“You Can't Get THERE from HERE...
But You Can Get HERE from THERE ”
Taylor axiom
Management Center Concept Sketch - 1982
Jim Toohey drew this sketch back in 1982.
We were working on our Annual Report and discovered that we had nothing for the cover. We decided that we should use a drawing that illustrated our vision [link: backcasting 2007] of the environments we wanted to create and now have begun to.
He had about an hour to do the work - ten minutes of which was taken up with Jim and myself discussing what should be in it. 20 plus years later this sketch still remains a waypoint; each time we design and build an environment we revisit this THERE. We get a little more of it to HERE each time we build.
Although it is not a very eloquent drawing, in the architectural sense, it does show most of the key elements that, today, make up a modern navCenter [link: making, using, nacenters] and it clearly indicates technology just coming on line including some critical pieces yet to be developed.
The exciting thing is, in the next few years, what is diagrammed in this piece can be fully realized. And, more interesting than that, it is possible to do virtually all of it today, economically, with the single exception of the large-scale seamless read-write electronic Radiant Walls. A matrix of flat-screens that can show many images or a single one will be the next RadiantWall HERE from THERE.
The scene shows two people joining Teams, already deeply engaged working collaboratively, from different physical locations. While the team members are obviously in sync, the emphasis is on multitasking by employing many different work modes and media. Several dialogs are going on simultaneously while a variety of documentation and work-tools are being employed. These include voice recognition capture (this is why the documentation station is shown empty); wireless laptops, PDAs and electronic pads augmented with books, pens, paper, sticky-wall displays; and, multi-modal (verbal, graphical, pattern-language) intelligent-agent search engines. ALL media is multimedia.
Of course, other individuals and groups, not shown, can be participating by a variety of technologies (fax, voice conference, electronic white-board, e-mail, Chat, www, etc.).

By employing the active interface areas on the table (and/or Radiant Walls and/or laptops, etc.), it is possible for the participants to engage in a rich multithreaded dialog while performing the entire 10 STEP PROCESS [link: 10 step process] with minimal distraction from the work itself.

