1. A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information. It can be depicted as a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person or group, an organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms.
  2. Systems design is the process of defining the architecture, components, modules, interfaces, and data for a system to satisfy specified requirements. Systems design could be seen as the application of systems theory to product development. There is some overlap with the disciplines of systems analysis, systems architecture and systems engineering.
  3. Explicit knowledge is knowledge that has been articulated, codified, and stored in certain media. It can be readily transmitted to others. The information contained in encyclopedias and textbooks are good examples of explicit knowledge.
  4. Tacit knowledge (as opposed to formal, codified or explicit knowledge) is the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. For example, stating to someone that London is in the United Kingdom is a piece of explicit knowledge that can be written down, transmitted, and understood by a recipient. However, the ability to speak a language, use algebra, or design and use complex equipment requires all sorts of knowledge that is not always known explicitly, even by expert practitioners, and which is difficult or impossible to explicitly transfer to other users.
  5. Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, page 175 of the iBook version.
  6. Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek σύν "together" and βίωσις "living") is close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species. In 1877, Albert Bernhard Frank used the word symbiosis (which previously had been used to depict people living together in community) to describe the mutualistic relationship in lichens. In 1879, the German mycologist Heinrich Anton de Bary defined it as "the living together of unlike organisms."
  7. Games, as studied by economists and real-world game players, are generally finished in finitely many moves. Pure mathematicians are not so constrained, and set theorists in particular study games that last for infinitely many moves, with the winner (or other payoff) not known until after all those moves are completed.

    The focus of attention is usually not so much on what is the best way to play such a game, but simply on whether one or the other player has a winning strategy. (It can be proven, using the axiom of choice, that there are games – even with perfect information and where the only outcomes are "win" or "lose" – for which neither player has a winning strategy.) The existence of such strategies, for cleverly designed games, has important consequences in descriptive set theory.
  8. The phrase OODA loop refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and USAF Colonel John Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes.
  9. Systems design is the process of defining the architecture, components, modules, interfaces, and data for a system to satisfy specified requirements. Systems design could be seen as the application of systems theory to product development. There is some overlap with the disciplines of systems analysis, systems architecture and systems engineering.
  10. Games, as studied by economists and real-world game players, are generally finished in finitely many moves. Pure mathematicians are not so constrained, and set theorists in particular study games that last for infinitely many moves, with the winner (or other payoff) not known until after all those moves are completed.

    The focus of attention is usually not so much on what is the best way to play such a game, but simply on whether one or the other player has a winning strategy. (It can be proven, using the axiom of choice, that there are games – even with perfect information and where the only outcomes are "win" or "lose" – for which neither player has a winning strategy.) The existence of such strategies, for cleverly designed games, has important consequences in descriptive set theory.
  11. pre·text
    a reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason.
  12. Tavis Smiley (born September 13, 1964) is an American talk show host, author, liberal political commentator, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist.
  13. Five Domains

    Financial         Logistical         Analytical         Biological         Social

Our Focus

We help others overcome food and agricultural system constraints.

Financial         Logistical         Analytical         Biological         Social

Who We Are

We are local.

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We are regional.

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We are national.

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We are global.

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What We Do

We Design, Develop, and Deploy food and agricultural systems.

Technically speaking, we apprentice others to convert their multi-vectored information flows into coordinated, parallel workflows at any micro, mini or macro level. The net result is internal drama dissolves and coordinated, cross-disciplined workgroups get stuff done. Resulting in less Financial, Logistical, Analytical, Biological and Social (FLABS) waste and more free cash flow results.

We do system design. Our approach of system design2 is unique. It weaves together the readily available ‘know-what’ with the not so readily available ‘know-how’ within the context of any given set of food and Ag system constraints.

Our design services comes before traditional business development, which comes before business plans, which comes before business activities. The right questions get asked beforehand and early, so the right problems get solved.

Who We Design For

We design for the three stomachs of agriculture:

soils

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humans

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animals

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We have detasseled corn in blazing heat and hauled manure. We have boots-on-the-ground to corporate boardroom experience in over seventeen countries. We have created and managed innovative business models. We have financed, analyzed and conducted extensive international corporate work in food and agriculture industries. This gives us unique, dirt-on-the-boots, local-to-global and Back Again™ perspectives and capabilities about agriculture’s past, current realities and near-future realities.

