Still trying to come up with some collective thoughts that makes sense around WWDC. But, the fact of the matter is, as much appreciation of the design and “all trains into the station feeling” from Apple’s platform, not really get a sense just yet they are playing their best cards.
Part of this is from being involved with software development; when it is done well, the thing that you are able to present is rarely as polished or as finished as well seen. From just some current projects, and preparing a few teams for demos, one can be rest assured that even though there are some features which have made it to this point of readiness, there’s still some minutia to be discussed and investigated. The public beta does not cut these points short, but it too is not really aligned with what the platform is actually doing at this time.
So what is the platform doing at this time? Or really, what can be learned from Apple’s explorations “this year“ into bringing its platforms into further alignment with one another?
One thought, that has been lingering for the past few platform revisions of iOS, is this thought of using multiple senses in order to do the thing that is regarded as computing. Instead of giving a prescription to what they want users to be able to understand and do, Apple seems to be more set upon delivering a set of frameworks, allowing those who are already curious to discover better ways to interact with these machines and services. And if those ways are not just discovered, but strengthened, then a new language (a better language?) for computing can begin to arise. Something perhps not different from their vision, but maybe pushed forward by other peoples imagination, more than/not their own.
This concept of frameworks is probably something worth coming back to a few more times. But, it seems to make sense here in this case. Apple is not merely saying “we wish for you to do computing the way that we envision it.“ But they seem to be gong the route of something a bit more…
The rise of the eBike. More specifically, a return to the electric bicycle and electronic propulsion as a widely available option in general. There was a time, approximately a century exactly ago, when it was not certain whether the internal combustion engine or the electric engine would went out for a transportation option. There were definitely suitable moments for both to be the dominant option. But the internal combustion engine had a more political, and one can argue “grounded” place in the rising economy of the USA in the early 20th century. And while it is clear that the internal combustion engine has won for transport; was also been very clear (even before the pandemic shook oil supplies in demand globally), electricity propulsion is something intriguing enough. It is something, powerful. It is something, which conjures a question “what would’ve happened if electricity won over the internal combustion engine?”
This is not a question that you come to quickly. There is a matter of several dominoes which have presented themselves on a whiteboard before this moment. The first of these has been the adoption of an electronica bike as a transportation mechanism. Globally, the sales of all bicycles are down. But we looked at in segments, the sales of ebikes are up over 85% year over year. In some places, ebikes outsell their analog equivalents 4 to 1. This is not simply a “option” taking place. There is a preference and a priority that is being fulfilled. Whats being made of these elements remixed anew?
Also on this whiteboard is a question, a series of questions actually. One of them being the topic stimulant of this article, “What is electricity’s equivalent to plastic?” If electricity were to become the dominant transportation mode a little more than a century ago, along with the fact that it became the housing/business grade stitch, what then would that have create it?
Imaginations run the gamut from gravitational wave engines for air travel, to thermochromatic clothing, to misadventures in oil (perhaps missing the discovery of tape, glue, Post-it notes, super soakers, and several other products today that we take for granted). and all of these are indeed possible imaginations to never come to pass because of the route that was taken to be in oil based society rather than (or in opposition to) electricity based one.
What electricity as a base have made for faster development of communication technologies? Would we have gotten to “the Internet“ faster because we already were at radio waves? we have skipped ahead of broadcast television, and move more to the table like model of more narrow cast channels in media possibilities? Would music have evolved the same way that it did (slave/negro spirituals turning into blues turning into jazz turning into branches of gospel which later became rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, pop, explorations with keyboards and 808s, and more)?
On this whiteboard, there is an even more impactful question. How does noise-vibration-harshness (NVH) become defined if the electric drone of an engine is the normalized sound for the primary mode of transportation? Vibration and rhythm internal combustion engines gave also became the foundation for many types of “feel” associated with everything from music, to luxury, to even feelings themselves. Ironically, am reminded of a paper read during college years which said that all music came from railroads (the author made a connection between the inherited beats of music that was popular to their ears with the cadence of a railroad; very much had fun tearing that paper apart). There is a difference to the frequency of electronics then there is to the frequency of those things which are “oil based.” Would we have developed the same types of feeling?
Summation of Imaginations
These are all excellent questions. In fact, these are the kinds of imaginations which enable us to re-engineer some of the things which feel as if they are more complex. For example, does someone need to haul car, or can an eBike fulfill local transportation needs? Taken from the perspective of cost and ability, it is very possible that the eBike does more than enough. However, taken from a cultural history, the oil based auto has a very firm hold on what it means to not only have capability, but also what it means to be secure while promoting a type of affluence/reputation. EVs (primarily cars) are just now getting to that point. The ebike has a long way to go to shift such a perception.
Working on a review of an ebike, these are the kinds of imagination questions which come forward. It’s very possible this equivalent to plastic (this great invention that is so mass produced, so customizable, so widely available) has already been invented, just forgotten in the annuals of history or dismissed in the folders of capitalism. There’s room for something new to be imagined. Room to explore what it means to have an option besides pulling old bones from the ground. What if instead of pulling bones from the sky, we begin to understand magnetism, plasma, and other properties of the air? What if electricity is the means by which we figure out just how versatile humanity can be?
Was talking with a former client recently on the topic of about the transformation that is happening within their companies. As part of this conversation, we touched on the incoming addition of automation (this includes the use of machine learning/artificial intelligence, including the usual topic about macros, automated actions, etc.) to a lot of the processes that they would usually hire “middle management“ for. It sounded like an acknowledgment (from one small business owner) to an incoming reality for many industries; even though this business owner has been doing this kind of work for some time. In fact, Avanceé was hired to demonstrate how some customized automated processes could fill gaps where former employees managed items. Suffice to say, our conversation topic, was also an acknowledgment into a new business reality: middle-management is being automated, not industries.
Can this observation be expanded to a broader industry contacts? Probably. It takes a nuance perhaps. Is there something in the nuance which is realistic? Definitely. And one does not have to look any further than the term “technology.“
Technology being defined as applying a tool to human facilities in order to improve productivity toward such a task. It does not necessarily mean computer technology, even though our modem context relies on that definition. A probably better context for today would stand in the term “connected technology.“ Here we define not only computational technology tools, but aspects of network workflows happening across several types of calculators in order to streamline, perform, validate, and/or regulate a number of tasks and resulting behaviors.
