Saturday, December 4, 2021


 Science, technology, various interdisciplinary techniques and methodology enable us to learn from the past and accelerate movement toward the future smoothly.

Consider digital organizations as self-organized but interlaced systems which have their own purpose, and the processes are determined by the intrinsic nature of the whole. They are not just a set of interconnected components, but a set of interwoven threads to shape a future of the business.

 On the temporal plane, think of business entities as nodes along a timeline, a change in each node will have some effects internally on that node but also with other nodes along the same and even other timelines. The past is always present, where you are, where you want to be, it has value; identify gaps, and take alternate approaches to anticipate and provide solutions. Should organizations work backwards? The positive and forward-looking view of organization is more about thinking ahead, to prepare and face the challenges and uncertainty on the way to the future steadfastly.

Analytics is historically backward-looking, and decisions are forward-looking: Forethoughtful companies work on an opportunity and then figure out what is the lesson learned from the past existing out there. Analysis is to understand something that already "exists," defined as the procedure by which you break down an intellectual or substantial whole into parts or components (loosen, untie, set apart). During this process, business management can understand the pieces and parts of their company, their strength and weakness; capability and capacity, so they come with principles, best practices; repository establishment, standards formulation, governance establishment. Then proactive decision making across the organizational hierarchy enables the business to adapt to changes by taking step-wise actions, and improve organizational competency and profitability.

Now at the dawn of the digital era, the abundance of information flow, click-away knowledge, and the more advanced technologies make it possible to gain real-time insight and business foresight if organizations can embed analysis in varying management disciplines. They are truly being digitized underneath, at the process level. An intelligent company intends to predict the emerging events and manage uncertainty by gaining a deep understanding of the past and making better forecasts based on historical data. The management sets the smart goals by shaping the questions such as: Do you want to maximize the probability of making your goals? Do you want to minimize regret? Which lessons did you learn via analysis based backward-looking? Can you maximize the mean expected results? Etc. The frictionless information flow helps decision-makers at a different level of the organization to proactively leverage information, relevant & interdisciplinary knowledge and collective insight for making effective decisions consistently in order to solve problems effectively.

Theories are backward looking, abstracted from practices in the collective past; practices are forward-looking, but rooted in the theory of some kind: Either making changes or doing innovation, if the theory is sound, then it can help the practice achieve repeatability of the outcome. When looking for results, it is not a question of knowing what the best answer is based on theory, but which practices and what actions will lead to desired outcomes that matter in the future. If the theory is sound, then it can help the practice achieve repeatability of the outcome. As theories are based on historical data or practices, some of them could be outdated due to circumstances changes. Thus, the "theory" of phenomena should always be open to interpretation and understanding of the theory should rightly be questioned, when it fails to account for what actually happens.

The management needs to know how to balance the theories, best practice and lessons learned. The theory is designed from actual contexts by backward reviews, practice is governed by theory to drive futuristic results. When looking for results, it is not a question of knowing what the best answer is based on theory, but what actions will lead to desired outcomes that matter. In the sense that human behavior is predicated on some kind of cause and effect model that resides somewhere inside people’s mindset. If the theory is sound, then it can help the change or innovation practice achieve repeatability of outcome

Retrospection simulates backward problem-solving scenarios; proactive synthesis focuses on shaping long term solutions: Many of today’s problems are complex and interdependent; some of them are actually caused by previous solutions to other historical problems; others are symptoms of uncovered issues or concerns. Retrospective scenario in problem-framing is about taking “the backward” approach to dig into the root cause. Proactive-synthesis in problem-solving is about binding up, and reimagining the “art of possible.” When solving problems to achieve certain results. Learning from the past and digging through the historical root of problems are critical steps in shaping structural solutions. a retrospective scenario starts with what you want to see or have, imagine the future statement of “problems being solved” then, think backward from there to what the next simpler step is; make the similar backward logic until you dig into the root cause of issues, in order to figure out the premium solutions cost-effectively.

Problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually finding a solution to that problem. During the retrospective problem-solving scenario, the teams reflect on what happened in the iteration, identify gaps and take actions to fill them for moving forward. It is the process started at the “ideal state” - the unified perspective of “the problem gets solved thoroughly” based on clarified vision and diverse viewpoints. During the synthetic problem-solving process, it’s important to be more future-oriented, make the combination of components or elements to form a connected whole, perceive “what could be,” rather than sticking to the traditional ways of fixing issues, focusing on long term perspective. For complex problem-solving, work through problems forward and backward iteratively to make sure there are no errors or gaps, to analyze the root conditions & causes that apply, to investigate the various solution options, to decide, to act, and then to cycle around fluently.

Variety, complexity, diversification, hyper-connectivity, and interdependence, are the characteristics of the business ecosystem. From a management perspective, the business is complex and the organization is contextual today, the blind spots, gaps, and change pitfalls are inevitable in leading change. We shouldn't forget our past, but we should learn from it. Science, technology, various interdisciplinary techniques and methodology enable us to learn from the past and accelerate movement toward the future smoothly by “looking forward,” “looking around,” “looking behind,” and “looking beyond” accordingly.


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