Thinking a bit more about correlated compounding loops, I would like to improve on my metaphor. I can’t believe I didn’t see it earlier, but it’s clearly not a tricycle — it’s a unicycle! Having never ridden one, I can only imagine a bit more balancing and finesse needed to ride than a bicycle. So it’s settled then. It’s all about unicycles and bicycles from here on. Transportation of the future.
When the motor and the rudder rely on the same or highly correlated compounding loops, we have ourselves a unicycle. Conversely, we have a bicycle when the motor and the rudder use low- or non-correlated compounding loops. Bicycles tend to be more stable and unicycles more finicky.
For example, a tenured position is a solid bicycle. With the tenure secured, I can focus on steering toward the desired change, knowing that my motor will continue to provide the necessary power. Companies establishing research centers like PARC or Bell Labs is another example of bicycles: creating distance between the source of funding and the environment of change. This distance does not have to be large. Any buffer between the cash that’s coming in (motor) and the expenses dedicated to achieving desired outcomes (rudder) is acting as the unicycle-to-bicycle conversion kit.
There’s still more to consider in this transportation metaphor. It feels like the notion of groundedness is important. Are both bicycle wheels on the ground — is the rudder experiencing the same environment as the motor? What is the impact of that motor/rudder correlation on the time horizon of the intended change? I am still chewing on these.