Defined like this, connected technologies sounds more like an omen for such a change. If one looks at the history of “middle-management,” you can see from as early as a biblical reference in the book of Exodus how middle-management was designed, or purposed, to make more efficient the regulation of complaints to a single vision-holder/figurehead. Moving a bit further to more modern times, one can see the rise of industry (1860s to 1920s) as a novel time to be a middle manager. Not only could a middle manager exercise what kind of power to stay relevant. But they also were in prime position to identify the best task to be handled by various skill and experience levels of people. If you will, the middle manager of that time was just as much as stakeholder as the person financing the business. However, they had to rely more on reputation and skill experience for their worth rather than monetary investment.
This mismatch with investment priorities invites middle-management to be defined in the same terms of any other financial investment. If the middle manager can continue to maximize profits, while trimming expenses, then the skills and reputation of that middle manager become more valuable to the investor. If they cannot, then their reputation and experience become too expensive for the role that they hold. Advances in tools and behaviors by middle managers, workers, and consumers change the value of the middle manager greatly.
Middle Management As Technology
One can argue these three work in concert against the middle manager, creating the space by which the middle manager has to constantly reframe their value in concentric worlds often changing quickly around them.
And that brings us back to today. A global pandemic shifted many middle managers, and the departments and people they manage, into a context where the world has once again changed around them. Those managers who have been able to wrangle family presence, virtual conference software, instant messaging, and even working in obscure hours, have made the most of a challenging context. Those who haven’t, are a casualty in multiple means (their value didn’t translate to a new world, or couldn’t pay the toll to this bridge to it). Company owners, stakeholders/shareholders, who were quick to realize this, and recognize the value (reputation and experience) of these managers re-trained, or refrained their expectations accordingly. Those who also recognize this, and sound software in a better position than those middle managers, made also appropriate pivots. And more than a few cases, the pivot included terms such as automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.
Refactoing the Middle
That client, a fast mover before this context, had already pivoted to using automation to manage people and projects well beyond their regional ability. Many other companies did the same. We helped them recognize where additional personnel resources were not a value add if more attention was paid to tuning existing tools. And at the same time, that business is all about relationships. You can’t (shouldn’t) automate relationships. You do give a better place to relationships when you let the tools of the age do their part while your personnel adapt and refine their parts.
Middle management has to adapt to a new world we are connected calculators are able to do the thing that their experience tells them their reputation does better than anything else. Where those partnerships succeed, so will those managers. But there will not be as many managers needed in such a world. There will be a need for more engineers, technologist, and social scientists. Does the middle manager transform into one of those?
There is always a level of snark when looking at acronyms constituting various attitudes and responses this day and age. Some of those acronyms really are nothing more than language making itself more convenient for highly connected individuals. But every once in a while, there’s an acronym which comes along sounding on the surface like an arrogant response to or from a technologist to someone else. But when you peel beyond the surface, it speaks to a deeper structural issue. One in which it’s possible that the culture which has developed is actually incapable of sustaining itself.
Is every team organization constrained by what they are willing to pursue? Should knowledge be contained in the reputation or accessibility of those who are capable, or the systems that those teams in organizations maintain?
What is the culture of search? What is the culture of a manual?
For many years, have had the approach of designing software and processes which require very little explanation, but the joy was found in the story created in order to explain it. When someone says “let me Google that for you,“ are they also continuing with the story? Or, is the culture-response something more along the lines of “here’s how something could’ve been better designed for you, let me show you?“
A preface to this could be heard in arrogance — part of this composition is drafted before a few workshops where much of the work could be reduced to finding the answer in a search on YouTube. And yet, what people aren’t able to do, what some are paid to do, is to take the impersonal search engine and be a personal search agent. A personal search agent… let me google that for you.
Looking back over 20+ years of various entrepreneurial and employee pursuits, a common theme of innovation and inventiveness comes through. At various stops, a way of thinking or method has been taken from inside the head into something applicable for others to employ. From a thought to a tool if you will.
One could go their entire career using tools created by others. But, when given the opportunity or the challenge to create tools from their own experience or expertise, they fall flat. This might be because the way many of us were educated, we were taught how to use tools, but not really given a sense of how to create them. Hence, a wonder about this post-pandemic phase of productivity for knowledge workers:
will new thinking and activity/behaviors come from the sense-making and tool-making which is imagined by only those who are able to create them?
This gets into the crux of a few projects currently and past. In one endeavor, it took seven years of trial and error, sense-making and obstruction, and a few bold statements which can never be taken back, before a sound methodology and usable tool could be created and utilized. Truth be told, it was a painful process. Anyone who has created a theory goes through several rounds of trying to validate whether the theory has legs. And then when they validate it, there are even more series of validation which comes from others who have interest in (positively and negatively) the success of that validation. For that endeavor, it made a lot of sense. But it took more than seven years for it to validate such that it added energy to a movement.
Many companies do not have that kind of time to wait for validation and application. Design thinking, as one example of a field, has many theories and methodologies. But, very few tools which are usable by those who are unfamiliar with the space. Even more disparagingly, the tools which are available still require more friction than they enable application. One design tool is simply a collection of sticky notes along a spatial plane. And yes, this works. It also requires a level of cognitive gymnastics many groups do not have the time (or do not value the time) in understanding. Therefore, this collection of sticky notes, grouped on a board, gets several remixes. Each one claiming to solve the friction in thinking that the original said it offered.
For Avanceé projects, there is an attempt to overly simplify applicable methods. That is, accessing tools which distill the most important points into a traceable map or matrix the client can own the interpretation and application of. Because of this approach, the client is invited to think along side the solutioning. Meaning, they do not just take the methodology and slap it on top of their organization. They are invited to take the methodology and reshape the tool — a remix. In a few instances, the use of maps, matrixes, and forms combine to be a tool themselves to make a better analogy of the methodology. Skillfully applied, these allow an organization to make sense of what they are making. Or, to say it more directly: reengineer complexity.
Unfortunately, an unsolved part of creating new tools is what happens when the tool maker is no longer present? In every instance, the tool was only useful when its creator was there to facilitate. A hope for current tool in development is the tool’s creator is only needed for the first generation of learners. Afterwards, the tool becomes only a reference point. For this first generation, the methodology becomes embedded or infused into the very character of that first generation. They are empowered to create new tools themselves, but tools based on their reformed imaginations. If successful, reengineering complexity also means reigniting imagination. If not successful, this does not mean a failure in the methodology with the tool, but it does mean a misapplication of energy.
