Yesterday I said that I had been working on a project meant to pull my topsight-related work together and make it more broadly accessible. That project is still underway, but let me introduce it to you.
It's a book. I'm calling it Topsight: A Guide to Studying, Diagnosing, and Fixing Information Flow in Organizations.
And it's both similar to and different from my previous books and articles. Here's how.
How to study the organization
My previous books and articles describe field studies I conducted in complex knowledge work organizations, studies that helped me achieve an overall understanding of how these organizations circulate information.
Topsight doesn't describe a field study—it tells people how to conduct and analyze their own field studies, including lots of tips and tricks that I've had to learn the hard way. That includes designing a study, putting together a research kit, and convincing stakeholders that the study is a good idea.
How to diagnose the organization
In my previous books and articles, I developed or adapted analytical constructs such as activity systems and activity networks, genre ecologies, sociotechnical graphs, operations tables, and contradiction-discoordination-breakdown tables. These helped me to diagnose problems with information flow in these organizations.
Topsight includes these constructs and more—but it gives them better, more self-explanatory names; explains them lucidly, so anyone can put them together from the data; and provides professionally designed figures to better convey what these constructs are supposed to do. Which is: to diagnose problems with information flow in organizations.
How to fix information flow
My previous books and articles basically stopped at diagnosis. They were about analysis.
Topsight doesn't. It walks readers through developing claims, turning them into recommendations, justifying those recommendations, and integrating them into solid recommendation reports. Readers won't just analyze the organization, they'll have the tools to argue for changing it.
And that brings us to...
My previous books and articles were written for professors and graduate students. They talked about organizations, but not necessarily to people in organizations.
Topsight is written for people in and out of academics who want to achieve topsight: undergraduates, consultants, people who want to change their own organizations.
My previous books were published by MIT Press and Cambridge University Press. I'm very proud of these books, and I'm very grateful to these publishers for accepting them.
Topsight will be published by ... me. I'll be working through Amazon's CreateSpace publish-on-demand platform to produce the book in both printed and Kindle versions. This approach means that I can turn the book around quickly, retain control, keep costs down, and reach a global market. It's an exciting experiment.
Topsight won't quite be out in time for Christmas, but it should come out soon afterwards. Watch this space for an announcement. In the meantime, I'll be blogging about different aspects of the book—and adding more content at clayspinuzzi.com.