Master Interweaving

Business Transformations through a structured integration and alignment of Strategy with Operations.
8 minutes reading time (1520 words)

Creating and Maintaining Interweave and Architectural Knowledge

The interweaving and architecting knowledge is specifically usable for collaborative actions and joint work, such as facilitation, dialogue, discussion, debate, consideration, negotiation, advocacy, harmonisation, and standardisation.

The focus on salience and the interweave provides a backbone for organisational knowledge management and corporate memory. Enterprise Knowledge and Information Management can be built around and on top of these structures.

Furthermore, this focus forms an outline of an interweaving and architecting practice that is supplementary to and complementary with existing professions, such as strategists, business developer, analysts, organisational developers, and designers.

This particular kind of knowledge has a wide range of uses. Equipped with it, we can:

  • develop an intuition for how things (parts of the world) relate to and depend on each other;
  • correlate people’s perspectives, attitudes, and work;
  • observe and deal with complications and complexities;
  • share important information about our ‘togetherness’;
  • socialise to create shared mental models and contribute to the collective body of knowledge;
  • externalise knowledge into to diagrams, documents, and models;
  • answer meaningful questions in our inquiries;
  • engage in practical reasoning;
  • measure, analyse, synthesise, assess, evaluate, verify, and validate;
  • solve problems and take advantage of opportunities;
  • simulate and evaluate options;
  • analyse gaps and how the map and the world align or conform;
  • gain insights and turn them into workable. acceptable, and agreeable actions that change the world;
  • empathise with our neighbouring workers and professionals;
  • coordinate and align work across boundaries;
  • support divergent and convergent thinking;
  • create designs and specifications;
  • enrich collaborative decision making;
  • plan and prepare for joint action and change;
  • realise worthwhile benefits over the life cycle unto the horizon, that contribute to goals;
  • monitor progress and measure performance;
  • learn individually or organizationally;
  • adjust our beliefs, behaviours, and plans in the presence of new knowledge; and
  • much more.

The interweaving and architecting practices are human centred and work oriented approaches that aim to empower people with powerful means, means that realise worthwhile benefits over the life cycle up to horizon. We can easily recognise that knowledge is an essential and instrumental means. By exploring the interweaving and its different strands, we can build a collective body of knowledge, insights, and experiences that help make sense of the total picture.

The Benefits of Knowledge

The benefits of knowledge are summarised in a foundational statement, which conveys several functions of interweaving and architecting.

Statement: (benefit) Empowering interested parties with means, results, and changes that realise worthwhile benefits and contribute to the desired state of affairs over the life cycle up to horizon.

The underpinning logic of this statement unveils a number of key insights on the nature of interweaving and architecting, and it deserves to be looked at more closely.

First, knowledge about the interweave and architecture is mainly considered as a mean to some ends—that is, knowledge is instrumental.

Second, we can visualise the statement using benefit logic and a variation of a benefit dependency graph.

The benefit logic outlines the effects of knowledge. I&A knowledge participates in endeavours, the transformation projects or programs, or daily operations as instruments and means. The endeavour has effects and drives changes (outcomes, impacts) that are considered interesting and important. These changes realise benefits that are considered, by interested parties, beneficial or non-beneficial (costs). The benefits contribute to performance and desired state of affairs such as vision, aims, goals, or objectives. The desired state of affairs has been set and allocated to accommodate the satisfaction of interests, needs, or drivers (forces of change).

The statement places interweaving and architecting together with the management of benefits. This co-location allows I&A to draw on experiences from the mature disciplines of benefit management and program logic, both of which are often used together with program and investment management. One of the key ideas behind benefit management is that investments are considered successful when the benefits that the stakeholders were expecting are realised.

Third, benefit management includes a focus on decision-making. Decision-making is supported in I&A directly through the use of utility functions with a focus on salience—that is, the factors that contribute the most in the utility function. I&A includes at least two more objective functions: usefulness-function and fitness function.

Fourth, benefit management also includes a focus on what is considered valuable. Here, I&A includes, by default, a number of valuables and qualities. 

