Archive for the ‘Innovations – reuse of’ Category

Interviewed on innovation by “Critical Mass for Business”

March 5, 2014

On February 27, 2014, Ric Franzi interviewed me regarding innovation.  His radio show, Critical Mass for Business, posted the interview at .

I would like to thank Glenn Perkins of Renaissance Executive Forums for recommending to Ric that I appear on his show, Ric for interviewing me, and Crystal Nguonly for helping make all this possible.

Interviewed Brian Christian

August 18, 2012

Earlier during 2012, I interviewed Brian Christian (author of The Most Human Human), following a speech he presented for TEDxConstitutionDrive 2012.  Recently, LectureMaker posted this interview.

The theme for the event was “identity.”  Brian’s talk was entitled “The Imitation Game: What Anonymity Teaches Us About Identity.”  The interview picks up on points regarding the extent to which humans can determine whether they are talking with a computer or with a human.  I was pleased to be able to involve another event-attendee in the discussion.

Spoke regarding grassroots innovation

November 23, 2009

On November 18, 2009, I led a discussion entitled “Grassroots Innovation: One Pebble Creates a Ripple.”  The event was one in the EMC Leadership & Innovation Speaker Series, which meets at EMC in Silicon Valley.

I presented a “recipe” for grassroots innovation (and other endeavors), based on a Direct Outcomes thinking tool. I discussed two histories, one (the creating of the Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve) in which I provided a pebble and one (Pacific Gas and Electric’s early to mid 1980s company-wide innovation program known as the Office Technology Project) in which I had various roles regarding “ripples” and “creating new pebbles.”

Audience-suggested discussion involved topics including …

  • LUC – The law of unintended consequences.
  • Converting problems into opportunities.
  • Moral responsibility.
  • Timing, regarding pursuing innovations.
  • What constitutes an “innovation?”
  • Is the term “innovation” overused?
  • Are people “saturated” with too many ideas?

I note that there is a blog noting “10 Principles of Pebbles” –

I appreciate the contributions of the committee the organized this event.  It developed the “pebble and ripples” title for the event.  Sheryl Chamberlain (of EMC) hosted the meeting and helped involve the audience.  Mike Alvarado provided suggestions for setting expectations.

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Remembering George Michael

June 6, 2008


I received e-mails indicating that George A. Michael died.

George had pivotal direct or indirect roles in the following endeavors.

·         The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory develops a multi-player computer-mediated game.

o    During the summer of 1968, Kelly Booth introduced me to George and the two of them introduced me to Charles Wetherell.  George’s group was bringing two multi-terminal graphics-oriented mini-computers into the Laboratory.  Kelly and Charles worked with George.  I asked Kelly and Charles whether they would like to build a computerized referee for the game of Kriegspiel.  Decades later, George documented history related to this game in An Interview with Charles Wetherell and Tom Buckholtz.  According to Kelly or Charles, their work established techniques (for coordination among software processes) that were reused in the Laboratories first ‘official’ multi-player computerized war-games and simulations.

o    I highly recommend that anyone interested in the history of computing at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory become acquainted with the numerous oral histories (such as the above mentioned interview) George generated – Stories of the Development of Large Scale Scientific Computing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

·         I meet Doug Engelbart.

o    George took me to visit Tymshare.  During this visit, I first met Doug Engelbart.

·         Teknekron pioneers automated document libraries.

o    George connected me with Tom Follett, who hired me into Insurance Technology Company, a Teknekron subsidiary.  Tom played key roles in developing (likely) the world’s first automated document library.  I developed applications that system users (mostly workers compensation claims adjudicators) used, helped Tom develop applications development tools, and (after Tom left to found or restart Berkeley Technical Associates) oversaw ITC company operations, including final delivery in 1977 of the automated document library components of the system.  The State of Washington reduced its average workers compensation claims adjudication time from 8 weeks to 2 weeks, eliminated 400,000 file folders, and no longer needed to dedicate 27 staff positions to finding file folders.

o    George connected me with Henry Laxen, whom I hired into ITC.

·         Berkeley Technical Associates develops pioneering administrative systems for the Contra Costa County (California, USA) Criminalistics Laboratory and for the California Department of Health Services’s program for screening newborns for genetic diseases.

o    I joined Tom Follett at Berkeley Technical Associates.  BTA delivered these systems.

