Friday, June 18, 2004

Fractal Loading

Fractal loading means that each high-level exchange also carries with it simultaneous exchanges on many smaller levels, and implies the coexistence of different but related things at different levels of scale.

The opposite case of monofunctional planning forces many separate and competing exchanges of the same type into a single communications channel, thus maximizing the capacity of uniform communications channels dedicated to a single type of exchange. An example of this is a choked highway, or the overloading of subway cars at rush hour. Not only is this inefficient, but it excludes other types of exchange.

[source: Information Architecture of Cities, Coward & Salingaros]
See also Phil Jones wiki

Customer relationship management illustrates the alternative between fractal loading and monofunctional planning. A call centre or other customer-facing operation may aspire to identify additional products and services to sell to customers. But this conflicts with a series of aspirations related to the efficiency and speed of a single transaction type – e.g. maximum throughput, minimum transaction times, and minimum queueing time.

Management-by-walking-around (MBWA) is an appeal to fractal loading. Knowledge management and trust benefit from fractal loading.

Fractal loading represents a major challenge to traditional bureaucratic assumptions about information processing and management. It helps us understand why traditional approach can never deliver adequate levels of adaptability.


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