Future Reality Tree (FRT)
In a previous posting we presented the Conflict Resolution Diagram (CRD). The CRD was used to generate and surface the assumptions between the arrows and several possible injections to overcome the identified conflict. The CRT and the CRD were the tools we used to help answer the question: “What to change to.” The Future Reality Tree will be used to continue the analysis to determine what to change to.
Future Reality Tree (FRT)
The FRT is sufficiency based with its logic. In other words, when reading an FRT we revert back to the “If entity A…. then, entity B. With the FRT we are still trying to isolate the answer “what to change to.” The FRT is the thinking tool that provides a platform to test ideas and look for the merits and also the possible negative effects that might be created in the future.Many times people will have a seemingly good idea to solve a problem. The FRT allows a person to test the merits of the idea before taking any action to implement it. The FRT is a logical way to construct a solution that yields a high degree of assurance that the existing core problem and undesirable effects from the CRT can/will be eliminated without creating any new undesirable effects. The FRT also provides a means to look for any negative effects that might appear if, and when, the new idea is implemented. The FRT permits the structure of a plan to verbalize and communicate a future vision of reality. The FRT can also be used as a standalone thinking tool to test the virtues of an idea. In our case, the FRT will be constructed as a continuation of a full systems thinking process analysis for the Dome company.
Constructing the Future Reality Tree (FRT)The FRT has five (5) primary components in its structure. Each component provides a different piece of the puzzle. These components are:
2. Desired Effect
3. Positive Branch
4. Negative Branch
Injection: an entity that does not exist yet, but when it does it will provide a desirable effect in the future.Desired Effect (DE): It is the reason for implementing an idea. The DE’s can be the opposite, or replacements for the UDE’s defined in the CRT
Positive Branch: those entities that describe only the positive desirable outcome of an idea.
Negative Branch: The entities or portion of an FRT that describe the potential undesirable effects that could come from an idea. Injections are added to overcome the negative effects. The negative branch is a good way to see (and understand) when and where a good idea might go bad.Loop: The ability to connect an entity higher in the tree with an entity lower in the tree. The self-reinforcing loop shows the cyclical nature of why things keep happening the way they do.
The square cornered boxes in an FRT represent the injections. Injections are those entities that don’t exist yet but, if they did would lead to desired effects. The round cornered boxes represent entities that could exist (desired effects) in the new reality. The “effects” represent entities, both desired and undesired, that don’t exist yet but, could/will exist in the future as the inevitable results of the entities pointing to them.In our case we will test the injection(s) from the CRD in the Dome business case. You might remember we developed four (4) possible injections to break the conflict at B à D. Those injections were:
1. Production synchronized to maximize throughput.
2. Company policy changed to a throughput/profit measure.
3. Bonuses are determined based on throughput.
4. Change the cost measure to throughput.
With the injections surfaced in the CRD (on all the arrows) they should all be sufficient to break the conflict. However, not all injections are equal. Each injection could present a different path to success and each could/will vary in the amount of time it takes or, the amount of money needing to be invested, or the number of resources required or, the number and possible severity of the negative branches encountered.Desired Effects
Once you have picked an injection to test the merits of the idea then, write down the Desired Effects that you would expect to see coming from the idea. In our case, we picked the first injection, “Production is synchronized to maximize throughput.” It is possible to develop the Desired Effects list using the Undesirable Effects (UDE’s) from the CRT and verbalizing the opposite effect. In others words, a desirable or desired effect If the UDE’s are the entities that currently exist, and you don’t want them to exist then, what entities do you want to exist?Desired Effects
1. On-time delivery improves
2. Production orders are entered into the system correctly
3. Product quality improves
4. Production change orders are minimal
5. Production rework time is reduced
When you are building the FRT start at the bottom with the injection you are testing and build the tree upwards. Remember: what we are trying to figure out is if the proposed injection becomes part of the reality will you achieve the desired effect you hope to achieve?In our next posting we will begin developing and building our Future Reality Tree looking at possible negative effects and other parts of the FRT.