·         Friends Amis pioneers personal digital assistants (PDA, then known as hand-held computers – HHC).

o    Henry Laxen, who led software development for Friends Amis, recommended that Friends Amis hire me as his replacement.  After Matsushita acquired Friends Amis, Matsushita sold (I learned later) 70,000 Panasonic HHCs.

·         Catheryne Buckholtz attends the United States Naval Academy.

o    My wife Helen knew George and his bride Heidi.  Helen and daughter Catheryne benefited from learning about one of George and Heidi’s daughter’s experience at the Naval Academy.  Later, Catheryne attended the Naval Academy.

·         Helen Buckholtz and I become friends with Doc Cooke and his wife Marion (“Mike”).

o    In approximately 1970, George recommended that, if I were to travel to Washington, D.C., I should try to meet his relative Doc Cooke (David O. Cooke – Wikipedia, David O. Cooke – DoD).  In September 1989, Doc and I got acquainted over lunch, in the Pentagon.  (That morning, I had interviewed with the Administrator of General Services.  After lunch, I interviewed with Presidential Personnel.  Less than 4 weeks later, I started serving as the Commissioner leading the General Services Administration’s Information Resources Management Service.)

o    Helen and I were privileged to become friends with the Cookes.  We even went to Thanksgiving dinner in their home.

o    During my federal service, when I wanted advice from someone not in GSA, I would call Doc.

o    Years after my federal service, Doc arranged for Colin Powell to autograph both a picture of General and Mrs. Powell with Helen and me and the copy of General Powell’s book “My American Journey” that I had read.  Doc placed his initials in the book near material about himself.

·         The Computer History Museum receives and catalogs a collection of thousands of computer manuals.

o    Before I left the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (in 1977), George gave me computer manuals collected by Raymond DeSaussure and him.  Helen and I stored those, along with ones I had collected, for decades.  In 2003, we gave the combined collection to the Computer History Museum.  Subsequently, Museum staff indicated that the Thomas J. Buckholtz, Raymond DeSaussure, and George Michael Computer Manual Collection was the Museum’s largest single collection of documents.

I can well imagine that George Michael played pivotal roles in numerous other endeavors and lives.  I hope people will tell some of those stories.

Thank you, George.

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Churchill Club announces ‘information overload’ program

March 21, 2008

I received an e-mail announcing a Churchill Club program titled Silicon Valley Fights Back Against the (Information) Monster it Created.  A sentence from an announcement for the program states “The Valley and its denizens are trying to combat a problem of their own making: information overload.”   I am reminded of the following events, in which my thinking of “information overload” helped trigger developing the theme of “information proficiency.”

In late 1989, the United States General Services Administration (GSA) was doing strategic planning.  The Information Resources Management Service (IRMS, a 2,000-person GSA group which I led) needed a mission statement.  The following are three candidate themes, each with an image the theme might convey (to the community of perhaps 4,000,000 federal employees that IRMS served) and with an assessment of corresponding value (based on the Direct Outcomes “Achieve Progress” tool).

  • Information Proficiency – Using information to make and implement decisions. (Implementation and Insight)
  • Information-rich Environment – Useful information. (Information and Transactions)
  • Quality Products and Services – Computers and telephones. (Transactions and Infrastructure)

 Previously, IRMS had developed an information-rich environment candidate theme, which I found momentarily compelling and then, thinking of information overload, not satisfactory.  (My tenure as the GSA commissioner leading IRMS began in October 1989, during this strategic planning.)  I devised and IRMS adopted the following.

  • Mission statement:
    • To help clients achieve information proficiency.  Information proficiency is the effective use of information to achieve a person’s job or an organization’s mission.
  • Operational themes:
    • Proficiency with information to make decisions and thereby set goals.
    • Proficiency through information to communicate and implement decisions and thereby achieve results specified by goals.

Later, I used the information proficiency theme as the title for the book Information Proficiency: Your Key to the Information Age.

