A while ago I wrote a blog about the Data Quadrant Model I developed. I use this model in my consultancy and speaking engagements. Increasingly I receive great feedback from organisations that are applying it, which is great.
In this post I want to elaborate a bit more on quadrant IV (see figure).
This quadrant is often present implicitly in most organisations.Just think of all the Excel users in your organisation! Nowadays, quadrant IV is supercharged by all the stuff that is offered under the flag of 'Data Science'. And yes, I put quotes around it....the word 'science' bugs me a lot...
But that is another blogpost.
Quadrant IV is often misunderstood, especially by my fellow architects and management. They have an inert need to establish order in this quadrant. And there is no order....there is also no dis-order.
Dave Snowden is actually describing it correctly; there is un-order: "Un-order is not the lack of order, but a different kind of order, one not often considered but just as legitimate in its own way". He uses a great story to exemplify un-order:
"....a group of West Point graduates were asked to manage the playtime of a kindergarten as a final year assignment. The cruel thing is that they were given time to prepare. They planned; they rationally identified objectives; they determined backup and response plans. They then tried to “order” children’s play based on rational design principles, and, in consequence, achieved chaos. They then observed what teachers do. Experienced teachers allow a degree of freedom at the start of the session, then intervene to stabilize desirable patterns and destabilize undesirable ones; and, when they are very clever, they seed the space so that the patterns they want are more likely to emerge. "
Order might eventually emerge.....
Now, lets take this notion of un-order a bit further into quadrant IV. If something is ordered, management (and architects alike) like to focus on efficiency (e.g. control, standards, predictable/repetitiveness, best practices etc..) a lot. In an un-ordered system (like quadrant IV) this behaviour is killing. Management and architect need to allow a lot of sub-optimal behaviour in order to reap the benefits of quadrant IV.
Put it more popular (and scientifically wrong, but what the hell); In quadrant IV we need to 'architect' a bit of chaos. We need to un-manage.....un-control....experiment & learn...Trust
Will order eventually emerge? Yes and no. Order and un-order will exists both in the same timeframe in quadrant IV.