Good stuff. I love Christopher Alexander, but he is not always the best explainer of his own ideas. Now I can link people here, to help them get the gist of this important idea. Very useful! Thank you.

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Thanks for this article. It’s important to keep these ideas moving forward.

The thing I’m struggling with is how to apply Alexander’s ideas to a temporal process, such as a workflow. Applying Alexander’s eleven step process, for me, seems to shift the focus to my working plan *document* rather than to the process itself. His actual temporal process for making seems to be more in line with design thinking, ie. Empathize (see the wholeness) —> ideate —> test —> build.

I find kaizen to be a philosophy compatible with Alexander’s theories, but I think kaizen lacks the component of “vision.” I also find a lot of heuristics such as “two minute rule” or “a place for everything and everything in its place” have potential for a Pattern Language of temporal processes, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten.

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Thanks Phil - great provocation about how this would apply to workflows... I haven't explored the ideas enough in this direction to have a great answer but what I keep circling on is similar to kaizen which as I understand it is fundamentally about continuous improvement through feedback. (This isn't my area of expertise though...)

When I think of books like "The Goal" it's mostly about finding the constraining factor and then solving for it - in some ways they are just about finding the weakest center / bottleneck and strengthening/fixing it. Also similar to kaizen is the idea that feedback can come from people on the front-lines (so closer to reality vs. whiteboards). I think this fits with the Fundamental Process.

In some ways this is reductive though since as you mention it doesn't account for the "vision" elements. Although I wonder if "the quality" of the object being made is ultimately the "vision"?

Kaizen is also very optimization centric so in some ways I think Alexander would say that many/most mass manufacturing operations are less "full of life" than the artisanal (which intuitively makes sense?). That said between various mass operations, some will be more full of life than others...

I am thinking more about this from a company strategy perspective - I think there the parallels are a bit clearer to me... thinking about writing more on this soon :)

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