What should we learn from Semmelweis?

Ignaz Semmelweis was the "saviour of mothers". He was early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. He was referred to a mental institution - the place he died later. The linked article shows the details of his invention and invoke some thoughs of us about our "hygienic" work about managing Enterprise Architecture. Let's see some aspects, examples from EA practice when we work on something strange to our environment.

First of all to ride the wave of famous Big Data, his results was based on an analytics of data collected in hospitals. The approach is being kind of Big Data or not I would discuss more interesting aspects of his practice. The main thing is the strong belief in his truth.

All we know, the belief can be as useful as harmful. Fond belief, when you are blind for opposing facts is far to be positive. On the other hand if you have facts  while the other side has opposing oppinion, statements, principles only the belief will help you go through the painful argments. We as architect are collecting larege amount of information about architecture and the enterprise continuum threrefore we can identify those kind of facts which leads to a uncertain direction. Using the information base we have and sharing to the entire company everyone can understand our approach.

Belief helps you to insistent. Endurance is a value which mean you will keep your well-defined targets and stay on the road. Semmelweis spent almost 20 years of practice while he was continuosly refused. The reason was that he could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings. His practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory. The lession is that we should carefully communicate our sources and facts trying to judge people nevertheless these facts are not judged by sceintific explanation.

Next topic is the good target. Semmelweis was not focusing on the color of the towels, the amount of water used for handwashing. His target was to reach clean hands. He suggested the antiseptic material, but the focus was to wash hands. In our case in architecture management we also should defined the appropriate target, like full landscape knowledge base, ability to change of the architecture, optimising valie for money and so on. While we are working on the daily grind we must not forget the real targets.

Be open for challenges! Each case you will get a challenge you have a new change to validate your mission and to convince new people about the right approach. Challenges are coming in waves, ups and downs are changing each other. If you see more ups coming with no down you can be siure that you arrived.

Last but not least, you must be ready to change. If needed. You should be open to recognise if a short-term target what you are going for throws you off the right track. As you realise that be brave to change immediately. Since you are the one who defines the target therefore you have the role to change them.

Never forget: no one else will go all-out for your targets!

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