This is the key point about new tools. Every tool that is valuable expands the energy of its wielder. Every invaluable tool doesn’t just expand the energy of its wielder, it creates new energy for those to whom the tool was applied. This is why it takes so long to move from methodology to an applicable tool. Its possible much of the work happening in knowledge-based fields is not actually an energy enabler. Yet, if the tools for thinking were applied differently, there might be less aversion to imagination. Less inhibitors to maturely developing resiliency.
Have been writing for a long time. And it seems as if every few years that writing shifts a paradigm or two. Before microblog, there was a series of these kind of post happening on Medium. Noticed a few new subscribers to the series called “Lessons from Mobile” and decided to go ahead and update it with some of the more forward thinking pieces posted here regarding going beyond “mobile devices and connectivity.”
Feel free to check out the series here; but if you’ve been reading on this site for any amount of time, most of the points may be fairly familiar. That said, there’s always room to expand and hear other ways forward. Let’s see what happens.
I figured it out… sort of (thoughts while reading MacStories Apple Magic Keyboard First Impressions)
The “why keyboard is needed for the iPad to be a computer” discussion hits a nerve. On the surface, it seems like a “but the software isn’t designed for touch” argument… but that’s not it, it’s control.
Specifically, a lack of knowing how to control one’s own hands and fingers (appendages). Many, having not been in such a “need to learn” state since being a kid learning fine motor skills, software leaps such as multitouch, gestural, and spatial interfaces show how little folks have actually learned how to use their bodies.
So no… devs can’t push ahead and make better iPad software unless it needs a mouse and keyboard. Why? Because it paints them under the same brush… they have underdeveloped their own bodies. Kids don’t “learn” how to use touchscreens because they are magical, they know them because it’s normal behavior. They learn them becuse they are not restricted to any concepts of “what may be” until it isnt.
We (adults, digital immigrants, etc.) haven’t moved past being kids with controlling environments… and for some, the interface on which the iPad/iPhone is based is a loud, subconscious reminder of that.
Reposting from my personal blog — from 2011 — with a few small edits because it’s a view remembered and maybe worth exploring anew
For a number of weeks, on an on and off basis, I’ve been following John Prolly’s documenting of a project he and Parlee Cycles is doing with Toyota. Essentially, what they are doing is taking the ethos of the Prius and distilling that into a bicycle. What they came up with is amazing, ingenious, and to me, points at a possible detour towards the discussion towards doping in professional cycling.
First, the Amazing Notes
When I first read about this project (have been following this site for some time), I raised my eye, but no more so than when a car company usually gets a bicycle designed and made for them – then slaps their labels on them. An exercise, and probably a few components that make the hardcore folks go “ooh,” but at the end of the day its a ride that’s much more the showpiece than it is something to live with. I was surprised.
It wasn’t so much that it was a bike, but that it was to point towards incorporating technologies inspired by Prius design philosophies. In effect, ending not so much with a hybrid bicycle, but one that takes the basic idea of transportation, and pushes it to an attainable and innovative plateau.
Then, the Ingenious Additions
Of course, you’ll have a bicycle made by a (very good) and small frame builder that’s basically funded by one of the largest automotive outfits in the world. So that means that you’ll actually get to pass around ideas that would ordinarily be thrown out because of timelines and the lack of a budget. One of the posts talked about the design of the rear that was to look like the drawing, but was essentially a few pieces of the frame joints welded together.
At this point I should bow out of the really techincally bicycle engineering talk because I go “ooh” and “ok” way too much.
But it was really interesting when they talked about changing the way a bike shifts gears. Instead of simply being able to use your fingers, or doing one of those heavy automatic shifting jobs (I had the Auto-Bike, it was heavy and the chain broke less than a week into owning it), they built a means for the rider to shift the bike by thinking. They developed a system that worked inside of a modified helmet which sent wireless signals to the bike to cause it to shift. All the wearer needed to do was to “train” for about 10 minutes and then they were able to shift. That’s Prius-like innovation in my book.
A Possible Future of Professional Cycling
When they got to the end of the project, my thoughts were going in one direction – and you can blame the Tour de France for it totally: what if professional bicycling added that component where all of the shifting happened from a helmet and their brain waves? What if, instead of simply relying on skill, instinct, and muscle memory, that their brains had to be reengaged to racing because the bike was literally an extension of their brain (not just their bodies)?
I went out on a ride a few days after that post and just kind of let my imagination take over on that thought. Here I am, purely a consumer just riding. Something like using my mind to shift would be too much like a workout. At least at this point. But, I do like the idea of the bicycle (probably assisted by linking it to my mobile) learning how I shift, logging how I ride, and adjusting on the fly faster than I can shift. Like I said earlier, I had that Auto-Bike, it made a lot of sense and added to the fun of riding in a way that shifting yourself just doesn’t do.
But, when I framed it against professional cycling – a sport being marred by doping and banging hard against the physical limitations of the body and machine – it makes all kinds of sense to go that route. Thinking even for something that’s as grueling as the Tour de France, to not only have to keep your body in check, but your mind has to be even more ready to adapt to the course since they would be “one with the bike.” Would there be issues such as small computers making up for mental disabilities in some competitors? Sure. Could that be seen on a brain scan, and probably easier diagnosed than doping? Probably so. Would sure make for a crazy race when the more emotional cyclists throw their shifting out of wack because of how they respond to something surprising.
Where Do We Bike from Here
When I look at The Toyota Prius Bicycle Project, that’s where my mind goes. Not so much that sustainability and efficiency need to be thrown out. At the time of this writing, I’m wondering how that aspect of building and maintaining a bicycle was addressed. But, to integrate those kinds of technologies that could effectively get a person even closer to the road. To take away that last bit of friction and disconnect between thinking about moving and being at a place powered by your body – that excites me about that project to no end. And the best place to see that, with the athletes who seem as if they are admitting that there’s no other place for them to go but towards assisted substances.
Which lands at the rest of us. Can we see something changing about bicycling that should make more sense. Biking because its fun, exercise, or a form of transportation is one layer. But beyond that, is there something that could better improve our relationship to the land under our wheels? Have we truly exhausted the bicycle and how it extends our abilities to travel? Or, as this project seems to indicate, have we not even begun to let loose our minds to the possibilities?
