Thriving On Adaptability: Best Practices for Knowledge Workers

Adaptive Case Management is ultimately about allowing knowledge workers to work the way that they want to work and to provide them with the tools and information they need to do so effectively.

After seven months of traveling Curiosity lands on Mars. The engineers in NASA mission control are excited to start scientific research. These scientists have a special challenge; the Mars rover is so far away and the signal takes so long, that they need to rely on automation in order to maintain control in the wildest  scenarios. There are many decisions that must be made on a daily, and even on a minute-to-minute basis. Involving the scientist in every possible decision, given the round trip time to consult and answer, would slow the research to – literally – a crawl.

The scientists who operate the rover are knowledge workers. Just like knowledge workers in a business setting, they must figure out how to accomplish goals, as they uncover new information that affects their goals. The automation that they use built into Curiosity is very much like the business processes that businesses use to achieve their goals: the process works fine as long as the situation matches what was expected. But what happens to a business process when confronted with something unexpected? This chapter takes us on an exploration of how to adapt to the unexpected–including a Little Green Man–using the Mars Curiosity as an entertaining, but highly enlightening example.