Its about the Streams, but which one? Where’s the time to think?


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This is yet another post that combobulates more than brings clarity. But I had to post this to straighten the thoughts in my mind. Some might find it thought leading, as in leading your thoughts to somewhere they did not go. But no guarantee of what that direction holds. Its just a Stream of thoughts. So here goes.

If you have read anything from the Big Shift Index, or Edge Thinking or the book Power of Pull, you would realize that it is no longer about Knowledge Stocks but rather the Knowledge Flows that the world is requiring you, your business to shift towards. Flows, streams. Related, no?

Next up is Activity Streams, the term du jour in the Enterprise 2.0 circles. Now this is no longer about Knowledge but about Information flows. Ray Wang wrote about using it to reduce information clutter not adding to it, this summer & Prof. McAfee followed it up this fall in a post on ReadWriteWeb about the three issues dogging Enerprise 2.0 currently.

If you are an enterprise architect (IT, not buildings) like Martijn Linssen, you might be interested in, an open standard to build activity streams into your systems. As per the claims on the home page for the standard, its been adopted by most big names, so it would seem that it does not suffer the fate of XHTML from W3C vs HTML5 from the browser makers. A standard is good enough only if people stick to those standards while using/building, not if it is good in documentation.

But some other stories have begun to emerge. Seems not everything is hunky dory. In an effort to claim the biggest chunk of users, vendors are using their own proprietary standards. Hopefully we will see a standard emerging, else its all lost for the users. Back to the days when CompuServe people could not mail AOL users.

Now we are also seeing talks of marriage between Enterprise 2.0 & Social CRM at the E2.0 Conference in Santa Clara happening now. Most people think about the conversation streams on the social web when told about Social CRM. Social Media Montitoring (which is nothing but figuring out who said something about you, your company, brand but not discern anything from it), Social Media Listening (which is about discerning the sentiments or mood), Social Insights (which is figuring out with tools what the people are saying on the social web) – all of them need those Conversation Streams. Insights necessitates a BI tool & not to be left behind there is much talk about in memory BI systems. Data crunching on the fly. Real time is fast enough, remember?

But most interestingly, Graham Hill asks us to ponder about the value streams. Value stream mapping stems from the lean thinking at Toyota with whom Graham has had an association. And the term value streams would have been lost on me had not Graham been a good guy and helped me with a few PDFs about them. (I need to get that $139 Kindle to read all those PDFs, but the shipping costs are 50% of the kindle itself, not counting the customs tax!) Wikipedia’s definition of value stream mapping:

Value stream mapping is a lean manufacturing technique used to analyze the flow of materials and information currently required to bring a product or service to a consumer. At Toyota, where the technique originated, it is known as “material and information flow mapping”. It can be used in any process that needs an improvement.

Due to the way the value streams are mapped, while observing the target systems & processes in situation, it usually drawn in hand, though the usual crop of diagramming software tools could be used too.

But then, to think about something totally different because am too deep into all things social, business, innovation, I took up a couple of my wife’s books and they are about child development.

Humans, when we are growing after birth, develop our senses independent of each other. So you can see a lot of uncoordinated movements in the children below 3 years of age. At around 3 years of age, there is unity and children now start learning. But this learning, until the age of 6, is predominantly sensorial. Meaning, the children try to sense everything with their hands, eyes, ears, etc. And they want to sense the real life items, not the toys. And yet we spend a fortune on the toys where a miniature kitchen set is more than enough for the children to play with, actually making the dough, cutting vegetables, washing tables, etc.

They are using their senses to learn. The senses are in the here & now. Instant Karma. Children do not have a deep cognitive ability. The tendency to ponder, contemplate, think through. Combine past, present & future. Cognitive thinking is what we grown ups do. And it is through this cognitive thinking that we build new ideas, keep forming new synapses in our brain. Innovate.

There are now cries to find answers to what happens to the neural wirings in children who are exposed to so much of social & digital technologies that keeps them glued to the screens. Even claiming that the IT industry is like the Tobacco industry in the 1950s – denial of the dangers.

Considering that we are yet to find value in the various Streams we are all wading in, time to sit back, relax, take some time out & contemplate? Create that deep thinking & sacred space?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Prem Kumar Aparanji
SCRM Evangelist @ Cognizant. Additional knowledge in BPM, QA, Innovations, Solutions, Offshoring from previous roles as developer, tester, consultant, manager. Interested in FLOSS, Social Media, Social Networks & Rice Writing. Love SF&F books. Blessed with a loving wife & a curious kid. :)


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