19 May 2006

DAPA Report - Must Read!

This just in: "The Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment (DAPA) project, headed by retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish and including representatives from the military, industry, and academia, has submitted eight major findings and associated recommended actions across the spectrum of the defense acquisition process. The panel presented their findings in a 155-page report, dated January 2006, to the deputy secretary of defense."

I mention this because - brace yourself - the report is actually interesting and worthwhile. It basically advocates pursuit of the FIST (Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny) value-set that I've been advocating for the past few years. That feels good.

Here's an excerpt:

The acquisition process is slow, overly complex and incompatible with meeting the needs of multiple, competing, departmental demands, in a diverse marketplace.

See? Instead of slow, complex and unresponsive, it should be Fast, Simple, etc... You can read the entire report at http://www.acq.osd.mil/dapaproject/documents/DAPA-Report-web.pdf.

12 May 2006

Thought of the Day

The 7-Day Prototype

Check out this story of a very high-speed game development effort at Carnegie Mellon University's Experimental Gameplay project. Of particular interest is their chart of the value of teamwork / collaboration.

One big take away - the value of a good thing (like teamwork) is not constant or linear!

11 May 2006

The Iron Sun?

According to the esteemed scientific research group known as They Might Be Giants, "The sun is a mass of incandescant gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen it turned into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees."

Or is it?

In the late 60's a chemist named Oliver Manuel began developing a theory that the sun actually has an iron core. I mention this because 1) it's interesting and 2) it led me to a wonderful article about how science works - here are a few excerpts

Manuel fits a popular stereotype, the lone dissenter promoting a new idea that flies in the face of the scientific establishment. In the real world, some of these theories eventually have been proven right but vastly more have been proven wrong. Manuel is under no illusions about the popularity of his idea. "Ninety-nine percent of the field will tell you it's junk science," he says. The evidence weighs in heavily against him. If he's right, however, we need to completely rethink how planetary systems form. Even if he's wrong, some scientists say, at least he has made people think.

Although most scientists don't believe Manuel's theory, they all acknowledge that outlandish hypotheses have been proven correct in the past. It seems especially unlikely in Manuel's case, however...

Still, some scientists see fringe theorists like Manuel as an asset, as they make people reassess long-held theories. "Manuel is a little off the wall," Lewis says. "But science is filled with people a little off the wall. Our great strength is to allow them to express their views." Manuel's views got an airing again at the January meeting of the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, DC, where once again they received little notice.

Meanwhile, Manuel continues to argue his theory with an air of implacable certainty, believing that solar physics is on the verge of a revolution. He talks as though scientists need only to come to their senses and reassess the data. "I'm not trying to refute the professional careers of the scientists whose shoulders I'm standing on," Manuel says. "My work depends on their evidence. It's just a different interpretation."

I like this Manuel guy. I also like the bemused-but-tolerant-and-curious attitude that more mainstream scientists seem to have towards him. And remember "outlandish hypotheses have been proven correct in the past..."

If you want to learn more about the Iron Sun theory (and see some of the data) check out these two links:


The Simplicity Cycle

Most of you have probably heard about / read it already, but I thought I'd mention (one more time) that my Simplicity Cycle Manifesto was published at ChangeThis.com.

I've also created a website for the Simplicity Cycle, with some VERY groovy artwork by Ryan McKeel.


More Thinking Expedition Quotes

A brief overview of a few things I heard while hanging around with the EDS Fellows.

"There are no facts about the future." - Jeff Wacker, EDS Fellow

"I reject your reality and inject my own." - Charie Bess, EDS Fellow

"Until a group feels lost, there are no major breakthroughs in thinking." - Rolf Smith, Lead Guide.

The reverse side also has a reverse side. - Japanese Proverb

I hope I managed to take you somewhere today. - Carl Richards, Artist

There is no perfect time to write. There is only now. - Barbara Kingsolver, author

Types of creativity

One of the great observations that came out of a recent "thinking expedition" goes something like this: The question is not 'Are you creative?' but rather, 'How are you creative?'"

The point is there are many types of creativity. One way to describe / divide / understand these types is using a scale called the Kirton Adaption-Innovation (KAI) Inventory.

In Kirton's framework, adaptors tend to accept the problem definition, while innovators tend to challenge the problem definition. Adaptors tend to focus on resolving problems; innovators tend to focus on discovering problems and avenues to their solutions.

Me? I'm w-a-y at the innovator side of the scale. That doesn't mean I'm more creative than anyone else - it just means the way I approach problem solving tends to have certain characteristics.

And despite my tendency to think of the innovative way as being better, I must admit Thomas Edison is a great example of a strong Adaptor who was VERY creative.

And as that famous guy named Anonymous once said, "I'm not sure I understand everything I know about this."

04 May 2006


My new friends over at EDS have a blog that's worth checking out - and to get you started, click over to this entry about massively multi-player games like Second Life, and their potential applications to Service Oriented Architectures.