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On use case scenarios

From: Mark Montgomery <markm@kyield.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 14:57:47 -0600
Message-ID: <5BED4FA88DE840F682585D3080D7F654@OwnerPC>
To: <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
On topic of use cases we can perhaps add some value from recent lessons learned

My advisory board and others pushed us to provide more and better educational tools when attempting to communicate the benefits of semantic standards in general, and of course our system in particular. As is the case with any new technology, actual use cases cannot exist until pilots are developed, tested, and adopted. I suspect quite a few eGov initiatives around the world are in a similar situation as they propose new solutions.

So we experimented with most of the modern online tools including non-traditional white papers, one of which has been very popular (unleash the innovation within). One of our advisors, Rob Neilson, has a long history in advising government on KM, which is how we met way back in the 1990s. Rob suggested employing futuristic use case scenarios in story telling format which had success in the U.S. Army for their KM program. Well we are certainly not the U.S. Army, but the communications challenge was similar, so we gave it a good go.

A few results and thoughts

1) This is not a trivial understaking for a start-up, especially one self-funded and involved with deep tech development involving considerable intellectual capital, property, and trade craft. We attempted to tell stories in a manner that would educate a very broad audience while remaining true to the science and technology, and do so while protecting our significant investment. Easier said than done.

2) In our initial tests we found that very few of the targeted audience would register, placing us in a very difficult position. For example, one of the scenarios was on counter terrorism in power plants--while we were likely not providing any new intel to the bad guys we certainly didn't want to educate evil intent of any kind, but when tracking domains from government agencies (like Homeland Defense, Mil, etc.) and power plant operators, the individuals simply would not register for access. Eventually we caved in and removed the registration process, but we considered this a failure.

3) Our most popular scenario by far has been the diabetes use case which is a highly complex scenario due to the U.S. healthcare system, partners involved in the data flow, reform legislation, stakeholders, business models, technology and standards, the disease itself and human behavior.

The good news is that almost every leading institution involved with life science and healthcare in the world has downloaded the diabetes use case scenario. The bad news is that almost everyone wants to do their own thing, including software development and platforms, so for example what we witnessed was in our attempt to partner with one of the most prestigious universities in the world through their affiliated medical school and hospitals, they decided to fund a competitor through VC relationships within their own ecosystem, endowments, etc. -- they want to own it all apparently. 

We had a similar experience with a leading foundation in trying to find a way to partner and more recently with a large regional government CIO which could not see strategic benefit for their department when in fact we were attempting to serve the citizens they are charged to serve. We've invested quite a bit in R&D into providing more intelligent solutions to the misalignment issue as it impacts the entire neural network economy, and is a barrier for most progress regardless of organizational type. So we failed to meet multiple objectives, which included contributing to the public good while also contributing to our own ability to fund future R&D and product development.

We learned that the general format of hypothetical use cases are an excellent broad educational tool, but unfortunately has many negatives for those not employed by universities or governments, and is a terrible marketing tool probably for any organizational type as response rates are in the single digits per 10,000 downloads, and those are seeking additional free assistance. 

One of the reasons for sharing this is that in the macro economy we are seeing the negative impact of the online culture which takes far more than it gives, which of course is not sustainable for quality that is costly to develop. The good news is that we and others are developing solutions with the very same type of technology, but standards are very slow due to the model, and constantly being challenged for credibility because of it. 

This is the direct link to the diabetes use case if you want to take a look. While none of the stakeholders in this particular scenario is a government agency, the regulators are, and importantly healthcare costs are of course the leading contributor to many of the fiscal challenges facing governments today, meaning that their ability to do all other things is impacted. Even in China where current surpluses may look appealing to others the long-term trajectory in future healthcare costs--including diabetes, is frankly terrible. So it is a very important challenge that will either require much better collaboration between conflicted parties, or perhaps more likely far more effective effective creative destruction, especially in the entrenched developed economies.

Diabetes and the American Healthcare System
Received on Thursday, 26 April 2012 20:58:03 UTC

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