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Generating Ideas
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  1. Work in progress Generating Ideas -- and HOW to use them effectively in practice… Via the OPMS process! Contains ‘overlay’ animations:Please download and save to your hard disk, thenuse F5 key to run the presentation!(The presentation will make no sense at all to you if you just scroll through it!)

  2. OPMS: ‘One Page Management System’ Generic aid to problem solving & decision making Enables (individual and group) users to identify a Mission of current interest. Then elicits their current ideas about the Mission… Then enables them to construct models showing how various ideas may be related to each other… These models are readily developed into effective Action Plans to accomplish the desired Mission! This presentation is primarily intended to demonstrate the following proposition: We all always do have some ideas available about any issue/ Mission in which we have some interest Detailed technical information is available in other presentations: write to gs_chandy@yahoo.com

  3. If you’re confronted by an issue or problem in which you have any interest at all, your mindwill ALWAYShave some ideas about it! OPMS provides simple intuitive processes that enable you to articulate and develop those ideas so as to actually resolve your issue or problem effectively! Step 1: WRITE DOWN YOUR ISSUE OR PROBLEM IN THE FORM OF A ‘MISSION’.(Examples, next slide)…

  4. Here are some examples of Issues/ Problems - and Missionsrelated to them: Individual Problem: Procrastination Organizational problem: Excessive attrition in the Company Individual Problem: “Lack of software to demonstrate OPMS concept” Individual Problem: Poor results in my math exams Individual Problem: Insufficient Income Societal problem: Unsustainable human population Related Mission: “To ensure I earn sufficient income – within 1 year!” Related Mission: “To understand the dynamics of and work towards a truly sustainable human population on earth” Societal Problem: High level of illiteracy in India Related Mission: “To get over my habit of procrastination – within a few months” Related Mission: “To properly understand all topics in my math syllabus – and thereby significantly improve results in my math exams (within 1 year)!” Related Mission: “To create the OPMS software” Related Mission: “To get over our problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months!” Individual, organizational or societal problems – you can very effectively tackle them all using the OPMS approach! Related Mission: “To achieve a level of at least 90% true literacy in India – within the next 10 years” NOTE: These Missions are NOT unique – any problem/issue confronted could have several different Mission Statements responding to it… Each Mission Statement is a reflection of the ideas of the individual/group that generated it.

  5. In fact, your mind has alredy done it for you – think of any problem or issue of interest to you: your mind will ‘automatically’ generate a “Mission” to tackle that problem! For example, think of any ‘Mission’ that interests you – and your mind will of its own ‘automatically’ generate some ideas to accomplish it! If you’ve written down your ‘problem’ or ‘issue’ in words – good! That’s the first essential step… If you’ve taken the next essential step and have articulated a Mission formally – GREAT! That is the crucial step to help take you forward... (In fact, for every problem confronted, your mind would have already taken several steps - automatically!) But it would be useful to recognize these characteristics of your mind and learn to use them effectively by FORMALLY writing things down. So - here’s the ‘First Trigger Question’… (next slide)

  6. Step 2: Ask a ‘trigger question’ Here is the appropriate ‘First Trigger Question’ for each Mission that appears below. (In the Trigger Question, simply substitute your ‘Mission’ forthe words: “to accomplish Mission ‘M’”): You’ll ALWAYS find that – if you have any real interest in the issue under discussion - your mind has in fact already intuitively articulated the appropriate question for each Mission (and probably has also generated a few responses to the Trigger Question)!! Mission ‘M’: “To properly understand all topics in my math syllabus – and thereby significantly improve results in my math exams (within 1 year)!” Mission ‘M’: “To get over our problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months!” Mission ‘M’: “To ensure I earn sufficient income – within 1 year!” Mission ‘M’: “To get over my habit of procrastination – within a few months” Mission ‘M’: “To achieve a level of at least 90% true literacy in India – within the next 10 years” Mission ‘M’: “To create the OPMS software” What to do about it next? Well…just start WRITING DOWN the answers that have come to mind! (Some examples provided, next slides) First Trigger Question: “What, in your/my opinion, are the THINGS TO DO to accomplish Mission ‘M’?”

