Interlock research

Interlock research

Interlock Research is related to but broader than the notions of Corporate Interlocks and the Collaboratory. This idea is based on the notion that the looming environmental and other catastrophes; social, medical, health and other organizations; policy generally not working efficiently, are caused in large part by the failure for active professionals within and across different organizations; or even within the same organization to communicate at a lateral level directly with each other or their electronic avatars, leading to unintended and undesirable interactions and consequences.

An example is how enormous amounts of energy and raw material could be saved, and pollution avoided by interlinking various industrial processes. Most professionals and policy makers are uninterested in these opportunities because they are unaware of them.

A prime example is the astonishing and not widely appreciated fact that both the USA and the UK waste heat from power stations equal to and able to replace the entire usage of natural gas for heating, which is an amazing example of hierarchical incompetenceFact|date=March 2008 and the Relevance Paradox. It is a huge policy Elephant in the Room.Fact|date=March 2008

The concept propounds the need for and a mechanism to create a methodical scheme whereby such lateral self constructing communications networks could develop and pro-actively inform professionals (engineers, scientists, politicians, health workers) of what it is they needed to know but weren’t aware of. These schemes enable professionals to ask questions and get answers more rapidly, but crucially they can be told, unbidden and out of the blue not only that they were asking the wrong questions but also be able to be supplied with the correct questions and the correct answers.

An example of Interlock Research is the Claverton Energy Group, currently assembling a global energy solution diagram.Fact|date=March 2008

Methodology and mechanism

Consider any area of managed human activity say power systems, sewage treatment works, energy policy government departments, health systems, justice systems..

A physical map could be constructed by each practitioner showing the physical interactions with the world and other domains as he, albeit probably inadequately sees it. This is called an Interlock diagram. It will inevitably contain shortcomings and missed links. However if these individual Interlock Diagrams are open to public scrutiny particularly interested colleagues others can point out deficiencies. So a power system ID might start out just showing coal in, power out, carbon dioxide out. Others from a Local Water company can say, “hang on you need water for you cooling towers; we can provide that as effluent from our adjacent treatment plant”. The theoretical ID can be adjusted and maybe actually implemented – just this happens in Bristol where Wessex Water and SeaBanks Power station do exactly this.

Energy experts may say, “Hang on - do you realize you are also wasting two-thirds of the fuel input as waste heat - why don't you pipe that heat to heat all the houses in the adjacent areas and avoid the vast expenditure on heating fuel?" (This is widely practiced in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Finland and Denmark - and is called CHP / DH - combined heat and power / district heating)

Eventually after enough iteration, the ID for a given industry will exactly match its interaction or potential interaction with the environment and adjacent subsystems. If direct person to person communications are established between individuals at the nodes of each subsystem then potentially harmful open links can be mitigated or closed, and beneficial ones enacted.

Note that links can be formed by a participating node sending out a probe, or receiving one unexpectedly. This is how the Relevance Paradox is resolved. Once established such links can also transmit vital tacit knowledge.

It is clear with a little thought that such a system of closed links will have minimal energy, resource and pollution implications and is clearly something we must strive for at a global level.

The links, personal and interactions need not be modeling purely physical systems - exactly the same kind of ID can be drawn for social, legal health etc policy development. The point is that by systematically drawing in expert individuals, the network will inevitably end up exactly mapping systems and subsystems, in a self growing and self organizing way. Such systems will be greater than the sum of the individual parts and will hold vast amounts of tacit knowledge.

Note also that the “experts” need not be merely formal professional experts – a worker in a sewage works is as much an expert in this context as a professional biochemist in his own domain. Likewise someone living in Brighton, who may be a newsagent, is still an expert in his local area.

The IRG or Information Routing Group is an organized method of creating tacit Interlock Diagrams. Lateral communication is inherent in Interlock Diagrams and Interlock Research.

Examples of where IDs have been lacking include the NASA engineers who having spent a fortune on unsuccessfully developing the complex sliding and articulating inside knee joint needed for space suits eventually went to the tower of London and ruefully copied the armor of Henry the Eighth with just such a joint – stating “we wish we had known about this earlier!”

Other examples include the disastrous social policy introduced by a Labour Government for controlling rented accommodation ostensibly to increase the availability of cheap rented accommodation. It has had the effect of drastically reducing the availability of such accommodation.