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Suggest specific roles for “the evolving CIO”

November 23, 2007

The InformationWeek articles “The Evolving CIO: Step Up – or Step Back” [1] and “The Inexorable Rise of the New CIO” [2] discuss the influence and organizational position of chief information officers (CIOs). For example, the former article cites a Society for Information Management (SIM) [3] survey and notes that “Last year, 45% of business technology executives surveyed said they report to the CEO; this year, it’s just 31%. At the same time, the percentage of CIOs reporting to the company CFO has risen, to 29% from 25%.”

Perhaps it is time (again) to suggest specifically how CIOs can earn more useful, more prominent roles by providing more valuable, more appreciated service.

  • The Role of the CIO” [4] provides 6 categories of enterprise needs, from “Enterprise Outcomes” to “Enterprise Infrastructure” and, within the categories, notes 24 specific potential enterprise needs that CIOs can address. CIOs who provide valued close-to-Outcomes services can earn prominence.

  • The role-of-the-CIO figure (below) adds a seventh category, “Enterprise Governance,” and illustrates reasoning supporting “The Role of the CIO.” I based this figure on the Direct Outcomes systems-thinking tool known as Achieve Progress. [5]

    • The first text column provides the 7 categories.

    • The second text column begins sentences (column title, plus column entries) for which each the left-most 3 columns suggests conclusions (column titles, plus column entries).

Permit me to suggest that CIOs consider reviewing the categories and potential roles, proactively working with colleagues to enhance closer-to-Outcomes service while not compromising closer-to-Infrastructure results, providing enhanced value, and earning bright futures.

Role of the CIO, by theme

The above remarks are based on perspective gained from having …

  • Led a $1 billion business unit that included a CIO.

  • Served as co-CIO for the United States federal government’s Executive Branch.

  • Served as CIO for the United States General Services Administration.

  • Served in the CIO-led organization within Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

[1] John Soat, InformationWeek, November 19, 2007, pages 34-43.

[2] Bob Evans, InformationWeek, November 19, 2007, pages 42-43.


[4] The Role of the CIO


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Government Technology Continues to Champion Service to the Citizen

September 13, 2007

     On September 12, 2007, I received an e-mail with a headline banner stating “Government Technology’s Service to the Citizen – Technology Enabled Transparency, Service, and Simplicity.”  I am reminded of 2 developments.

     First, starting in late 1989 and continuing through early 1993, I led the team that started the United States toward paying more attention to improving governmental service to the public.  I served as the commissioner for the United States General Services Administration’s Information Resources Management Service.  Frank McDonough led the unit that handled our responsibilities as co-chief information officer (co-CIO) for the Executive Branch of the U.S. federal government.  In late 1989 he proposed that the community of federal CIOs catalyze progress toward better governmental service to the public.  In 3 years, we catalyzed a nationwide grassroots movement of academic, news-media, private-sector, and public-sector individuals and organizations. [1]  By now, results have included “e-government” in general and also “one-stop permitting” for construction permits.  One of the news-media participants, Government Technology [2], sponsored national and regional conferences on the topic and is, evidently, still an active champion.

     Second, based in part on his learning about (during a brief presentation I gave at a 2000 or 2001 conference sponsored by Government Technology) one of my Direct Outcomes achievement tools [3], Wayne Hanson, then leader of Government Technology, changed the magazine’s business strategy.  I am pleased to continue to use a statement to this effect that Wayne provided me.

 [1]  Frank A. McDonough, and Thomas J. Buckholtz, “Providing Better Service to Citizens with Information Technology,” Journal of Systems Management, April 1992



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Attended NextNow Meeting regarding Service Science

August 23, 2007

     On August 20, 2007, I attended a NextNow [1] meeting (at Stanford University [2]) featuring Jim Spohrer [3] (of IBM’s Almaden Research Center [4]) facilitating a discussion of Service Science [5].

     Jim led a far-reaching discussion of this ‘new but timeless’ subject.  Eileen Clegg [6] and a colleague of hers recorded ‘visual notes.’

