Master Interweaving

Business Transformations through a structured integration and alignment of Strategy with Operations.
5 minutes reading time (974 words)

Introducing the Forms Language

Forms language

The forms language is a key language that consists of ways of thinking, examples, principles and rules for how interweaving and architectural elements (material) are arranged. It can be viewed as a pattern language based on the vocabulary and characteristics of relevant and available interweaving and architectural elements (material). The forms language provides a repertoire that can be used to interpret, represent, evaluate, design, combine, and build parts of the world.

In organisations we find forms such as feedback loops, life cycles, production logic, common product platforms, organisational arrangements, PDCA loops, routines, work spaces, etc. etc. These forms can be identified and described in a forms language and its catalogues. See examples of forms at the end of the article.

An interweaved or architected artifact, enterprise, or company is largely the result of a deliberate use of a specific forms language chosen by interweavers and architects. 

A Forms language can be designed to focus on …

  • maximising inhabitants well-being, 
  • functions, 
  • use of space, 
  • contribution to overall purpose or vision, 
  • cost-cutting, operational excellence, 
  • increasing shareholder values, or 
  • the accommodation of any other set of interests chosen by interested parties, stockholders or architects. 

In many cases, a chosen forms language favour accommodation of the interests of either clients, banks and insurances companies, the society, architects or the inhabitants. Here we find significant differences in interests and desired ends. A client, developer, or owner may be motivated by market or brand appeal, costs or revenues, while inhabitants are interested in well-being, meaningful jobs, vocation, professions, rewards, or career opportunities.  

A forms language is largely dependent on the characteristics of …

  • a particular time period,
  • fashion,
  • culture,
  • custom’s,
  • traditions,
  • social practices,
  • material cultures,
  • available kinds of material and technologies,
  • machines,
  • vehicles and transportation networks,
  • operating environments and climate,
  • etc., etc.
  •  

A forms language for the agricultural age is different from forms languages found in industrialisation or the Internet and digital time periods. A forms language is also largely a reflection of specific approaches, styles, kind of architecture, and traditions.

Interweavers and Architects can learn a forms language and apply it in many situations without altering the language or introduce situational and personal changes. In other cases, a forms language can be changed to include new invented forms, to created a brand, such as in the book by “Exponential Organisations” by Salim Ismail.

A few words on the structure of the forms language

A forms language depends on the available interweaving and architecture elements (material). In FIA, the elements or material are primarily describes and defined in a set of micro languages. Examples of elements, material include; organisation unit, responsibility, decision, work, guard rail, lightning, ventilation, application, data.

The forms language is accompanied by a complementary Participation Language. The participation language combines social behaviour patterns with forms and elements to accommodate sustainable human life. This language provides ways of thinking, examples, principles and rules for … .

  • how humans participate in life, 
  • how they interact with artefacts and each other, 
  • what motivates them to participate in situations and organisations, 
  • how they move through space and rooms, 
  • etc. 

 

The forms language contains a number of specific kind of forms:

  • Form: a pattern, a conceptual arrangement of elements that plays a particular role. 
  • Strand: a thinking tool that encapsulates a cross-cutting idea of how things, processes, etc, relate to each other or are kept together across boundaries. Examples: organisational units, responsibility, work flow, product line, culture, product platforms, patterns of activities, performance management.
  • Bridge: something that bridges people and their work across socially, technically constructed and natural boundaries. Examples: life cycle, case file, linked objectives.
  • Spaces: an area or expanse which is free, available, or unoccupied. An area that has a boundary, perimeter, freedoms and limitations. Examples: work space, decision space.
  • Variant: alternative and possible parts of the world: Example: features, scenarios and alternative colours of a car.
  • Unit: how portions of the world is segmented and interpreted in terms of units. Examples unit of analysis, unit of planning, unit of measurement, unit of agreement.
  • Logic: Underlying reasonings, logics, formulas, argumentations, causal relationships, inferences, or theories connecting elements together.

A few examples of commonly occurring kind of forms:

The line-of-sight form is a path from A to B, from an observer to the observed. A line-of sight can be drawn from …

  • the past to the future,
  • technical features to corporate profits,
  • interventions to fulfilment of objectives through changes and benefits,
  • things to value through action,
  • employees talents and passions to company purpose, and 
  • supplier to customer through conversion or value creating activities.

Line-of-sights are important to be aware of and actively work with, otherwise, they become assumed rather than evidence-based or well argumented.

The life cycle form divides the life of some portion of the world into stages. Life cycles are used to manage materials, products, plants, or IT-applications. Life cycles are also used to assess environmental impacts of a product from material extraction to waste (Life Cycle Assessment, ISO 14040).

A common omission to look out for is found at the end of the life cycle. In many cases, a life cycle is designed to end with by retirement. However, some parts of the product may have a life after deliberate retirement, as a residual or waste.

The feedback loop form is a pattern where some results, consequences, effects, outputs, outcomes, impacts of processes or activities are routed back to an earlier stage in a process. Feedback loops are important for both human and organisational learning, governance and control of enterprises and companies, linking strategy with execution and back, and management methods such as plan–do–check–adjust (PDCA).

The Framework of Interweaving and Architecting (FIA) provides a general Forms Language with different kinds of forms documented in catalogues.

Enjoy!

/Anders W. Tell

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