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More on Exporting Process Innovation

In the software business, we learned a decade or so ago that the right level of abstraction at which to “export” software design ideas was the design pattern.

Taken from Christopher Alexander’s classsic, work on pattern languages for architecture, the idea of a software design pattern is an abstraction from details of implementation to the gist of the software algorithm.  Software design patterns are widely used to disseminate innovations in software (they should, in a rational world, be the only form in which algorithms can be patented, but we digress).

The same kind of abstraction – a process pattern, if you will – is the right way to bundle up our innovative DC processes for export.  Iraq may not want a Senate complete with two representatives from each state, but the nation builders among the Iraqi local countrybuilders may well want the Committee with Expert Staff process pattern as a model for how to digest complex policies for a generalist legislative body.

Who in the technology policy community speaks the language of design patterns and the language of policy process?  That’s the crew who needs to work on this.

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About the author

an Gordon is Research Director for Valhalla Partners, a Northern Virginia venture capital firm. Dan has twenty-eight years experience working with technology, as a computer scientist, software developer, manager, analyst, and entrepreneur. Prior to joining Valhalla Partners, Dan was a Director and senior staff member at the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Technology Centre, analyzing technology trends and consulting on technology-oriented strategies in the software, e-business, wireless, optical, networking, semiconductor IP, and life sciences arenas. He worked with clients from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. Dan was a Contributing Writer and Contributing Editor to the Technology Centre’s annual Technology Forecast, and a frequent speaker at industry and general business meetings. Before joining PwC, Dan spent 20 years in Silicon Valley as a software technologist, manager, director, and entrepreneur, including senior technical roles at well-known Silicon Valley firms like Symantec, Intuit, and Oracle. Dan has also been involved in startup companies in the applied Artificial Intelligence and Web applications fields. Dan has a B.A. (cum laude) from Harvard University and an M.S. from New York University in Computer Science. He is a Professional Member of the IEEE and ACM. Dan lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two children.