Product Development

Systems Thinking and Knowledge Management – Tying it all Together

18 November 2015 | Team EACPDS


Today I’d like to follow up on the last couple of posts. We’ve been talking about systems thinking and knowledge management. If you can think back to the very beginning of this video series we talked about a framework, developed at EAC, for looking at product development as a system. We call it the Product Development Operating System. The foundation of this system is the Information Flow management system. The idea is to present information where it’s needed, in a timely way, inside of your operation.

As Thomas Davenport pointed out, pure technology is not enough. Your knowledge management system needs to include other elements like Obeya rooms or even face-to-face communication.

Information, when presented and encountered by a human mind, has the opportunity to be converted into new knowledge. This happens inside another subsystem of the Product Development Operating System, the Continuous Improvement subsystem. The learning that occurs in the Continuous Improvement subsystem is applied in the Workflow subsystem where learning about product or technology is applied as innovation inside of product development.

The design of a system of flow, the presentation of information and its conversion to knowledge through your knowledge worker environment is a key factor in increasing productivity. When you look at your product development operation, can you see it as a system? Do you understand how the various elements interoperate? Are you getting the results that you want or do you find yourself fighting fires?

Contact us if you cannot see your system as a system and understand where your points of leverage are. We can help. We have a service product called the Product Development System Assessment. It not only baselines your current state, but it also presents a series of recommended improvements to move your system towards a more systematic operation and a healthier state. Our assessment service is designed to get you back on the road to higher productivity in your product development environment.

Contact us to learn more about how Systems Thinking and the application of our Product Development Operating System can help your organization become more efficient, productive, innovative, and competitive. Follow Bill at