When we want to understand reality we use models. That way we can experiment and predict.
And in some instances the models can be used to "run" reality.
In the early days of science one had to model what one saw and could touch, testing a theory was limited to laboratories of the "leaning tower in Pisa" kind.
Fire, water, earth, rocks and air were the model building blocks for some, and the earth was flat. That was the best understanding of reality.
Nevertheless some tinkered with theories beyond the visible, atoms were suggest as early as 600 years BC in India, but not even a leaning tower would have helped much to test that notion.
Then beginning mid 19th century it started to move and theories could be proven right or wrong giving a fast forward for humanity and with that much of what we take for granted today.
A practical model requires two things: A way to represent real world objects and a way to model what happens between such objects.
Matter became molecules, of which there are numerous to put it mildly, then those could be modelled by a smaller number of building blocks, the 117 atoms known today.
In addition there are forces, and the models have done a good job in representing what happens when you do things to atoms, when atomic objects meet other atomic objects, and what the result will be. Out of which iPods and plastics and... you know, became a reality.
That's the micro level. What about the macro level? The places where tangible or virtual objects meet other objects and value is created. Where "wheels" meets "frames" and "bike builders" and nice "bikes" are created, where "broken arms" meets "doctors" and "x-rays" and is mended and where "issues" are punted to "experts" so "solutions" can be found.
The places that in general are termed "business" or "governments", or for short "organisations".
Alas, here the world is still flat. The models are still based on what you can see and touch.
Or alchemy rather, combining elements of psychology, diverse social sciences, event documentation, organisational hierarchies, business rules and... just like the sciences of yore combining elements of chemistry, metallurgy, physics, medicine, astrology, semiotics, mysticism, spiritualism, and art.
Actually there are no models in this area where objects are directly represented in the model, no atoms, only the "what happens" is represented and through the events the real world objects are represented. Indirectly represented, rather wishy-washy as it is:
- A widget is represented by order sheets, invoices, shipping papers, production reports and traces produced by RFID tags.
- A medical condition is represented by admittance papers, notes from a physical examination, stacks of test reports and images.
- A problem is represented by a flurry of e-mails, hastily created notes on yellow stickers and a barely clear report at the end.
Events documented, nothing but events documented. Am I only a series of events? Is the computer I'm working on purely a sequence of events? In business and enterprise software we are.
Just ask Apple or Dell to give you all "information" about your laptop and you'll end up with a stack of event documentation.
You can imagine how far science would have come if that was their reality, no atoms, no molecules only documentation of events. Hugely complicated, not easily repeatable, half baked models. Bad science indeed.
Thus, bad business indeed.
Represent the real world objects with singular and unique model objects, steer the objects through any required sequence and let such model objects capture what happens to them to allow representation of events if need be.
That would make for better business and a final good bye to business-alchemy and flat-world beliefs.
The time is ripe.