30 JUN 84 7:34pm
Capital Hill, DC
as Information Factory
the Center to clients during DesignShops, I often refer to Management
Centers as Information Factories. This is not intended
to be taken metaphorically; I mean to be understood literally.
And following the principles of the 7th Domain, Venture Management,
every scrap of information is to be used and reused - combined,
added to - stored, retrieved - analyzed, synthesized, AND
made available to each user at the right time and place,
in the right amount of detail. The use of information becomes
itself an item of information. The information connected with
human action becomes knowledge; the sum becomes - knowledge industry,
(i.e. the industry of knowledge).
and facilitation methods utilized in Management Centers are the
factories process engineering (using this term as it is
meant in industrial engineering). Throughout this factory, process
ideas and data are refined until a product is developed. This
is not a dry mechanical process as the factory image
usually congers up; that image and reality of the factory
are ready for the scrap heap of history. To understand the idea
of Management Centers as information factories, is also to build
in one's mind a new image of the industrial factory, and
of that 19th century factory now called "the office."
These old ideas must be recreated, generalized, (seeing present
practices as special cases) and placed into a new humanistic context.
A new Art and Science is being developed - that of information
processing. The core of this is a unique concept of information
management and of the human creative process. At the center of
this is a unique organization presently called the Knowledge
Center (Domain 1, Body of Knowledge). The Knowledge Center
had it's first expression in the Renascence Library (Kansas City
1974-1980); and was further developed in my concept of Earth Library
(Boulder, 1979-81). The Earth Library concept deals with issues
related to a network of Knowledge Centers located in Management
Centers throughout the globe and the use of CyberConn to link,
synthesize, communicate a new cultural paradigm. Central to all
this work over the last decade is the idea of a new level of human
tooling to meet transformational demands.
30 JUN 8:40pm
Capital Hill, DC
time has come to explicitly reincorporate the ideas and practices
of the Renascence Library and Earth Library into the Knowledge
Center function of the Management Center. This re-incorporation
will deal directly with the user issues now facing the Knowledge
Center; it will also broaden the focused narrow outlook
that has been necessary during the early formative years of Management
Center concept is totally built on an international premise; its
practice up to now has been provincial. From 1979 to 1982 the
work was local, after that our work has been more national in
scope; this is still provincial. When Gail and I left Washington
in August of 1979 we deliberately turned our backs on the work
and contacts we have made up to that time. We focused our entire
efforts and resources of forging a tool for transformation
rather than on the current issues of transformation itself. However,
the tool itself always was built from the perspective of a global
view. One of the Knowledge Center's role now, is to bring that
view back into the forefront of our work. Any organization today
that builds its assumptions, intents and plans on local or national
basis is doomed to failure. For ourselves, for Acacia, our users
and clients, the ability to bring a global perspective into the
local work and synthesize it by a method of process
engineering is of first importance. If we cannot
do this, we are not an information factory, we are a local job
shop. AT THE SAME TIME, the flavor and uniqueness of the specific,
local circumstance must be kept (the blending of local
and universal is an old issue in Architecture). This idea of information
factory (and Fullers definition of "industrial"
& craft tooling) has to be, through practice, synthesized
with older ideas of craft and intellectual/educational traditions.
We are building the basis of a new culture and tradition.
working in Management Centers are participating in an experiment
and design process of which they are both experimenters and subjects.
Every work procedure and definition of productivity is challenged.
30 Jun 84 10:00pm
Capital Hill DC
about the nature of information and its use is challenged. The
nature and use of work teams is challenged. The Management Center
factory is re-engineered, re-equipped, and reorganized
on a near continuous basis. Meanwhile, higher and higher levels
of standards and productivity are reached monthly. This internal
process of transformation is itself a product - and knowledge
gained - from the very existence of the enterprise; if nothing
else was gained, the current level of investment in Management
Centers is worth it as a case history alone. As new methods are
learned and employed, tested and applied; they then can be mass
produced. We have two products: we are turning out our model T
and we are inventing a new production method - a general method
that can and will be applied in many environments. The end result:
a new definition and practice of work.
factory of the new information economy will provide a quantum
leap in humanities' understanding of an ability to produce and
manage wealth. It will do this proportionally greater to today's
standards as the industrial factory did in its time; it will do
this in a much shorter period of time. This means all existing
assumptions about capacities are false - the economics of scarcity
is dead. All economic systems until now have been
based on scarcity. Mortgage = death gage. To stay "locked
on" to the old economy will destroy civilization as we know
it; it will prove as deadly as building a space ship based on
pre-industrial engineering knowledge. Management Centers are practicing
(and developing) the methods on which a new economic order can
be built (see pp294 and 294.1.h Jan '82).
capacities create new social realities - new forms of work, play,
art and politics. These in turn create new assumptions, new technologies
which create new economic capacities. This is not new - what is
new is the speed of the cycle. Society may be entering into a
period of permanent transformation - a constant discontinuous
process. With the development of space, the unity of human
experience can be broken - new species may appear. These are the
kinds of challenges we face (along with the more mundane
one of learning how to run a planet). What tools do we need?
