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Stop&Think Process


Inconsistent knowledge hampers profitable decision-making. Information passed through the organization could be incomprehensible, wrong, or simply not applicable. Yet decisions based on such information have to be made, usually under time constraints.

The inability to re-use proven expertise degrades three basic work activities:
Daily information processing
At some point errors will cause information flow to become turbulent - rework and extra communications consuming the majority of employees' time. Error-related information processing will grow exponentially from excess information.

Group decisions
There can be little confidence in any group's decisions without agreement on the task and its most relevant information. It is costly to waste the participants' time and knowledge capital in misguided collaboration.

Managing information assets
Using bad or irrelevant information decreases the return on existing information assets and managerial practices. If decisions are interlocked then the low returns will cascade throughout the entire organization.
If all three activities suffer from knowledge loss then the organization will be unable to function properly. The accumulation of faulty decisions can lead to failures such as the breakup of the Space Shuttle Columbia.


By stopping and thinking about the information needed to understand a specific task (solve a problem or seizing an opportunity to improve), irrelevant information can be eliminated and the remainder fused. The result, a portable set of knowledge known as an infosphere, can be easily communicated and re-used. Ongoing decision-making will improve.

Using employee knowledge capital to simplify information produces infospheres that optimize the organization's unique pattern of information use.

The Stop&Think method has three steps: tasking, fusion, and valuation.


The first step, and potentially the most difficult,is to explicitly identify the task, whose purpose is to solve a problem or seize an opportunity to improve. The task itself can be either a project or an on-going process; is possible for tasks to be nested inside one another. Tasks are framed according to purpose, conditions, timeliness, activities, and measures of success; these criteria are drawn from the military's After Action Review.

For an example see
[ Apollo 13: Focus on Recovery ]


Stop&Think Index Once the task has been identified, it is expressed as a series of questions that fall into the following categories: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and WHEN (fact representation). Next, employee knowledge and pattern recognition skills determine the HOW-type relationships between the facts (information) which in turn is fused into the most relevant WHY-type cause and effect relationships (knowledge) to compose the infosphere. The understanding from the infosphere is concisely represented in the keywords of the nine and usually fewer knowledge entities. Certainty grades for facts and information are combined with group experience to produce a confidence level for the understanding represented by the infosphere.

Stop&Think Index
  The Language is the Solution™

The fusion process rests upon the group knowledge building function of language. The keywords can be used for shorthand descriptors, rich search terms, metadata for tagging, metadata for tagging, fields in a knowledge base, and for building an ontology (task-specific language) used to mark up documents using XML.

For more information see the Fusing Information For Expertise white paper.

The elements in the infosphere can be combined in different ways to derive a variety of testable solutions. Once the best solution is determined the infosphere is used to perform the task.

For an example see
[ Kosovo Peacekeeping Crisis: Improved information Points to a Solution ]


stop&think index The ST-Index measures the infosphere's usefulness in terms of the task's probability of success (which includes abandonment). The index is calculated using Bayesian inference which combines a subjective, experience-based score with estimation.

The ST-Index, along with task financial estimated parameters, can be input into a real options pricing model in order to determine the dollar value of the infosphere and individual infosphere elements. In addition, a risk-adjusted return and additional metrics can be calculated for the task. The ST-Index also serves as an input to Flow Potential, a measure of potential information velocity.

For more information see the Valuing Information white paper. For information on difficult-to-value tasks see Estimating ROI Using A Measurement of Expertise. For valuing organizational flexibility see Pricing Operational Flexibility to Maximize Equity.

For review, the Task Team can create a planned vs. actual differences infosphere to identify how successes can be sustained and shortcomings improved.

For an example see
[ Nuclear Bomb Recovery: Measuring Knowledge ]


Model of Process
[ click to view ]


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