• Build • Use
a 7 Domains Analysis
Stead [link] is
one of those rare individuals to which the rubric
of genius can be comfortably and honestly
applied. He has been a pioneer of Medical Informatics
for over 30 years and a leader in the transformation
of the care giver’s educational processes. The Vanderbilt
Center for Better Health (VCBH) [link] is
an expression of these two pursuits.
old office was what you would expect: piled high
with papers, maunscripts, books and pieces of old
His schedule is what you may expect also - full.
How he interacts with Judy Privett, who supports
him, the many teams he directs, is part of or make
the network of enterprises he is engaged with, is
Bill decided to move his office and some staff to
the VCBH environment we talked about how to configure
the space that was available to him. Cyril Stewart,
who have designed the building years before and now
heads up the Vanderbilt facilities office and Karin
Smith, combined two small existing rooms, on the
rounded corner of the building, into a space of suitable
size. Bill, who did not want a big office argued
to use one of the rooms but the three of us, having
experienced his existing one, prevailed with the
idea of a somewhat larger but still modest space.
point was that he wanted to fully employ the capabilities
of the VCBH Innovation Center - and be an exemplar
of their use - and that he, therefore, did not need
a large space. Cyril, Karin and I agreed with this
but pointed to the stacks of materials, Bill’s multi-tasking
work-style and the fact that he would have to have
some meetings in his personal environment
for a variety of reasons. We also believed that,
although Bill is not disposed to “show” and neither
is the VCBH, that he, as leader of this effort, had
to be housed in an environment that made an appropriate
statement. The theme chosen expresses the
innovative leader/knowledge-worker workplace. Certainly
Bill is about, the VCBH is about and the future of
work is about. We had a few meetings over a few months
and finally arrived
which I sketched on a WorkWall and Bill approved.
On January 29th, Bill Blackburn put these ideas
to paper and the installation was completed April
process resulted in the development a few new pieces
of furniture and the final design intimately supports
Bill’s work style (while augmenting it and “pushing”
it to new dimensions), his interactions with Judy
and his intentions of employing the full CBCH capacity.
the USE part of Design/Build/Use begins.
This is the real adventure and challenge. What follows
is a description of our beginning point and a documentation
of what results. The pictures below were taken minutes
after the AI crew finished their work. You will have
to imagine plants, books, computers, papers and people
- all interacting agents in the creation of knowledge.
POD work top which is oriented away from
the large group areas of the VCBH and towards
Bill’s office. The organizer is movable.
are two doors into Bill’s Office - this
is his backdoor which opens from an alcove
where he has access to one side of his
side, as it is placed today, provides
book shelves as does the exterior “wall”
back a ways provides a full view of Judy’s
workPOD. The doorway on the left is the
front door into Bill’s Office. Attached
to the column is a four door lateral
file accessible to Judy, Bill and his
co-workers who will be working at the
Center. There is a row of offices off
camera to the left for Center staff,
researchers and VCBH administration people.
To the right of the POD are breakout
areas that lead to the main VCBH large
group work areas.
in Bill’s alcove is the parking place
for his rolling stand-up workstation.
This has an adjustable top and deploys
in his office or out in the Center as
he needs it. We tend to sit too much
when working. At stand up alternative
is better for health and useful when
working on the Center WorkWalls.
is Bill’s main office area. You can see
the stand-up workstation in the background,
To the right is the other side of his
rolling “travel trunk.” The trunk has
bookshelves on one side, deep storage
behind sliding WorkWalls over three lateral
files on the other. It can be place anywhere
in the room to configure the space into
areas as desired. In the foreground is
Bill’s oval work table. It has two leaves
that tuck under so that it can roll through
doors, can be parked against a wall or
opened to sit a number of people seminar-style.
To the left, under the continuous band
of windows, is a curved work top. The
computer will go here to the right of
the drawer with a phone that can rest
either on the top of table.
our backs to the alcove, we can see the
length of the office. The work top frames
the window and view (to the north west)
provides project work spaces and makes
a dock for Bill’s two support caddies.
the table can tuck under the work top
or roll and pivot into the center of
the room conference style. At each end
of the work top are semi-circular shelves
for objects. The curved Armature element
provides 12 volt task lighting over the
work-table. The computer screen is oriented
so that the west afternoon sun will not
reflect on the screen or have Bill looking
into it when he is working on his computer.
