Editor’s note: this is a companion to the 9/11/14 post, Are you using models or are they using you?
Examples of models
A model of the Solar System
A large object trailing Mercury that was revealed by solar flares in early December 2011. If your model is that of Ancient Astronaut Theorist, you see proof of UFOs. If you work for the Naval Observatory on the other hand, it’s simply the wake of Mercury’s orbital path made visible. If you are like most people, you say “that’s nice” and order a latte.
Maps are a 2-dimensional models of the earth’s surface. It will help you navigate from where you are to where you want to go. You can hold the relevant part of the map in your head. You can have an old-fashioned paper map or you can you any of several electronic alternatives to store more quantity and detail. As the model gets more sophisticated, new things get introduced. Google maps offered satellite images of the earth, then “street view” and next an overlay of current traffic data.
The Equilibrium Model
The most basic is the supply/demand chart. It says that Producers of goods and services will supply more of a given thing as the price rises. This is represented by a rising curve on the price/quantity chart. (Yes, the curve on the figure is a straight line. Another example of why you should take Economics with a grain of salt.) Consumers do the opposite; they demand less of a given thing as the price rises. This is represented by a falling curve on the price/quantity chart. The belief that the equilibrium price, once achieved can be a stable state is one of the fallacies of the Dream of the Industrial Age. The Supply and Demand model is still useful-to an extent!
Information Technology makes VERY extensive use of models.
I personally use a CMDB (Configuration Management Data Base) and CMS (Configuration Management System) constantly.
The DIKW (Data/Information/Knowledge/Wisdom) model
Data is a set of discrete facts about events. Collecting relevant and accurate data is a key activity in Information Technology. Data in of itself is meaningless. For example, the Server’s I/O is 20% of normal or the room temperature in the data center is 40 degrees C.
Information comes from providing context to data. Information tends to answer the what, where and who questions. The server’s I/O is VERY slow. It is located in the hot data center and that temperature is hot.
Knowledge is applying experiences and insights to information. It answers the how questions. High temperatures in the data center affect server performance. John is currently on duty in the data center NOC.
Wisdom addresses the why. Wisdom is applying even deeper contextual awareness to knowledge. Wisdom means you are able to apply the “Big Picture” to the facts to answer the “why” question. Have John go check the A/C in the data center and call for repairs if adjusting the thermostat doesn’t work.
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Ver 3
The current ITIL model focuses on providing technology solutions to customers and users in the form of services. These services have a defined lifecycle. Each one of the 5 phases of the Service Lifecycle is the subject of one of the books in the library.
Service Strategies are at the core of the lifecycle. The primary concern is aligning IT offerings with customer needs. The process areas of Service Design, Service Transition and Service Operation revolve around the strategies. Finally, Continual Service Improvement encapsulates all the other process areas.
The 2 Laws
Richard Maybury did a brilliant job of distilling English Common Law into 16 words. This is the model I use for interactions among people in the physical world. It provides a model to evaluate political and legal systems as well.
- Do all you have agreed to do
- Do not encroach on other persons or their property
The first law is related to contract law. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties, in which they promise to perform certain actions for and recognize certain rights of the other parties. The second law is related to some criminal and tort law. Violators of these types of laws have committed acts like theft or violence against other people.
The 2 Laws were identified by Richard Maybury and the exact wording of them is the result of a lot of effort on his part. He also mentioned that there may be other undiscovered law(s).
The 4 Agreements
The 4 Agreements is the work of Don Miguel Ruiz, who studied the traditions of his ancestors (the Toltecs) and published them in 1997. It is a profoundly simple model to help individuals relate to others in the world. When I find myself in a difficult social or professional situation, I generally discover that I violated one or more of these Agreements.
Agreement 1: Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Agreement 2: Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering
Agreement 3: Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Agreement 4: Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
The 5 sheaths or koshas
This is a model I use in yoga and meditation. It helps with self-awareness. These 5 sheaths help explain the relationship between body, mind and spirit.
Humans are like a lamp that has five lampshades over our light. Each of the lampshades is a different color and density. As the light shines through the lampshades, it is progressively changed in color and nature. Each layer contains a deeper sense of self-awareness, culminating in the Atman or true self.
Physical – Annamaya kosha. This is the physical body, including your skin, bones, muscle, organs, etc.
Breath – Pranamaya kosha. This layer included anything that flows within your body temporarily. It includes not only breath but water.
Mind – Manamaya kosha. This kosha encompasses your processing thoughts and your emotional self.
Wisdom – Vijnanamaya kosha. This is the sheath of knowing. Decision-making happens here. The ego consciousness resides here as well.
Bliss – Anandamaya kosha. This is the layer of simply being, beyond the mind or emotion.
Self – Atman. And finally, this is the eternal self, the soul if you will.
Uncle Eric talks about Personal, Career and Financial Security by Richard Maybury.
ITIL:Intermediate: Release, Control and Validation Certification Guide by The Art of Service
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz