1 PermaSense Ten Design Principles

(ref Permaculture)

The principles are applied in the MIA delivery methodology/process above

1.1     Principle 1: Observe and measure energy (Measure)

It is clear that the starting point and ending point of MIA is measurement. What to measure and how?


{This area s under construction in defining what energy means in a business context, what we can sy is that at least it covers these :

  • Oil for transport
  • electric,
  • human/kinetic and
  •  Information – this latter can be seen as a stored energy source }

1.2     Principle 2: Discover Quick Wins (Invent)

The First World War was a terrible war and is notorious for the incredible waste of human lives mostly due to the singular battle strategy that was to send troops directly against the strongholds of the enemy. The concept was to bombard the strongest areas the enemy had for hours with high explosives, and then storm them with foot soldiers. It failed miserably with incredible losses of lives and weapons (and cost and energy). The bombardments did not destroy the strongholds and the troops sent over-the-top were extremely vulnerable. The study of these and other warfare techniques has led to the development of what was really an old fighting technique created many thousands of years old and recently (1970s)  re-established by John Boyd for the US Airforce and US Marines. It says:

  • Go around the problem
  • Get processes working sooner rather than later
  • Test your mistakes
  • Test you measurements
  • Create feedback loops as a quick win
  • Generate change – its healthy

Examples of quick wins – need to find them:

  • Procedural change?
  • Paper to email simple quick win?
  • Increasing in staffing number (temporary)?
  • Lots of Outstanding tickets, but many tickets are old – so QW is to delete the tickets – if it comes back it is worth while.

Significant changes in technology – but maybe reuse of a tool

1.3     Principle 3: Create feedback loops (Invent)             

Quick wins start feedback loops

Positive and negative feedback loops

  • Gardening example as a classic example

Natural (automatic) feedback loops

Systemic design of feedback loops

Reports are not necessarily useful

A useful feedback is negative – e.g. rejection.

Often as a quick win feedback loop is picking up on the covering up of sub-standard workflow – where the delivery of a workflow is substandard, often the recover will accept and fix the problem passed into it. This covers up the systemic issue – it breaks the system and takes away the power of the person or process that is failing – they may not even know its a problem. One quick win maybe to change the stand – lower it.

Feedback loop must be part of normal work.

Boundary conditions such as too many and too little of something. Its these negative loops that are more likely to have a larger impact than positive loops. Positive loops just say everything is OK – something this can be hiding another particular problems. These are feedback loops.

In designing longer term strategic systems and feedback loops are particularly powerful but also particularly difficult to create and to design.

FBL particularly in systemic design are important because they are there to capture 2 major elements –

1 a systemic design issue – therefore this creates an alert that would probably mean a quick win fix – hopefully not a systemic fix.

2 capture change – specifically environmental change – specifically volumes (ie more volume thrown at you) or alternatives too much output and therefore something to tell you to stop processing . IE I’ve had enough

FBL can be highly complex or in fact very simple, for e.g. – survey questions – “am I doing the right thing ?:” which are elements in business that can be very effective. Or business units that are interactive –th is can be comples like performing a ,manual review. Also feedback loops within the rocesses themselves which can be used to halt or slow flow down in particular.

1.4     Principle 4: Reduce or Reuse waste (Invent)

So what this is about is first acknowledging that waste is there  – considered cost in business dollars

  • Waste is a NO NO in economics !!!:-) … if its taken as a cost ????
  • In natural systems (Nature) there is NO waste

Waste can be huge – like time wastage. Highly important on human time wastage.

Classic example is travelling to work – in the past you had to travel because you needed equipment only available at work – so you could only do your work at one place.

This is changing significantly with recent technology changes and the ubiquitous nature of technology , and yet there is still a requirement for people to travel to work in vast numbers and also at the same time, in order to get in at the beginning of a day. This creates massive waste:

  • Waste in people time in travelling
  • Create a rush hour as people are travelling at the same time
  • Which means people travel more slowly so more time wastage
  • Plus the infrastructure needed to (just) support rush hour is idle for large proportions

Creation of peak and trough travel periods increases wastage. Furthermore people then begin to worry about time more, and put more effort into meeting deadlines at the sacrifice of time, energy and quality.

Waste: that is seen as natural waste – expected waste/ For example getting someone to travel to see you and then to sit and wait for you to see them is considered appropriate and become normal. Waste is normal. Other forms of wastage such as paper wastage. Why do we waste paper – the reason is because we are document centric. We have lived with document since Moses times of creating tablets of stones. So we print out a document of which many pages we do not even read – the front page, the contents and the many other “meta data” surrounding the document. The assumption is that a document lives – yet the reality is that once it is printed it is dead. It is static it no longer exits it cannot be changed. We print it out purely because it is in a format that we can easily absorb. So we need to find ways to produce information in different formats that are equally as valuable to us. The classis example is is when we collect information through a hand written form. The concept of having a form printed out where someone has to fill it in is completely wasteful. Firstly you have to print the paper such that is it legiblend some of the help  information printed is not relevant but has to be printed anyway, secondly the person has to read and write information by  hand, esp when that information may be available somewhere else in electronic format. .. Thirdly you then have to convert the information – possible get a person to read it  to correct errors. Finally you store it in a database. So simply we cut out the middle man and create an electronic form that collects abd store the information into the database directly – preferably we link databases together anyway

1.5     Principle 5: Find Natural Patterns (Invent)

1.6     Principle 6: Invent Diverse Solutions (Invent)

1.7     Principle 7: Make small changes (Apply)

Phased approach. Pick phases that deliver real value. Reduce impact, but plan each phase so that expectation are accurately set.

1.8     Principle 8: Integrate not segregate (Apply)

1 + 1 = 3. the real value in the system is when you combine them.

1.9     Principle 9: Use exceptions (Apply)

1.10 Principle 10: Build in adaption (Apply)