Pokemon, and games like it, can model millions of people and things in real time.
Why can’t we have software like that for our organisations?
Problems happen in organisations because of the complexity, ‘it’s not my job’, and because very few people can actually see the full complexity.
Companies are divided up into small divisions, each with a manager, and might run fine as division. But perhaps the only person joining the dots between each division is a senior manager with a lot to think about.
But when big problems happen, such as a patient who dies for waiting for the right sort of doctor, or a road accident because of something it was ‘nobody’s job’ to fix, or an offshore oil drilling disaster, then it is clear to everyone that it would have been worth making more effort to connect the dots better.
We are not going to advocate different ways to manage organisations, such as employing more people to connect dots between different divisions. There are plenty of other people doing that. We are going to advocate better ways to use software so people can understand what is going on.
In 2016 it is possible to build software which simulates what is actually happening in the real world in real time – so that anyone can see what is happening from their desktop computer. The senior managers do not need to walk around hospital wards, drive on a dangerous road or visit an offshore oil platform to see problems which are happening or about to happen.
The software can work out what problems are about to happen as well. Think about how Pokemon manages the world in real time. It would not be a computational challenge to think about what the Pokemon world will look like tomorrow as well, and guess what the players might do based on what they did in the past.
There isn’t a safety hazard from bumping into a Pokemon, but there is a safety hazard from bumping into plenty of things in the real world.
This means a shift in how we make our software. Currently most ‘enterprise software’ revolves around relational databases, a kind of filing system. This needs to change. Computer games are not built around relational databases (we imagine) and neither should enterprise software be.