Tag Archives: Integrative Process

Announcing our New App: iLiv Composer

iLiv’s new application has been officially launched to Alpha testers, and it has a good name:

Composer

So, what’s in a name?

To answer that, let’s ask another question: what does a music composer actually do? The answer to this question depends on who you ask:

A music theorist might respond: A composer puts music notation on a page, according to the sounds she hears in her head or wants to hear in the real world, and the rules of music theory and notation; the page is then handed to a musician who plays the sequence of notes on his instrument so the audience can hear it.

A music teacher might say: A composer is a really talented person with great musical ideas, and you can play his music if you practice hard enough.

A musician might say: He wrote the piece, I play it.

A conductor might say: The intentions of the great composer are there on the page, and it is my job to manage the orchestra, keeping them all together and on the same page about how it is supposed to sound.

A social scientist might say: a composer sets up a social situation that results in an uplifting experience for everyone in the room.

And here’s where it hits home for many of you:

A project manager might say: A composer is a designer of an integrative process, and I, much like a conductor, coordinate the work and the people, and keep everything on time.

With iLiv Composer, we are focusing on a blend of the impulses of the social scientist and the project manager.

Getting Better at Getting Things Done

The great underserved aspect of getting things done — certainly by enterprise software — is a critical attention placed on process creation.

We simply must put creative attention on bettering the way we get things done: to remain competitively productive; to keep our sanity while herding cats; and to continuously improve. We need our processes to energize at scale – for the bottom line, and for the creativity and efficiency of the team.

We chose the name Composer because nothing says great process better than conjuring up the image of great music composed by a really interesting composer. It certainly beats the greyness of entering tasks in a task management tool or drawing gantt charts in a spreadsheet.

Composer has the potential to be game changing:  Simply put, your concept for Composer has triggered a domino effect of ideas within our operations team on how best to leverage it.  I hope it is clear from our conversations how excited we are to begin leveraging your excellent design concepts.”

This comment came in last week, unsolicited, from one of our most important Alpha users (also a long-time user of iLiv All-In). No drab greyness in this reaction, is there?

In my next posts I will start to lay out what iLiv Composer is beginning to do for high-growth design, certification, and professional services firms.

BTW, the photo with this post is of American experimental composer John Cage. I worked with him daily for the last 11 years of his life. During that time he came to think of his music as an example of anarchic harmony. This is what the Internet is too, of course. It is also an essential design objective of the inspired project manager.

Photo from: http://elestantedelfondo.blogspot.ca/2015/05/john-cage_25.html

iLiv is building a BRAND NEW APPLICATION

Most of you reading this know — and more likely than not — love iLiv All-In™. We know that because you tell us.  Makes us happy.

All-In is the software that, together with training, consulting, and customization, propels us in our mission to help our customers discover, re-use, and refine new and better ways of working together.

We have always based this mission around the idea that there are two broad groups of people who get a project done. We call them Performers and Composers, using a musical metaphor that is dear to our hearts.

With All-In we set out, first and foremost, to support Performers. For 11 years now it has helped people working on projects be more creative and much more productive.

All-In answers, for everybody working on a project, the 3 critical questions:

  • Who’s doing what?
  • What do I have to do next?
  • How are we doing?

With this one product, and a lot of customization and collaboration with our customers, iLiv’s users have realized productivity boosts of up to 1500%. Yep, that’s a lot.

All along, we have known that All-In did not deliver as much of a boost to Composers — the project managers, workflow designers, and process creators that all but the simplest projects need. That’s been alright for us, so far, because:

  1. 90%+ of project team members are Performers, and
  2. If the team members are not being productive and creating value, neither is the project manager.

Well, for the past few months, we’ve been working on addressing that shortfall.

Drum roll Please…

iLiv is building a BRAND NEW APPLICATION!

We will be posting all about it over the next 6 months, as alpha and beta users tell us what they think of it, and give us suggestions and feedback.

iLiv Project Management Composer

It’s still is the lab, and early days yet, but the goals are clear and the features growing daily.

In the next post I will tell you what its name will be. Sharp-eyed readers will spot it in this screenshot from a developer’s desk.

Stay tuned.

