In order to think, I act.

That’s a quote from a recent LinkedIn piece, “The Two Types of Speed” by Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, Inc.

You could say that Hiroshi has summarized Boyd’s Conceptual Spiral in one sentence (talk about a big squeeze!) Another quote from the blog should be familiar to anyone who’s dabbled in Lean: “Fast means you must eliminate waste.” In fact, he insists that you must have a continually functioning process for eliminating waste because waste always comes back (another formulation of the Second Law, by the way).

He’s also making the  point that an organization generally doesn’t act more quickly — reduce the time between order and delivery, for example, or between concept and first production — by doing what it’s doing now, just doing it faster. In fact, that would probably create even more waste.

Check out Hiroshi’s piece. What do you think about Hiroshi’s definition of “agility”?

[Rakuten is the largest e-commerce site in Japan and one of the largest in the world. It owns and just invested $50 million in Pintrest.]

3 thoughts on “In order to think, I act.

  1. Chet,
    Are you familiar with Dave Snowden and the Cynefin Framework? Also, Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking Fast and Slow”?

    I’ve been “making snowmobiles” with some colleagues on this two topics, and your post a few weeks ago about the Inner and Outer OODA loops.

    Kahneman’s book talks about our fast thinking, the inner loop, that protects us from predators by giving us an instinctive reaction to a stimulus. Slow thinking is the outer look–identifying mismatches and processing them slowly, more deliberately and explicitly–learning.

    Snowden’s work would take a bit longer to explain, but I find it aligns quite nicely and I would have been incredible to see the two of them at a O-Club somewhere discussing these ideas. 😉
    I highly recommend it.


    • Andrew,

      Making snowmobiles is what Boyd is all about. Good on you! (as he would say).

      I think you may have switched up the inner and outer loops — the inner loop (observe, then orient then (explicitly) decide then act) — is the learning process a la Conceptual Spiral. The “decide” is really “make a hypothesis” which you’ll the test in the next step. The outer “loop” involves the implicit (NOT instinctive, which would be “observe – act” and although fast is entirely predictable) guidance and control link from orientation to action. This is Boyd’s model for activating our implicit repertoire.

      I’m familiar with Cynefin. Between you and me, I don’t find it particularly useful, but that’s not the point. If you find pieces for snowmobiles, then use them!!

      Thanks for the great comment.


      • I knew I should have double checked the inner and outer loops before posting!
        My first impression of Cynefin was similar to yours I have coworkers who have studied it a bit more in depth than I. I think the useful extensions come from the monetized side of Cognitive Edge–the web content, classes, and software they sell. I’m taking one of the classes, so we shall see. It’s certainly “snowmobile parts”, and that’s what counts!

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