  7. Some examples to illustrate the start of the OPMS process…

  8. Some examples to illustrate the start of the OPMS process… • Assume you have just a very few ideas! An Example: • Towards an Action Plan for this Mission: “To minimize the problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months” Click on example you want to see

  9. Assumption: You have very few ideas about your Mission! • ZERO Ideas • Just ONE Idea • TWO Ideas • THREE Ideas • FOUR Ideas (later) • MORE Than Four Ideas!

  10. You really, honestly and truly think you have ZERO ideas?!!!! (Aside: I think you are seriously wrong).What to do about that?Simple: that just means you have ZERO interest in the Mission – and you really should be doing something else entirely! “What, in your opinion, are the THINGS TO DO ‘To minimize the problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months’?” But DO check out the rest of this presentation first, to understand how ideas can be effectively handled to ensure that you can always get something productive out of EVERY idea you have… Assume that when confronted with that ‘trigger question’, you have ZERO ideas! Seriously: your mind is a powerful instrument that will ALWAYS have some ideas about EVERY issue in which you have any interest! If you really have NO ideas at all, that is good indication that you have no interest. Give it up for the moment, till you do generate some interest in the Mission… We’re 100% sure that everyone definitely does have ideas on any issue in which he/she has the least interest…(though it’s entirely possible that you may have failed to capture the ideas you do actually have)…(and even on many issues in which there is no real interest)!

  11. Some basics about handling ideas: To handle any idea effectively, one needs to understand clearly and effectively act on the following simple fact: Every idea is ALWAYS dependent on a host of other ideas! The ‘One Page Management System’ (OPMS) is designed to enable you to handle this crucial fact! (Just check out, for instance, how many ideas will develop out of this simple fact!)

  12. To tackle any kind of issue, resolve any kind of problem effectively, these are the things that need to be done: If you do not have a practical system to help you do all of this effectively, you may well fall into the HUGE error of thinking you don’t have any (or enough) ideas to be productive! If you feel you have no ideas that could be productive, then you will for sure not do the quite hard work to grab hold of and then explore the ideas that you do in fact ALWAYS have in your mind! In fact, it’s only that hard work you do with your existing ideas that could possibly make them productive in due course…. • Grab hold of all good ideas available about the problem or issue - continuingly • Record the ideas generated - continuingly • Put the ideas together in the right kind of usable order – continuingly – create effective action planning • Modify ideas to reflect the environmental reality - continuingly • ‘Integrate’ every relevant issue that might come up - continuingly If you do not make the initial needed effort to at least explore the ideas you already have in mind, then for sure you will not do the harder work to develop the ideas that you do have so that they will become usable and effective! The‘One Page Management System’ (OPMS) enables us to do ALL of the above - most effectively indeed! Click here if you do have ONE or more ideas! So let’s take a look that that list once again, shall we?

  13. Ah… you DO have a few ideas! Just ONE Idea TWO Ideas THREE Ideas FOUR Ideas (later)

  14. You have just ONE idea! “What, in your opinion, are the THINGS TO DO ‘To minimize the problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months’? “ And the ONLY idea your mind generates is (say): “To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company” We already know that this element “CONTRIBUTES TO” our Mission …therefore the model of our perceptions is as displayed, next slide… NOW, what to do?Let’s discuss how to proceed on that single idea that your mind has generated…

