To Optimize a System, Dance to the Music

Pattern Recognition: A key to Lean Thinking

Composers read and see groups of notes, patterns of notes, and notes in relation to other notes. Architects see spaces that bring people and their experiences together with the patterns they develop through structure. Statisticians view numbers and data as meaningful representations of people’s actions. It is these visual pattern recognitions that allow us to integrate them into some network or system structure.

We live in a world of big-data. We live in a world of great complexity. We live in a world of abundance of tools. But still the power of observation may be the most underrated skill that we develop. I cannot help to think of the sketching classes that I took. Still to this day, it the most important class I ever took. My only regret is that I was not introduced early to the practice. It taught me to see.

Understanding patterns, understanding music, may assist in understanding flow and the overall system better. As Dr. Deming said,

Optimization of a system, everyone gains. Dr. Deming’s Theory of Profound Knowledge is a management philosophy grounded in systems theory. It is based on the principle that each organization is composed of a system of interrelated processes and people, which make up system’s components. The success of all workers within the system is dependent on management’s capability to orchestrate the delicate balance of each component for optimization of the entire system.

I believe that Dr. Deming’s choice of the word orchestrate was not by accident.

My Podcast guest later this week is composer, Steve Horowitz and just for information sake his father was an architect. Listen to what he says about what he thinks about pattern recognition (2 min Audio).



An answer by Xanakis when he was asked about Chardin’s hope that the age would come when man will be more pre-occupied with knowing than having.

Music is certainly a basic tool for helping to fulfill this hope. Pythagorism was born of music.
Pythagoras built arithmetic, the cult of numbers, on musical foundations. This is splendid: it is
Orphic. In Orphism music fulfills the function of the redeemer of souls in their escape from the
infernal cycle of reincarnations. If one wishes to be reborn on a higher plane, one must look after
one’s soul. This is to be found also in Homer; it is the Orphic thesis. It is for religious reasons. Therefore, Therefore,reasons. Therefore, that Pythagoras discovers the processes whereby music is made, and then the relation between length of string and note, and following that the association between sounds and numbers; moreover, as geometry was being born at that same period, Pythagoras interested himself in it. By adding arithmetic to it, he laid the foundations of modern mathematics; thus, he was able to invade the realm of astronomy, invent the theory of the spheres, the theory of the music of the spheres, of the harmony of the spheres, which survived right up to Kepler: the Kcplerian discoveries could never have been made but for the contribution of Pythagoras. In the old days music therefore became, quite simply, a branch of mathematics. Euclid wrote an entire book, called “Harmonics”, in which he treated music on the theoretical level. This was the position in the West right up to the Middle Ages: up to the end of the 9th Century, when Hucbald. In his Musica Enchiriadis was analyzing plainchant and speaking of music in ancient classical terminology. With the appearance of polyphony, there occurred a divorce. Today, there are fewer reasons for upholding this divorce than for suppressing it.

Just as math and music should co-exist, I think it would heed the process methodology world to consider the contributions that a generalist can make to your organization. We live in a world of specialization, but to optimize a system can a specialist dance to the music?

Related Links:
Steve Horowitz can be found at The Code International.
John Lawrence Woodall can be found at Powerof2Music
Robert Fritz can be found at Technologies for Creating.

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