How to do something
Introduction to the notion
Etymology: from the Greek “methodos”, the path to reach a goal.
The method is, by definition, the answer to the question “how?”. For example:
- How can we support the design effort, by making the most of the contributions from various specialties?
- How can we stimulate imagination in order for new ideas to burst forth, upon which future developments will be based?
- How can we square up to complexity, that of enterprises and their systems, and of federations of enterprises and systems of systems?
Praxeme answers the questions in terms of methods, approaches and procedures. Due to the coverage – the whole enterprise, in all its aspects –, it is necessary to wonder about the factors that determine the quality of the collective action. It is one thing to design a method for a homogeneous group of specialists; it is quite another to bring together the specialties coming from various cognitive universes and generate synergy between them. That is why it is necessary to remain open and to ask questions about these cognitive universes, what determines them and whether there be any underlying logic. This task falls to the methodology.
The method meets the needs of the actors of the transformation, according to each person’s specialty and role in the transformation. The term “method” conjures up the operating mode, the recipe, the guide to the action. In fact, several methods are required to cover the whole transformation chain. Consequently, one need becomes obvious: each method has to be designed not only in comparison with its own purpose, but also in order to fall within the greater transformation chain as a whole. It is not therefore possible for it to suddenly materialize, complete and ready armed, from within a specialty or corporation. Its design has to start from a wider perspective. The objective, which is to deal with enterprise transformation, requires us to take a step back and to think carefully, which is the methodology part.
Comparaison between method and methodology
The method is intended for practitioners; it has to serve as a guide for their daily activity and aims to be highly practical. The risk is being highly specialized and closed in.
The methodology is a wider and theoretical way of thinking. It does not concern all practitioners, but it is necessary to ensure the quality of the methods and their articulation within the transformation chain.
A method is a set of recommendations (prescriptions) that serve a practical goal. Within the Praxeme corpus, it comes in the form of procedure sheets and forms that come with their own instructions. The guides make up the actual methodological part and provide the justifications underlying the methods.