  15. “should contribute” This simple attribute of the relationship “contributes to” – together with the ‘transitivity property’ of the relationship – provides us with the most powerful ‘Action Planning tool’ possible, as we shall demonstrate… A simple representation of the mental model showing “contribution” is shown below: To minimize the problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months (‘M’) To minimize the problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months (‘M’) “What, in your opinion, are the THINGS TO DO to find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company?” To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company (‘A’) Don’t you find that now you have MORE ideas coming up?? That’s one of the features of this modeling process: the focus of your questioning changes with every structure constructed, and thereby you are enabled to generate more ideas - continuingly! The following logic goes to the ‘heart of the matter’: As the accomplishment of ‘A’ is perceived to contribute to the accomplishment of ‘M’ (and there is no contribution from ‘M’ to ‘A’), one may temporarily just focus only on ‘A’... Now that the focus has changed, ask the trigger question about the element at the new focus – and for sure you will soon find that you have MANY more ideas coming up! ‘M’ is still there - in the background! But you do NOT have to worry about it directly any more, because working to accomplish ‘A’ would be ‘CONTRIBUTING’ to accomplish ‘M’ The prose translation of the above representation of the above mental model is: “To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company SHOULD CONTRIBUTE To minimize the problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months” [also, “ ‘M’ does NOT contribute to ‘A’ ”, though the ‘non-contribution’ is left implicit and ‘non-contribution’ is not formally shown in the representation] …because every action and every step taken to accomplish ‘A’ would also contribute to the accomplishment of ‘M’! The general principle is: Just focus on the lowest level element that contributes to your Mission! Click here if you have MORE than one idea!

  16. You have MORE than one idea: TWO Ideas THREE Ideas FOUR Ideas (later) MORE Than Four Ideas

  17. TWO Ideas Available: Next case: in response to the initial Trigger Question, TWO ideas are available: • To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company (‘A’) • To conduct an ‘exit interview’ with each person who wants to leave (‘B’)

  18. M “should contribute” A To refresh memory, here is the available model with just one element contributing: To minimize the problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months (‘M’) To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company (‘A’) Element to be added: To conduct an ‘exit interview’ with each person who wants to leave (‘B’)

  19. To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who wants to leave (‘B’) We already know the new element ‘B’ contributes to the ‘Mission’ M: “To get over our problem of attrition in this Company” i.e., B  M …so, we ask how it “contributes to” the element ‘A’: “To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company” Does B  A? Response: YES! B  A

  20. “may contribute” To get over our problem of attrition in this Company (‘M’) “What, in your opinion are the THINGS TO DOto conduct an ‘exit interview’ with each person who is leaving?” To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company (‘A’) To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who is leaving (‘B’) Prose translation: “To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who puts in his papers MAY CONTRIBUTE To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company, which MAY IN TURN CONTRIBUTE To get over our problem of attrition in this Company” Step by step, element by element, the model can be built up (using the specific ‘transitivity property’ of the relationship “CONTRIBUTES TO”). There is a useful software available that can help us do this modeling without us needing to do any of the ‘transitivity calculations’ to make a rigorous and correct model. Now, the ‘next trigger question’ for the above model is “What, in your opinion are the THINGS TO DOto conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who is leaving?” The moment this new trigger question is posed, more ideas should immediately become available! The ‘contribution arrow’ from ‘B’ to ‘M’ is not shown – it is implied through the transitivity of the relationship “contributes to” Next slides, we illustrate a model built from THREE ELEMENTS responding to the trigger question…

  21. Three ideas available!

  22. “What, in your opinion, are the THINGS TO DO to get over our problem of attrition in this Company?” • To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company • To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who wants to leave • To put into place policies that ensure that people will NOT want to leave our Company! Three ideas are generated in response to the trigger question…

