Schlagwort-Archive: Ecological

The appropriate metaphor field provides many images

A metaphor effects through the mental links that the addressees add, especially if the images are coherently from one subject area, the so-called metaphor field. The most effective topic areas can be determined with the targeted audience through conversations, evaluations of publications, and the consideration of previous statements. The mental worlds found provide clues to real, emotional, and strategic interests. Many images are available through the thoughtful choice of subject areas to increase the impact on the targeted groups.

The following overview offers possible topic areas and some food for thought on the use of metaphor fields.

  • Societal
    Society is composed of various groups and actors that form communities spatially, economically, and culturally. You find the analogies in multiple roles (e.g., gender, socialization, relationship, professional, and cultural), social forms (e.g., family, horde, tribe, village, clan, and nation), the comparable phases (e.g., development, growth, consolidation, and decay), and other characteristics. In enterprises, social groups evolve in the biz functions or on hierarchical levels or across them based on subject areas and other commonalities (e.g., gender, age, and education). Social metaphors promote team building – e.g., the company as a family; the company’s entrepreneur; life’s not easy at the bottom.
  • Architectural
    The art of building provides commonalities along the life cycle of artifacts – designing, creating, constructing, and building buildings, cities, and landscapes. The results range from sketches, models, and shells to facades, interiors, facilities, plumbing, and networks. Different building shapes additionally stimulate the imagination: e.g., the tower; the bridge, the pillars; the palace, the castle, the country house. Architectural metaphors follow everyday experiences: e.g., all show and no substance; co-operations require bridgeheads; ideas stand on shaky pillars.
  • Physical
    Bodies are the material building blocks and functions of living things and artifacts: mammals with their limbs and organs, e.g., the heart, the brain, and the gut; things with their components, e.g., commodities or artistic objects, and the activities associated with them, such as chopping, storing. Popular images of people are, for example, he lacks backbone; putting their heart into their efforts; the gut decision. Things like the bucket, the sieve, the knife, etc., provide mental links through their functionality – e.g., the nervous system for IT networking, arm length for the scope, the dull knife for lack of effectiveness.
  • Technical
    The constructed, man-made world of tools, machines, and computers represents a mechanistic worldview. In recent decades, technology has been the guiding metaphor for organizations: division of labor, the interaction of the parts of the organization, and the targeted performance improvements. Typical analogies are input and output; the gear train; the tanker with its huge turning radius; the speedboats with their agility; the interfaces between different systems; networking; the catalyst as an impetus for change. The human being becomes the small cog of the organization; the helicopter provides the overview; the three-legged stool stands for TAR of a role (i.e., task, authority, and responsibility).
  • Economic
    With its value-creating processes and responsible parties, the economy consists of meaningful images: money, investment, economy types, markets, suppliers, buyers, and intermediaries. In the enterprise, as in the economy, supply and demand as well as the Invisible Hand apply with all the associated mechanisms, e.g., in pricing or self-regulation for a fair distribution of services. The development becomes insightful through general values: e.g., the winner gets it all stands for the win-lose; everyone is in the same boat for the dependence on each other; the tide lifts all boats equally for the uniform effects of economic fluctuations.
  • Scientific
    In all disciplines, science provides insights and regularities for our understanding of the world. Scientific theories include explanatory models, experiments, and values. To get as close to the truth as possible, science strives for objectivity, clarity, comprehensibility, and openness. Metaphors can be derived from this: e.g., the laboratory as a safe testing field; the research project for fruitless investigations; the bee colony for groups; the selfish gene as an image for the self-life of information (memes).
  • Ecological
    Our natural environment with its phenomena offers analogies for the increasingly organic themes. It starts with the different spheres of sea, land, air, or space. Natural catastrophes such as tsunamis, avalanches, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, meteorite impacts, black holes, etc., occur there. The vastness of the sea or the infinite expanse of space can be applied to biz situations. Besides, natural processes provide meaningful images – the caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly; the organic growth of cells; the cycle of becoming and passing.
  • Military
    The art of war is a particular form of occupation with corresponding analogies for biz: organizational forms, equipment, and machinery, and approaches to action. The structure of military formations derives from their preferred locations: naval, land, and air forces (and now in space), as well as from the chain of command, communication, and escalation ways: roles (e.g., general and soldier; adversary and allies), procedures (e.g., reconnaissance, situation briefing; strategy). The approaches to action provide strategic, tactical, and operational perspectives (e.g., situation plan; scenarios; troop movements). Typical metaphors include victories or defeats; the decisive battle; war as a continuation of politics by other means; the fight to the bitter end; the battle is lost, but not the war.

Bottom line: Metaphors transfer properties and characteristics from a subject area into a biz topic. Due to the analogies and scope of an association, the target group members enrich the issue. To develop this imagery coherently, the subject areas of the metaphors should be chosen carefully. Approaches arise on the one hand from the worlds of the target groups’ experience. On the other hand, the metaphor fields should be rich in images so that different aspects can be used. In this way, a comprehensive imagery language is created over time, which enriches the biz task. For example, a technical target group has a particular penchant for technical metaphors: e.g., the moon landings with almost half a million contributors, the difficulties to be solved (Houston – we have a problem), or the required vision or mission. The smart choice of the metaphor field and the stringent reuse encourage the common striving towards the goal. We do not forget a good metaphor.

