The thinking frameworks VIPER and VPEC-T are almost identical. The meaning of these acronyms is remarkably similar, however, after numerous sessions with business clients, we found ’Information’ was more meaningful to them than 'Content'. Similarly ‘Reliance’ felt less challenging than ‘Trust’. The two acronyms are interchangeable depending on the audience. However, I usually start with VIPER as the default these days.
VIPER is more memorable and therefore more easily adopted. This is the greater good. This article uses the terms interchangeably given that most examples stretch back to 2006 and VIPER only popped into existence late 2019. I shall refer to 'The Framework' for the rest of this post.
The Framework is a technique for solving knotty problems and stimulating innovative designs. It was first used to solve a tricky problem in UK Criminal Justice in 2006 but has since been applied to a multitude of different problem-solving situations: market sense-making, business process improvement, I.T. requirements, social, and personal challenges.
This is a practical "How To" guide for preparing to use The Framework.
Problem-solving with The Framework needs a clear context to frame the thinking - and this starts with a focus question(s). Here are a few genuine focus questions explored:
Criminal Justice: How do we improve the accuracy and timeliness of information shared between the Police and the Prosecution Service?
Child Protection: How can the various agencies involved in Child Welfare share information about children at risk without sharing case file details?
Energy Utility (China): How can we share information with a U.S. based ‘Energy Optimization Service” SaaS provider without breaching Data Sovereignty regulations & our Customer data protection needs?
Energy Utility (China): How do we create a Cyber Security culture? And how do we measure the adoption of good security habits?
High Street Bank: How can we deliver one seamless experience to our customers, and at the same time, maintain independent Lines Of Business internally?
Retail Company UK: How can we adopt an event-sourcing/Microservices architecture?
Food & Beverage Brand: How do explain to my bosses why the current global ERP mandate is unworkable and will lead to an expensive failure?
Cloud-based IoT Start-up: We understand the value of an Event-Driven /Event-Sourcing architecture, but we’re not clear on how we handle the sharing of event data across user-defined, multi-company, Value Networks in a way that protects sensitive data?
Line Manager: How should I go about providing comprehensive 360 feedback about my bosses, colleagues, and staff?
Once the focus question(s) is clear, it’s worth spending a few moments thinking about The Framework's five dimensions:
Values, Information, Policies, Events & Reliance or
Values, Policies, Events, Content & Trust.
The aim of this schematic is to provide an initial list of things to consider when using The Framework - whether sitting at your desk or at an early stage of a workshop. Based on your focus question(s), think about the particular problem/topic you want to explore and make a note of your ideation phrases based on the 'Lines & Stations' in Figure 1. For example:
Events|Triggers, Events & Policies|Cyber Attacks,
Reliance|Trust Relationships, Realiance|Employee Security.
Of course, you can ignore the 'ideation schematic' and note your own ideation phrases. The schematic's job is to just stimulate ideas rather than predetermine them.
If you haven't used The Framework before, here are a few exercise questions to think about and to see if you can develop a few key phrases:
What should you highlight in your Resume?
How would you improve your experience of I.T. at work?
What are the implications for U.S. foreign policy in the Trump presidency?
What might be the impact of Brexit on the U.K. and on the rest of the world?
Is Global Warming a myth or reality?
See also VIPER SCAN