Sunday, August 5, 2007

Paragon or Prototype

Many examples can be given for interpretation of any thing as it is influenced by viewpoint which we attributed, in part, as being influenced by a tribal view. To examine a context, we would need to look at the things and tribes that might be involved.

Though truth engineering pertains to things with a computational flavor, we can use a real example for illustration of concepts. As an example, let’s take home ownership, and, in particular, consider a house that was an award-winning model (at least 12 awards) in a new development.

We can identify three tribes related to such a situation: home buyers, developers/builders, and those with the interest, or trade, to make home ownership a positive experience for all concerned. Needless to say, the third tribe is a fairly heterogeneous mixture covering many domains; one question to consider would be the motives and ways to partition this tribe.

In any case, it would not be wrong for a buyer to think that the house is a paragon that represents the best that the developer can offer, especially given that the awards resulted from a review by the developer's peers. As a paragon, the house would have minimal hidden untruths, in terms of risk for the home buyer. A working issue is how can a home buyer know before the fact?

Now, at the same time, the developer cannot be faulted, assuming that the goal is to provide a quality product, for trying to improve his product by applying new techniques and/or material to the house. The goal behind such changes may be improvements in quality or may be reductions in cost. The underlying issue here is whether such changes to an established process would result in a working prototype (did the improvement work?).

The award givers are in the third tribe which consists of many other types of disciplines. Any evaluation process would be constrained by time in several contexts. A retrospective look at the review process could find fault, however the committee would not know before the fact (a priori) whether changes were for the better, even though a superficial analysis might point this way. They do not have 20-20 forward-peering glasses anymore than any of the rest of us.

Part of the owner's dilemma is the big difference between the viewpoints of these tribes. From the buyer’s viewpoint, any experiment is a working hypothesis that needs evaluation within a timeframe that is suitable for allowing all effects of the experimental aspects to come to a natural closure. This timeframe may very well be more than one-year in duration. The builder ought to be upfront about what lessons might have been learned with subsequent houses, perhaps even going back to retrofit the model house as needed. How award-giving activities may be improved is something that needs attention.

The use of paragon and prototype to depict sides of a model that represents what is, or is to be, applies to many more situations which will be an ongoing topic.


05/09/2013 -- Eric Hoffer, longshoreman philosopher and autodidact, and his views apply here. 

01/07/2011 -- A whole lot of water under the bridge with enough backflow to, perhaps, learn something.

Modified: 05/09/2013

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