For the past week, have been comparing the use of smart ring (Ōura) and a mood ring. In many respects, both of these devices do the same thing. However they get there by different means. The smart ring is a series of circuits and electricity, analyzed on device, and then passed to another device to be combined with a series of algorithms to give one a trend map of a particular set of wellness parameters. The mood ring, on the other hand, uses a less technological bed. This material, thermochromatic crystals, interacts with the human body‘s temperature and changes color based on it. It is calibrated, like the smart ring, outside of the wearer’s view. But, the meaning it gives the wearer is personalized all the same. Fewer wellness parameters, but also much more real-time.
What’s most interesting so far is the reduced cognitive load of what a measurement might mean between them. If you will, the mood ring more or less expresses your body temperature (and that can, for some people, indicate a state or being). Ōura, on the other hand, is a bit more of a coach for specific wellness events. There’s the sleep report, the weekly report, the poke to either get moving or get ready for bed, the activity goal, and more. None of these are noticed from the ring itself. This information passed from the ring to one’s mobile, and the notification from there. For both, the metrics aren’t what you think about. You stay “in the moment” and the ring’s state is passed to you when you need to notice it.
Which sparked thinking: why wouldn’t a connected ring, like the Ōura, also use the same thermochromatic crystals as a mood ring? The thinking here is that even though thermochromatic crystals are not an accurate indicator of emotional status, the correlation to body temperature could be combined with the active coaching have a connected ring in order to be more present wellness advocate for the wearer. Over time, the wearer wouldn’t just look at the prompts and stats from the networked intelligence of the connected ring to understand their present psychological condition, but also use the transformative appearance of the ring to “adjust their frequency” to stimuli in real time.
For now, am just wearing both on the same hand. And when the mobile is near, am able to make some inferences between the data provided by Ōura and the “in the moment” state of the mood ring. Perhaps, there’s already been an exploration of this kind of dual-signaling and am just on the latter side of what works alongside the other physics caused by batteries, processors, etc. Or, maybe the connection we have to various elements is a route to explore with wearables. A route knitting us closer to not just understanding our own state of being, but how that state is probably much more aligned to unique elements in the organic world around us.
Came across this via a friend:
The short-term goal, Mason said, is for UCSF and San Francisco General emergency room doctors and nurses to get a heads-up of a fever or impending illness, not just COVID-19, so they stay home or get treated. Already taxed front-line medical workers can little afford to spread illness among themselves, she said.
The long-term goal is to collect as much data of healthy and COVID-positive patients who wore the ring and determine common bio-marker activity that precipitated symptoms, such as heightened temperature or breathing patterns. Whether they will be able to differentiate the common flu from COVID-19 is unclear.
If you are interested in assiting this work and have an Oura ring, read more and signup here.
Not reading into this too much, but it seems like am already on the right path. And maybe, just a little bit ahead of where some aspects of self diagnosis may be able to help an even larger problem.
Posting a bit different than the usual, a video of one of my latest bike rides. Some call it “gravel,” and some prefer the term “all-road.” Both work, because both happened during this roll.
Per the usual, Snap’s Spectacles are the tool of choice for recording. There are a few reasons for this. But, the best reason is simply the versatility of memory-eyes which are in the same position as organic ones. Might be worth shifting to this type of experiential content from time to time. The other types still happen, but it’s in moments like these where the observations shared here are more lived.
Perhaps what was admired as a teen drives adulthood after all
This could probsbly be considered a response to @brooksreview.net’s 13 Jan member journal; and it’s also a “state of the workspace” piece
When fall of 2019 rolled around without an announcement of a new iPad Pro, I was left at something of a crossroads. Having been waiting earnestly for the next evolution in iPads — to push my own visualization and implementation of computing — I was left somewhat disappointed. Apple’s hardware releases are very consistent. Offering both fan and buyer alike a chance to let rumors stoke fires, while the eventual reality a chance to evolve and reset expectations for personal and communal computing. It didn’t happen like that this fall. Slightly disappointed… just slightly.
Yet, that didn’t deter purchases. The 5th generation iPad Mini entered home-based usage. An evolution of the Kindle Paperwhite for weekend reading, while also a harder break from the iPad Pro’s use during business hours. The Mini and Apple Pencil combination has been a pleasant, and contrary addition. It puts pressure on the larger, older iPhone, asking “what is social and necessary about the larger screen phone versus the smaller screened tablet?” And still, has found a neat niche. It works, and doesn’t get in the way, even if carried with only the Apple Watch during café sessions.
It has also found a niche as a better device for video than the larger iPad Pro. So much so, a purchase of an external screen seems to make more sense than having the larger iPad nearby as an AirDrop recipient of what’s found in home’s moments. Conjuring another screen when the smaller Mini isn’t immersive or dismissive enough sounds like a case of “why not use the larger iPad or a TV,” yet misses the instances where personal becomes a context of “just for a moment of difference” rather than always needed. Scaling up, versus removing to scale down.
An opening to acquire the iPad Pro in Jan 2020 adds to the multiple canvases used across productive contexts. The latest iPad Pro, purchased alongside the Pencil 2 and Brydge keyboard, shapes a picture for something more. The initial thought of feeling like Captain Picard at a desk full of PADDs (defined by fans) hasn’t gone away. In fact, it feels almost right — mainly for the inability of most software to extend as fast as the hardware is allowing. Agreeing with @ben, a workflow utilizing two iPads at the same time doesn’t seem unproductive. In fact, it seems “best case” because of the inability of iPadOS apps to enable casting non-mirrored instances to external screens. It still doesn’t feel correct — just more correct than what I’ve been doing.
That said, the Star Trek TNG reference rolls strong. I’m almost in that posture of saying “yes it makes sense for tablet interfaces to adapt to the needs of the person holding it.” Seeing this when my niece FaceTime’s questions about her iPad (she also moved up, from Mini to the full-sized). There’s this context or multiple iPads and their shaping of a more personal computing context which seems to just fit. Star Trek TNG came out during my teens, and I argue this viewpoint comes from Gene Roddenberry and his team’s keen messaging to my subconscious.
Whatever the shaping of those evenings spent with mom watching her feed her Trekkie nature, what is true is that multiple iPads does manage to reset an expectation around screens and interfaces. Watching Avengers again recently brought this to light all the more. Casting information into space, assuming all who are in that space can interact with it, has been something of a dream for productivity spaces and fictional models for a while. It gets more real as devices like iPads show up not simply as accessories to the tools we have, but begin becoming default states for the worlds we are shaping. These default states offer us a glimpse into the very realities which used to entertain us. Realities I’m noticing a chance to act upon, and become something of a canary for what might be yet another shift.