01 JUL 84 10:50am
in fight DC to Denver
At the base
of any information system that works has to be a new theory and
practice of what information is. The industrial paradigm
approach to information management, by nature, adds to the condition
of information overload. Today, as computers and media, and information
networks and research projects, and governments and business,
produce greater-and-greater amounts of data, we solve
the overload problem by more publications and more computer outputs.
Because the pattern of information processing remains the same,
we most often just add to the overload. The collective
result is an electronic Tower of Babel that gets higher and higher.
Added to this confusion is the lack of a social covenant of how
information should be treated - information today is seen as something
to be manipulated and distorted for one's advantage. In any public
debate (today), agreement can rarely be accomplished on the facts,
let alone rightness, reasons, etc. Further confusion results from
the circumstance that a major aspect of the paradigm shift that
the entire society is moving through, is centered around
the questions of: What is organization, facts, information,
proof, etc? ... i.e. the nature of reality and the human
mind is being re-challenged. In short, just as the environment
becomes information dense, the basis for understanding
is shattered; the strategy to cope with the circumstance - more
computers & information adds to the problem. There
is no simple solution. There is no mechanical solution. There
is no parts solution. There is no linear solution.
The problems are embedded in how the entire social system
- its education, philosophies and tools - functions as a system.
It is within
this context that Management Centers - as information factories
- were conceived and must be viewed. Management Centers are designed
to remove the
blocks to human creativity - as such, they are complex social
and technical institutions. They function as a complete world
around the client for a period of time. They provide a framework
in which to think and work, and a method with tools, with
which to work. They embody - in everything - a new epistemology.
Think of manufacturing in the wilderness without methods or tools.
The industrial factory systematically eliminated the blocks of
working in a wilderness. The knowledge worker is working
in a wilderness of another kind and is seeking a new order.
02 JUL 84 5:53 am
a life of their own, for good or "bad." They cannot
be stopped once the have built up a certain momentum. An idea
can be blocked, and often is - in it's early stages; it can be
and often is distorted in it's later stages. Ideas can be developed
on too narrow a basis or they can be applied way beyond their
inherent scope. Very often ideas get deflected without any apparent
rational reason - on a casual turn of a conversation. Ideas get
ill bred and become mixed with one another in unhealthy
combinations. Rarely are ideas recognized as a "life form"
- to be dealt with accordingly. Ideas have a life of their own
but they can be mutilated and destroyed. They also can be given
proper birth and stewardship.
have allowed themselves to become robots driven by sets of ideas
they do not understand or even recognize. They are slaves to others'
ideas while thinking of themselves as independent.
determines the vast majority of the decisions they make and the
actions they take. Whole societies get swept along on wave after
wave of ideas for which no one is aware of the source nor of the
implications. The House of Intellect (Brazan) is thus destroyed.
Mental pollution prevails. Fuller said that pollution is just
a resource out of place- mental pollution is the result of ideas
- useful ones - out of place; poorly mixed. The best of food,
in the wrong mixtures and in improper amounts, can make the healthiest
individual ill. The proper cure is a fast, then self-awareness
of eating until new habits are formed. This organic example points
at how a Management Center must function as an information factory.
of the manufacturing process is: organized selectivity for a specific
purpose. An axiom of the Western esoteric tradition is: "so
above, so below." In other words the big can be found in
the small and vice versa, "there is no out there." It
is no accident that the sky above a major city matches the process
taking place in the board rooms below. Most corporate officers
would fire in a minute a member of their technical staff for functioning
in the material realm the way they (the officers) do in the intellectual
Center must be designed and maintained as a healthy space - physically
and metaphysically. It must be a temple of the human body/mind
in contemplation and action.
02 JUL 84 4:27pm
DesignShop process illustrates, in a compressed time frame,
the basic model from information management by which the Management
Center functions. The process is recursive (see "Godel,
Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter) and self-referencing.
It is feedback driven (see The Human Use of Human Beings
by Norbert Weiner) and synergistic (see Synergetics
by Buckminster Fuller. Each DesignShop is DESIGNED to produce
a specific product; theory and practice are integrated, a multidisciplinary
practice is maintained. The emergence and growth of an idea
is facilitated; the participants focus is kept on the value
of a successful creative effort; there are no losers.
