Architectural Thinking to the Rescue

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Architectural Thinking to the Rescue

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Posted January 17, 2017 in Business & Enterprise Architecture Cutter Business Technology Journal
CUTTER BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY JOURNAL,  VOL. 29, NO. 12
  


Living in a Post-Truth World

2016 surprised most of us with two big political decisions that we didn’t expect. Britain had a referendum that returned a vote to leave the European Union — popularly known as “Brexit.” And the US voted for a business and property magnate who had never held elective office as its next president.

Commentators around the world have analyzed these two results, and the consensus seems to be that these political battles have ushered in a new era of politics in which the truth and rational debate are less important, and emotion, lies, and propaganda are more likely to sway voters.

What does this mean from an enterprise architecture perspective?

Well, first of all, it shows that we have reached a tipping point in our use of information, communications, social, and Internet technologies. In some situations, facts and understanding don’t matter; only opinions and emotions do. This is actually quite a radical change!

And this change has increased the need for architectural thinking, which means:

  • Thinking about things holistically

  • Thinking about how changes in one arena have a huge rock-on impact in other areas

  • Thinking about interdependence

  • Thinking about interrelated systems

  • Thinking about chaos and complexity, and so on

When a majority of people are not thinking about these connections and links, it behooves others who have the needed skills, experience, and techniques to do so.

So my first prediction is that we will need a whole lot more architectural thinking to explain the complexities of modern life so that ordinary people will have a balanced view that includes emotions and facts, opinions and reality. Only in this way can we come up with clever ways to make our planet sustainable and fair forall living creatures.

From Installing High-Speed Internet to Leveraging It

My second prediction is that, while some parts of our world are still without any form of Internet, those that have it are steadily working to make it faster and faster. OK, we know that bit. But what hasn’t happened yet is figuring out how to truly exploit that newfound speed. Many people and enterprises get faster Internet and just use it to do the same old things, only quicker.

So my prediction is that we will increasingly see people taking another look at what high-speed Internet gives us and leveraging it in exciting new ways. We might ask, for example, how we could use better and faster connectivity to:

  • Improve the provision of healthcare

  • Ease traffic congestion and provide genuinely well-integrated transportation networks

  • Optimize our use of scarce, global energy resources

  • Deal with the threats of epidemics, terrorism, and/or environmental disasters

You May Say I’m a Dreamer ...

Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe I’m too optimistic about the possibilities of architectural thinking and leveraging our information assets. But maybe making predictions is all about putting ideas out there and letting them grow into trends that really do make a difference! Whatever happens, I wish you the very best for 2017.

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About The Author

Roger Evernden, Senior Consultant

Roger Evernden is a Senior Consultant with Cutter Consortium's Business & Enterprise Architecture practice. He has been an enterprise architect since 1984, specializing in the highly practical use of EA to manage organizational transformation. Mr. Evernden acts as advisor, mentor, and coach on EA initiatives, leads training workshops, and writes regularly... Read More

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I am not sure that architecture is needed... but more of a Systems Thinking and engineering mindset is needed, in my opinion. Maybe it is semantics... not sure. While that is what is needed to deal with the current behemoth that is Large Government, a far superior solution is to avoid the problem! The average citizen should not have to care about such large-scale elements, and instead concentrate on living their life within a safe and free government with the bare minimum impingement on its citizens. Therefore, a better solution is to get rid of such monstrously complex systems that serve no master other than growing and protecting their own size and reach. Reduce the "distance" between the user and the systems that affect their lives.

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Thanks for your comment. The distinction between architectural thinking and systems thinking is subtle, and they certainly have a symbiotic relationship! I would say that systems thinking is great for studying the behaviour of an existing system; architectural thinking operates at a different level of understanding, and is great for avoiding the problem or getting rid of the problem.

You might find this link interesting - it explains the Levels of Architectural Understanding, and distinguishes between architecture and systems : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/levels-architectural-understanding-roger-...

Roger

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