Framing the windows and utilizing them
as a major source of light is a significant
consideration of the design.
is the Armature and lighting. This
divide the space in two bringing definition
to what otherwise would have been a
an narrow visual metaphor. Notice,
as Bill move back into his space it
progressively more private and expressive of
refuge - a necessary circumstance for
some kinds of work. The 12 volt lighting
over Bill’s work-table will allow him
to turn off the overhead lights and
change the light signature in the room
particularly in the “off-work” hours
when he does a great deal of his “alone”
caddies in their “docked” position. On
the left is a traditional AI rolling“dog” with
file space, drawers and “leash.” On
the right is
a rolling projects organizer. Both sides
provide shelves so that up to 28 projects
can be readily accessible. Both these
units are designed to work in the office,
as well as, out in the larger Center
where Bill often spends extended time.
The also will dock partially under his
table for easy access and to provide
work-top surface. These caddies, with
the work table and work top, provide
numerous ways to organize the workplace
for specific tasks; and, they provide
instant storage when Bill has to go from
work-work mode to meeting-with-people
POD also provides a number of cabinets,
shelves, files and work surfaces. The
round configuration allows access
to a variety of these within arm easy
view from Judy’s POD into Bill’s
office. Work for him to pick up and leave
can be organized in the organizer to the
left. The drawers provide storage for all
the things necessary to office work - paper
clips, staplers, scissors, pens, pencils,
and so on.
the other way around. Bill can orient his
work-table so that eye-sight is maintained
or he can position it so that he has
visual privacy. Judy can come in the
“front” door or the “back” as is appropriate
to his actual work modality.
is Judy’s POD from the rest of
the VCBH group work spaces. The door
on the right
leads to Bill’s alcove. Between
trunk” and the outside of Judy’s
POD a great deal of storage/display space
is provides for Bill’s books, periodicals,
objects and so on. This is both for convenience
and for making place and identity. The
“message” the POD has to send from this
point of view has to be both protective
of privacy and appropriately inviting.
It has to convey that one is entering
a different function of the VCBH Innovation
POD is feed from the ceiling with power,
LAN and phone. This way, the POD can
be moved and reconfigured as required.
The cubePOD provides a significant amount
of storage for books, periodicals, project
files and so on. Far more than is usually
found in the standard office.
USE phase of a project is often not
considered to be as creative as the design and
is an impoverished perception of the creative process.
Building Bill’s and Judy’s workplace
is just the opening gambit. The Four Step Re-Creation Model
how feedback works between phases of the entire creative
process which includes The entire life cycle of,
in this case, a work environment.
7 Domains analysis, which follows, is a systemic
way to think about designing, building and operating
a human environment - and, in this case,
a specific environment for an unique individual.
It is a mental architecture that allows the sensing
appropriate [link] responding
to an individual executive/ knowledge-worker. It
will take a year to move beyond the virgin environment
photographed above to the making of a rich, effective
system of knowledge-augmentation and support.
Domains Analysis of the Stead Environment
7 Domains are those attributes that make up the
work environment of an individual that, if properly
constituted, augment his/her’ personal creative
capacity and capability of exercising GROUP
teams and ValueWebs [link].
The Domains have to be understood and managed on
several levels of recursion [link].
of a system are those things, processes and characteristics,
without which, the system ceases to be what it
environment is that which forms and makes
up the circumstances of an organism.
do not need to be managed. On occasion, it is
useful that they be facilitated (to make easy)
and educated (to lead out). Sometimes
training (to drag behind) is appropriate as training
is essentially the creation of new, useful habits [link].
The 7 Domains, properly designed and managed, create
organic [link] environment
that can be made fit for
each individual and for augmenting their
interactions with others.
