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  1. Peter Schooff
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  3. Wednesday, September 07 2016, 09:51 AM
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Suggested by Dr. Alexander Samarin after this discussion, so do you think smart processes make people smarter?






Zachary Kelemen Accepted Answer

Smart process drives more intelligent decision making no doubt. The big problem I see with poor process is that it leads to lazy and unintelligent decision making. If you provide the path for someone to succeed there is a much better chance they will.
Zack Kelemen - Digital Process Practice Lead at Rightpoint
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Walter Bril Accepted Answer

When a process is that smart, it probably isn't even visible by people; they simply take it for granted...


Only when processes are broken, people (mostly customers actually) notice and suppliers come up with the "smartest" workarounds... No, I think smart processes don't make people smarter. Failure make people smarter...
Comment
Couldn't agree more with you Patrick. And that's why you need to get (also) in control of your smart processes; for the time that they become less smart... :-).
  1. Walter Bril
  2. 2 months ago
Just don't propagate those workarounds to a new platform when it comes upgrade time. People are smart when it comes to figuring out how to get their jobs done, but when the institutional knowledge wanes (transfers, promotions, departures) as to why it was done that way to begin with there's a tendency to plop that process onto a new platform and overlooking, ignoring, discounting that "why" part.
  1. Patrick Lujan
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Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer

Since process is about coordination of individuals, they do become smarter, as in "emotional smarts". They become more aware of the impact their actions have on other co-workers and vice-versa. And, ultimately, they will upgrade their acts so as to maximize the returns of their cooperation.


The opposite stands as well: a poor process will confuse, frustrate and cause anxiety to people and those are conditions for
[b]cognitive impairment[/b]
(formerly known as "stupidity").
Managing Founder, profluo.com
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sorry, I added while you were probably commenting

and yeah, optimism is probably half cognitive impairment too ;-)
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 2 months ago
Ah, an optimist. Give it time. ;)
  1. Patrick Lujan
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Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

Per the quote, if the "WHY" part is accounted for smart processes can help smart people be smarter, but stupid, ignorant people not so much. Some people are invested in their jobs and want to improve things, others are just punching the clock and, amazingly enough, are usually not held to account.


Solve the people part first, then the technology can do what it's supposed to do.
Comment
Alexander: Five monkeys indeed. Cute cartoon of a thought experiment, but interesting characterization of how business social structures can become frozen.

The core of Clayton Christensen's "Innovator's Dilemma" concerns market leaders who can't stop themselves from adding more and more features, and who are locked onto a high-cost treadmill. The bananas of low-cost features are forever forbidden to such incumbents. Meanwhile, low-cost, low-feature competitors have no trouble climbing the ladder . . .
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 months ago
Patrick your succinct comment packs in rather too much I think. There's a strong ideological component, and we cross domains from business technology, personal agency, workplace economics, workplace sociology, personal psychology, business management, process governance and epistemology (i.e. the "why" of a given process). Yikes!!!

Even the reference to a possible "people problem" is problematic! Please allow me to suggest that the last phrase could be reversed: "solve the technology problem and then people will be able to do what they're supposed to do" . . . : )
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 months ago
Per Bogdan, technology-as-force-multiplier, for good or evil.
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 months ago
indeed, technology will only augment what people do: if they do great stuff, they will do more great (and greater) stuff. If they make mistakes, technology will help them make even more (or bigger) mistakes.
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 2 months ago
Actually, I have to rephrase my previous statement - Knowing "WHY about processes" helps becoming smarter than 5 clever monkeys - http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6828/was-the-experiment-with-five-monkeys-a-ladder-a-banana-and-a-water-spray-condu
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 2 months ago
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  3. # 4

Maybe smart processes can enable people with better decision making, or driving better output/outcome, but it does not just make people smarter.


 


 
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Rick Willis Accepted Answer

Knowledge workers aren't going to become smarter via a smarter process. The benefit of a smarter process is to augment decision making for less skilled workers. A smart process should enable businesses to hire less skilled workers to complete tasks that would traditionally require a knowlede worker to successfuly complete a task.



I worked on a job where we had augmented our process for bringing in paper correspondence using less skilled workers. The scanning and OCR steps would fail about 5% of the time and it required people to hand key in the information. These workers were delivered an image and a single field. That single field was all they had to fill in from the document image. The same document image could have gone to multiple people but no one knew that. That process was extremely efficient and we were able to hire people that had the qualification of pretty much "has hands".


Also, Walter Bril said something very powerful that I say all the time. Failure is what makes people smarter.
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That's why I teach my kids to "Fail Gracefully".
  1. Rick Willis
  2. 2 months ago
Smarter or dead.
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 2 months ago
You are lucky to afford it :-)
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
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It is all about WHY (thanks Patrick). I remember that at one organisation, I configured processes that people who were assigned to particular activities could see only their activities and couldn’t see the whole process. One of those people requested me to allow seeing the whole process for all people involved (even partially) in this process. Naturally, people would like to see that their own work as an integral part of some bigger, organisation achievement.


Also, people who were assigned to a particular activity started to talk to people who were assigned to “previous” activities and to people who were assigned to “next” activities. To improve “handovers” within processes. Smart.


