Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Playing Mahjong

I learned to play Mahjong last night while we were cowering in the basement from the latest tornado watch in my little corner of Tornado Alley.  It was on my computer, Windows System 7, unfashionable but functional.  Mahjong is a traditional Chinese analog to western card games.  I'd played with the Mahjong pieces in Singapore when I was a boy, but the rules to the actual game were in kanji characters or even less comprehensible Singlish - I never learned the game because I couldn't understand the instructions.  Last night, I learned how to play without reading more than two or three lines.  No Kanji, no struggling with the rules - if I broke them, the computer game told me.  The workflow was constrained by well, not exactly 'business rules' but 'game rules'.

Computer Mahjong is about as complex as most customer facing business processes that front line employees are expected to execute.  It illustrates just how powerful a little training, a little software and workflow constrained by rules can be:  something that was too hard to figure out given hours of time in the 1970s is mastered in minutes in the midst of a tornado warning in 2010.

This suggests to me that any customer, partner or employee relationship can be enhanced, indeed transformed with a combination of training, tool and workflow deployed via mobile tool.  The leverage available to organizations with imagination is virtually incalculable.  Out on the Openwater.

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