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The Telephone Model

Making things for money can be tricky. Whether it’s a widget that requires logistics and supply chain management or a feature film built on ideation and storytelling, getting people together to make something takes what? Answers could include grit, vision, dedication, skill, or a host of other traits. None of these are complete. On one hand, “what it takes” could pull from a list six hundred long. On the other hand, no single answer would feel like the exception or the rule. The only thing traits have in common in the creation of something is their result. In nature, some creations are the result of coincidence, but day-to-day modern life of creation starts with insight, a need, an improvement, or an opportunity. In these cases, when things are made for a reason, the list of core traits drops to one: the reason.

In practice, this is rarely true. The frustrations of organized work have a common root in their objective, not its composition but its visibility. Industrious endeavors require teams, and the person starting an idea is rarely the one present in the creation of its smallest parts. Nor should they be; after all, isn’t that what management is for?

The practices of managing large teams are well documented and strong, distributing information with speed and transparency when used right. With these tools, we have improved the quality and accuracy of information flowing through our networks.

In optimizing these practices, we have effectively isolated the problems they cannot solve, and the problems they create. We have been presented with a uniquely complex system of tools for communication, and we spend our energy telling one person to tell another person to do something. Along the way, the message gets shaped and mangled by one person telling another person what they think the other person needs to know in order to tell someone to do something so the first person can get what they need for another person. What is the result of this, a message translated as many times as it is collaborative?

This is what we call the telephone model. Linear communication does not support the complex interdisciplinary relationships that form when we make things today. The most important things, the best things, are made when multiple groups look toward one common center. Structure this center with Insight Language.

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