Hold your horses

Talent development systems - Part four
A continuing series on how the cultivation of hidden talents can be imagined as a responsive system

Closed systems are runaway circuits with no capability to slow down or stop themselves. They are totally sold on what they do. They don't listen to reason, moderation or feedback. When subroutines are added to a runaway circuit, all that changes. The closed system is now an open system. The double-loop circuitry questions the ongoing continuity, consistency and commitment. By considering "how much is too much" and "when is it time for counter-balancing this?" the system can slow down and switch itself off into a subroutine. A" logic switch" is introduced into the "over-determined strategic loop". The system now has a choice to do more or less of it's reliable service.

Closed systems are called "positive feedback systems" because every node calls for more of the next thing. The mathematical formula to equate the two nodes can be graphed. The slope on the curve is positive: more x produces more y; more y comes from more x. More hidden talent results in more system responses. Negative feedback has an inverse relationship between the nodes: more x produces less y; more y comes from less x. More hidden talent yields fewer system responses.

Closed systems are prone to system crashes because of their singular obsessions with positive feedback. They need subroutines that contradict the system's underlying belief. By going against the premise of every step in the closed circuit, stability is introduced into the system. It is characterized as robust and resilient due to the incorporation of a negative feedback subsystem. The logic switch can go for more or less, go further or stop advancing, continue or sidetrack the progress.

A talent development system could get carried away with itself in any of these ways:
  • Too many identified talents to develop at once
  • Too many options for how to get experience with each new talent
  • Too many issues to consider when planning how to develop a latent talent
  • Too much feedback to process after giving a new talent a try
  • Too many problems resulting from the use of an underdeveloped talent
  • Too frequent occasions to focus on talent development instead of other objectives
  • Too much peer or management pressure to cultivate hidden talents
  • Too much analyzing of past attempts which inhibit further experiments
  • Too many reckless explorations in need of clean-up and rework
  • Too complicated an approach for casual developers of hidden talents to use
If these excess go unchecked, the talent development system will simply be abandoned. It won't appear useful to the users, so it won't get used by them. Thus, the user's experience in the system is a leading indicator of where error checking needs to be inserted. Questions need to be asked at junctures where the user may be having a dysfunctional experience. As I reviewed in preventing system crashes, the system needs to be on the lookout for users who are feeling disoriented, inhibited, defeated or overzealous. The early warning signs need to be recognized and utilized to interrupt the momentum of the closed system..

These error-checking switches make it the system design's responsibility to be useful in the eyes of the user. This is a customer-service system, not a content delivery system. There is no guilt trip put on the user who finds the system useless. The system corrects itself, rather than fixing the user. A subroutine is switched into where the user gets help while taking time out from the closed loop. The system offers solutions for developing talents and for breakdowns in progress.

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