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Stay lean

We are constrained by lack of resources at present. This is quite natural for pioneers. It is very tempting to rely on electronic communications systems, rapid transport, established colleges, central funding etc. But can we carry on our work if these systems fail, or if they become inaccessible to us?

If we have a core system that does not depend too much on lots of money and technology, then our apprentices can take the pattern and still move forward in difficult circumstances, should they decide to become tutors themselves. Once started, we will develop our own momentum, and we can always piggy-back on other systems that are available to us. While our work-net is young, it remains vulnerable, and efforts to make the system as robust as possible will pay off.

Growing things need feeding. It is in all our interests to support each other in the development task, wherever possible, with whatever we can spare. If we can meet inputs from within the system, then we can minimise external inputs (cash in particular). This brings us back to the quality of the apprentices we are recruiting and our ability to forge working relationships with them. Again, the principles of “shared work” and “producer, not consumer” will become important values for us.

There are areas were we need to take care with this approach, in particular managing the complexity of it and strengthening beneficial links to external systems. For complexity, the rules are:

  • simplify the problem before making the solution more complex
  • simplify only as far as complexity allows (Ashby's Law)

It's all good practice for us in developing our design skills !




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