Creating a new user experience: when Social BPM met Minority Report

I love gadgets. I love BPM (Lord knows why sometimes lol). When Microsoft launched their Surface tables I could see a lot more enterprise use from the device than simply moving photos around during the early days of the demos. Since then Surface has come on quite nicely but adoption seems to be slow commercially, some Banks have them installed in their front office environments but they are still more of a gimmick than for day to day business use. I wrote last year about marrying up a Surface table with a BPA tool and personally I still feel that losing the mouse and keyboard is inevitable, hands are infinitely more adept at manipulating an environment and objects and having a touchscreen/ gesture based version of a BPA tool would be a natural transition.

But now I’m thinking on a larger scale having seen the advent of interactive touchwall devices and film which when applied can turn any screen into a touch-based device. I recently got in touch with Schematic (, the firm behind the technology as seen in Minority Report because creating such a device for BPM in a workshop environment would be an exciting prospect. There seems to be a split between camps at the moment in the BPM industry; those that say physical meetings are still the main way to conduct process improvement and discovery, and those which sit with the BlueWorks and ARISAlign camps that say collaboration on a larger and open scale is the way forward. There are valid points for both but real discovery and those eureka! moments are captured when the interactive nature of the collaboration is at a rapid pace (I wrote about this in an earlier blog post about capturing the ‘buzz’ for social BPM to work)

Anyway, I digress, back to the wonderwall of BPM. Imagine taking something like ARISAlign or BlueWorks up a notch and having a giant touchwall version for workshops. Loads of people interactive at the one time, not crowded around a table but participating in process discovery and buzzing because the technology has become an enabler and supporting mechanism for it, not the driver. Do we really need to suffer brown paper and PostIt notes for much longer ? Now imagine these are connected around a global operation, with a similar group of people participating at the same time. You can’t readily achieve this with brown paper on this scale but the same interactive, ‘physical’ meeting is sustained as is the format of rapidly knocking up a process model or what have you using nothing more than your hands to manipulate the environment and process. Might look a bit strange but it never did Magnus Pike any harm by waving his arms around.

Furthermore the information is being captured and stored at the same time, there is no need to translate notes onto another system, no more flip charts dotted around the room. You want one, pull a virtual one into view and jot down your thoughts and everyone else can see it wherever they are and add to it.

Want to simulate the process, why not ?
Pull existing KPI’s into view, just drag them across and overlay them.
In fact, having visuals on this scale doesn’t need to stop with process mapping and improvement. Consider BI analytics on this scale too. Visual impact is an attention grabber.

I’m not a crackpot thankfully, there is already some interest in this. Given the technologies exist all it takes is a little plug and play. You are still using the method to drive the process improvement, the infrastructure doesn’t care whether you favour Lean over Six Sigma, it’s there to help you get there faster and more collaboratively.

BPM can be fun you know.


3 responses to “Creating a new user experience: when Social BPM met Minority Report

  1. Theo, I think the emerging technologies and trends you describe will inevitably change the BPA landscape. It is only a matter of time. As the Internet-generation takes over the BPM space, they will demand ever greater levels of interaction and automated discovery and design. I remember playing with the first 3G phones in 2001 with video-calling. It has taken 10 years for the concept to become a true requirement and the iPhone may sway people to start using this feature in earnest. If it deals with the problem of yellow stickies falling of flip-charts and battling postrooms for brown paper then we are to benefit from touchscreen walls and repositories. The only problem I can see is that the technology will be expensive and locked into executive playrooms, away from the architects and analysts to get their part of the solution across. So we have to make sure that the technology can be accessed/distributed to involve all the relevant stakeholders in the process.

  2. I’ve been in love with this same idea of interactive walls since seeing Minority Report, as well! I’ve been creating and using collaboration software, systems and processes for well over a decade (for both creating new technology and BPM/BPR). Way back in the ’80’s & ’90’s, when JAD/RAD development was still the rage for developing applications, I was experimenting with its use for developing and improving processes. Single or even dual screens were simply not large enough for collaborating, so I projected multiple PCs’ screens around our development meeting rooms. Then when whiteboards became available, I added these to our process development meetings to improve our flexibility, allowing more people to add, change and move elements. [This got even better in 1998-ish when "interactive" whiteboards became available, with electronic trackers on the markers and eraser, to track and electronically capture your writing.] And in 2000-2001 I helped created new patentable collaborative technologies that married interactive online whiteboarding, group and private chat groups, and multi-casting video, which really made geography irrelevant for collaborative work for our clients.But none of the above can compete with the options available to technology developers, BPM, and collaboration across the entire business enterprise when "Minority Report"-like large-scale touchwalls and surfaces can be available almost anywhere in an organization – in any meeting, in any location – making collaborating easy (even fun) again. Just as cellular and wi-fi technologies have made information and personal connectivity available any time, any where, I see this new technology improving the way we all work and play together in less than 5-10 years.Mark Cummuta CIO – JobAngels President – Triumph CIO GroupBLOG: CIO Job Search: A Real Life ChronicleBOOK: "Ignite Your (Career) Passion!" Co-Author (NOTE: discount code “Le5Ord3r03” at LINKEDIN:

  3. Pingback: Social BPM and Social Enterprise Transformation roundup #socialbpm #bpm #socialenterprise | BPM redux·

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