A Railfan may be Suitable for ‘Business Designing’?

This might become that, this could become that... A designer needs the force of imagination.

== 1. Planning Lover? ==

When I was a schoolboy, I was a railfan.

Of course, I yearned to “ride” and “photograph” the trains, but actually, I spent most of the time flipping the pages of the Japan Travel Bureau’s “Timetable”, even as my daily routine. Whenever I found time, I was reading those “Timetables”.


However, I was traveling around by reading.

That is, I wrote down the whole travel on paper. To start, I caught the first train at the nearest station from home (in my imagination). Of course, I opened the window of the car all the way (in my imagination). I watched the scenery while feeling the wind coming through the window (in my imagination). And I checked both the arrival time to the next transfer station and the departure time during my ride (in my imagination).

If I had 10 minutes to transfer, I would get the Station Commemorative stamp.
If I had 30 minutes, I would get a stopover mark on my ticket, and go eat at the noodle shop on platform #3.

Yes, I remember that if there were only 3 minutes to transfer, I was in a hurry.
‘Can I run from Platform #1 to Platform #5 in 3 minutes?’…

(All this I thought about in my head.)




== 2. Documentation lover as well? ==

Soon, I also started calculating the ride distance precisely.

When I was a 5th or 6th grader, I was figuring out the rail fare by calculating the ride distance. I was capable to tell the cheapest rail fare, after all the discounts. I guess I was a schoolboy who was more familiar with “Passenger Regulations” than the average Railway Employee.




== 3. Sometimes, I put it into Practice ==

On spring, summer, and winter break, sometimes I got the chance to take ‘Real trips’.

The first trip I took was to NIIGATA together with my elder brother. We traveled from KOBE to NIIGATA, then to TOKYO,then back to KOBE. Indeed, real travel was fun. I recall that the Train announcements were very real, different from the ones in my imagination.


After that, I was deeply hooked in both, the ‘Traveling in my imagination’ and ‘Traveling for real’.

When I was a high school-boy, I often took trips by myself or with my pals. Of course, I traveled in my head, as well. (I think I have traveled each and every town in Japan in my imagination.)

In the real trips, I enjoyed things like ‘stopping over wherever I felt like to, and taking a walk’ or, ‘sleeping in KYUSHU island on a sleeper train’, etc.




== 4. My Current Job ==

So… recently… unexpectedly, some thoughts came up in my head:

– Is the Hobby of my school days related with my current job?
– After all, am still I doing the same thing even ‘now’?

I have never thought about it before… (Somewhat, somehow…)

I have been creating only enterprise software for 15 years, ever since I started as a student entrepreneur.

And I have been creating a software so-called “Business Process Management”(BPM) for the last 7 years. Which, to put it simple, is used to:

(1) Draw the progression of work into a ‘Business Flow Diagram’
(2) Convey ‘Business data’ along the aforementioned diagram.

Something very important for this software’s Users, are the ‘Template Processes’.


I think I myself, have drawn approximately 500 business processes so far. There are cases where I draw business operations which I have never done in real life. At that time, I was imagining a specific business issue progresses on sequential steps and drawing it.

– Is this using my imagination too?
– It is!
– And it is very important!


# Well, it’s all because this idea suddenly hit me…


What matters is how realistically, thrillingly and excitedly you do it.


e.g.: External Payment Request


# Oh, Please take a look at the Template-site. “http://en.workflow-sample.net/



== X. Post Script ==

It is getting too detailed, but there are mainly two aspects in Business Process Management:

(1) ‘Business Designing’ which is equivalent to laying the rails
(2) ‘Business Processing’ which is equivalent to running trains on those rails

When I was a kid, what I imagined were the ‘(2) Aspects in Business processing’.

You should not immerse yourself into (1) Business Designing before taking care of (2) Business Processing. ‘Imagination’ here can be replaced with ‘Thought Experiment’. That is, you’ll need to stand on the work field side and conduct the following ‘thought experiment’:

How will daily business issues progress on THIS Business rule?

You can design a good business, only if you do it thrillingly and excitedly.


== X2. Post Script 2 (or rather additional information) ==

The reason why I started liking railways was because of the influence of my elder brother whom I have mentioned before. And I think he loved Railways more than I did.

He completed the nation wide railway network during a decade-long campaign ‘Challenge 20000 km’ (1980 -1990) held by Japan Railway.




About IMAMURA Genichi

CEO & Founder - Questetra, Inc. || http://www.facebook.com/imamura.genichi
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