New Possibilities

The Guiding Questions provided the pathway to insights and changeable root causes. In turn, that information provided the guidance to simple solutions and high-impact results. From solutions and results, the possibilities listed below emerged.  

It came as a pleasant surprise to experience the emergence of results in unfamiliar fields as well. Part II provides examples of such results. 

Part I: From Simple Solutions to New Possibilities

1. Guiding Question 1 turned out to be solvable with a single word

Guiding Question 1: the mounting conflicts between traditional and agile best practices

This word was published in 2011, as an addition to popular models for conquering complexity. It got lost amidst information overload and conflicting advice. 

It also became clear that something was still missing, as the necessary learning effect didn’t materialise. For that reason, we only provide this word after completing a little exercise. 

Possibilities

Solving one of the highest-impact problems through a single word 

Solving a problem undermining the productivity and competitive positions of organisations

2. A few changeable root causes provided additional insights into what works versus what does not work

The identification of just a few root causes provided the additional insights and directions to achieve results such as those listed here. It did not matter whether the issues related to a company’s core business, IT, government organisations or health services; the fundamental root causes turned out to be the same.  

Do you want to know the root cause of crippling bureaucracy and overwhelming complexity? Do you want to know how bureaucracy and complexity can be reduced to healthy levels? The answers are available from the link available in point 1 above.

Possibilities

Choosing what works in today’s world versus what does not

Eliminating crippling bureaucracy and overwhelming complexity 

Creating healthy levels of bureaucracy and complexity

3. The highly complex internal communication space of Guiding Question 3 was bridged

At EDS, an independent company at the time, a simple yet agile solution bridged the communication space for its 30,000 European employees. Replacing frustrating linear processes, hard-to-use tools and organisational barriers with natural process flows and simple mechanisms made this bridging possible. 

The solution was published as the Strategy Management Process, which turned out to be far ahead of its time. Today’s name is Guided Self-OrganisationTM and it offers this framework: as much freedom as possible for agility needs; as much direction as needed for stability needs. 

Over the past 15 years, we have not found any other larger organisation that has achieved this level of internal communication. Those that did make similar strides did so when their environments were less complex and without the complication of cost-saving pressures. We are happy to challenge claims to the contrary through a little health check. 

Want to know whether the internal communication space needs attention in  your organisation? 

Further information

Agility at enterprise level

For larger organisations to survive in today’s world, they need to become agile at enterprise level. For this to work, the internal communication and decision making must operate, in all directions, with the speed and reliability of a high-speed train. This includes expert-level communication. 

 

Possibilities

A health check workshop quickly determines whether internal communication and decision making are up to speed and it identifies gaps that may need to be closed.

No matter whether a traditional or an agile approach is used: The same health check determines the ability of your solution approach to surpass the positive tipping point, where this challenge is solvable.

A goal-oriented, low-cost and low-risk implementation of the high-speed level through the experiences with Guided Self-OrganisationTM.  

4. What exceptionally successful projects have done differently —also against PMI and Prince2 best practices

A Dutch think tank had the goal of improving project success rates. It was stuck in endless debates, until it dropped the requirement of staying within the scope of project management. Listening without bias and restrictions enabled the team to identify distinctive patterns of what exceptionally successful projects had done differently. 

Output: a health-check approach identifying executable projects. 

Examples of projects that applied such techniques: ’Guided Self-Organisation’ (see above) and the exceptionally successful project to fight a devastating potato disease throughout the Netherlands (linked page is in Dutch). 

A key element for the success of the example projects was the rather unknown de Monchy method, respectively elements thereof (linked page is in Dutch). Up to now, this method remains the only one found that…

  1. answers to Guiding Question 2 (the changeable problems hiding behind symptoms);
  2. identifies executable solution frameworks and
  3. brings the solution frameworks beyond the positive tipping point (Guiding Question 4) where the solution becomes executable. 

In case of claims to the contrary: a 4-hour interactive workshop demonstration can establish whether such claims are justified. 

Possibilities 

A health check approach for the identification of executable projects (includes the de Monchy method

Avoiding endless debates

Arriving at an executable solution framework quickly (includes the de Monchy method)

Substantially reduced project risks, costs and execution time 

Substantially improved project success rates 

5. Various steering mechanisms and coaching techniques suited for addressing complex challenges

Example 1: A single question was asked repeatedly at a crucial point within a governance process. It prevented the creation of a highly bureaucratic and costly global process. 

