Business Thermodynamics: The Art and Science of Creating Flow in Living Systems

In the lean community, when we talk about promoting flow in systems, what are we really talking about? It turns out that in the natural world nearly everything flows. Those flows tend to behave in predictable ways. Similarly, within organizations, there are flows that have very predictable patterns. We can use the knowledge of flow in the natural world to help us reveal useful flows within organizations. We can also use our understanding of the patterns of flow to help us improve flow within organizations.

Using the Constructal Law as a starting point we will explore the flows within our own organizations. We will examine how People, Work, and perhaps most importantly, emotions ebb and flow. Come see how a deeper, more meaningful understanding of flow can help you achieve high performance within your own organization.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

There are two premises that provide the foundation for this work. The first is that there is value and utility in being able to see all of the flows within an organization. Detecting flow enables us to identify where things move rapidly, and conversely where they are slow or even have blockages. Flow helps us see how the organization truly works. Second, once we are able to detect these flows, we are now able to hypothesize about how we might improve flow - and we can use patterns from the natural world to help enable that improved flow.


1.Introduction to the Constructal Law

2.Finding flow

3.Types of flow

• Requirements
• Code
• Tests
• Documents.
• Paychecks
• Funding
• Expenses.
• Passion
• Fear
• Attraction.
• traffic
• congregations
• collaboration

4.Patterns of Flow (what we've learned from Thermodynamics)

• Fast and slow
• Emotional Flow

5.How you can use Flow

• Measurement
• Removing Impediments
• Influencing change


Learning Outcome

  • Learn about the dynamics of the following flows: Ideas, Requirements, Culture, Process, Hierarchy, People, Value, Product
  • Understand the fundamentals of flow and how to promote it
  • Examples of emotional flow in large organizations

Target Audience

Experienced Agilists looking for find the edge of the world

Prerequisites for Attendees

Agile Fundamentals

schedule Submitted 2 years ago