Bookcase : Enterprise Designer – Building a Conscious Organization


• Bill Aronson
• Lulu
• RRP $35.95

Okay – I have to admit right up front that I don’t have the sort of mind that finds organisational modelling sexy and this book, with its flowcharts and neatly joined-up boxes, looks dauntingly geeky. That said, its premise is pretty compelling: good design is great tool for dealing with complexity – and that’s as true for organisations as it is for buildings or jumbo jets.
What Bill Aronson offers with Enterprise Designer is framework or context that encompasses all the various elements, operations, and processes that happen within an organisation. He’s also helpfully defined just how many of them there are – 26. And yes, each has been designated letter of the alphabet.
Interestingly “Z” stands for “cuZtomer” because that is where all the other components are leading. In fact, it was the notion of redesigning an organisational model from client’s perspective that provided the “eureka” moment that led to this book, as Aronson explains. “As soon as we changed our perspective to see the organisation as the client sees it, everything dropped into place. We realised it was possible to create simple model of any organisation from just 26 elements.”
It’s model that not only clarifies how all the bits mesh together but provides useful tool for analysing business activity. It gives managers the data needed for good decision making and enables them to start thinking strategically because they have the basis for holistic approach to their organisation.
As Aronson points out, an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world makes it impossible for any one person to have all the key information in their head. Often systems and processes live only in the heads of those that carry them out daily, which could create costly gaps when the holder of that information moves on. In future, Aronson suggests, the biggest asset an organisation can have is not so much its people as its own self knowledge.
At this stage, it all starts making lot of sense. Why on earth are complex modern organisations relying on the sort of word-of-mouth wisdom used by organisations back in the 1800s? We have sophisticated IT platforms that can model how redesigned planes will fly – but not how restructured organisations will run. That’s in part because “enterprise architecture” got somewhat lost at the IT level and didn’t make it to the CEO dashboard.
This book and its companion workbook sets out to change all that.

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