Concepts of Intelligent Enterprise
Rick Dove, Paradigm Shift International, www.parshift.com,
International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is forming an interest group to
explore aspects of the Intelligent Enterprise.
What does intelligence mean when applied to an enterprise? Jack Ring, co-leading the
effort, says enterprise intelligence is indicated
by agility, dynamic stability, and goal-seeking behavior. He sometimes interchanges the
phrase response ability for dynamic stability. But he hasn't yet committed to a
definition for an Intelligent Enterprise.
At the heart of all of this is
the human ability for continuous and real-time learning, that results in continuous
decisions based on integrating new with accumulated learning, and implementation of those
decisions to change behavior. We walk through life doing this daily and unconsciously, and
getting away with it quite well.
interesting to me is this promise to "determine the interventions and/or environments
appropriate for evolving enterprise intelligence." For me, this is where the real
payoff is. Right now I am totally immersed in a major corporate project at Silterra, a
semiconductor manufacturer, to help create what Jack's group might call an Intelligent
Enterprise. Though much of the initial work is focused on infrastructure, in the end it
will all hinge on intervention and environment: confronting and molding a culture.
RKDove - Attributed Copies Permitted
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From: JessFreitas@numeta.com (Jess Freitas), Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001
I am interested in exploring how String Theory might serve as a useful metaphor for "System Engineering" as you describe in here. From a "General Systems" perspective (i.e. emerging new knowledge reflected in various disciplines) the "String Theory" inquiry is my proposed doctoral thesis in Human and Organization Systems [HOS] at the Fielding Institute http://www.fielding.edu/. Current advanced manufacturing research to be built upon includes www.ims.org programs:
My thought process is to utilize the emerging knowledge of quantum physics to establish a way of thinking about the Virtual / Fractal Factory distributed Manufacturing Environments:
String Theory then with it's 9 to 12 dimensions would be used to draw illuminating comparisons between the emerging discoveries of the "unified field theory" in physics and apply these insights to the emerging distributed manufacturing solutions relative to the dimensions/plans of entity-relationship-data-model/ERP and PDM and CSM and SCM... seeking to add to the breakthrough concepts of demand flow / lean / agile / manufacturing replication center's etc. that are increasingly harmonizing the data, material and cash flows of the global manufacturing web. An interpretive framework that allows for seeing new and better ways.
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First, I have to ask, why string theory? What problem system are you intending to address and what are the degrees of freedom of the set of problem symptoms you are interested in suppressing? I ask this for two reasons. One reason is that Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety warns that your "solution" must exhibit higher variety than does the problem system facet you want to suppress but Lanchester's Law and the system principle of parsimony says that the costs of seeking too much variety increase rapidly and the variety will not be used. The second reason I ask is because the applications you mention, manufacturing and business enterprises, are largely constrained by people and you probably do not need 9 to 12 dimensions to deal with "peopled systems" even though such systems are partially composed of those strangely indeterminate components.
I may be biased by years of playing with intake and exhaust systems for high performance internal combustion engines where the name of the game is discontinuous, compressible flow (what is the limit of acceleration of air?) but I see that people interactions are essentially discontinuous, compressible, thus can be modeled by second order implicit differential equations. Now, we don't have decent models at this level, so why would you want to take on string theory?
Unless string theory has a strong attraction, I encourage you to look into the theories and partial experimentations of Prof. Rudolph Starkerman and consider how to further that work.
On the other hand, if string theory is a strong urge then, yes, an explanation of how the 9 to 12 dimensions of ST map to the several dimensions of a general system model; especially a model of a System A that not simply controls System B but "generates" system B (the stork doesn't bring systems, either).
I seriously question the utility of using plant and animal models for describing or prescribing or permitting behaviors of human systems. Doing so ignores the added factors that humans bring into the game. Worse, too often the resulting models use humans as cogs or levers. Clue. Do not try to help any company that has a Human Resources organization. They simply do not understand.
Although the concept of holon is quite valuable, in the limit it is an attempt to characterize second order dynamics in hierarchical terms. The concept of holon can be replaced by the concept of mode. I dare say you operate in a different mode on the futbol pitch than when waltzing with your significant other. When Bridey Murphy exhibited as many as 23 distinct personalities was she a collection of 23 holons or simply a system having 23 patterns of relationships?
Seems to me the notions that have surfaced are the duals of: 1) hierarchy vs. heterarchy, 2) structure vs. process (as in BOM and Routings) and 3) statics vs dynamics. Hierarchy is rumored to be stronger and more orderly than heterarchy but such is not necessarily the case. Also, note that the popular model, "people, process and technology" is not valid because people and process are not orthogonal. People and process Plan are distinct but Process is an emergent characteristic of mixing people and resources and Plan and time. This is a deep problem because the language of humans acknowledges structure but not time. Thus we see process as "a series of tasks or steps" meaning, of course, structure. If you don't believe me, tell me how (or send me a process diagram for) a neural network determines whether an applicant qualifies for a loan.
Think of three elements and one relationship between any two. Think about that relationship being static. Now think about it being sinusoidal. Now think of the three elements expanding and contracting where each has a distinct frequency but the frequency varies over time. Now think of the relationship switching around between the best two out of three that harmonize with its frequency. Now you are close to a value web. Information, having no mass, cannot be pushed, only pulled.
I am approaching this from more of a Social Science perspective rather than hard science -- however, looking to General Systems Theory in terms of Physics revealing some key truths relative to ways to think about systems.
So, risking that this may be more poetry than anything else -- my motivation is to suggest a way for information systems, human systems and management systems to allow for and appreciate the need humans have for meaning and purpose in their lives. Suggesting that Dr. Deming was on to something we he postulated that businesses have two reasons to exist: 1) provide products and services that enhance the quality of people lives; 2) provide interesting jobs for people to do.
Having read much on various systems theories (i.e Socio- technical-systems; systems dynamics; self organizing; complex adaptive etc.) -- I heard a television interview of a leading physicist (who's name escapes me) who very clearly and eloquently described for the TV Audience the concept of String Theory. He explained that Einstein's Theory of Relativity did well in explaining the behavior of large objects like planets etc. and that quantum mechanics on the other hand more accurately captured what was observed to be happening at the quantum level... Following, then was String Theory with it's 9 to 12 dimensions/ planes or what have you that is appearing to offer a unified view of the two aforementioned theories.
So beginning there, I plan to offer Relativity as the "Control" lenses/paradigm through which to view the manufacturing enterprise (i.e. ERP, Financials, specifications etc.) with Quantum Mechanics providing the lenses/paradigm for "Order" (i.e. time related emergence, complex adaptive, autonomous agent kinds of synchronization) -- with the primary 3 strands of String Theory represented by 1) Information Flows; 2) Material Flows; 3) Cash Flows -- with the Information Flow domain enfolding the remaining dimensions that would hopefully shed light on how one might think of unifying an IT Systems Environment -- an interpretive architecture/framework that would hopefully become usefully descriptive of the J2EE Containers taking form... -- this is -- an explanation for why MRP II's Control Oriented Data Model needed to give way to the emerging pull system-solutions, at the operational planning level (hopefully, something encouraging could be discovered from this line of inquiry, in terms of how to more effectively organize the Fractal Factory or what have you... [i.e. Numeta software has a BOM that can be indented or flat -- my sense is that this both/and ability will be come increasingly useful as more and more firms seek to deploy the Agile Enterprise Model].
Poetry, possibly useful or...?.