Systems – a resource mix element

Dr. Adam Tacy PhD, MBA avatar

Editing below here

When we talk about systems in the progress resource mix, we’re once more referring to outward-facing systems rather than internal. That is, systems with which seekers interact in order to attempt making progress. The new client interfaces of the updated den Hertog model above.

And we find that systems can be either an operant or an operand resource.

For instance, a word processor is a system acting as an operand resource. It needs to be acted upon to make progress (“be valuable” if we allow ourselves to be lazy with definitions for a moment). Whereas a telephone menu system – press 1 for account balance, 2 for balance transfers, or 3 to talk to an operator – gives a pretence of applying knowledge to direct calls to appropriate handlers. And AI/machine learning systems are operant resources. Applying skills/knowledge similar to employees (albeit currently in a narrow seam of scope).

Despite the above, systems are not restricted to digital interfaces. The dewey decimal classification used for organising content in libraries, for example, is a system. Where we find many books on innovation classified under the code 658.406. Which represents Technology and Application of Knowledge (6) >> Management and Auxilary Services (65) >> Management (658) >> Executive (658.4) >> Managing Change (658.406).

[to-do: see how Akaka and Vargo’s “Technology as an operant resource in service (Eco)systems” fits in here]

In this element we also include chatbots, digital assistants and the like. Over the years we’ve come a long way from the 1960’s Eliza. For example, on my last few flights I’ve been pleased with the airport’s chatbot ability to keep me informed about my flight, departure and arrival gates, and so on. Getting the info direct to my pocket and reducing the need to keep eyes on various information screens.

And I have friends who use Siri, Alexa, and other similar services on a regular basis. I even tried ChatGTP in December 2022 to see if it (he/she/?) could assist with the difficult question of “what is value?” (it created some nice text, but not the insight needed).

innovating systems

There’s the famous quote from Marc Andreessen from 2011:

software is eating the worldMarc Andreessen

Which we can now interpret in the context of the progress resource mix. Mixes are becoming more system-heavy. Having fewer employees, physical resources, and goods elements. It is these system-heavy mixes that are eating the world.

Progress resource mixes that are systems-heavy and employee-, physical resource- and goods-light, are eating the world CLICK TO TWEET

In the future resource mix, artificial intelligence / machine learning systems will continue to blur the lines between employees and systems. Spohrer et al. (”Service in the AI era”) discuss how AI systems can be automative (replacing employees) or augmentative (enabling better employee performance). AI also benefits seekers by democratizing previously difficult-to-access knowledge and skills.

Who knows where augmented reality and virtual reality will take us (once the over-promising has subsided)? In Sweden, for example, parcels are delivered to a collection point by the postal service, and the recipient must do the “last mile delivery” themselves. The post service’s mobile app added an augmented reality function a few years ago, allowing me to project my parcel dimensions onto a flat surface. Now I can ”see” whether I have enough arm space to pick up my parcel on my way home from work, or if I should drop my bags off first and then go back out to pick it up.

The metaverse? I’m still to be convinced. It will come down to, as we’ll see in our discussion of innovation, what progress does the metaverse offer us to make better. And how does the metaverse reduce the six progress hurdles.

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