Business case studies are the ultimate in reductionism: A complex business activity rooted in a specific context of people, company culture, time, and place is boiled down to a few key ideas. Consultants, designers, students, and people who read Malcolm Gladwell are especially prone to this form of simplification. Don't get me wrongthese simplified stories can be helpful as touchstones. We just need to remember that they are often apocryphal archetypes more than investigative summaries. With that in mind, I propose an incomplete framework for how companies go about making stuff (products, services, miscellaneous). In characterizing this as incomplete,…
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