5 ways to a better integrative process

bill

We have some pretty fantastic advisors at iLiv and Bill Reed is one of them. In the green building and sustainable design space, Bill is a leader, a thinker, a teacher, a practitioner’s practitioner, an architect, and an author.

Bill’s ideas about Integrative Process are applicable to any team seeking to change the way they work together in order to achieve results that far surpass anything they have done before. So those of you who are not green builders or sustainability overachievers should keep reading in any case.

There is more about Bill at the bottom of the page, but for now, let’s get straight to what Bill has to say:

Any movement towards a sustainable condition requires change.

Moving towards sustainability means that we need to move towards understanding how life works. This means we need to engage in the awareness of complex systems interaction. While most people may feel that they are “systems designers” by the very nature of their work in delivering complex projects, they typically are not working at the level of finding deep synergies among the multiple human and technical systems involved. Nor are they deeply considering how the people processes within the project team, and the living systems beyond, are engaged in a way that inspires long-term health.

Here are 5 ways to a better Integrative Process:

1. Understand the invisible living and operating connections and patterns in and beyond the project

Sustainable design requires a different mindset or mental model. This model is able to look at systems in a more complex way. Instead of looking at just the physical elements of the building, the invisible connections between the elements need to be understood. These invisible connections and patterns, for example, may be manifest in the downstream impact of toxins in building materials, the multiple efficiency and cost relationships between the many variables in an HVAC system and the building envelope, or the impact on social systems due to logging practices or any raw material extraction. At the social scale, it may be engaging in helping the client understand how to be in a more powerful and community building relationship within the place you are building. From an environmental perspective it can mean identifying the healthy patterns of life in the watershed within which you are building and developing new patterns of relationship as part of the process of design.

2. Engage your team beyond just coordination

Sustainable design is not simply about the “coordination” of design features. A rigorous level of enthusiastic and early engagement by all participants is required. A deep understanding of the tools and processes used to explore and make evaluations is required. Since no one has all of this knowledge himself or herself, the role of the team takes on great importance. A systems approach requires a collaborative approach.

3. Don’t be “experts”, be “co-learners”

The very strength of the integrative approach has in it a potential weakness: fostering and working within a collaborative framework is hard because we have been trained to be “experts”. The client expects it, and the team members feel they need to exhibit it. But the basis of a systems approach is the establishment of a network of mutual learning. It is essential to move from being experts to being co-learners. The nodes of individual knowledge that each team member embodies are important, but the network of collective knowledge is far greater and more powerful. Click here to learn about an online collaborative process tool that focuses teams’ collective knowledge through ongoing integrative process.

4. Ask questions, question assumptions, reconsider conventions

The role of questioning is critical in order to inspire answers beyond the conventional. By far, most successful green projects (i.e., projects that achieved the high environmental goals they originally set out to achieve) have done so because the teams had a willingness to ask many questions about the potential beneficial relationships between all the systems in the building, site and region, and to explore many different ways to reach toward better ecological integration. Environmental concerns were not secondary, but neither were they dominant: there were an integral part of the design. The usual “right” answers were never assumed; in fact, they were always questioned. Click here to learn more about one of our projects.

5. Take pleasure in change, and being changed

A mental model that is open and willing to change the way things are done drives the successful integration of green design. Change can be hard. But the process of changing is actually the most exciting aspect of reaching towards sustainability. It is the change of perspective, the change of heart, and the fundamental reawakening to, and awareness of, our deep integrative relationships with the systems of life that makes all this effort worthwhile.

About the author, Bill Reed:

Bill Reed is an Architect and leader in systems thinking. His work centers on managing and creating frameworks for integrative, whole-systems design processes. He is president of the Integrative Design Collaborative, and a Principal of the regenerative planning firm Regenesis.

Bill has been an advisor to iLiv since 2011. He served as co-chair of the LEED Technical Committee from its inception in 1994 through 2003, was a member of the LEED Advanced faculty and one of the first twelve United States Green Building Council trainers of the LEED Rating System, and was a founding Board Member of the USGBC.

Bill is the co-author of “The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability“, and has written numerous articles on Regenerative Development and Design. He currently serves on the boards of Yestermorrow and AWE, and is an advisor to Environmental Building News.