  23. X To get over our problem of attrition in this Company (‘M’) X X “may contribute” To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company (‘A’) To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who is leaving (‘B’) We wish to add this third element to our model: “To put into place policies that ensure that people will NOT want to leave our Company!” (‘C’) We come to know these facts about the relationships through the modeling software asking appropriate questions of the people doing the modeling – and these facts as they become known enable the software to put element ‘C’ into an appropriate position as shown, next slide… The existing model with two elements Further, as ‘B’ contributes to ‘A’ and ‘A’ contributes to ‘C’, we know that ‘B’ MUST contribute to ‘C’ by transitivity! Because of this inference, we do not need specifically to ask any question about the relationship between ‘A’ and ‘C’. As our models become larger, we get a quite sizable amount of inference through transitivity. We know for sure that ‘C’ contributes to ‘M’ as it was generated in response to the trigger question:“What, in your opinion, are the THINGS TO DO to accomplish ‘M’?” At the same time, we can clearly see that ‘A’ contributes to ‘C’ – and that ‘C’ doesNOT contributeto ‘A’. The software asks specific questions to find out these perceptions!

  24. “may contribute” As argued earlier, we know that element ‘B’ “contributes to” the accomplishment of all other elements in the model, so for the moment we could focus only on element ‘B’, knowing that the accomplishment of this element helps accomplishment of all the others! To get over our problem of attrition in this Company (‘M’) This attribute of the relationship “CONTRIBUTES TO” – together with its ‘transitivity’ – renders this modeling process a very useful tool for Action Planning on real issues of all kinds We may focus on element ‘B’ in the full confidence that doing whatever we need to do to accomplish that element will help to accomplish all the other elements in the model… This is true whether we have four elements in the model – or four hundred! Next, we look at the ‘four-element’ model To put into place policies that ensure that people will NOT want to leave our Company! (‘C’) We have succeeded in inserting element ‘C’ into its appropriate logical position in the structure! To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company (‘A’) To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who is leaving (‘B’)

  25. Four Ideas! • To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company • To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who wants to leave • To put into place policies that ensure that people will NOT want to leave our Company • To ensure fairness in treatment at all levels to all members of the Company We wish to add this element to the model

  26. “may contribute” To get over our problem of attrition in this Company (‘M’) To put into place policies that ensure that people will NOT want to leave our Company! (‘C’) To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company (‘A’) To conduct an ‘exit interview’ with each person who is leaving (‘B’)

  27. “may contribute” A couple of modeling questions later, we find the right location for the new element! To get over our problem of attrition in this Company (‘M’) To put into place policies that ensure that people will NOT want to leave our Company! (‘C’) To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company (‘A’) To ensure fairness in treatment at all levels to all members of the Company To conduct an ‘exit interview’ with each person who is leaving (‘B’)

  28. Next, we consider the usual case:We have a fair number of ideas that would help to tackle the issue at hand, but we may NOT have the comprehensive set of ideas required!

  29. Quite a number of available on Mission under consideration:(This is the usual case in most Missions) “To minimize the problem of attrition in this Company – within 6 months” List on next slide. The model displayed after the list was constructed using the OPMS software, which asks the modelers appropriate questions about the relationships they perceive between elements, does needed modeling calculations - and finally displays the outcome…

  30. “What, in your opinion, are the THINGS TO DO to get over our problem of attrition in this Company?” • To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company • To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who wants to leave • To put into place policies that ensure that people will NOT want to leave our Company • To ensure fairness in treatment at all levels to all members of the Company • To make every employee in the Company a real owner of the Company • To ensure that people who join will measure up to the highest standards • To ensure effective training at all levels • To ensure that each person working in the Company feels he/she owns the Company • To reward people fairly for their work in the Company • To pay valued people excellent salaries (as soon as they prove their worth), good perks and a motivational ownership package in the Company • To enable each person to chart what he/she can demonstrate is a worthwhile direction to the Company • Etc, etc… – Any number of relevant elements may be generated by interested Stakeholders! The ideas available to begin with almost certainly will NOT be the comprehensive solution we need to resolve the issue ‘once and for all’ – real world problems are NOT done with ‘once and for all’! However, we can always ensure steady progress towards a well-defined Mission. Some of the ideas generated may be weak or even wrong. As we model them, our perceptions of relationships will show us the appropriateness of each element and their placement in the model… The ‘elements’ to be listed here were some ideas that came to mind on one person considering this Trigger Question Each organization will have its own ‘separate environment’ vis-à-vis ‘attrition’ – and the best way to find out about that environment is to ask real stakeholders this kind of ‘trigger question’ The process of modeling enables us to create what could become, over time, an effective and comprehensive Action Plan to tackle the problem/issue identified, accomplish the related Mission…