Lighting levels, sound pickup, playback and attenuation - along with video capture - are controlled in the same way. With all this technology, however, the feeling of the space is little different than any environment built by us over the last 15 years. The technology is designed to be transparent; it is to never get between people or their work; this is a requirement of augmentation [link: bootstrap].
This environment/tool-set allows a level of integration of work process that cannot be accomplished with conventional environment, tools, and process designs. The same level of productivity that is now accomplished with a fully supported DesignShop system.
The closest built environment to this sketch, architecturally, is the CNL NavCenter in Orlando, Florida built in 1985 and, not surprisingly, with Jim Toohey as design-lead. Our goal has always been to make the technology ubiquitous, not in-your-face and fully integrated with many flexible work processes.
An unbuilt expression of this idea is the executive augmentation environment developed for Acacia in 1982.
A feature of this environment is that it is fully Hypertext capable. The users are searching, linking, recreating and producing their work-product in real-time. This supports an iterative, recursive, feedback-driven work flow.
Ted Nelson pioneered Hypertext as being more natural to the way people think and relate information. The Foresight Institute is now working with an advanced web-based version of Hypertext.
Frank Lloyd Wright said that if someone else had not invented the corner window he would have - that is how I feel about Hypertext! Of this I am certain: in the time-compressed, complex world we are making, it will be impossible for people to get context, understand and ACT effectively in real-time without advanced multimedia/Hypertext systems that are interactive on multiple LARGE WorkWalls, other display systems including personal devices.
The human mind is capable of much more throughput than the average meeting allows. It is often thought that less information, in smaller bits presented in one-to-many mode is essential to understanding - just the opposite is true. The third day of a DesignShop event demonstrates this. Multitasking is the norm for the human mind. The problem is not people’s ability, the problem is that most work environments and social processes do not support it; the problem is that the technical language used in these meetings do not build functional corporate memory [link: strong memory].
What today we accomplish with KnowledgeWorkers, supporting users in highly specialized environments, tomorrow will simply be a natural way of working available to anyone in, or connected to, this kind of environment and educated to these processes.
The size of the RadiantWalls is important - not only to hold all the information that is at any moment in-mind - but also to create a significant level of presence with the displays and/or remote groups involved. They do have to be WALLS. There are many issues of scale, critical mass and ubiquity in creating an environment of this type.
In this illustration, the WorkWall at the far end, is a window to another team working remotely. Each team is able to SEE and directly work with the other while also sharing a WorkWall in common. This is a far cry from the talking-head teleconferencing used today which is more a distraction than an aid. What is required is REMOTE PRESENCE.
By November 1999, the first AI MagicWindow products design to augment RemotePresence and RemoteCollaboration were prototyped. They have not, yet, found a buyer but it is only a matter of time.
Co-designers must be able to reach-in to each other’s space (and mind). This can only be accomplished when the environment, work-process and tool-kit are designed and employed as a single system. Work must be done in real-time, in iterative cycles and on many levels of recursion - simultaneously - with feedback between all of the stages to all of the others - for complexity to emerge that will be requisite with real-world conditions and demands. Present workspaces do not support the kind, scale and scope of interaction between people, people and machines, machines and machines - that is necessary to accomplish this.
Since this sketch was drawn, we have built about 20 environments ranging from 3 thousand to 20 thousand square feet each. We have facilitated thousands of days of teams made up of a dozen to a hundred plus participants working their way through complex challenges. Of course, what we have really been doing is learning the algorithms for a new-way-of-working. We have been learning the systems-integration role of configuring the best mix of process, environment and tool combinations. We have learned a significant number of the these algorithms and we are ready now to build the hardware/software systems to bring the technology alive. Working with AI, these systems will be embedded into the next generation of our environments.
We have created a system and method, a language and the protocols that - with recent advances in technology - can fulfill the propose rendered by this sketch. Of course, 19 years ago, the idea was as alive and present as it is today - it didn’t seem possible that it would take to the 21st. Century to get the tool kit in hand necessary for building this design. On the other hand, when you look at the many many individual inventions required - to get here - let alone THERE, it staggers the imagination. The tool makers have done their job, now it is necessary to complete the task of tool integration.
The tools are being put on the market - most often to automate old work processes. This provides far less gain than is possible or necessary. The large-scale systems integration work - for the new way-of-working still remains to be done. The pieces are in place - the necessary synergy is not.
This basic technology was conceived by me in the 1960’s, I wrote about it in the 70’s and the basic tool kit developed, by MG Taylor, in the 80’s. Most of the 1990s we devoted to building and using various versions of this concept - as much as technology, economics and user limitations would allow. Now, the seminal projects are on the drawing boards that will, at last, see this concept to its full expression.
It is a paradox, is it not, that the tool necessary to compress time response and make requisite the complexity of response - to challenges organizations face - took over 30 years to build? This is why our ENTERPRISE has always been a bootstrap process. “It takes a Management Center to build a Management Center.”
In this environment and with this tool-kit, work teams will be able to accomplish, every day, the kind of quality work and time compression that we now achieve, in event-focused, facilitated, activities with the DesignShop process. This will help them stay requisite with the increasing complexity and change they face everyday. This will help them produce the quality of work required. This will allow the flow levels necessary to support a sustained creative response.
The kinds of problems that people can solve and the nature of their solution-sets, are inherently limited by the process-environment-tool kit that they employ. Gail and I set out to bring about a new way-of-working because we believed that the problem (of sub-optimal design and response) was not people, per se - but the system that people were in. We have consistently seen this to be true: place people in the right environment and they are spontaneous, creative, productive, collaborative and capable of emergent design. Structure wins!
We will complete this VISION only in partnership with other organizations. The question, that faces us, is who are the right partners? This question has to be answered, soon, because the market window is opening now. It will be filled by something. The issue is what and how useful will it be. The best technologies do not always win in the market place - at least in the short term.
Our 1999 challenge was to demonstrate this system of work, adequately - in the projects we built and the environments we operated, to build the financial and organizational base sufficient to see this design iteration of the project through to completion. Our 2000 challenge was to build and activate the ValueWeb that is required to see this work through to a working level. Every day, we have to bring more of THERE to HERE. Every day.
At the turn of the century, a new market position has to be established. Who will own this position? Why does it matter who “ownes” it? What will be the consequences to our ValueWeb client-partners? How will this new environment emerge?
What forms will the prototypes take? From what sources will the components come and who will act as the functional systems integrator? It seems the pieces are in place and it seems like the concept of a system has yet to emerge.
2004 Update
In the five years since this piece was first posted, many advances have taken place in the base technology necessary to implement the CyberCon concept. There are also three MG Taylor/ SFIA-Master Builders/AI prototypes [link] underway that are directly related to the task of getting HERE from THERE with implementing a day-to-day executive work routine.
2010 Update
In the ten plus years since this piece was first posted and the five since the last update, technology has leaped ahead in all areas relevant to our 1982 THERE vision particularly in regard personal tools which are becoming increasingly affordable to an ever expanding percentage of humanity. The navCenter which most expresses the 1982 technical vision is the UniCredit space opened in Turin in January 2007.

click on picture below
for a tour of the Unimanagement environment

the ten
Return to INDEX
Matt Taylor
Hilton Head
December 27, 1999

SolutionBox voice of this document:

click on graphic for explanation of SolutionBox

posted: December 28, 1998

revised: October 13, 2002
• 19991227.102944.mt • 20000208.740125.mt •
• 20000715.632921.mt • 20010214.618562.mt •
• 20021013.656522.mt
• 20040417.341279.mt •
• 20101122.555121.mt •

 note: this document is about 90% finished

IP Statement and Policy

Aspects of the system and method described are Patented and in Patent Pending by iterations










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