28 August 2007

Ooh, pretty! ~or~ Business principles expressed in pentalateral¹ symmetry

I thought that you might like to see some actual progress. Visibility into the machine – a tenet of solid interaction design. I’m still going to make you wade through a whole lot of words first.

Did you know that I’m a math nerd? I’m no wonk, but I went pretty far in my studies before flipping out (number theory). I never really appreciated my mathematics intuition as a kid, but as a grownup, the knack has helped me shortcut a great many problems (money management, mapmaking, making interdisciplinary leaps: carrying capacity equilibrium can be expressed as a formula!).

So it will then come as no surprise that the way I order my aspirational list of corporate values is as a set of rotating circular pentagonal intersecting sets. Okay, okay: it’s still a surprise.* Just think of it like a Spirograph. If you rotate a sequence of circles around another circle and you get a Spirograph. I rotated five circles around a central circle and dropped the outermost edge. Then I assigned a shortlist of related principles to each section. The outermost principles intersect to generate the interior principles (e.g. Integrity Arete = Accomplishment). I had a tiered values list sketched out in my head but I thought, I bet I can represent this idea in a way that indirectly calls on the lotus characterization of the noble eightfold path. I was probably also inspired by Indexed.

Here goes. You can click on the image below to pop up a larger version.

The intersection of fifteen virtuous business princliples, requiring you to read at odd angles and upside down
First tier principles:
  • Integrity
  • Arete
  • Sustainability
  • Family²
  • Wisdom
Second tier principles:
  • Accomplishment = Integrity ∩ Arete
  • Vision = Arete ∩ Sustainability
  • Diversity = Sustainability ∩ Family
  • Creativity³ = Family ∩ Wisdom
  • Fit Judgment = Wisdom ∩ Integrity

Third tier principles:

  • Passion = Integrity ∩ Arete ∩ Sustainability
  • Optimism = Arete ∩ Sustainability ∩ Family
  • Stewardship = Sustainability ∩ Family ∩ Wisdom
  • Agility = Family ∩ Wisdom ∩ Integrity
  • Transparency˚˚ = Wisdom ∩ Integrity ∩ Arete
* If it’s such a surprise then why did I use this form? I wanted to strongly imply relation between the values, ostensibly imply that much thought had gone into the principles, and subtly imply that this is an enlightened perspective on corporate values. And it’s pretty.
˚˚ For all the harping I do on honesty, I didn't include it in the fifteen principles. Transparency under the auspice of Integrity necessarily assumes and includes honesty as a core value. There's actually quite a lot of that going on in the diagram. I wrote out more than five dozen candidates for inclusion. Many were eliminated after being subsumed by the relational implications of the fifteen finalist principles.

¹ There seems to be no consensus on whether it is pentalateral or pentilateral. Google shows more hits for the former, so that's what I went with. In the off chance anyone cares.
² I mean "family" in the sense of a close-knit unit that shares a common goal and endeavors to protect one another. I do mean to also imply the weathering of various minor snits.
³ This is the only one that I think is patently unintuitive. Thoughts?
I do not like the phrase “fit judgment” but have yet to settle on a suitable synonym.

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