  31. A relatively small number of questions later, the model is ready to be displayed – next slide… The perceptions of stakeholders to the issue are elicited through ‘modeling questions’ like the following: Does, in your opinion,To conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who wants to leave CONTRIBUTE To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company ?” Does, in your opinion, To find out specifically why each person who puts in his/her papers wants to leave our Company CONTRIBUTETo conduct a ‘exit interview’ with each person who wants to leave?” Response: “NO” Response: “YES” The question is then reversed… Click for next question!

  32. “may contribute” Model constructed using OPMS software The model is constructed taking benefit of the transitivity property of the relationship “CONTRIBUTES TO”. [Transitivity means:If ‘A’  ‘B’ and ‘B’  ‘C’, then ‘A’ MUST  ‘C’;(where ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ are elements and ‘’ represents the transitive relationship being modeled)] This is an image of the model made with all the elements on the list. It is too large to accommodate easily on a single slide, so (next slides) we break it up so as to view sections on separate slides

  33. “may contribute” Top level of model…

  34. “may contribute” Lower left section of model…

  35. “may contribute” Notice that there are THREE elements at the lowest level of this model (contributing to all elements above them):-- To conduct an ‘exit interview’ with each person who is leaving-- To make every employee a real owner of the Company-- To ensure the best and most effective training at all levels Lower right section of model: Any size of model may be created. However, we have found that maximum clarity of understanding of systems is obtained when we work with models ranging in size from 5-15 elements and then continuingly develop those! If we know how to accomplish these elements, we have the beginning of our Action Plan. If we do not, then we ask new trigger questions based on these elements… the process continues till we are confident we are able to perform effectively the lowest elements appearing in the model … then step by step we move upwards through each level in our model! The logic that we have previously explored tells us that accomplishing these three elements would help to accomplish all the elements appearing above them in our model… It doesn’t really matter whether we have eleven elements in our model – or eleven hundred: we just focus on the lowest level elements in our model (as they “contribute to” all elements above them)! That’s the simplicity of Action Planning via OPMS

  36. We have demonstrated the following: • On any issue in which we have some interest, we ALWAYS have some ideas • We need never be worried that there are too few ideas – as we can always generate more ideas! • Our ideas may not be comprehensive to begin with (or even entirely correct), but we can always work towards making them comprehensive AND correct by adding systematically to our initial ideas (after we model them via ISM) • We need never feel overwhelmed by any large number of ideas – because by building “contribution models”, we can always legitimately focus on just a few of those ideas, without at all losing sight of all the other ideas! • Systematically building on our available ideas can help us correct our initial errors of thinking; can help us develop a set of ideas comprehensive enough to create effective action planning to help us accomplish any chosen Mission!

  37. The OPMS is based on the seminal contributions to systems science by Professor John N. Warfield. Information about John Warfield’s books, papers, etc: http://www.jnwarfield.comand see also the ‘John Warfield Collection’ maintained at the library of George Mason University http://www.gmu.edu/library/specialcollections/warfield.htm

  38. Free copy of OPMS prototype software available on request! For more information about OPMS,contact: G.S. Chandy(Intelligent Systems for U and Me, Bangalore, India)Bangalore Tel.: +91-80-2847 8881; +91-80-2279 2756 Camp - Mumbai:C/o: Sahi Oretrans Pvt LtdFort, Mumbai – 400 001, INDIATel.: (Direct): +91-22-4033 5424; (Board line): +91-22-4033 5424e-mail: gs_chandy@yahoo.com