Architecting Value

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Information about Architecting Value

Published on March 24, 2009

Author: mmilan



A presentation on the relationship of information architecture to systems, frameworks and strategy. Presented at the 2009 IA Summit.

Architecting Value

Matthew Milan mmilan design of design, situated/ubicomp, strategic theory, hardware hacking

Horror Stories Or, what happens when you poke a business without a framework.

Let’s hear your horror stories

This is what happens when you poke a monster without understanding its nature.


Today systems oo frameworks oo strategies oo actions

Let’s level set We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy

Bruce Sterling, Economist

Jeanne Liedtka, Futurist

“He who can handlequot; the quickest rate of quot; change survives”

John Boyd, Designer grandstrategic oo strategic oo grandtactical oo tactical

Bruce" Jeanne" John. What happened to Jesse, Peter and Lou?

We need to expand our repertoire.

A mental tapestry of changing intentions for harmonizing and focusing our efforts as a basis for realizing some aim or purpose in an unfolding and often unforeseen world of many bewildering events and many contending interests.

To improve our ability to shape and adapt to unfolding circumstances, so that we (as individuals or as groups) can survive on our own terms.

Great strategy is not about competition.quot; Great strategy is about adaptation.

Observequot; Orientquot; Decidequot; Act

A way of thinking about survival and success.

Structural Strategy

Knowing what to do next

Getting value out of a system

Structure is power

Building structures creates power

Architects build structures

Architects work with systems Systems connect information

In systems, information=value Mapping that value is the domain of frameworks

How do you work quot; with systems?

Know what, where, why and how to poke

What" Where" Why" How.

Observe" Orient" Decide" Act.

System" Framework" Strategy" Action.

The art of the poke

I promise you, there is information architecture in these brambles, thickets and dark forests

The great ice age

Futures under glass

The thawing

Shattered glass

The future of business is flexible frameworks Just like the future of the web

Futures under plastic

Structural Strategy

The web is a social machine

Business is a social machine

When you wake up, your business model will be a financial graph

How long did it take to get to the readoowrite web?

Where’s my readoowrite business?

10 years ago You had to know how to survive in a business

3 years ago You had to know how to speak the language of business

Today If you’re not changing the business, you should just go home

What we’re learning is that you don’t need to lead the business to change the business.

It’s all about the poke. POKE!

Ceci n'est pas une système

Businesses are not models Businesses are systems

Systems Thinking There be frameworks here

You change systems with inputs

You know where to poke with frameworks

Strategy is poking with intent to create value That’s the “why” you poke part.

In the end, it’s about understanding the outcomes of your poke in the greater business ecosystem

Build a framework to understand how you can change a system to execute a strategy through tactical actionsquot;

Make your framework flexible and your strategy will be adaptable.quot;

Revise your framework, so that the model more closely represents the real world.

Being in a state of adaptability will ensure that you are always able to find and surface the value in systemsquot;

There is no spoon

The art of the end-run

Good end-runs quot; are like zombies


Most businesses have a limited view of how they monetize the value they generate.

Outcomes, not incomes

Design the ecosystem, not the design

Frameworks are the new sitemaps

Strategies are the new wireframes

Information Architecture is Strategy

A final thought Salmon swim upstream

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