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The Why needs perspectives

The answer to Why is not an easy thing, because it leads to different results due to the different perspectives. With the development of a new product, various aspects of a solution must be questioned. Imagine an app for your smartphone that generates new ideas for your business based on the own online activities. The freemium version offers one idea per day. The paid version has additional features and collects between 0.1 $ and 5 $ for each additionally retrieved idea depending on the contract. Why should you invest money in the development of this app? Why do you need certain functions? Why should customers subscribe to the paid version? To assess the viability of the draft, a set of perspectives can be used. This provides more comprehensive insights into the Why.

In the following, several perspectives are used to understand “Why” the described app makes sense. In addition, there are still “infinite” more other aspects that may be relevant. Let’s look at the draft out of some basic perspectives.

  • Customer Perspective
    Customers love Freemium, because they do not have to commit to anything and can use for free more or less of the benefits of the offer. One idea per day adds up to 365 free ideas that allow a real assessment of the benefits. The consideration of the personal attitudes delivers results, which are worth knowing for everybody. Of course, the professional wants to be able to get more needs-oriented ideas. Flexible payment models serve these various needs. If one of the ideas comes to fruition, then the subscription is financed for a long time.
  • Contentual perspective
    The challenges are the topics and the approach to avoid the repetition of ideas. In the freemium version, the Internet activities are evaluated and condensed to one new idea per day. In the professional environment, more settings are needed to align the target area to a current task. Other features are available, such as tracing previous ideas. Evaluations have shown that ideas can be generated without limits.
  • Social perspective
    An important task will be the dispelling of the concerns of individual users, who feel being observed through assessing their Internet activity. They overlook the fact that these traces persist in the net in any case and that they get for the first time the opportunity to use these traces for themselves. The spared time, the advancement of the business and the increased reputation, which is generated by the ideas, should quickly let them be open for conviction.
  • Technological perspective
    This cloud-based service operates based on big data that is already used by major online retailers. You get additional purchase proposals, when you buy a CD appears “Other buyers, who bought this CD …” The main difference of the app is the controllable semantic evaluation, which generates more and more ideas, and does not serve as a sales hook to buy something. The features can be set in a unique way with the special, multilingual meaning engine. The corresponding patent has already been granted.
  • Economical perspective
    It is common to attract large user groups via freemium offers. The business case assumes that 10% of the free accounts book the paid packages subsequently. This results in revenues that bring the project into the profit zone within three years. Analysts concluded that the effect of conditioning will be driven by the usable ideas that will motivate users to stay an active member for a long time. A small, solvent group will be interested in elaborate additional offers. The critical tipping point is reached after two years. Thereafter, the main task will be to ensure availability and to continuously expand the offer.
  • Political perspective
    So far, the introductory provisions allow a cross-border exchange of ideas. Should there be a tightening of customs regulations, then the supply can be easily nationalized, i.e. the programs are set up nationally and need therefore no longer operating across borders. There are no disturbing distortions to competition since it stimulates the business of key competitors, like consultants and creative firms. The results of the app consist of short ideas, which create comprehensive consulting services for the implementation. The use in crisis regions and authoritarian states could be difficult because the network access is not guaranteed.
  • Legal perspective
    The data that is used consists of the data tracks that the user creates in the net. In principle this data belongs to the users. The ideas that are generated by the app are public domain and can be used free of charge by the users. It is planned to include a legal verification in a premium version. The product liability of the offers resulting from the ideas remains with the manufacturer. From a legal point of view nothing speaks against the app.
  • Ecological perspective
    The impact on the environment is mainly determined by the operation of the data centers – air conditioning, electricity, the fuel of the emergency power generators. The actual ideas are not polluting per se. Ecologically questionable ideas are filtered out to the extent that environmental damage is minimized on a non-dogmatic level, e.g. waste of natural resources and non-recyclable waste is avoided by default. The app has a positive effect on CO2 footprint of the idea scouts, who limit their research to the net.
  • Own perspective
    The developers have reported that they are proud having found these resourceful algorithms, since more and more ideas are needed in the future to make small businesses viable. For them, the program is a contribution to the world of work of tomorrow and after-tomorrow. They already have plans for much more extensive analysis capabilities. The positive attitude of the involved people promises long-lasting momentum for the development of new features.

Bottom line: Of course, the story is fake news. But, the example clarifies that looking at a new product out of only one perspective, e.g. the business case, is inadequate. Additionally each of the indicated perspectives has its purpose. For this reason, it is always beneficial to change your standpoint, to put on a new hat, to walk in the moccasins of others in order to get to an overall assessment. Only then, one perceives the actual potentials and is able to recognize the challenges at an early stage. In order to get better, the Why needs perspectives.