Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Requirements … or … dreams?

This blogging area is about coevolution, and specifically coevolution of technology and culture. OK, maybe we haven’t said that so explicitly, but that is the larger process that would include coevolution of technology and business, or technology and work, or technology and enterprise.

How much of this is really about “requirements” at all? The definitions of requirements, as Martin has pointed out, are so dry and pedestrian. Requirements may be compulsory, requirements may be needs.

I like to think that much of what we do, even in business applications of technology, is about desires. Or, in the words of one of our IBM colleagues Sukanya Patwardhan, maybe it is about dreams.

What is it that gets right to the heart of what a user of technology aspires to? What can fulfill their human desires for success? How does this trace back to the levels of the Maslow hierarchy, from physiological survival to psychological actualization?

In a services world, like the one we live in (like the one we have always lived in even when fixated on the product-oriented industrial miracle), the fulfillment of dreams is an endless cascade of services. At some basic point there are people fulfilling their desires for influence, aesthetic satisfaction, or more basic survival and power. Almost none of this is “required” in any meaningful sense. Almost of all of this, however, is perfectly valid from the point of view of human beings embedded in their cultural environment, pursuing their most deeply felt dreams of success.

Humberto Maturana talks about the importance of recognizing the nature of humans as loving animals. This word “loving” is dangerous and largely forbidden in a businesss context, as Dr. Maturana is the first to observe. However, as he uses it, the term is both simple and powerful. For Maturana, love is a relational behavior through which another arises as as a legitimate other in coexistence with oneself. Holding the door for a colleague is a manifestation of the recognition of this legitimacy. Understanding the dreams of a service client is a powerful manifestation of this recognition.

At the heart of this conception is the further recognition that people rarely, if ever, use technology for its own sake. As Maturana further notes, humans are fundamentally languaging creatures. Almost all of our technology, especially in the IT realm, is about enhancing the ability of humans to perform language. We don’t talk to cell phones. We use cell phones to talk to each other. We don’t communicate with our laptops, we use laptops to create e-mails, blog entries and other communications of language.

A question that I am pursuing is whether this perspective of services in support of each other’s dreams, and technology in support of more effective recogintion of eah other’s humanity, might not be a huge untapped and unrecognized source of value.

Stay tuned, for further exploration of these themes.

1 Comment

  • Moving from one philosopher to another …. I’ve found it interesting that in Being and Time, Heidegger differentiates between interactions with people and interactions with things (i.e. tools), whereas the researcher in Actor-Network Theory tend to make them roughly equivalent (e.g. Latour’s “Sociology of a Door Closer”). These models aren’t quite so simplistic, but do represent interactions between human beings and the world of living and non-living things.

    The ideas about dreams and loving remind me of Blade Runner.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

  • RSS on IngBrief

    • Reformation and transformation (Ackoff 2003, 2010)
      In his system of system concepts, Russell Ackoff made the distinction between reformation and transformation in many of his lectures. Here are two written sources. From Redesigining Society (2003) … Systemic Transformation A system is transformed, as contrasted with reformed, when its structure or functions are changed fundamentally. Such changes are discontinuous and qualitative, quantum […]
    • Goal, objective, ideal, pursuits (Ackoff & Emery, 1972)
      While Ackoff’s definitions of goals, objectives and ideals have been republished (and rewritten) multiple times, the 1972 definitions were derived from his original dissertation work.  Accordingly, in addition to the human-readable definitions, some mathematical notation is introduced. — begin paste — OUTCOMES 2.30. End (an immediate intended outcome) of a subject A in a particular […]
    • Pure Inquiring Systems: Antiteleology | The Design of Inquiring Systems | C. West Churchman | 1971
      The fifth way of knowing, as described by West Churchman, is a Singerian inquiring system. (This fifth way of knowing is more colloquially called Unbounded Systems Thinking in Mitroff and Linstone (1993)). The book On Purposeful Systems (Ackoff and Emery, 1972) was derived by Ackoff’s dissertation that was controversially coauthored with West Churchman. Purpose can […]
    • Process-Function Ecology, Wicked Problems, Ecological Evolution | Vasishth | Spanda J | 2015
      Understanding Process-Function Ecology by Ashwani Vasishth leads to luminaries in the systems sciences, including C. West Churchman, Eugene P. Odum and Timothy F.H. Allen.
    • The Innovation Delusion | Lee Vinsel, Andrew L. Russell | 2020
      As an irony, the 2020 book, The Innovation Delusion by #LeeVinsel @STS_News + #AndrewLRussell @RussellProf shouldn’t be seen as an innovation, but an encouragement to join @The_Maintainers where an ongoing thought network can continue. The subtitle “How Our Obsession with the New has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most” recognizes actual innovation, as distinct from […]
    • Republishing on Facebook as “good for the world” or “bad for the world” (NY Times, 2020/11/24)
      An online social network reproduces content partially based on algorithms, and partially based on the judgements made by human beings. Either may be viewed as positive or negative. > The trade-offs came into focus this month [November 2020], when Facebook engineers and data scientists posted the results of a series of experiments called “P(Bad for […]
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal