Monday, January 30

SimWord of the Day: Paths (Player-created)

Players create paths on maps, especially in tycoon style games, to connect processes and places, and direct and sometimes limit units' movements.

Paths can be:

  • Bidirectional or one way;
  • Narrow/bottleneck or broad;
  • Free to use or toll;
  • Expensive to build or cheap or free;
  • Too few or too numerous;
  • Connect the right things or connect the wrong things;
  • Perment, or temporary;
  • Wear down with use, or increase with use;
  • Aligning of interests;
  • Physical, contractual, virtual, informational;
  • Connecting of people, processes, work units, or even information and alignments.

What is so interesting to me about paths is that CEO's spend so much of their time talking about them. I can't count the number of times I have heard:

  • How do I create better communication between different departments? How do I get different groups to know what other groups are doing.
  • How do I build a relationship between customers and designers?
  • How do I get better access to another company's technology or markets?
  • How do I access the design skills of Italy, the tech savy of San Francisco, and the cheap labor of China?
  • How do we align with shareholders?
  • How do I find the right person for the job?
  • Are the current organizational lines right, or should I reorganize (destroy old paths and create new ones)?
A few examples:
  • Xerox' PARC research center has a permanent video link to their sister research organization in France, connecting two well traveled hallways.
  • Every canal ever dug.
  • This very blog entry is a path between my thoughts and at least four other people (I am not sure what the actual number is. It might be as high as twelve).

Like many of these SimWords, everyone could probably write a great paragraph on when and why to build new paths and destroy old ones. Yet the effective, no, intuitive ability to do that across a multitude of fronts differentiates between success and failure for many of us.

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