     Jim featured a service-science theme of co-creating value.  One ‘visual note’ showed profiles of 2 faces facing each other, with the faces representing entities trying to co-create value for each other.  Later, Jim drew a chart of the evolution of the relative amount of work (in the United States during 200 years) devoted to agriculture, manufacturing, and services.  I invited to people to combine three concepts – value co-creation, entities helping each other, and relative work – to rethink what people consider and measure.  While currently perhaps only two-percent of American “labor” is tallied as devoted to growing food (“agriculture”), presumably a much larger percentage of national effort goes into creating the value of pleasure, nutrition, and so forth that people derive from food.  Paralleling some of Jim’s comments (and comments in my recent book, “Innovate Incisively: Gain Impact. Save Time.” [7]) there are many opportunities to change the focus of what people attempt to measure so as to pay more attention to outcomes and, therefore also, to more useful concepts of inputs.

     Jim mentioned that Service Science crucially needs practical theoretical bases (for which he said the roles could parallel for Service Science the roles of contributions of Maxwell or Einstein to physics).  I mentioned to attendees that I believe I have developed some such bases.  I offered to help people learn about and benefit from such. [7, 8]

     I would like to encourage people to learn more about Service Science and Jim Spohrer’s role regarding it.

     The event provided an opportunity to meet or reconnect with several people.  For example, I mentioned to Doug Engelbart [9] that I would be happy to work with him to simplify the one complex slide he showed some years ago in a presentation at the Computer History Museum [10].  My doing so would be based on Direct Outcome’s Achieve Progress tool [7, 8]

     I would like to acknowledge Bill Daul [11] of NextNow and Chuck House of Media X [12] for their hosting this event.






[5] and


[7] This book also features a “two smiling faces” perspective.  The book provides Direct Outcomes tools for envisioning, working toward, and achieving “win-win relationships” (or value co-creation) throughout and beyond business-like activities.

[8] Regarding two of the Direct Outcomes tools, Ron Fredericks [8a] (Embedded Components, Inc. [8b]) stated the following.  “The Service Value [now, Achieve Progress] and Style Maturity [now, Achieve Style] techniques provide as important a conceptual breakthrough for enhancing business success as have Relativity and Quantum Mechanics for keeping physics viable.  Fortunately, unlike Relativity or Quantum Theory, almost any person, group, or enterprise can benefit quickly and significantly from Value and Maturity.”









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Advise regarding Emergency Preparedness and Response

August 13, 2007

     Recently, I worked with a group of government officials that indicated it plans to produce a report on emergency preparedness and emergency response.  Permit me to offer the following advice to people involved with emergency preparedness and response (EP&R).

     Permit me to recommend the following topics and questions for study, planning, and action. [1] [2]  Consider planning from Reuse toward Infrastructure, as well as planning in a more traditional sequence or in a ‘random’ sequence.

·    Reuse

·    What impact – beyond EP&R – should EP&R have?

·    Outcomes

·    What impact should EP&R achieve regarding preventing, minimizing adverse consequences of, coping with, and benefiting from emergencies?

·    Consider as many types of emergencies as appropriate.

·    For each type of emergency or combination of emergencies, consider as broad a range of scope of crisis as appropriate.

·    Implementation

·    How should people work to achieve the above impacts of EP&R?

·   Consider as much Reuse and as many Outcomes as appropriate.

·    Consider as many scenarios as appropriate.

·    Consider as many types of preparedness drills as appropriate.

·    Insight

·    How should people plan so as to carry out such Implementations?

·    Consider potential principles, goals, benefits, costs, and risks – regarding emergencies.

·    Consider potential principles, goals, benefits, costs, and risks – regarding non-emergency aspects of society.

·    Information

·    What information is needed in order to achieve the Reuse, Outcomes, and Implementation?

·    What information is needed in order to formulate, decide on, carry out, and benefit from the plans?

·    Transactions

·    How will people and systems find, synthesize, store, communicate, receive, qualify, understand, and use such Information?

·    How will people and systems carry out transactions needed to achieve the Reuse, Outcomes, and Implementations and to develop the Insight?

·    Infrastructure

·    What infrastructure is likely to be impacted by emergencies and what infrastructure is needed to perform all of the above?

·    Consider needs to achieve Reuse, Outcomes, and Implementations, develop Insight, and carry out Transactions.

·    Consider individuals, teams and organizations, and skills – including people who need to be involved, people who may be involved, skills people need to have, and skills people have.

·    Consider traditional infrastructure for the transportation of people, information, air and water, energy, food and other supplies, and so forth.

