Four Pillars: Foundation Trilogy versus edgeperspectives pushpull

When I alerted people to my plans for a Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation approach to underpin the Four Pillars, I got a ping back from John Hagel reminding me about the work that he had done with JSB in this respect, following on from The Only Sustainable Edge. I was privileged to hear them speak about it at Supernova last year. And yes Kevin, I very much hope to be there this year.

You can find the reference to the relevant working papers here. Thanks John.

I took up John’s suggestion and had another look at the model they propose, to try and see what similarities and differences there are with my model.

Here’s what I think. The edgeperspectives model has seven layers grouped into three classes of layer, as listed below:

Infrastructure layers establish connections

and comprise (1) communications and logistics networks and (2) service grids

Performance fabric layers make existing resources more available

and comprise (3) technology enablers and (4) social networks

Creativity framework layers create new resources

and comprise (5) aggregation networks (6) process networks and (7) networks of creation

Okay, how does that look in the context of what I intended?

First, my Foundation piece. Largely covering Moore and Metcalfe and Gilder and whoever, bits and pipes and tin and wire. Consolidation, Virtualisation and Service Orientation against a backdrop of commoditisation. You could say that to all intents and purposes, this is the Hagel and Seely Brown Infrastructure Layers coupled with their Performance Fabric Layers. Yes there are differences, but they are not material, the idea was to submerge all the commodity bits into that Foundation.

For the sake of argument I am going to posit that the first 3 layers of the JH/JSB model are part of what I meant by Foundation, but for some reason (and I need to think about this, see my Empire notes) I explicitly did not want to see social networks in Foundation.

My Foundation and Empire piece in its real sense does not appear to be covered in the JH/JSB model, maybe I’ve missed it. The Empire piece was tongue-in-cheek and a critical aspect for me. The Empire is like any other Empire, some sort of faded elegance riding into the sunset. I try and place the opensource participants, the distros, the stacks and so on in context; show how they have moved the erstwhile vendors both up as well as down the stack, there was no middle any more; show how all this moved the software players even further up the stack, and how large-scale consulting got squeezed out as a result. And what the “in-house” IT department then had to do, from outsource to opensource.

But all that was the Empire piece. The Foundation in Foundation and Empire was authentication and permissioning and identity and security and trust. I want to bring out the interplay between this Foundation and the Empire, how we create our accidental walled gardens, the manipulated “customer choice” walled gardens and why we need to be careful. Reminds me of people taking lard as part of a calorie-controlled diet.

Second Foundation then builds this out, and explains why we need to design things that are independent of device and connect and sensitive to mobility and form factor, why we need platform independence and vendor-neutral stances, how the opensource movement and Generation M and community standards help us get there.

Still no social networks in my model.

Then I move on to Four Pillars, covering syndication, search, fulfilment and collaboration/conversation. My gut feel is that this is where I bring in the social networks that JH/JSB had at a prior layer, and this is also where my Four Pillars are broadly anomalous with their Creativity Framework Layers.

But that which is created and co-created as a result of the foundations and the pillars I placed floating atop the pillars, with the requisite Wren six inch gap. And again I don’t know how this matches with the JH/JSB model.

So there are similarities and there are differences. There are a few things stretched across the edges between layers and models. A few things introduced. Opensource ideas.

This is still early days, I’m happy to get all this trashed and reworked, but given John’s comment I thought I might as well try.

After all, if I can’t try co-creation on this subject I might as well pack up and go home.

More later. Or should I say And so to Bed.

Let me know what you think

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