Systems Optimization

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize this (life-)system?”

“First, identify the components of the system. Make a list of them.

Second, identify the interconnections between the components. For instance you can actually draw lines between them, thus creating a network. This helps with evaluation.

The goal is to identify the 20% of components responsible for 80% of the output.

“How would you practically do that?”

“One way to think of it is by using the top-down/bottom-up model.

The top-down approach means removing components until you’re left with only the desired ones. This is highly inefficient, because you have to remove 80% of components. The more components the system has, the more work it entails. Moreover, removing things is psychologically difficult.

The bottom-up approach means removing all components, and adding them back in one by one. This prompts a fresh reevaluation of each component, and often results in the serendipitous creation of new essential connections, thus creating a new emergent pattern.

I like to do it by using two lists. One with the components of the system; the other a ‘blank slate‘ which I populate by adding items from the other list.”

“Do you do this with pencil and paper?”

“You can, but I prefer to do it digitally. I use Google Keep for this process.

The Optimization System

I have a section called ‘Optimization‘, in which there are two lists: one called ‘80‘, the other ‘20‘. I start by copying the contents of the system I’m working on in the 80-list. Then I start copying / moving items from the 80-list to the 20-list.”

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About Dani Trusca

Life-Artist, Thinker, Mover (Traceur)

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