In his only paper (as opposed to hours-long presentation), Boyd concluded that
According to Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics one cannot determine the character or nature of a system within itself. Moreover, attempts to do so lead to confusion and disorder.”
In other words, to even stand a chance of reducing “confusion and disorder,” or “friction” as Clausewitz called it, you have to go outside the system.
It turns out one reason that Amazon seems to work so well is that it understands this principle. In “Amazon’s Friction-Killing Tactics To Make Products More Seamless,” the company’s product management and engineering PMO, Kintan Brahmbhatt, gives several examples of where friction comes from during product development and how to overcome it. All involve going outside.
Readers of Certain to Win will recognize another big Boyd principle, that of cheng / chi.In fact, the biggest payoff from reducing friction or entropy in an organization is the ability to execute cheng / chi tactics. As Brahmbhatt noted
This is where you transform someone from being an occasional user to being a fanatic customer. To add the delight factor, look for counterintuitive patterns in your data.
And again, he gives several examples. As you’re reading these, also observe that it isn’t just chi (delight) but also cheng (“works as expected.”) In other words, it has to “meet customer expectations,” and the article opens with an example where the potential for delight was killed stone cold dead by the thing not working. But that alone will leave you vulnerable to a competitor who not only gives them what they want but delights them as well.