In a previous post, we introduced a concept of “interactions”. The term is used deliberately for a number of reasons :-

  1. McKinsey have written a number of well researched papers around the topic of “interactions”, some going as far back as 20+ years, specifically referring to the “rise” of these interactions relevant to knowledge work.
  2. With OMG standards such as BPMN and CMMN (which I have been closely involved with over some 15 years) – the standards are based around processes and cases respectively, which regrettably do not fit particularly well with broader knowledge work and collaboration.
  3. Knowledge work has, in my opinion, surpassed process management and case management, so we need new paradigms with which to discuss it.
  4. In business, we now think in terms of “customer journeys”, “employee journeys” rather than processes or cases. Equally in respect of these “journeys”, I don’t believe that businesses see these as “process management” or “case management” per se.

Various industry analysts are also seeing these scenarios somewhat differently…

So, bit-by-bit, industry thinking is shifting, which brings me to these “interaction sequences” or “sequences of interactions” depending on how you want to think about it.

A very simple analogy to these “interaction sequences” are like “plays” in sport. I came across some excellent animations at the Washington Post site which may help to illustrate this Each of the multiple plays for different teams illustrate the starting position, the finish position, and the movements in between to achieve that.

E.g. Start Position

E.g. Finish Position

A game (or match), is made up of a number of plays (or play book). Other team sports make use of the same approach, such as “set plays” in soccer, or in basketball.

These plays are defined, rehearsed in advance, and then rolled out on demand within a game.

Isn’t this exactly what should happen in a business? Its people focused, its situational, it describes the desired interactions that should take place to achieve a desired outcome?

In business, we may also talk about “sales plays”, or a “sales play book” which is the application of the same concepts, but in a business context.

Coming back to Knowledge Work and Collaboration, whilst on the surface these may often appear to be somewhat random and chaotic, underneath the “players” are following their “playbook” of moves. These plays may not be written down, but the players are following these moves as best they can, adapting as they go.

Isn’t it time that we provided a better approach for Knowledge Work and Collaboration, well that’s exactly what we’re endeavoring to do at NolijWork.

If you think this approach is relevant to you and your organisation, join our mailing list or get in touch to discuss how this new approach might better fit your Knowledge Workers, after all, there are a billion of them!

Interactions versus Journey Mapping

Finally, whilst internally at NolijWork we refer to them as interactions, interaction sequences or interaction mapping, if you prefer, you can also call it “Journey Mapping”.

It’s exactly how you might think about making a journey that you’re planning, you’ll break it down into its main constituent components, which takes you between the major stopping points. Then if necessary, you’ll plan each of those journey legs one-by-one.

The critical aspect, is to avoid thinking about these in terms of the “business processes” or “cases” that we are familiar with, because those just don’t work so well with knowledge work in the 21st century!

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