Example 2: A mechanism replaced rigid stoplights with roundabouts in the virtual world of organizations. This delivered the open non-linear process model. Knowledge and information arrived again where they were needed. 

Example 3: Observe that, for the above examples, the bureaucracy was used to implement the question and the mechanism. 

Possibilities 

Motivated employees

Innovation

Agility

Improved productivity

Structural savings 

Part II: From Simple Solutions to New Possibilities in Unfamiliar Fields

1. Daily emotional outbursts down to one in ten years (ADHD), and learning to read within six weeks (dyslexia)

This happened to the family of ComDyS’s founder after the results of official treatments yielded insufficient results. The working principle is explainable through techniques used for capacity bottlenecks and their consequences, such as traffic jams on the road (see also Guiding Question 4). We regularly see one of these techniques in action when car navigation systems recommend alternative routes to avoid traffic jams.

The surprising discovery was that these techniques are commonly used in engineering disciplines. However, it was impossible to find a brain researcher, let alone any published brain research, that had applied this knowledge to the neurological fields of ADHD, dyslexia, autism and the like. Instead, common reactions among experts included: ‘Interesting! Unfortunately, this doesn’t fit my discipline’.

Via the On Mental Health Charity and the Zorgdenkers Netwerk (a Dutch health services network) it became apparent that many others had made similar experiences. It turned out, 18 therapies and prevention techniques are likely to apply the engineering techniques without the experts being aware.

Navigating around traffic jams in the brain

Possibilities

Saving a few billion euros/dollars through good-to-excellent treatment results and reduced levels of special-needs education, bullying, vandalism and crime 

A drastically reduced level of suffering from the adverse effects of ADHD, dyslexia, autism and the like for those afflicted with such conditions, up to preventing school shootings

Quickly establishing most promising treatments and priorities for scientific research: Through unconventional therapies that delivered the desired results after official treatments had failed to do so, knowledge of other scientific disciplines and the roundabout approach of point 5 above. 

2. Health Services: Highest-impact sources are waiting to be explored 

Most western countries have very good Health Services systems. This comes, however, at a price. In order to keep the ever increasing cost at affordable levels, many cost savings projects have been executed. Yet, the results remain insufficient. We experience the consequences through costs being offloaded to patients and the weakest in the system; headline news of heart-breaking situations; burnouts of health services professionals and innovative projects being invited but expected to fit into the same thinking that created the current situation.     

With the ADHD and dyslexia experiences above and experiences in the the ‘Zorgdenkers Network,’ something surprising turned up: Highest-impact sources to make Health Services affordable and to reduce heart-breaking situations in the years to come are still waiting to be explored.

Following are the main sources found:

  • The unnecessary bureaucracy and complexity
  • Therapies that have delivered the desired results after official treatment had delivered insufficient results
  • Out-of-the-box thinking and an out-of-the box innovation track next to the current improvement track
  • Core human values such as health being a little bit more important than commercial goals and protocols
Further information is available via the ‘Zorgdenkers Network’ (unfortunately in Dutch only). This includes a serious estimate suggesting that, in the Netherlands, €15 / US$18 / UK£13 billion are spent annually on unnecessary bureaucracy and complexity in Health Services. The total annual costs are €90 / US$110 / UK£79 billion.
Making Health Services healthy again

Possibilities

With the Netherlands providing the cost saving opportunity: Saving 15% of Health Services costs through a root-cause-based elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy and complexity (see also point 2 above).

Quickly establishing most promising treatments and priorities for scientific research: Through unconventional therapies that delivered the desired results after official treatments had failed to do so, knowledge of other scientific disciplines and the roundabout approach of point 5 above. 

Saving billions in euros/dollars/pounds from the previous possibility

Lowest-effort yet highest-impact results from out-of-the-box innovation

3. A patent for the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI)

In contrast to today’s mathematics-based AI, this innovation is brain-based. It works within the boundaries defined by the brain’s architectural elements and requires virtually no complicated mathematical formulas. This new form of AI is needed because brain architecture leaves no room for calculating mathematical formulas, and the root cause of overwhelming complexity is bound to apply here as well (see also Part I, point 2 above).

 

Possibilities

Results where today’s AI approaches struggle.