  • Valuables: Beneficial (change), Material (consequence), Workable (usable), Acceptable (personal), and Agreeable (interpersonal).
  • Qualities: Motivational, sustainability (viability), suitability, and feasibility.

Fifth, the focus on benefits provides important advice and guidance on the framing of interweaving and architecting work. The focus, scope, and coverage are based on the interweave and the most important factors in the objective functions (utility, usefulness, fitness). The framing is not primarily based on the level of details, abstractions, the creation of blueprints, or specific workflow. However, specific I&A efforts may be constrained to the production of high-level design or blueprints.

Sixth, interweaving and architectural knowledge is relevant over the whole life cycle of a company, society, enterprise, or artefact. It is not merely relevant to a particular stage before or in a transformation or design project. In effect, I&A is transversal over all stages of a life cycle. This approach is consistent with life-cycle management principles in which life cycles are also used to assess the environmental impact of a product from material extraction to waste (Life Cycle Assessment, ISO 14040).  The “up to horizon” part opens up the possibility of scoping the effects and value-creation to a horizon, similar to an investment horizon. In a workshop, the horizon may be decided to be the duration of a workshop (long enough to shape participants minds), the duration of a project, or the duration of the whole life cycle of a building and artefact up to waste (residual stage).

Knowledge Forms

Now that the possible values of knowledge have been established, we introduce a different form of knowledge and where they exist. In this section, we outline the main forms of knowledge that all are relevant and important for I&A.

Embodied knowledge is found in people and their minds, bodies, and emotions. Implicit knowledge can be articulated and externalised if needed. Tacit and implicit knowledge can be created and changed by internalisation or experiencing the world. Shared mental models and collective understandings can be generated and adjusted in a number of ways. In the  I&A toolbox, we find many tools for embodied knowledge, such as experience-based workshop exercises, thought experiments, modelling, and Gemba walks (personal observation of work where the work occurs). These tools enable socialisation, empathy, conceptualisation, systematisation, analysis, synthesis, reflection, and embodiment.

Explicit knowledge is found, articulated, and stored in expressions and media such as pictures, sounds, tapes, text, formulas, and so on. Other kinds of explicit knowledge are unstructured, but some are highly structured and organised, such as models and simulations. Explicit knowledge can be communicated, shared amongst people, and stored for future reference. 

Embedded knowledge is found outside people in physical objects, artefacts, procedures, practices, situations, and daily work. This form of knowledge can be the result of intentional design and deliberate actions but can also have evolved or emerged from accidental decisions and actions.  

Embedded knowledge can also be found in I&A transformation and design methods, and through practicing it becomes embedded in deliverables and the actual world. The same kind of embedded knowledge can also be found in interpretation, analysis and evaluation methods, and during practicing it becomes embedded in mental models, documents, and explicit models. 

Live knowledge can be found in the real world as part of people’s daily work. Live knowledge stands in opposition to stale knowledge, which is old and out of sync with reality. Examples of stale knowledge include old documentation of work procedures or products and models or blueprints that were created and used in a project but are now forgotten.

All forms of knowledge are important for to I&A. I&A is not simply an exercise in drafting or modelling.

Body of Knowledge and Framework

The knowledge of interweaving and architecting practices is organised into two parts: a body of knowledge (IABOK) and a structured framework (FIA). Together they provide a knowledge base with advice and guidance for I&A. At the centre of IABOK, we find the Foundational Knowledge Base, which includes core knowledge and ways of thinking (ThinkEm) and ways of working (WorkEm).

Drafter (Modeller)

Interweavers, architects, and drafters (modellers) work together in ideating, designing, representing and evaluating enterprises and organisations. They share a passion for ideas, motivation, decision-making, quality, and transforming projects. While they may have similarities and work in the same industry, the responsibilities they perform are different.

Drafters translate the concepts of architecture and the interweave into business/technical representations, models, diagrams, blueprints, or specifications. While architects are also trained to make these models, this task is often assumed by drafters in a real world setting. Architectural drafters use computer-aided modelling software to create the concepts, designs, models, and diagrams. In many cases, architects, and domain experts simply come up with rough sketches of the designs that their clients and organisations want. They then communicate these to the drafters, who will take care of making the schematics.

Enjoy!

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