·    Consider traditional infrastructure for sheltering people, using information, providing air and water, providing energy, using food and other supplies, and so forth.

·    Consider other infrastructure, such as money and other fungible items.

[1] The outline, terminology used for the titles in the outline, and the content are Copyright © 2007 Thomas J. Buckholtz.

[2] The outline and terminology are based on the Direct Outcomes achievement tool known as Achieve Progress and described in the book Innovate Incisively. (

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Washington Technology Features DHS EAGLE Multiple Award Contract

August 4, 2007

    The cover of the July 27, 2007 edition of Washington Technology states “EAGLE soars.”  The related story, “One big bird” (page 18 ff, by Alice Lipowicz [1]), and “Editor’s Note: Let the sunshine in” (page 5, by Nick Wakeman) discuss a Department of Homeland Security procurement known as EAGLE – Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge solutions.  The two pieces note that this procurement is a “multiple-award contract” with a ceiling of $42 billion and a span of 7 years.

     I proposed, in approximately 1992, the concept for widespread use (i.e., use beyond the General Services Administration’s Information Resources Management Service) of the multiple-award contract for information technology.

     The IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery – Indefinite Quantity) Multiple Award Contract was the second of 2 major procurement streamlining endeavors I initiated while serving as a GSA Commissioner (1989-1993).  An earlier concept I proposed became know as the Government-Wide Acquisition Contract.  In a January 2006 article, “New dawn for GWACs,” Washington Technology writer Roseanne Gerin alluded to a then-current total of $290 billion in GWAC activity (procurements that were being planned, were out for bid, or had been awarded and were still in use). [2]

     Previously, while working for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, I pioneered for the world information-technology marketplace another procurement technique – the enterprise software license (also known as the “corporate license” and originally sometimes referred to as “site license”).  Apparently, I negotiated the first 3 such licenses in June and July of 1983.  Some of PG&E’s suppliers added the new business practice to their marketing and sales practices and sought publicity for their new way of doing business.  The press interviewed me several times regarding this business innovation. [3]  Also, I wrote an article about this business practice. [4]

  • [1]
  • [2]
  • [3] “Buying Rights to Copy Disk,” P. Schindler Jr., Information Systems News, October 1, 1984; “Micro Users Pressure Software Companies for ‘Site Licensing,’“ J. Littman and K. Strehlo, PC WEEK, December 4, 1984; “Software Licensing On Site In Sight,” C. Fleig, InformationWEEK, February 11, 1985; “’Site licenses’ designed for high-volume users,” L. Raleigh, San Jose Mercury News, May 13, 1985; “Site Licensing: What’s in It for Users,” C. Rubin, InfoWorld, July 29, 1985; “Software users find site licensing makes life easier,” Corporate Times, October, 1985; “Users Force PC Software Firms To Provide Site Licensing,” C. Fleig, InformationWEEK, October 7, 1985; “A Moving Target: Microcomputer software pricing has become a moving target,” I. Fuerst, DATAMATION, December 1, 1985; “More Small Vendors Offer Site Licenses,” D. Roman, COMPUTER DECISIONS, January 2, 1986; “[product name] site licensing killed; [vendor name] to offer volume sales: Industry turns attention to corporate pricing plans,” D. Barney and M. McEnaney, Computerworld, January 27, 1986; “[vendor name] Site-Licensing Reaction Mixed,” S. Burke, InfoWorld, February 17, 1986; “Site Licensing: Users in the Driver’s Seat,” L. White, Computerworld, February 19, 1986; “Site licensing: Ready … or not?”, J. Seymour, TODAY’S OFFICE, April 1986; “Good Ideas Drown in Sea of Big Software Makers,” J. Seymour, PC WEEK, April 22, 1986; “Site license: Micro managers look beyond top vendors’ restraints,” D. Barney, Computerworld, September 1, 1986; “From Unix to Ethernet: Ten Standards in Bloom”, InformationWEEK, December 15, 1986; “S’ware developers giving resellers a new competition,” Computer & Software News, January 23, 1989.
  • [4] “Site Licensing Lets Users Spend Less Money to Get More Software,” InformationWEEK, June 2, 1986.

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