Doug's blog

Protocols and institutional architecture

David Brooks, the columnist for the New York Times, has a column on "protocols", and the nature of an economy built on protocols rather than products.  This is a spin on the information economy, as discussed by Hal Varian and others.  It makes the point that protocols are more and more pervasive, in the form of computer programs that manage aspects of business, to the procedures followed to have a franchise operation conform to the parent standards.

Enterprise decision-makers and architects

This post is inspired by some interactions I’ve been having with the enterprise architect community, primarily at this LinkedIn group . There are ongoing debates about how to define what it is that enterprise architects do, what the purpose of enterprise architecture is, and how to explain it to decision-makers.

Circularity is the way things work

I've been engaging recently in a renewed conversation with the members of Metaphorum, a loose-knit confederation of thinkers who generally follow and preserve the work of Stafford Beer, one of the pioneers of cybernetics, systems thinking, and the application to business. 

Sketching the world in systems

That title denotes something that I always do.  Wherever I go, for instance the VSM thought framework is like an tool on a heads-up display for me -- always available as a device to peer through at each new interesting social organization that I stumble upon.


When we say bailout these days, I wonder what image people have in their minds.  I can think of two.


Over the weekend i had an experience that made me think about longevity of organizations.  I attended a parade and ceremony to mark the 199th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.
I have been involved with several 100-year organizations during my time on the planet.

Not a mechanism

There are people who think building an enterprise is JUST LIKE building a house or aircraft.  This is false.  This is misleading in a profound and pernicious way. I won't name names, because this seems to be the dominant view in some quarters.
Anyone who has tried to start or maintain and grow an enterprise can attest that there is no shop manual.  This is much more a matter of nurture than construction. 

Nurture and nursing

The word of the day is "nurture".  Maria Shriver said it tody, but I have been thinking about this.  It came up, as I recall, in the conversation about creation of jobs, and it reminded me that it is important to think of nurturing a lot of things -- like jobs, like companies, like the health care system, like the economy.  And it came up in the context of Shriver and her team releasing a major report on the situation of women in the U.S. of 2009.

It's all about deeds

I'm using the word "deed" in recognition of the polysemy.  Deeds can mean purposeful (even heroic) actions.  Deeds can also be documents of ownership.

I am in the process of posting a web of concepts and ideas, which I think of as the framework for my own intellectual capital.  I hope that this will be helpful, and that over time there may be some merging of this material with the thoughts and experiences of others. 

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