, or an opportunity.

Avoiding Issues and Choices

This small model illustrates some of new the features (semantics) in the forthcoming 0.9 release of Southbeach Notation. The lozenge shape we call an 'issue' - sometimes called a 'question'. Effects into an issue drive its resolution. Effects out of an issue only occur once the issue has been resolved. In this model, a business problem is creating the need to resolve an issue. However, lots of reasons are being found/invented to counteract the issue. Which of these two forces win decides whether the business moves beyond the issue to take the decision it needs to take.

The diamond shape represents a 'choice' or 'decision'. Effects into the diamond drive the decision to be taken. The effects out of the diamond are mutually exclusive (unless they are marked as 'inevitable').

Using 'issue' and 'choices', a wide range of new situations can be represented in Southbeach.

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