See things clearly

Throughout history understanding various flows has been critical to the successful implementation of new technologies and subsequent economic development.  As we state in Chapter 3 of The OBASHI Methodology:

“...Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution an understanding of flow – firstly flows of water, then steam, then electricity, then oil, petroleum and components – has been vital for businesses, the economy and society:


1770s mechanisation, factories, and canals – water 

1830s steam engines, coal, and iron railways – steam 

1870s steel and heavy engineering, telegraphy, refrigeration – electricity 

1910s oil, mass production, and the automobile – oil; components; petrol


Over time, the professions of architecture and engineering, and various sciences, co-operated to develop standards and practices for measurement, management, safety, optimization and valuation, to accurately understand these different flows...


...No matter what the political system, no matter what the economic system, no matter what the regulatory regime...The understanding of flow is critical to understanding how the business works and to moving the business forward in order to achieve strategic objectives...” 

During July of 2013 IBM CEO Ginni Rometty spoke publicly about, “Competitive Advantage in an Era of Innovation”.


In her speech to the Lisbon Council think tank, she said,

"...data will mean to the 21st century...what steam meant to the 18th, electricity to the 19th, fossil fuels to the 20th, and it will in fact be the driver of growth and prosperity... [3.20]


And it does mean then that economic policy, social; all policy is going to have to change to support that..." [3.44]

Reading the transcript, another point jumps out,

“...There is the need for integration, common data standards and the free flow of data across systems, agencies, departments and industries. Without that, no amount of technology will be sufficient..."

“free” flow of data is a concept that threads through many complex policy and regulatory areas: security, privacy, law, government, business, finance, trade, international relations.  So if the past is any guide, it will (and should) take some time to reach agreement on standards for data flow, as was the case with, for example, flows of electric current.


But, as long-standing advocates of creating clarity on ‘flow’ in business, it is great to hear Ginni Rometty talking in these terms.



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