Thursday, September 09, 2004

The leap of faith

I am particularly struck by the lack of ownership in all this. There is a system of accountability in place that actively precludes anyone actually taking responsibility for the nature and rationale of the projects as a whole. No-one in a position of formal accountability can say what Trevor has just said, but what can accountability mean if that is the case? There is an underlying belief in this assessment culture that systems can be built from rationally chosen/developed pieces and that the whole is only ever the sum of the parts.

I understand from Bill's books that for all large systems there is a leap of faith to be made by the builder, that what appears to be a viable design will actually have the intended effect in the real world. If we ask ourselves who is in a position to own and take this leap of faith we find that such positions have been systematically excluded from the process of development. I do not think this is an accident.

If we ask the question the other way round - what would it take to find and support someone with suitable talents to make the crucial judgements, we can see just how far from sanity the culture has got. At this level systems fail because there is no-one in a position to get them to succeed. Trevor's statistic are a measure of the madness that can ensue when we try to build a system without building it.

What I suggest we do is to dig for the crucial design parameters and system intentions that have not been adressed and without which these systems cannot possibly have the effect they are designed to. I think Trevor already has insights in this direction, but I think they want to be expressed at the level of bullet points.

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