A revolutionary tool for proactive thinkers.
ZOT Price: $99.00
|Click to MacZOT|
The Elevator Pitch
Flying Logic is a revolutionary tool for proactive thinkers, whether you want to change your personal life for the better, or grow a world-class business that impacts thousands or millions of people. Flying Logic is a highly visual, easy to use software application that does for reasoning what spreadsheets do for numbers. Just as you would not do detailed financial projections in your head, you need Flying Logic for all nontrivial planning and reasoning endeavors. Project management software won’t help you when you have no idea what part of a complex system needs improvement, or what that improvement might look like, or how to cause that improvement. Answering these questions is a critical and often-overlooked part of the planning process, and this is where Flying Logic shines. Flying Logic diagrams are not static images— they are working models of your reasoning that you test as you build and that stay “live” as you share your reasoning with others.
Critical Thought More Critical Than Ever
Rational thinking, planning, and communication skills are key to every field of human endeavor ranging from personal growth to building viable, competitive businesses. Even the ability to successfully articulate non-rational concepts such as emotion and intuition ultimately depends upon the mind’s power to reason. And anyone from young children, to governments, to the CEOs of multinational corporations can benefit from well-developed reasoning abilities and a common language in which to reason. Flying Logic is a revolutionary tool that fills a widespread need for software that supports, simply and beautifully, the practice of reasoning. However, no software can do your thinking for you, so Flying Logic was inspired by the Theory of Constraints.
The Theory of Constraints (TOC)
The Theory of Constraints is an overall management philosophy founded on the idea that all real-world systems; whether personal, interpersonal, or organizational; have at least one constraint: something that holds the system back from accomplishing more of its primary purpose, or goal. The rate of this accomplishment is called throughput. If a system had absolutely no constraints, it would be capable of infinite throughput. But though infinite throughput is impossible, amazing throughput gains are possible through the careful identification and management of the system’s key constraints. The purpose of the TOC, originally developed by Eliyahu M. (“Eli”) Goldratt and first popularized in his bestselling business novel The Goal, is to give individuals and organizations the tools they need to manage their constraints in the most effective manner possible. Originally applied to manufacturing lines, TOC principles have been successfully adapted for areas as diverse as supply chain, accounting and finance, project management, health care, military planning, and software engineering.
TOC claims that a real-world system with more than three constraints is extremely unlikely, and in fact usually only one constraint is key. Perhaps counter-intuitively, this is because the more complex a system becomes, the more interrelationships are necessary among its parts, which results in fewer overall degrees of freedom.
A major implication of this is that managing a complex system or organization can be made both simpler and more effective by providing managers with few, specific, yet highly influential areas on which to focus — maximizing performance in the areas of key constraints, or elevating the constraint (making it less constraining.)
The Five Focusing Steps
To accomplish this, the developers of TOC developed the Five Focusing Steps, which define a process of ongoing improvement. (Step Zero was later added for additional clarity.)
The Thinking Processes (TP)
The Thinking Processes emerged as TOC practitioners worked with organizations that needed to identify their core constraints and how to manage or elevate them. They needed the answers to three deceptively simple questions:
The Thinking Processes are based on the scientific method, to which is added a simple visual language for describing and reasoning about situations, arguments, and plans using the language of cause and effect. There are two basic kinds of reasoning: sufficient cause and necessary condition.
From these, the practitioners developed several methodologies called application tools designed to answer the three questions. The application tools provide the ability to develop a complete picture of a system’s core constraints and how to overcome them.
Current Reality Tree
Used to move from an articulation of the undesirable symptoms (or desirable strengths) present in a system to the core cause that has the most influence over them (i.e., the constraining resource or core issue.)
There are illustrations and explanations for many other “trees” on the Flying Logic website.
The Need for Software Support
Although there are many success stories of organizations that have implemented TOC using the Thinking Processes, so far there have been two problematic approaches to working with the application tools:
Flying Logic was designed to eliminate all of these constraints by allowing groups or individual planners to create Thinking Process diagrams using an intuitive interface that requires no attention to layout issues, and by producing presentation-quality output as a by-product of the planning process.
By providing a clear, visual language of causes and effects, Flying Logic encourages detached, rational thinking. By removing constraints around re-working the diagram, Flying Logic encourages people to painlessly consider every factor that really matters, and address every blind spot as it comes up. A good analogy is spreadsheet software— before spreadsheets, people still did financial projections, but they were laborious, error-prone, and there was a great deal of resistance to rework. After spreadsheets, people take many more factors into consideration and easily explore many more alternatives in their financial planning.
Just as a spreadsheet allows you to play “What if…?” with numbers, Flying Logic lets you play “What if…?” with plans, arguments, and ideas.
The Flying Logic Interface
Flying Logic uses a simple, gesture-based interface. Drag from the list of entity types on the left to create your diagram. Each time you place an entity, it “snaps into place” with arrows that represent the causal relationships automatically appearing where you want them. Drag from entity to entity to create additional causal relationships as desired, or drag from entity to arrow to combine causes into necessary condition relationships. Relationships representing AND, OR, and NOT are easily created.