Things seem to be a little bit slow in terms of the new publishing here, but the fact of the matter is that activities happening elsewhere that speaks into why this place matters.
Design thinking, or more honestly, design mentorship seems to be a key topic in terms of professional development and organizational maturity. Some of that comes from the interactions where I am running into people who are both new to professional spaces, and those people who see that some spaces need a more personal touch — humane touch as it relates to creating intentionally, ethical, beautiful products and services.
Some of the conversations are focusing more on the future. How do we get from seeing technology has an appendage to seeing it as a part of who we are and dealing with the successes and ramifications of such adoption. This is actually pretty interesting. And if you follow on IG or Twitter #FromAFuture, you would see some of the conversations as they are happening.
Other aspects of those conversations are happening in the devices currently in hand. From this exploration of having more than one tablet, to being OK with the idea of talking into the air, there’s something to be said about activities happening elsewhere, but manifesting in our future that everyone has not yet realized.
Clearly, having content here doesn’t mean being completely divorced from Twitter. But it does mean to push the future of Avanceé in a somewhat different direction. What is that branch? Well, that’s what this year is all about discovering.
Casting new patterns for a new year
The past two years, Avanceé has been something of an experiment, and another part a package. The experiment: to put into a business model, an approach to design and process which elevates individuals and companies from “do what they’ve seen modeled” to “invent and do what they’ve imagined.” Experiments are hard — especially this one where it’s also got to be a package. It has been the “package” bit which has been hardest to clarify for Avanceé. But, that’s ok. That’s why this space was shaped. Hearing what you see is not a simple construct.
In light of this, have had some roaming thoughts of where to take Avanceé for 2020. To some, describing the year as “an invitation to clarity and contentment” resonates. Yet, it’s not clear enough on this site that “designing experiences and (re)engineering complexity” does that. It happens in conversations, and in coaching/mentoring, and in design-birthed work. But, not quiet hearing-seen.
Came across a phenomenon called grapheme synesthesia not long before drafting this, and it seemed to make sense. In the article it was found, the author describes her experience of synesthesia and a tool she’s developed to help others understand it. It was in seeing Avanceé in this frequency that hearing what 2020 could be began to take a better tone.
As much as there’s been the technology and methods talked about here, the things actually heard has been more around coaching, mentoring, and strategy. Much more the “hey, let’s walk alongside you for a bit and figure out what’s actually complex.” And more often than not, one or two conversations are all it takes to unpack — demystify — the wall or speed bump. Is there design strategy and organizational redirection? Sure. But, more of the re-engineering happens as a result of relational stacks, not technological ones.
To that end, let this be a shift to posing more of that relational content here. Maybe more along the lines of what’s shared with current friends and mentees. Because what’s best seen, is often just a better color of what’s heard, At least, for 2020…
written with Tactilis Scribe
When Avanceé launched, it was like finally finding shape to the bottom of a very deep well. That well being a mind and set of experiences so unique, it could only be described as “put your mind in a can and make it available to others.” In some respects, Avanceé has been a quiet, small success. It’s garnered no real fame, but amongst those who’ve been engaged since its unveiling, Avanceé has certainly proven to be a demonstrative step forward for their efforts — even if it’s taken a few stumbles to get there.
What Avanceé hasn’t yet become is profitable. At least not in the shape of a few favored (and sometimes too linked) other sites and endeavors. This isn’t for lack of effort. The winds of maintaining a roof over one’s head requires hard and soft decisions. One of those being attaching to more consistent income than the consulting which Avanceé aimed to monetize. This was understood to be a slow build. And such hard and soft decisions were made — in part — because at the outset it was assumed these adjustments would be necessary.
Didn’t expect to consider a more major shift. The one under consideration speaks to a good bit of the coaching and facilitation which has happened. And it’s something less reliant on maintaining a front of being a “business first” endeavor, and more of an “individual embraced” one.
Change is worth debating a bit longer than what’s given here. Yet, it’s clear that for the upcoming third year of Avanceé, for this to be more than a hobby of links themed around the occasional project, it’s got to springboard into a fuller frame. At this point, change and pivot is just a debate. There’s hopefully some time before a decision and road needs to be taken.
Leveraging newly acquired Vue glasses to explore other ranges of hearing
Been sitting on how to best talk about these glasses. Sure, there’s the vantage point of Kickstarter as something of a motivator. These Vue glasses have taken the better part of nearly three years to make it onto my head. And this isn’t a slight to Vue or Kickstarter, that’s just the nature of product development which finds itself strengthened or weakened by the same audience that consumes it.
A better focus could be the product itself. Vue has certainly produced a ground-breaking product with glasses which utilize bone conduction speakers and mics. Those who have worn glasses and headphones/earphones for a few decades can empathize with the struggle of segmenting attention and hearing alongside attention and sight. Wireless sound has helped greatly, and yet there’s always the consideration for undue weight on the ears. Glasses have evolved far beyond their “sight impaired” audience beginnings. And here Vue is a solid explanation as to where that can land. There’s some polish to be gained on it for sure; but for the effort, one cannot doubt that making it across the finish line is an incredible achievement for the product and the advances to be gained from the shrinking sizes of silicon.
However that isn’t the right focus either. One of the use cases explored has been more along the lines of extending hearing and focus. For an experiment, allowing the Vue glasses to handle a call or background music while also using AirPods has opened a question: just how much can one’s ear muscles be developed (or underdeveloped) towards focused conscious attention? No conclusions, but certainly some headaches and moments of confusion.
Liken this experiment to focusing on a musical score while someone is also telling you about a movie which has a different score. Just how developed is hearing beyond and alongside focusing attention? Can that muscle be developed? Is there some limit to simultaneous inputs of complexity and making sense of it all?
No clue. And Vue offers the best expression yet of a wearable, connected device which gets closer to “hey, how does your brain actually deal with all these inputs” than others tried before. It just so happens, instead of adding to soundscapes or isolating oneself from them, certain wearables might be at the very place where we can question evolution and postulate other paths. Or, at least be strong enough to hear and lift them.