Distractions and blocks to creative work are eliminated. The
group mind is nurtured until it can begin to sense itself; a
of working is practiced until new awareness and habits are formed.
Every element effecting the participant is accounted for and
managed. Ideas are worked, like a piece of ore -
sorted, mixed, sifted, fused, heated, cooled, shaped - until
the desired alloy is achieved. This alloy is then combined with
others, shaped into instruments to accomplish a design. During
this process a synergy
emerges, a sum greater than the parts, an idea unique
to a time and place and group of people, yet broad in significance
and application - this idea is the finished manufactured product
of the design session.
a life of their own - so do organizations. DesignShops are explicit
and compressed experiences that facilitate the growth of that
life. DesignShops fit within a larger framework in the Management
Center concept. The same process goes on in between DesignShops
in smaller groups over an extended time period. This takes as
much facilitation and management as the DesignShop itself. Only
a special environment is required to do a DesignShop - a Management
Center is required to carry the work through to completion
- to bring it to full life and expression. Ideas and organizations,
like children, require a time of protected growth and learning
- a time when habits are shaped (give me the child until
he is six and I give you the man). This comes from a deliberate
educative process - "to lead out," a process of organized
selectivity until only the desired result is left. Creativity
is the process of eliminating options. Management Centers
will birth a new order.
03 JUL 84 7:42am
Center Concept goes beyond the idea of a few factories
working here and there. The concept assumes a network
of Management Centers; each unique, each an integral part
of a working whole. Metaphysically and physically a critical mass
is required for the desired change to take place in the desired
way. Our present model is the 6% solution following
Prigogines state change theory. Our experience confirms
that systems change states in quantum jumps. The network of Management
Centers fits Buckminister Fullers definition of an Industrial
tool as distinct from a craft tool: i.e. one that no one could
make or utilize by oneself (see Ideas and Integrities
and Utopia or Oblivion by Fuller). Management Centers
cannot be totally conceived by someone; built by someone;
used by someone. If they are to fulfill their mission,
they will have to form a global network that is maintained with
the greatest integrity of any organization in history.
The role of
Management Centers will be a unique
one in history, it goes beyond that of a 'business' as we
now understand it. There exists now, no organization form
that will serve the Management Center concept. The final
organizational structure will have to be invented - it will contain
several parts of existing organizations and procedures from military,
government, private and religious forms. Whatever the final form,
several characteristics will dominate: a unique working group
developing both wealth and commonwealth, the ability to
remain true to a central set of ideas and develop many
local variants; the ability to reconfigure and form human leadership
as external and internal conditions require it; the ability
to remain on the cutting edge of change and build an institution
with a rich history and tradition. Management Centers are both
a tool - to accomplish a new order - and an example of it. They
are a place where people can experience a new way of working and
being - where they can get results and experiment
with new ideas and methods. The concept of Management Centers
transcends politics/business as we know it. It transcends national
boundaries and philosophies. For it to work, there must
be a global network
- part of the world - yet separated from its struggle - each part
local in action - the total facilitating all.
16 JUL 84 10:53am
Capital Hill, DC
The enemy of an effective global view is provincialism. One
can be provincial by narrowing ones focus geographically,
politically, by time scope, by action - or a combination of
many ways. One of the major roles of Management Centers is to
combat overspecialization. The danger is that the Centers themselves
can become socially isolated and overspecialized. This danger
is a real one because the value of a Management Center is
that it is a unique environment that stands apart from the source
of problems that the client brings in from the outside.
Also, each specific Center must integrate with its local
environment while not buying into the local problems.
No matter who owns and/or operates a given Center, it must be
an active member of the global network. There must be a migration
of workers from Center to Center and, in and out of the
client base. This migration must be managed just at the
development and shifting of Design Teams is during a DesignShop
- and for the same reasons. An example of this issue can be
seen in the currant dynamics involved in integrating, and yet
keeping unique the Taylor group with the rest of Acacia. Calvert
is another example. The development of profit centers within
Acacia is a third.
process of manufacturing has always been non-provincial. In fact
it has gone way to far in the other direction and lost the sense
of the unique and local. Information also can be manufactured
inappropriately via the evening news. Contemplation
of this never ending dynamic is necessary in order to develop
guidelines by which Management Centers can be developed to create
both a regional and universal view.
Centers are a social invention. Their technology is both technological
and soft. The synergy of several Centers will provide
great social change. There are many impacts that cannot be anticipated
from here. It is very important to think through
the long range consequences of todays decision regarding
organization, processes and traditions. We are creating
a new system of thought and a new amplifier of human action
for good or bad.