Agnetic scans and digests information about all things food and agricultural across commercial, financial, logistic, analytic, biological and social spectrums. We watch and learn from other industries. Learning from others provides us with key what works and what doesn’t work insights in food and agriculture design. We offer a fresh perspective that’s not tied to a single domain’s du jour notion.

Our present-mindedness in systemic inquiry enables us to identify meaningful patterns and anticipate future outcomes. We bring system design benefits to food and Ag by being the effective link between collected information and effective actions. Check out us out at About Us.

How We Do Business

There is a way to smooth the complexity, the confusion and indecisiveness. It’s known as System Design9. We use system design to stop what is not working in order to free up time, talent and treasure for what does work. We ask the right questions early and often. We pay attention to the context that shapes today’s constraints and are the source of new capabilities. We play the long game10 where strategic dormancy and continual Better Starting Points™ play out in real time and over time. This frees up time, talent and treasure for what does work in the complex world of our food and Ag systems.

What We Know

The long game of our food and Ag system is shaped by the interaction of nature-based, commercial and digital logic models. These three logics are at the heart of our design constructs. These three systems are symbiotically related and their forces drive how our food and Ag systems work.

Symbiotic Food & Ag Model Diagram

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Click the button below for a PDF version of this mindmap that can be printed or viewed in more detail.

To view food and Ag systems any differently than symbiotically is "treating an extraordinary complex living organism as though it were a simple mechanical device.”5 .

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Physics

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Symbiosis and the Long Game

Too often, many in food and Ag commercial systems skew their thinking to the physics-based thinking of commercial models (Physics). That is to say, they operate in a force choice, step-by-step world. Some think their decisions and workload have to work in “either/or” and sequential flow.

This is not relevant in food and agriculture due to the reciprocal relationships found in all nature-based systems (i.e. touch one part of the system and affect all parts in-real-time, all-the-time).

What is relevant is a better understanding of symbiosis6, and long-games7 ~ think biology (Corn Genome) and networks. Apple, Inc.’s design process recognizes these key concepts (symbiosis and long games) and are beneficiaries of their effective deployment.

What System Design Does for Food and Ag

System design pulls together the best of system thinking, commercial power and human processes that drive and shape food and Ag systems. It helps prevent group think that is only accessing explicit knowledge.   Agnetic designs food and Ag systems that minimize the temptation too act to early.

This discipline, prevents taking tempting, age-old shortcuts. Shortcuts that predictably only end up generating an ongoing cascade of additional constraints, which in turn generate a cascade of counter shortcuts that in-turn generate a bloom of Financial, Logistical, Analytical, Biological and Social waste.

Agnetic has designed a food and Ag logic model based on nature-based symbiotic power, named The New Ag Playbook. The Playbook brings needed tacit knowledge to the table. Its integrated components help humans overcome their naturally given ‘either/or’ and ‘compartmentalized-thinking’ by offering Better Starting Points™. These next step actions come with minimal risks and are continually verified through a check-and-balances process called the OODA Loop8. The OODA loop process builds business agility and commercial power; two core elements in any sustainable system. The New Ag Playbook presents how multiple loops can be executed simultaneously, in symbiotic fashion, including discovery, confirming and scaling loops for multiple business model development projects.

Learning From Others

Learning from and about others is crucial. Companies that previously had inflexible business models who worked to extend and enhance their business agility are capable of simultaneous, strategic internal and external moves that produce cash flow and market power in this hyper, interconnected world. We have proactively observed these companies and their moves for the insights they bring to the table.

A key tacit-knowledge insight we value is learning from others. Tacit knowledge is more than just adding to one's store of knowledge. It's about striving to enhance and extend one's whole frame of mind, body and spirit. For those that can learn from others the result is more free cash flow and market power.