Thanks,


AS
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Jose Camacho Accepted Answer

I think that it can works as a dialectic process. I believe that people can design smart processes based on getting different ways (even unintelligent ways) of doing the business operations, and the people who are operating can learn better ways of doing their own things. So, seeing this as a global process of continuous improvement, involving many people, and each one contributing with his part, everybody have to gain. Anyway, It doesn't mean that each one become more smart, in the sense that it can increase his own intelligence quotient.
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Sandeep Johal Accepted Answer

Upon re-re-reading the question, it occurs to my inclusive personality, that people are part of process (or the other way round). The question suggests a segregation between people and process, as if process has an existential dilemma. So if I'm allowed to have my way, if the process is smart then, everything else (people, technology, rules) is/are inherently smart.


 
References
  1. https://twitter.com/deepology
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Taken to it's extreme this is the "Borg" scenario . . .
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 months ago
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  3. # 9
John Morris Accepted Answer

Deep question! And how to tease apart cause and effect...


So, can
[u]better processes produce better brains[/u]
? (Assume "smarter" == "better brains")


Let's look at the question from both a micro and a macro perspective.


1. MICRO PERSPECTIVE -- All the hype in the last five years about "[url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity"]the plastic brain[/url]" suggests that environment
[u]can[/u]
 influence the brain. Interestingly a particular and later discredited branch of Soviet science proposed sort of the same thing (for entire species) in support of New Soviet Man (i.e. highlighted in the work of the egregious [url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism"]Trofim Lysenko[/url]). Oddly we find now (cf. [url="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674089051"]epigenetics[/url]) that there may have been some value in the research (although at the time in the Soviet Union, the effect was entirely negative.)
[i]Granted any epigenetic effects on process-using humans are likely to be only apparent in the very long term; shorter term "plastic brain" effects might be possible. Aside however from the question of effect one should note that any discussion of smartness and human work can become very sensitive, very quickly.[/i]



2. MACRO PERSPECTIVE -- Today's question was originally formulated in the reverse, i.e. do "
[u]smart people make smart processes[/u]
". There's a whole world of debate concerning the interaction of people and technology. And likely there is causality in both directions between technology (i.e. processes) and humans.
[i]And of course as soon as we have "[quote][b]both directions[/b]
", we have
[u]feedback loops and systems theory[/u]
and all kinds of amazing possible behaviours and system states. And then all the issues which have challenged management from the beginning are in play.[/i][/quote]


[b]What are the policy implications? [/b]
Our simple question today (and last time) concerns causality between inherent human capabilities and process technology.
[u]If there is such causality, the implications are significant[/u]
.
[i]Whoever can [quote][b]master this feedback loop[/b]
will achieve amazing things[/i][/quote].
[b]The policy implication is "double down on business process and figure it out". [/b]
Beware though, with such high stakes, there are temptations and risks too.
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David Chassels Accepted Answer

A smart intelligent process can engage users allowing them to be smarter in seeking the right outcome for them.
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  3. # 11

I say no impact - people are either smart or they are not.


I am not sure there are "smart processes" - maybe there are just processes designed by people and other processes designed by smart people.


Processes can make people more aware of what they have done, are doing, could be doing / should be doing.


Processes make people more aware of what others have done, are doing and are likely to be doing.


"Best Practices" can inform people what the organization has found to give better outcomes. However, does not follow that those who rigidly follow a best practice are smart.


Processes w/predictive analytics can make it easier for a user to pick an option at a decision box along a process template instance.


 
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Eduardo Chiocconi Accepted Answer

I like Michel's comment the best. While we all agree "intelligent process" are an enhanced version of "regular processes", there are different degrees of intelligence. I like to think of "intelligent processes" as those that try to minimize the wrong doings and maximize the chance of the best outcome. I do not necessarily agree that intelligent processes make people more intelligent, but with more contextual awareness and appropriate guardrails, we are helping and improving the chances of people making the right thing.
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Re: ". . . minimize the wrong doings and maximize the chance of the best outcome", works for me.

In theory, the implementation is easy

1) automate all steps (no humans)
2) fine-tune the process to favor outcomes

Except that excluding self-regulating industrial processes and b2b end-to-end processes, the majority of the "processes" most of us work with today are not fully automated nor are they end-to-end, so we need to refer to "processes" as 'process fragments'.

The differentiating feature of a 'process fragment' is there is no convenient end-node objective, as with an end-to-end process..

You end up having to host multiple process fragments in a run-time environment capable of handling any number and mix of process fragment template instances, plus any number of ad hoc interventions.

If we call the run time environment "Case" and the people in charge, Case Managers, then these are the folks who decide when Cases should be closed.

To do this, they need easy access (i.e. at the Case), to a set of Case objectives. When a reasonable sub-set of these objectives have been met, the Case Manager closes the Case.

Therefore, for non automated and non end-to-end processes, there is no direct link between reaching the end point of a process fragment and the, now, Case-level objectives.

Objectives are seen to have moved from plan side to run-time side.

None of this is good news for manufacturers of standalone CEM software - with a proper BPMs you can handle ACM/BPM/CEM/DCM in one application system.

Not the case for ECM, though, where a free-form search Kbase seems more appropriate.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 2 months ago
Retail CEM, of course, has nothing to worry about - their objective is to be able to post an ad relating to what they know is on your wish list on a large screen as you are walking through a mall.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 2 months ago
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