Persuading a designer’s shift from “intuitive” to “indigenous”
Tearing a perspective from history in order to reclaim a voice that should have never been taken? This is a way to describe the Euro-American shift of veneration towards accepted/primary voice on Columbus Day/Indigenous (Groups) Day. It might seem a simple political maneuvering to opine on the topic. Yet this isn’t a political blog, this is a design-oriented exposition. Lessons for what has been happening with perspective on this day follow lessons towards what designers and their industries are learning in regards to the expression of productivity and consumption.
The shift to experience design has asked for companies to acknowledge and invest within the perspective of those closest to the business output — whether this would be the producers or consumers. Open both the business processes and technical competencies to the perspective of these producers and consumers, and allow this to add/shift/remove value from the company’s operating focus. Shift is the right word here. There’s no amount of artistry as delicate as changing behaviors for a culture, and yet experience design asks this very thing.
The result of such shifts are defined in transactional terms. Helpful? Perhaps to the legs of business and technology on this now three-legged table (experience design now becoming a leg of equal value to business focus and technology enablement). However, it may be better defined in the terms of those more native to the intended transaction. Indigenous could be the better word here, even as loaded as it is for political framing. Within design framing, “indigenous” moves us past the ethereal “intuitive” and by importing empathetic lenses to transformation’s voice. Not simply enough to “use the words they are familiar with,” indigenous also means we ascribe to tone, framing, and even acknowledged disassociation — we may be designers but we aren’t designers of other’s comfort, only of the tools they use to craft their own.
In another industry, rap music continues to be debated as a form of music because those who held a primary “this is valuable music” perspective have found their tools to be used to author another group’s expression of being. Shared tools does not mean shared perspective. In fact, the drive to authentic experiences almost never comes from those author the tools. It is designed by the voice of those who wish to express tonal accuracy to their lives, according to rules native to them. And as such, it’s that much more important for designers to elevate indigenous peoples and their cultures.
In doing so, the designer elevates the voices of those once condemned to be heard under a false celebrity— one who might have rightly instigated the perspectives we now enjoy. But, also one who’s transactional nature unfortunately colonized the leg on which we might better find stability and worth.
Impact isn’t just visibility, but the impression massaged by consistency
In a previous draft of this post, there was a review of the recent pictorial posts on MicroBlog and there were some which held more impact than others. Several familiar faces drew on not just impactful visual artifacts, but a consistency of approach/experimentation which allowed some thing more notable in the tone presented. This isn’t to say that those who weren’t recognized were ignored; only that their visibility hadn’t yet gotten to the point of registering that familiar presence and voice.
A new project is also shedding some maturity towards the impacts of visibility and consistency. Visibility seems as if it is effectiveness. There’s the dopamine-addressed, newness of what is entering the framing. And if done in acceptable, albeit contrasting ways, visibility indeed comes across as if effectiveness is happening.
Growing this endeavor has meant increasing a base level of visibility amongst the intended audience and prospective customers. However, visibility isn’t really addressing whether an impression was made that indeed simplifies complexity. For this, consistency must add to what visibility has begun. One could think of consistency as a massaging of the touch visibility made — however this isn’t a dead touch, or an ignored one. Consistency which speaks to adding value offers presence a place to mature into longing/wanting.
Now, all of this doesn’t matter if you are spending time being visible in places where others aren’t looking. That’s altogether a different bit — context. And probably worth elevating into a more visible layer of discussion here and abroad in the near-future.
When you get into a consistent mode of behaviors and then life gets in the way, you start the journey again by making an excuse. However, here there is no real excuse. There are several layers of drafts, not in the Microblog application, which are ideas and concepts which have not been completely flushed out. And sometimes those are posted just to keep with the usual cadence. However, this week that is not been the case. There has been a solid challenge to prioritization of content following here. And that’s probably a better description of inhibitors to moving forward than any excuses leveled in writing.
When it comes to writing, working, living… prioritization makes its way into the front of your conscious decisions whether you like it or not. It could be as complicated as which area of a project to begin. It could be as simplistic as looking at the weather report to figure out how you will address your garden. What you choose to prioritize is what you have chosen to say matters. However, no amount of prioritization comes without putting down something else. As a wise person once said, “there’s only so much room in your hands. You can either choose to hold peace, or hold the things that take peace away from you.“
There in lies the challenge with prioritization. What you value is what you eventually prioritize. More often than not, the thing that we value is as close as the item which is in front of our nose. That may not be fair, but given the amount of information that comes our direction, the amount of wants which follow our wish list, we sometimes default to what we can immediately perceive rather than what we truly value.
And yes, we can use the excuse that with certain levels of technology, there is no excuse. A change schedule could mean more time to write and contemplate, but if that does not continue to elevate what you have previously called a priority, then that changed schedule is more accurately telling you what you value. As we noticed with some of the technology trends that have happened, collaboration being put in front of us often leaves us a little time to self prioritize. And yet, the assumption from this space, and even some of the investigation, is that there is room to prioritize those things that matter if collaboration works in concert with deep thought.
If prioritization is in fact a high value behavior, then you do make time for what matters. An excuse, put in the position of a welcome, really serves notice that prioritization is not a high-value item. It would be better off, and perhaps received better, if you simply said that prioritization didn’t matter, and allowed a different characteristic to guide what you value.
Term comes from the book Timefullness… fear of time and it’s effects
Can remember the moment clearly. Was sitting in the car, traveling on a familiar course of road in Philly, and then it hit me — I will die. I will cease to breathe. The very next breaths were difficult. I began feeling each breath differently for the next minutes. Each pulse as it resonated. Each movement became more valued with this realization. I believe that it was at this moment I not only realized my own mortality, but also just how subservient to time and its effects I will be. As every athlete says, “Father Time is the only undefeated opponent.”
Teams and organizations also come to similar moments, and how they deal with acknowledging this grasp of mortality begins to shape how they operate and what they might leave forward. Those groups who fear their own mortality, might begin to do things such as increase team size (at the cost of company culture), or expand into markets (in order to minimize the effects of disruptive entrants). Groups who sense their coming end might go to more drastic effects — lobbying governments, destroying-then-creating new governments, or worse, committing a kind of suicide. The latter being an action to be remembered for what they did well, and hopefully plant seeds of a remembered legacy for what comes next.
Chronophobia… a word which came into context recently and along with it, these thoughts about the weight and value of time to both individuals and groups.
We are peculiar in some respects. Most of us live within the confines of this temporal plane and do our best to ignore this fear of the effects of time, but we can’t. From adaptive technologies, to rules around ageism, there’s a tact acknowledgement that we are clearly servants of time’s effects, but also that there’s some measure of fulfillment which can come if we don’t live in fear of it, but embrace it.