A second key tacit-knowledge insight is ‘active patience.’ In our view, active patience is simply learning to ask for help without feeling diminished and not letting ‘perfect’ get in the way of something better from happening.
For example, most industries’ manufacturing workflow is the assembly of separate man-made parts into a unified whole. Automobile and computer assembly are two examples. That’s not how food and agriculture works. Food and agricultural bioprocessing is the disassembly of a united whole into separate parts workflow that follows a necessary precursor buildup to a unified whole only nature can provide. For instance, the growing of wheat before wheat milling that comes before baking bread. How these different systems ebb and flow is at the heart of the tacit-knowledge known to those familiar with food and agriculture.

What We Observe

Food and Ag System Constraints & Realities

“Everyone knows what is wrong inside our company and things aren’t getting better.”

“There aren’t enough hours. We can’t keep up with what is happening around us.”

“Doing business has gotten too complex.”

“What do we do in response to that blogger?”

“Decisions are made that don’t make sense to us; We didn’t anticipate certain consequences.”

“I can’t believe that non-Ag company is moving into my territory!”

The game of food and agriculture has changed.

More Observations

“We keep admiring and dissecting the problem, blaming someone or something.”

“How come we have enough food in the world, but there are still hungry people?”

“We can’t afford to wait. We have to do something.”

“How in the heck do we manage multiple work flows that are each important, but are from different departments running on different timelines?”

“Lots of drama here. Walking on eggshells.”

“We are swimming and surviving rather than being innovative and thriving.”

People are searching for a new way to get things done.

Yes, Yes and More

The way food and agriculture gets done is more complex.

The rate of change within challenged companies are slower and narrower than the rate of change outside of the company ~ and that is the rub. Our interconnected, hyper-linked world requires food and agriculture’s commercial and political strategies to be re-aligned with:

People are hungry for a new way to get things done.

Businesses need a simultaneous, multi-layered approach to getting things done in the five domains of agriculture: Financial, Logistical, Analytical, Biological and Social (FLABS). People are hungry for a common playbook for doing their work and shared understandings about * What’s working * What isn’t * What stands in the way and * What is next Better Starting Point™. Top down, sequential decision-making is no longer relevant. Shortcuts and tweaking create more problems both upstream and downstream.
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“Content, without context is just pretext11.”

Tavis Smiley12

Our Clients ∞ Community

We don’t perceive our business as a collection of clients. We make it our business to cultivate a diverse community of people who are passionate about feeding, clothing, fueling, protecting and healing our world and ourselves. This shared passion for food and Ag is at the heart of and gives dynamism to the new, agile business models that grow our designs. We know it takes partnerships across five domains13 to make an effective food and Ag system.

No enterprise, commercial, not-for-profit, religious, governmental, NGO, or whatever, escapes the need to shift to dynamic scaling brought on by digital logic. As much as the world has learned through the power of social networking to change governmental and commercial enterprise's structure and activities, digitally enhanced, nature-based business models don’t follow old rules.

We plant the seeds and harvest symbiotic partnerships across five domains and take an and/with approach to solving system constraints.

Even Steve Jobs asked for help.

Why Do Business with Agnetic

To gain sector leading head starts.
To save time, talent and treasure.

Because systems design works and it can work for you.

Regardless of your project’s size, it’s goals or desired process, Agnetic’s system design process will provide you with quantifiable head starts by filling in unknown explicit knowledge gaps and increasing tacit knowledge. We do this by helping you ask better system design questions that reveal yet-to-be-seen capabilities.

The New Ag Playbook is designed to be a comprehensive and effective tool to reveal What is going on, Why it is happening, and How to make it better. It enables our clients to make better decisions that result in faster business agility, more cash flow and more market power.

All of the changes and forces of food and Ag systems, no matter where you are in the system, are anticipated and can be proactively dealt with when seen through the lens of symbiosis and the Maker Ag System model.

Agnetic’s design focus reveals what agriculture is and is not. Why agriculture works the way it does and how design brings forth better ways to feed, clothe, fuel, protect and heal ourselves.

Better Starting Points for You

Get to Know

Learn more: Design Thinking & Doing and Blog.

Get More Info

Read about our Services and About Us.

Carpe Diem / Seize the Day

Close to a decision? Contact Us.