Monday, January 21, 2013

Inter-Nation and inter-group competition as a FEEDBACK-DISCOURSE CONTEST


John Boyd wrote his DESTRUCTION AND CREATION essay after wondering why some people invented novel things like snowmobiles out of spare parts from other devices, while others - notably the typical Pentagon & MICC bureaucrat - remained resistant or hostile to creative thinking.

Boyd's prior background was an early BS degree in economics, a stint as a USAF fighter pilot, a masters degree in Industrial Engineering, then continued USAF fighter-plane design.

After writing the essay about his frustration, he supposedly abandoned all interest in fighter planes, and focused on battling Pentagon bureaucracy from within the Pentagon. He apparently refused association with any non military corporations or think tanks. Boyd also never took steps to organize platforms to further disseminate his own, strong beliefs - e.g., starting any consulting firms, think tanks or foundations.

His essay shows remarkable insight into superficial aspects of systems thinking, yet also mentions nothing about neurophysiology, psychology, sociology or mass education. Hence, it - very curiously - stops short of obvious suggestions for how to initiate and leverage leaner/faster/better tools and practices for optimally maneuvering a large system constantly destabilized by it's own ratio of destruction/creation, and then constantly nudging it even further along adaptive versus mal-adaptive re-organization paths.

Many scientists from other fields would read Boyd's essay and say, "YES. SO WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT? WHAT ABOUT THE DOMINANT MISMATCH ALLUDED TO, OUR LAGGING RATIO OF DESTROYING OBSOLETE GROUP PATTERNS (BUREAUCRACY) AND CREATING NEW GROUP PATTERNS BASED UPON ONGOING FEEDBACK ABOUT EMERGING GROUP OUTCOMES?"

It's a valid question. So where DO we go from here? Here are some observations and suggestions.

We're dealing now with destruction/creation of group, national and cultural patterns of behavior - i.e., cultural competition.

Cultural discourse is where group-patterns of creation and destruction are embodied. It seems rather obvious that if we don't practice "group practice" itself, then our national ratio of destruction/creation can rapidly slow to a crawl. Any group not actively and continuously re-shaping it's own cultural discourse to optimize group outcomes will, by definition, increase it's probability of dissolution, and increase it's likelihood of failure.

Do we have metrics for adequately conceptualizing, tracking and managing our net, national level of group-discourse? NO.

Do we have ADEQUATE diverse and actively fluctuating platforms for eliciting and intermediating existing public discourse? NO.

Do we have existing models for tracking and managing the number of catalyst platforms necessary for eliciting and accelerating adaptive rates of creation and destruction in our group-discourse patterns? NO!!

John Boyd summarized fighter-plane combat as an energy-maneuverability contest, and he reduced real-time plane performance models first to those component features affecting energy-maneuverability, and secondly to the FastTransients that affected the time required to initiate re-deployment of component features in different combinations and sequences - i.e. the agility of planes and pilots. He apparently stopped after analyzing only the 1st two catalyst levels affecting system outcomes - having already revolutionized a moribund field. Examples of FastTransients for fighter pilots would be low latency servo-motors for wing-flap controls, instead of sluggish and tiring hydraulic controls, as well as the physical agility and decision-making latency of trained 
pilots. 

Not surprisingly, these general concepts have long been discussed in other fields, in terms of system, species or cultural resiliency, agility, AdaptiveRate, etc, etc, etc. Nevertheless, much of that fragmented discourse is at present walled off in specialized literature, and expressed in jargon not portable across disciplines, nor to the bulk of our electorate - and therefore NOT adequately conceptualized as a whole!

Hence, it might be worthwhile to borrow John Boyd's terminology and describe the outcome-managment for any group contest, from local team tactical-agility to national policy-agility, in simplistic terms similar to those he pioneered while revitalizing air combat modeling and plane design.

International and inter-group competition as a FEEDBACK-DISCOURSE CONTEST.

Group agility determined by constantly mutating and emerging FastTransientPlatforms able to initiate, alter and re-deploy further variants of all existing group-discourse patterns (the secret to OBT&E).

Group "jerk" - the derivative of group agility - is determined by Social Liquidity, allowing steadily increasing diversity of tools and practices from which FastTransientPlatforms may initiate agile selection and re-deployment, in any combination necessary.

Most specialists in various fields may recognize some - but not all - of these highlighted features as crude metaphors for already familiar cultural features, such as markets, market-research services, regulatory agencies, political bodies, sensory systems, integrative systems, motor systems, etc, etc - yet all will find it easy to agree that we lack consensus models allowing agile application of ALL these concepts from all, narrow fields to our general, group agility 
needs. Without consensus models, large group agility is difficult to manage and slow to adjust.

The continuous process of tuning both the patterns and latency of nationwide feedback/response cycles constitutes our net Cultural OODA LOOP. Keeping our COODA LOOP inside that of other nations is our goal, so that our survival chances remain in our own hands. If, for “Decide,” we slip in some other letters, to represent, say, "Upscaling, Largescale Decisionmaking," then we have an even more easily recognizable useful, nationwide, COOULDA LOOP. At any instant, our national Output Gap is obviously a function of our COOULDA LOOP, further helping us zero in on lagging Cultural Agility as a direct consequence of lagging CulturalFastTransients and finally lagging Social Liquidity, itself a function of hoarding fiat to excess instead of putting fiat to work. 


We can then end with the not surprising observation that successful cultural innovation rates track the quality of distributed liquidity provisioning.

Once stated, it's clear that we as a nation can easily do this - far better than we've done at any time during the last 67 years. We need only the vision, will and practice to succeed faster. Alternatively, we can simply continue to dissociate further, and let the USA fail at some point, all for want of continuously increasing our group discourse, group direction and group practice.