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Action Spectrum

The Action Spectrum offers a framework for taking actions in mechanistic controlled spaces as well as complex, adaptive, organic, complex spaces and the expectations and metrics to consider for each area.

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Action Spectrum

  1. 1. Action Spectrumportfolio development across the control, guide, and nurture realms by Jean Russell at
  2. 2. Action Spectrum Control Guide Nurture by Jean Russell at
  3. 3. Control Control Closed, simple systems and predictable consequences. Mechanistic. Reductionism works. Short timeframes and quick feedback loops. Most organizations focus attention: place boundaries claim ownership set clear expectations by Jean Russell at
  4. 4. Examples Control Flip a light switch. Light turns on. Record image and sound with a video camera. Turn key in car, ignites engine. Engine runs. by Jean Russell at
  5. 5. Process Control Action triggers result, possibly through a series of cascading actions. If the result does not happen, troubleshoot elements of the “closed” and known system. Improvement comes from increased efficiency. by Jean Russell at
  6. 6. Metrics Control Measurable, Countable Clear relation of input to output Dependable and predictable Zero-Sum Examples: # of parts or products, amount of money, or length of video, rate of production. by Jean Russell at
  7. 7. Benefits Control Excellence of what is known. Known and clear agent or authority. Predictable outcomes. Easily measurable results. by Jean Russell at
  8. 8. Risks Control Monoculture Brittle, non-learning Tendency to stay small scale. Effort needed to “control” grows exponentially with linear growth of size and required adaptability. Which, quite often, grinds you to a halt. by Jean Russell at
  9. 9. Guide Guide Complicated or even complex systems. Interpersonal dynamics. Attribution shared. Most organizations focus attention: incentives and bonuses for employees to cooperate legal agreements by Jean Russell at
  10. 10. Examples Guide Team designs product. Directing the creation of a video. Creating agreements with suppliers. by Jean Russell at
  11. 11. Process Guide Action success depends partly on interpersonal dynamics. If the result does not happen, leverage influence or increase “buy-in” of parties. Effectiveness comes from process improvement and better human dynamics. by Jean Russell at
  12. 12. Metrics Guide Milestone or goal achieved. May be sortable or rate-able. May be unclear what inputs were necessary to achieve outcome. May be non-zero sum Examples: number of “takes” in shooting film, rating of quality in the product, sales numbers. by Jean Russell at
  13. 13. Benefits GuideShare responsibility and access shared knowledge.Flexible, more resilient than control space.Shared attribution.(sharing attribution with you doesn’t decrease my credit! Non-zero-sum dynamics.)Guessable outcomes (not 100% predictable though).A key issue in service companies, managers often resort toproscribing behavior, then things collapse.When guiding by shared values and principles, the systembecomes self-managing. by Jean Russell at
  14. 14. Risks GuideDependency on others.Requires interpersonal skills(non-rational environment).Challenging metrics and more complicated feedback loops. by Jean Russell at
  15. 15. Nurture Nurture Complex adaptive systems. Probability instead of causality. Organic learning. Attribution distributed. Long, if not infinite, timeframes with webbed feedback loops. Warning: power laws live here. Most organizations focus attention: interactions that invite and incentivize encouraging innovation and creativity by Jean Russell at
  16. 16. Examples Nurture Sharing this presentation with you. Share video through social media. Most advertising. by Jean Russell at
  17. 17. Process Nurture Same action can produce a wide variety of results. “Plant seeds” and see what grows fruit. Expect most to fail. Iterate. Improvement unpredictable. Iterate and watch for patterns. by Jean Russell at
  18. 18. Metrics Nurture Sampling of outcomes (full measure unknown). Complex and often multi-layered metrics pointing toward intended outcome but are rarely the outcome itself. Challenging to predict. Wide variations. Examples: eyeball or viewer count within time period, story attributing credit, change or deviation from previous measure. by Jean Russell at
  19. 19. Potential NurtureBenefitsAgile.Resilient, at times even anti-fragile.Power laws.Large scale collective impact. by Jean Russell at
  20. 20. Risks NurtureDependency on networks and others beyond influence.Diffuse authority and difficult attribution.Unpredictable timeframes.Uncertainty. by Jean Russell at
  21. 21. Action Spectrum Control Guide Nurture by Jean Russell at
  22. 22. Action PortfolioEvery organization has actionswithin each realm.Set expectations for each areaappropriately.Metrics different for each. by Jean Russell at
  23. 23. Corporate Example Control makes tshirt in a factory metrics: # of shirts produced/hour Guide designs new tshirt using a creative team metrics: # of hours spent designing, employee turnover, comparitive shirt sales Nurture invites shirt buyers to upload photos of themselves wearing shirt metrics: # of sales, # of views to invitation, # of uploads by Jean Russell at
  24. 24. Philanthropy ExampleControl feed homeless at a shelter metrics: # of meals servedGuide education program to rehabilitate homeless metrics: # of homeless who graduate within time limit, # of homeless with jobs within time limitNurture campaign to prevent homelessness metrics: # of high risk individuals touched by program, story from at-risk youth attributing program with prevention, change in rate of homelessness (qualified by other potential factors in rate change) by Jean Russell at