See also

* [ "When do interlocks matter?: alternate sources of information and interlock influence"]
* [ Research Note: Interlocking Ties within Business Groups in Israel - A Longitudinal Analysis, 1974-1987]



1a. Many of the references listed below are on:

1. "Beyond Mass Media" Brian Martin.Science, Technology and SocietyUniversity of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia. General discussion of the IRG concept(

2. The Power Of Open Participatory Media And Why Mass Media Must Be Abandoned. Brian Martin, March 20, 2006. General discussion of the IRG concept

3. The IRG Solution - Hierarchical Incompetence and how to overcome it. David Andrews. Souvenir Press, London, 1984. Pages 200 - 220. ISBN 0-285-62662-0. Detailed description of the proposal.

4. The Hidden Manager Communication technology and information networks in business organizations. Taylor Graham Cambridge / Los Angeles,1986. David Andrews and John Kent. Much tighter description of IRG concept and its application to business management. ISBN 0-947568-15-8, 198 6

4a. Mogens Niss Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education IMFUFA, Roskilde University, Denmark "Om folkeskolelaereruddanelsen i det vigtige fag matematik" in Peter Bollerslev (ed.): "Den ny matematik i Danmark - en essaysamling", Copenhagen, Gyldendal, 1979, pp107-122. The relevance paradox is defined on p. 111.

5. Niss, M. (1994) Mathematics in Society. In Biehler, R., Scholz, R. W., Straesser, R., Winkelmann, B. Eds. (1994) The Didactics of Mathematics as a Scientific Discipline. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 367-378. Relevance paradox

6. Energy Research Group, Open University. Communication Within the Agriculture, Water, Waste and Energy Industries. Discussed examples of how the industries mentioned can be integrated to a greater or lesser degree, leading to lower pollution and energy use. Discussed the need for IRGs and how they might be organized. Emphasizes problem is lack of co-ordination and lateral communication between organisations. Describes interlock research in detail, the relevance paradox and the Bilharzia/schistosomiasis issue, central media, lateral diffusion, tacit knowledge, and Lateral Access Networks, later renamed Information Routing Groups, development of private languages as a barrier to inter communication, also describes how computers can be used to speed up lateral communication, and lateral referral . DC Andrews. ERG 033. Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, England 1980.

6. "The Importance of Knowing the Right People" (Article based on ERG 033 on Lateral Access Networks - the forerunner of Information Routing Groups). Printed in the Guardian Newspaper, London (The National Newspaper) March 20th 1980. Discussed Bilharzia / schistosomiasis relevance paradox.

8. Energy Research Group, Open University . Information Routing Groups. DC Andrews. ERG 037. Generalisation of ERG 033, advocated development of software and automatic phone answering modem to link up private PCs effectively creating an Internet. Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, England 1980. David Andrews

8a Library Association Record to a seminar run jointly by IEE and the LA on 'Biblionic man', held at the IEE on 26 November 1980. Covered same ground as ERG 033 and ERG 037.

8b. Andrews, D. (1986) Information routeing groups – Towards the global superbrain: or how to find out what you need to know rather than what you think you need to know, Journal of Information Technology, 1, 1, Feb, 22-35. details of lateral referral, diffusion.

9. Yewlett, J . L . Town Planning, Wales, Institute. of Science & Technology . "Networks : Developments in theory & practice" .The paper reviews developments in the U .S .A. & U .K . in recent years, progressing beyond network analysis to explore the structure & use of networks. The paper seeks to address questions of how to construct multi-actor policy structures, & build networks for particular purposes. Contributory concepts explored included the 'Reticulist', the 'Leader/Co- ordinator', the 'Segmented Polycephalous Network' & the 'Information Routing Group'inCONNECTIONSSunbelt Social Network ConferenceWorld Congress of SociologyAmerican Sociological AssociationVOLUME IXNUMBERS 2-3Winter, 1986

10. ( see Charnock, Anne (1980) Taking Bilharziasis out of the irrigation equation. New Civil Engineer, 7 August) Bilharzia caused by poor civil engineering design.

11. Social Networks Meet News Aggregation And Filtering: Information Routing Groups

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Look at other dictionaries:

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