The social media timeline has warped this perspective for some. In its linear, and unforgiving-to-some, nature, it seems to trumpet the loudest, most profane, and emotional peaks of time’s effects. At its very core, the timeline isn’t under anyone’s control — only your attentiveness to it. But, if you acquiesce to trying to pay attention to every point and wave within it, chronophobia takes hold in a manner it shouldn’t. You begin feeling each text, each tweet, each notification as a ticking clock to your own connected mortality. And this isn’t the best way to live. Sure, a little fear makes sense. But, to be overwhelmed by it will cause you to make decisions, adopt behaviors, or even restrict others from living beyond the warped planes of connected spaces.
Time is such a weighty and powerful reality. It is also a dance partner. Don’t be afraid of having your toes stepped on if you are enjoying the song.
A bicycle for the mind requires a different perspective and disruption
A common question asked around this time last year regarding the (then) new iPad Pro, can it replace your laptop?
An uncommon answer: yes, it can. But, not because it does what a laptop does.
iPad doesn’t just replace, it changes what computing can question. The question gets asked each time a new model or major software update happens to it because the voices speaking about the platform and hardware are too far removed from what others do for. They are also too much embedded into trying to make the iPad do what PCs have taught them to do. These might sound like discerning perspectives, but it’s not distinct to look at a mountain from an alternative perspective. The end of the Mashable 2018 iPad Pro review says it nicely:
…It’s such an intimate creation process that it made me realize that Apple’s not merely trying to change my or your old habits. Apple’s not trying to make the iPad Pro a laptop replacement because the device isn’t one. It’s trying to do something bigger: invent a new way of creating for a new generation that is not bound to the old computing laws of clicking a mouse…
Not being bound to former methods is a invitation to think better about the jobs to be done for computing devices. And for much of what the complaints are (moving files from one physical or virtual share to another, command-scripts for said files, approval queues, etc.), work is more like moving chairs around and a sense of control over the chairs which really isn’t work at all when broken down into its common parts.
The bit about the iPad is that it disrupts the perspective of what it means to compute — to be productive, to push pixels, and to work (however that work’s outputs are measured). This bit becomes more interesting the more someone dives into those who’ve pursued better workflows. From Henny the Bizness, Jonathan Morrison, Federico Viticci, and several others, the perspective of the iPad as a primary device ended up reshaping the tone and tenor of what one becomes within their work.
So, then, what really is work? Or rather, what more aligns with the perspectives of what it means to have computing as a tool to aide/do behaviors considered productivity?
And if a simple piece of glass and electrons can alter the very definition of work; what kinds of perspectives have yet to be discovered which are not only productive, but also sustainable?
For Avanceé, the answer to this seems to point to work being connective tissues. A swaddling of complex and interdependent elements, eventually made unknotted and simple. Work isn’t the end product, but a series of elevating/deescalating layers of stuff until the signal is clear. This work has many forms but the same goal.
##A Contemplative Thoughts Browser
An excellent thread on Twitter by @SamPenrose put to text what a number of folks have had as a confusion/contemplation to the purpose of the iPad. A few of those tweets begat some responses:
Once more, with feeling: what is (the) iPad? A bicycle for the mind. A bicycle for fish. It is wildly successful but “has no reason for being.” It is as clear as glass and as clear as mud. The less sense it makes, the more it sells. Conceptually confused, mundanely great.
I teach a few executives how to stop diving into the weeds by showing them the flexibility/simplicity of the iPad they wish to carry.
Conceptually, that is teaching to the tool; realistically, it’s showing them how to think.
🚲 for 🧠
Email, games, video and web browing are more complicated cases, but iPad is not obviously the best for any of them. Both experts and average users—in the hundreds of millions—are divided on what they prefer.
Events and containers… the commentary has indeed centered on these because computing evolved to “instance”
PC hasn’t meant both canvas/pallet. My argument has been that tablets (really, iPad) successfully don’t just straddle that line, but invites something else from it
What it invites seems unclear, but when iPad isn’t asked to replace but augment what 💻 isn’t as good as, then that clarity becomes clearer IMO:
A static/dynamic interface showing/describing and enabling the attachment and reattachment of [stuff] based on where it is in thought
Used this (same phrasing) to describe @MuseAppHQ to a friend the other day, but it fits communicating (more clearly) a vision for iPad
That’s a lot of words to essentially say what @BenedictEvans said in the same thread:
iPad and PC each have things that only they can do. Most people only do the things that both can do.
So to ask again: if a simple piece of glass and electrons can alter the very definition of work; what kinds of perspectives have yet to be discovered which are not only productive, but also sustainable? What becomes of work that’s now described as connective tissue more than inputs/outputs or the resulting widgets?
Pondering a future of knowledge work, managing flow not controlling it
Thinking about a few recent projects, and a few failed ones, a piece of thought has lingered about the effectiveness of remote work. However, those who engage within remote work are existing in an asymmetrical culture, usually a few generations old, of working in a non-remote setting. Meaning, the things to unlearn in order to work effectively in remote contexts are just as impactful as the new methods and expectations we now engage within. Such a perspective is wrought with challenges, usually verbalized with the phrase “fit.” However, “flow” is probably the better term. Because working away from the boundaries of widgets, time, and place, one needs to create a different relationship with outcomes and opportunities.
Flow is something like what’s been experienced with the app Muse. This app has a premise of boards/cards; yet the strength in it seems to be when you take away the concept of document and replace it with flow. Here, the better parts of association and context get intermixed w/the facility of hypertext and ink to create something jut a bit different. Instead of conforming the reader into a structured reading, they are given a structured context, and room to read into it their own paths. This has only been explored thru testing a beta version of Muse, see their website for the full vision, and to request access to assist in testing.
There’s been some evolution of this control-to-flow concept as Avanceé has been refined. The workstation is still an iPad, yet the communication moves back and forth between hard and soft deliverables. Meaning simply, the role our behavior plays is likely more influential than the containers themselves. Some groups understand this and have literally charted a new world because of it — others are finding their way (Avanceé is the latter). Within the framing that is flow, there’s probably a different metric which needs to be attached to both work and it’s assets.
When it is redefined, what remains is less about get it to me in this format and more about enable me to make the best decisions forward. Knowledge working spaces are shifting to facilitating knowledge — we hope — and not simply repeating the tasks of turning widgets.
