2006/10/06 18:35 Irving Wladawsky-Berger, "At the Threshold of a 21st Century Revolution", SSME - Education for the 21st Century Conference, IBM Palisades, New York
Services Science, Engineering and Management Conference, at IBM Palisades, October 6-7
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Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM Vice President, Technical Strategy and Innovation, "At the Threshold of a 21st Century Revolution"
Last week, was a speaker at MIT on Complex Systems Engineering
Also worked on Complex Systems last week, for NSF
- Bill Rouse will summarize
- Consensus that what is most interesting about complex systems now, is that they incorporated the market-facing aspects and the social aspects (i.e. people)
Can't have services without people
- Different lenses on the same problem?
- Comfortable that when you design an airplane, you can see and touch it
- When you talk about something that you can't see, who cares what the reality is? What matters is its behaviour, how it performs.
- e.g. wave and particle duality: when you get through the angst that there's no reality, life goes on and it's okay
- We're dealing with designing and architecting these incredibly complicated things that don't exist in the same way that cars and airplanes and chips exist.
- Can have an attack of anxiety or get over it.
- Sometimes a complex systems approach is the right approach, and sometimes a people approach is right, but it's important that they're all lenses on the same general thing, i.e. how do we understand market-facing complex systems that involve people.
- They're dynamic, unpredictable.
- Some of these things you'll automate, the rest you'll provide better tools for the people to make better decisions.
- We're not after automating the people out of the equation; you can't automate the clients out of the equation.
- May want to have people working with an automated part, or with humans.
- In restaurants, menus don't have variance.
- In markets, opportunities are in the variances.
At the end of the day, we want to figure out how to better design, build, operate, manage and evolve these market-facing, people-oriented systems that have heretofore have existed fine, but have been working in ad hoc ways.
- Design is at the root of what we want to do.
- In people-oriented, market-facing system, you're never complete. It has to adapt to market conditions.
- Most people don't like their ERP systems, which were designed 15 years ago when the biggest thing was relational databases and mainframes ruled the world.
- They took a rigid approach to the business processes they automated.
- They told people: you want ERP, we'll automate you.
- Today, we're in a different environment: what parts should we automate, what should be flexible, what should evolve?
One related area to complex systems and services, where I'm interested
- If you're going to design something, you need a model in your head.
- What's the model of businesses, and business models and innovation?
- Answer is going to come from the world of gaming and massive multiplayer online games, where people are creating worlds.
- Creating sim-business or sim-Almaden or sim-Harrod's.
- The link to the interfaces is critical.
- There's not point in doing any of this work, if human beings can't use them.
- Exciting that new tools are ways of visualizing complex things.
- There are existence proofs, question is how you bring them in
- If you're going to design businesses, how do you design them.
- There are experts that design hospitals, bridges, planes.
- Incredible opportunities, but incredible challenges.
- What's appealing about challenges: if going to design a very good hospital, going to your room and thinking about hospitals, we are being liberated so that our applications can look and feel more like the real world.
- Since the real world is to satisfy humans, the virtual worlds can have a lot of richness
- Need to educate and research people who can go out and model businesses in a systematic way that we haven't done before.
- This was done 35 years in manufacturing.
- Universities sent people to the plant floor.
- Now, the opportunities to do this in the rest of the world