David J. Cox  Explanation by Pattern  PHILOSOPHY


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Here are some of my strong beliefs. They come from my experience with FLIPP Explainers users and with creative problem solving teams.  I hope these beliefs prove useful to you.

One main ‘parent’ belief overarches its ‘children’:  that it is crucial that we dramatically change (not merely improve) how we treat each other – that we learn different attitudes and learn different tools to call forth the best in each other – so we speak, write, gesture, listen, read, plan, and respond as when we are deeply involved with each other – like friends, team, or family -- even with people we don’t know.  This is important (just my personal belief) because we cannot be our best in separation.  Being our best is facilitated from outside ourselves. We serve when we facilitate the best in others.

How often do people communicate successfully?

I believe we often leave each other blinking and coughing in the dust of confusion and uncertainty caused by:

  • unstated assumptions
  • non sequiturs
  • incomplete statements
  • poorly stated questions
  • illogic
  • warped or assumed definitions
  • words contradicted by non-verbal cues
  • distractingly poor grammar, misspellings, mispronunciations
  • And astounding irrelevancies like the juxtaposition of advertising for birth control and intestinal gas from overeating mixed in with ABC TV's World News Tonight (the news exemplar) sophisticated, technically brilliant films of corpses from war.  We see these replayed in millions of homes.  Reality’s once is not enough.

I think we’re off-track 90 percent of the time. We try to understand by guessing what is meant, often pole vaulting across chasms void of logic.

The best statement of my ‘parent belief’ philosophy came from a friend -- Marta Donahoe, founder and now Program Director of the first Montessori public high school in the United States.  In 2005, Clark Montessori here in Cincinnati graduated 98% of its seniors, all of whom are attending college or other post secondary training.  67% of seniors received scholarships.  Of the $4,225,000 awarded to the class of 2005, 91% were merit-based.  The racial make-up of the students at Clark is a microcosm of that of the City of Cincinnati – about 50% African-American – a fact of pride.

The statement in Marta’s recent e-mail to me that seemed so apt about how students and staff at Clark treat each other is  “...
honoring and calling forth the basic goodness in every person.”

Interestingly, this quote by Bob Castellini, the brand new CEO of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer May 4, 2006: "My greatest satisfaction in life is enabling other people to succeed...." From an article on page B1 subtitled "Reds down-to-earth CEO becomes an instant hit" by Paul Daugherty, Sports Writer for the Enquirer.

One way to “honor and call forth” is to work at our being clear to each other. In turn, a way to be clear when things are complex is to avoid muddy instructions, puzzling words, verbose descriptions, strange symbols, uncertain explanations.  This is what this FLIPP Web site has been about.

A second way to “honor and call forth” is to facilitate each others’ creative teamwork skills.  It requires having tools of creative teamwork.  These are easily acquired, easily available.  A Web site is being developed for Cincinnati regional leaders and residents to facilitate each others’ participation in our own governance.

A third way to “honor and call forth”  is to define key words like knowledge, reasoning,  logic,  system,  etc.  FLIPP and creative problem solving use many commonly used words in special ways.  For example:

Flipp knowledge   Ability to accomplish something not easily learned.  Not just ‘knowing’ about something.  Not just being able to recite a lot of facts about something.

Flipp representation...A model of something else that is intended to function for that something else in some way.

Flipp system.....A collection of parts whose functioning depends on how the parts act in teamwork, and which collection results in changes or accomplishments that are different from the parts themselves.  A baseball team produces wins, losses, and entertainment.  These accomplishments don’t at all resemble or function like the ‘parts’ of baseball:-- players, the diamond, the turf, the scoreboard, the bats,  gloves,  bases,  baselines,  the rules;  umpires,  uniforms,  the crowd, etc.

Flipp explainers....Diagrams of a particular style whose purpose is friendly usefulness for system owners and users, and whose parts consist mainly of stylized proximate chunks organized generally top-down to represent all the user scenarios available in a system.  Explainers consist of content plus logic, each in radically different form.  Explainers could be called Flipp understanders.

Flipp form.........A characteristic form or shape or layout. Checkerboards, baseball diamonds, phone books are examples of different forms.  Text and speech are usually in linear form.  Logic usually involves choices and therefore often is not linear.

Flipp content.....Information in any form or language which refers to some subject.  As opposed to information about how that information is connected (organized) for users.  Content is usually language-specific

Flipp logic      Information represented as line drawings of a particular style (as opposed to words, symbols, signs, formulas, etc.) which show how the parts of a system are connected to form all the user scenarios of that system.  Flipp logic is not language-specific. Flipp frameworks don’t use language.  In this way, logic in Flipp form requires no translation.

Flipp chunk or frame...A logic ‘part.’  The parts of a system which are connected by logic connectors.  One moves easily among the correct ‘parts’ because they are seen as physically touching, “contiguous”

Flipp teamwork.The use of quickly-learned ‘teamplays’ even by temporarily-established groups which need not be formal teams in established organizations.

Flipp user..........People, or systems that use other systems.  Managers of systems often use system models (for example, FLIPP explainers) to explain to new clients how to use a given system.

A fourth way to “honor and call forth” is to recognize peoples’ contributions.  For example, here are some contributors to FLIPP over the years.  Some will seem unusual.  Titles are omitted:

1.  People who took time to use FLIPP and who wrote often extensively about their experience with it – some of whom are quoted – excerpted -- in the User Comments section of this site.  These are mostly P&G people.

Al Baharani
Andy Goldscheid
Art DiMartile
Bob Elgin
Bob Fittes
Bob Lohry
Bruce Coffin
Bruce Lavash
Bruce Martin
Carol Pohl
Dave Tennant
Dorothy Crouch
Frank Sillett
Gene Otting
J. Hersman
J.A. McMurrer
Jack Wimber
Jim Ott
Joe Henry
Joel Kahn
John Bennetto
John Clegg
John Dashiells
Kevin Powell
Loyd Crawley
Mike Weingarten
Pat Schur
Paul Sobol
Pete LaPresto
Peter Hargraves
Phil McKee
Rita Eberhardt
Ted Thompson
Teresita M. Guillaume
Vern Stephens
Walt Heilman

2. People who encouraged.  Mostly P&G.

Al Gast
Art Spinanger
Jack Hughes
Jim Scott
Joan Levo
John Valerius
Mary Leurck
Paul Howard
Peter Beuret
Ted Fettig 
Ted McNitt
Walter Emmerling

3. Friends and family

Andrea Cox
Annulla Linders
Betty Cox
Brynn Ballou
Clifford Cox
Dan Marshall
Deborah Heldman
Dennis Rosenbeck
Gary Cox
Grace Cox
Jamie Ballou
Jay Gates
Jill Hoelle
Joan Staubach
Joe Staft
John Norman
Laura Sabiers
Leslie Ghiz
Michael Mauch
Patricia Trubow
Paul Sturdevant
Ray Olson
Stan Hertzman
Steve Goforth
Steve Humphrey
Sue Grafton

4. Internet friends who I have never met

Frithjof Dau
Gary Richmond
Harry Delugach 
Jean-Luc Delatre
John Sowa
Simon Polovina

5. Others

Ben Heppner Diana Krall Rebel, our dog



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