7 Domains cannot be seen as isolated or independent
phenomena. The separation into domains is an intellectual
convenience. These have to operated as
a system - it is the lines in the diagram that
are of foremost
importance - not the nodes in isolation.
individual’s and an enterprise’s body of knowledge
remains the most under utilized resource in our
society. Most of what is hyped as knowledge-management
does not function - this is because it does not
understand what knowledge is or
how it is created nor what it is that
has to be managed.
has accumulated a vast body of knowledge. It
is questionable, however, if this is sufficiently
leveraged across the enterprise of his focus
and concern. It is also an open question if his
outside his direct field of concern, is optimal
for his purposes.
DESIGN and FACILITATION
work processes are a social default left over
from an earlier and much simpler era - they are
hopelessly inadequate for today’s world. Facilitation
is regarded too often in terms of what happens
in the front of the room which is the least predominate
or important aspect of the practice.
EDUCATION and LEARNING
three concepts, and their related practices,
are often confused to the determent of each and
the confusion of both individual and society.
And, unfortunately, adult humans rarely considers
themselves to be a student and learning
is consequently separated from what is erroneously
be the legitimate work environment [link].
This is, of course, a significant anomaly in
this so-called era
of the knowledge-economy [link].
Our societies environments and work processes
are still predominately industrial-age
in their deep structures. This contradiction
would be amusing if it where not so deadly in
ENVIRONMENT and TOOLING
our society, the physical environment is rarely
understood in terms of the impact it has on the
cognitive functioning of the human brain/mind.
The work environment is too often seen as a utility
- the cost of which is to managed and kept in
control. It is rarely regarded in human terms
and even more rarely as a knowledge-factory that
can yield huge return business results, let alone,
in intellectual capital. Our work environments
simply do not work well [link].
Typically, they support but a few of the executive
and knowledge-creation and sharing processes
They are almost never seen as the expressive
and influential social art that they in fact are.
technical systems we have today do a brilliant
job of augmenting the practices of the 19th century
They are not designed from the premise of a Knowledge-base
era. This, however, is changing. New tools are
becoming available, that if used appropriately,
can transform the executive routine [link] and
the process of knowledge work [link].
management means, literally, the hand before
the throw. It is generally practiced as
the control function after a game has
actually been played out. Effective project management
is anticipatory. This means it has to
be based on a model of possible futures and
practiced as a preemptive and systemic,
feedback-driven response to multidimensional
emergent events. Most project
management methods are far too linear to do this
- they are trapped in the industrial era assumptions
from which they came. They attempt to control
people and circumstances (which
practicing the art of anticipatory design [link];
this reason, they tend to cut down innovation
and effective local action - and, for this reason
project management is experience too often as
an instrument of repression.
are both individual and corporate venture(s)
involved here and it is important to understand
both their separate and integrated realities.
most significant aspect of architecture [link] is
its ability to be a vehicle of human transformation
This is the high ART [link] of
architecture at its best. There are multiple criteria [link] necessary
to the making of organic, sustainable, transforming
work, no matter how vast or modest in scope, must
strive to accomplish both the pragmatic and the
sublime in the making of habitat for every human
When fully understood, this is an exciting and
daunting task. It is a task that cannot be accomplished
without the active participation of the environment’s
user. The space must be inhabited not merely occupied.
VCBH is still a nascent environment. One intent
of Bill’s presence in the VCBH environment
is to be an exemplar of its full use and to systematically
explore the interface [link] between
his individual work, his collaborative work and
the work of the Center as a whole.
his “office” is not an office -
it is an environment and
there is a world of difference between the two
concepts and their practices. His environment,
in this context, includes the functioning of
Judy’s - even as hers has to be fit for her while
reaching out and including Bill’s. The relationship
between Bill’s personal space and his part of
the VCBH commons is critical to the success of
the entire endeavor.
is rare privilege to design an environment -
a knowledge-making engine - for a person such
Bill Stead. It is both a challenge and an opportunity
to see if this can help him become even more
creative and organizationally effective.
story of how this “experiment” plays out will be
documented over the year to come.
Executive Offices - Why Do It?
April 9, 2004
voice of this document:
INSIGHT POLICY PROGRAM
April 9, 2004
April 14, 2004
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this document is about 15% finished)