Moving forward by looking backward
When learning to drive, my parents gave me a lot of solid info about dealing with what you can’t control about traffic and other folks on the road. Of the many tips, one of the most interesting had to be about the level of attention to put towards driving out of your rear view mirror. Being in enough rear-end accidents might teach this better than other moments, but it came to be a sensible bit of advice to have 1/3 of your attention to that little mirror facing to your rear. The synchronous lesson was to be like a trucker and have your eyes/attention 12-15 seconds ahead of you also. In this way, you aren’t simply driving for your immediate surroundings, but also for the time-spaces you’ve yet to come to. A lower insurance premium, despite a much-higher-than-usual rate of mileage, seems to count this as a lesson well-lived.
In the same way, there are data points, tools, and methods we ought to use in order to inform forward motion for organizations. More than the data of the moment (current stock price, number of daily active users, last quarter’s numbers), it is the data around this which is better utilized in order to shape how we move forward. For example, a group seeks to make sure an investment continues to show signs of improvement, but notices only that less than 5% of the indices are making a return. But, unless they look at the performance of all of the index investments over a period, they will only make bandage-level changes to the performance of the fund. It sounds elementary, but looking backwards just a bit (how often did the entire fund perform like this, when did the specific indexes fail previously, what was the client or market response when items change, etc.), enables an ability to move forward differently.
However, it’s not simply looking backwards. Reference the leading story of this post — using the rear view mirror was only part of understanding the context of the journey. One had to also look further ahead than all but the very best participants on the road. In the case of driving, the best tractor trailer drivers are the road’s best. Not only because they need to see what’s happening well before it does, but also because they manage more weight (physics) than nearly anything else on the road. For them, looking at what their vehicle has to do 15-30sec before it happens isn’t just a matter of driving well, it’s a matter of staying alive and profitable. Same with utilizing data — while not every permutation is knowable, there are often just enough points to be known that one can see a little bit further down the road than normal. And with such vision, adapt their rate of travel towards a better destination.
In a recent project, a case of looking backwards enabled us to take a significant step forward for several smaller projects which were also suffering. We mapped the notable items, and then went backwards to previous year items to see if any patterns were present. Not only were there pattens present, but also a few previously unknown gaps revealed themselves. This enabled a course correction which might have been seen by only one party. Our experimental dashboard elevated it for several stakeholders to see, and a fuller action plan was developed to address it.
This isn’t to say you don’t look out of the front windshield. Only that there’s more to your journey than what’s hitting that glass. Look backwards and forwards, recognize the context of as much as you can, and then your ability to spot and respond to trends will not only be clearer, but you’ll probably clarify others’ ability to run those trends with you.
Perhaps innovation’s perspective is bound by personal friction
One discussion often turns into many. It is excellent when several disparate, disconnected conversations begin to carry a common theme. Not forced, but something more organic. A tweet and it’s resulting thread illuminated an obstacle to a wider change, found on a much personal level — friction.
I am wildly inefficient on my phone. For me, any coordinating or communicating is best done on a laptop. Anyone else feel this way?
Thoughts while reading the thread more or less landed here: how does one design beyond the limits of their own cognitive behaviors? Can they if the personal friction that brokers their workspaces is so embedded?
Meaning, there’s probably a clearer reason why some innovations take longer to become “mainstream.” It is because of enough (loud) personal friction by just enough folks isn’t able to be overcome and so a narrative is formed and reiterated. What’s most iterated? That the newer tool/feature/behavior doesn’t do what the old one had done as easily?
It probably magnifies exponentially when a luminary in the (older) method takes the opinion public. At that point it is no longer just one’s personal feeling, but now it’s validated by someone with reputation.
Does it mean we should keep personal friction points to ourselves? Probably not. But, we might be better taking steps forward if we realize that whatever the friction is, has a perspective which might ripple well beyond our own “it feels uncomfortable.” Those who can overcome such a perspective open themselves up to a phase change. The change is transformative, and likely results in an inability to shape themselves into the former behaviors/perspectives any more. Their friction is now in convincing those who couldn’t move past theirs that there’s something beyond where they are. And what’s beyond will likely transform everything to come. Such a perspective is a new measurement not only of success, but of life itself.
Happenstance or happen to have a stance
Reviewing some older notes on organizations and user experience, came across a few bits on the UX Maturity Scale. What’s clear about it is that it’s not so much a discussion on whether understanding user experience is possible or not, but the competence of what’s understood because of the maturity of the organization attending to leverage it.
If one were to view their organization’s processes or departments through this lens, it is possible to uncover aspects of work and process which fit the day-to-day expectations, but result in increased friction towards the very groups the org aims to empower. Introspective? Yes. This lens confronts the org with the very core tenants of their reason for existing. Granted, some might have the stance, we don’t do this for clients/consumer, but for shareholders. Yet, even then, a culture has to mature towards this, minimizing friction in respective spaces until the core audience is consistently pleased.
Beyond the design perspective, maturity looks similar — what are the implicit rules being followed, when do those rules become autonomous stimuli, and when do those become defining character. One could assume that much of this happens by chance. That, at some point in the evolution of an org, certain traits come to the surface over others, creating the framing to which the org will define itself. Yet, it seems that for some of the adored and loathed orgs, this is less random and more structured. These orgs happen to craft some stance on which their very orgs will live or die, and then it becomes so insistent, that aspects of an org which seem they should be unaffected, now conform to such a vision.
Clients and customers feel this. They feel the connect or disconnect from the touch-points of an org and their messaging. It might even be subconsciously understood even if it’s consciously exercised. A company might hold itself to the highest standards of diversity and inclusion, yet have the very difficult task of retention because their hiring processes and department haven’t reorganized and re-measured around diversity/inclusion metrics, still keeping the same friction and KPIs of the very practices and industries they market themselves different than. A company might say sustainability, security, and privacy, yet their most ardent customers degrade, irritate, and unhealthily expose other members with such ferocity that no amount of company posturing removes the friction felt by those being subjected to alternate views. Experience isn’t something found by happenstance, it is very much designed into the very structures of what makes an org live.
Have been giving the uneasy smirk in explaining to organizations that user experience isn’t a product — it is the summation of the client/consumer’s ability to feel/not feel friction between their expectations and reality. To an org which is mature, this isn’t a challenging point of view. It is a level-setting one. If your org believes themselves to be mature, having a stance will cause the greatness that happenstance cannot.