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An innovative approach to managing information overflow

By Ed Brill on IBM Workplace

Via Ted Stanton/InsideLotus, an article on about activity-centric computing. The article features several quotes from Lotus CTO Doug Wilson:
"Right now, the 'glue' that associates tasks and objects within an activity remains in the users' heads. But if we're able to create and save the thread of an activity, we should also be able to preserve it as a pattern that others can reuse when performing the same or similar activities. In effect, people will be writing their own programs for executing business processes at the same time as they execute the processes. It's going to make capturing best practices a lot easier for organizations, and it has the potential to change the way organizations think about programming."
but then what exactly is the activity-based model?
The "activities" paradigm enables users to manage many disparate items as coordinated projects. Individuals continue to work with the tools and applications they already know. But now they have a simple, unobtrusive way to tame the problem of information overflow. They can easily manage both shared and private aspects of all kinds of activities, becoming more efficient and productive without leaving the comfort of their inboxes. And they can resume interrupted work more quickly because everything related to any particular activity is neatly organized in one place.
The more involved I get in the Notes "Hannover" project, the more convinced I am that Activities will be one of the primary drivers for upgrades to the new release (along with composite applications). Yes, the new UI work is incredibly compelling, but it's new UI on the same core client.

Activities delivers fundamentally new innovation into the Notes client, a way to get out from under e-mail overload. To me, Activities is an empowering approach. In shifting the paradigm from e-mail, the user is taking control of their day back. Right now, I, like many people, manage a lot of my work out of my inbox. The problem with that is that I've shifted the responsibility to someone else -- I have to wait for an e-mail to take action. And if I'm left off an e-mail, I might be left out of a work activity overall. With the Activities model being a drag-and-drop away, now I'm working together with my organization, making things happen in a way that isn't just a moment-in-time, but can be captured, studied, learned-from, and re-used.

If all that sounds too dreamy, maybe my brain is still suffering the effects of hearing the hotel's lobby musicians play a muzak-ed version of the Village People's "YMCA" last night. Now that was an interesting activity.

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