Johnnie brings up what I think is a riff on the whole powerpoint ranger syndrome and that is Diagrams. He says:
Visual explanations can be extremely useful and effective. The famous London Underground map is a great example, though recent versions do seem to be getting more cluttered.
But a huge number of diagrams make use of shape and colour in ways that seem gratuitous. Visuals are powerful and when used clumsily seem to screw up the signal-to-noise ratio. I have a suspicion that this sometimes intentional: you can take a fairly simple idea and make is seem more important by turning into a diagram.
For example, you often get a simple idea like "there are five aspects to this" that mysteriously becomes a brightly coloured pentagram. The big shape adds nothing relevant to the idea but introduces to my mind all sort of superfluous ideas about space and boundaries.
Here's one I spotted today from Accenture, relating to public service:
I agree, essentially meaningless, for a start, Governance is a dynamic among a number of actors, that they relate to each other in some way (the diagram domain) is a given, what matters is how that relationship functions.And dynamics are much harder to show visually. I've been trying to design one recently for a programme we call E-engage Your community. Its about enabling NFP's to make better use of ICTs.
My task at the moment is to show how organisations all round the country would be able to use a website to manage their own EYC events, from finding and recruiting workshop presenters to creating a programme of events, accepting bookings and handling payments and have all that feed into a budget spreadsheet.
The idea is that we set up a site and when you create your event we clone the tools on the site for you and you can get on with the event management, promotion etc and the mechanics of the rest of the thing are handled by the website.
In the process it needs to embody the various parts of the organisation at a national level supporting the process
Here's the latest draft. If you can do a better job, don't hesitate.
Ideally it also enables me to tag various parts of it and say to a sponsor, "this is what you are paying for and this is how it fits into the process".
Its not clear, bold and simple, you need to follow the arrows to make sense of it. Guess what, life is complicated.
Another kvetch with "frameworks". Not impressed.
A colleague sent me one the other day on a Digital Communities Framework set up by local government organisation in NZ. Here's what I sent back.
I'm interested in the document but to be blunt, it will achieve nothing. It is mostly a restatement of the "we'll fill the air with regulation and platitude and someone else will do the real work" model that has been around forever.Like Frameworks for Governance, hot air, wasted paper and people's time.
It is practically verbatim the same document that almost every governmental organisation has produced for as long as I have been doing this stuff and it never goes anywhere.
Just once I would like to see an action plan that uses the leverage of local government being the biggest purchaser of goods and services in a region and says, as did WalMart in the US and the Insurance companies here, "if you want to sell to us, you do it online". it would almost certainly entail all the regional authorities either agreeing on a "framework" themselves, a common data structure and terminology for their activities and transactions (does that already exist BTW?) or providing middleware to map their local version to the agreed structure.
Then it would require that they all sign up to use the same platform to make it affordable and then probably buying something OS off the shelf from Mexico or India that would do pretty much everything they require and getting on with it.
Instead we get endless anodyne documents full of pious hopes and no action.