combined banner

Optionality - a perspective not restricting points of view

Abstract: This article discusses banners designed to promote Quintessence's work. In consultancy, Quintessence uses the Comparative Analysis Method, while Quintessence's preferred perspective incorporates optionality, which inherently calls for more than one, single point of view.

A.Comparative Analysis

Quintessence is a consultancy company that uses the Comparative Analysis method, or , to come to conclusions. In this method, multiple scenarios are compared from a certain perspective. In theory, the comparative analysis method allows for all kinds of perspectives to be taken. Broadly, Quintessence preferred and default perspective is optionality - more specifically, optionality as described in DonParagon's Vision of the Future. The comparative analysis method was discussed in more detail in earlier articles such as Optionality by Comparison and From the Perpective of Optionality. This article concentrates on optionality as a perspective and in particular on pictorial representation of this perspective.

B. DonParagon's Vision

As discussed in many earlier articles, Quintessence preferred and default perspective is DonParagon's Vision of the Future. Importantly, DonParagon's Vision covers past, present and future times, discussing changes that span entire cultures, i.e. changes that not only affect what people do, how people live and interrelate, but also what the dominant ideologies, beliefs and measures of success and prosperity are within such cultures. DonParagon predicts that, in future times, optionality will become the dominant ideology. So, in DonParagon's Vision optionality is not so much an overall perspective, instead optionality is just one out of many elements that will dominate future cultures. In DonParagon's Vision, optionality only refers to what people will predominantly belief in and support as ideology.

C.Quintessence's Perspective

Earlier articles have discussed how a single point of view can constitute a perspective, yet a perspective can accommodate more than one single point of view. As said above, Quintessence's ideological perspective is optionality as envisaged in DonParagon's Vision of the Future. And in consultancy work, the ideological perspective is important. After all, Quintessence's name is an indication of its approach - a focus on the issues can be expected! In many problems, underlying ideological positions must indeed be changed if any overall changes are to be made. Accordingly, in its analysis, Quintessence's default ideological perspective will be optionality. But more generally, Quintessence's perspective will be DonParagon's entire Vision, in which optionality merely features as the most prominent belief and ideology of future times.

Quintessence approach is to undertake a Comparative Analysis, which calls for both a well-defined perspective and at least two objects that are to be comparatively analyzed. Quintessence's perspective is DonParagon's Vision. The focus of the analysis is on the objects that clients submit for analysis. More often than not, what people are interested in is not so much philosophy or ideology, but improvements in relationships and reputation, in ways to achieve greater success or prosperity. In its analysis, Quintessence's approach will be to focus on things that are comparable with each other. If the client is interested in, say, better ways to achieve success or prosperity, DonParagon will point at appreciation and creativity as targets to aim for. Alternative visions that may be applicable have been developed by Libertaria and Voluntaria. While optionality may be prominent in Quintessence's perspective, the focus of such analysis will quite likely be on developments in areas such as finance and Information Technology.

So, while Quintessence's approach is to focus on the areas that clients are interested in, its prefered and default ideological perspective will be optionality. Taking this perspective does not mean taking a single point of view. The optionality perspective allows Quintessence to see things that are not easily accessible in most other consultancy methods. The very essence of comparative analysis is to be able to focus on more than a single thing. The biggest problem of many other consultants is that the perspective used in their consultancy work coincides with one specific ideological point of view that restricts their focus to a single scenario and a single outcome. The consultants may claim that it is an objective, neutral and unbiased point of view, but in practice the consultancy work will be biased, reflecting one specific point of view. Typically, this bias occurs without explanations as to why this single point of view was taken in the first place. Quintessence differs in that it not only uses optionality as a perspective, but also is upfront about this.

D. Say it with Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words, is the old saying. An example of good graphical design is the work by Marion, below. The picture was designed as an addition to a card sent to two good friends of Marion, on the occasion of the 50th birthday of their wedding day. The faces' circumference symbolizes two entagled wedding rings, while the two faces of course represent Marion's friends, a good likeness actually.

 Marion's original picture
Marion's original picture

Being a co-director of Quintessence, Marion has made the picture available for use by Quintessence. Problem was, of course, that it did not represent optionality, in fact it represented something that was quite different, perhaps something like unification of minds or glorification of the institution of marriage.

Multimedia production firm Optionality took Marion's original design and incorporated it into the banners below. In the banner directly below, the two faces represent one person looking into the world in two different ways. The picture expresses a specific perspective (i.e. optionality) that allows one to take different points of view, different ways of looking at things.

Note that the two faces are looking in different directions. This contrasts with the physical act of moving one's head to look at something from two different angles, i.e. changing one's physical point of view. Optionality is more a state of mind, a mentality, a mental perspective that allows and encourages more than one way of looking into the world. The points of view are ideological, rather than physical.

The eye in the middle, or if you like the fact that two eyes overlap in the middle, symbolizes the consistency of the optionality perspective. When conducting a comparative analysis, Quintessence keeps focusing on the issue. Different ways of looking at things are explored, but the focus is and remains on the issue. Quintessence's name and reputation is all about being more to the point than other consultants.

 respect each other's views!
Standard-size banner, 468 x 60

The words on the banner further support this interpretation of optionality as a perspective that does not rule out different views, but that instead respects and even encourages different points of view. Quintessence has decided to use this banner, as it so adequately pictures the perspective Quintessence takes in consultancy work. The method used by Quintessence in consultancy work, i.e. Comparative Analysis, also needs a good picture, but at least there now is a good visual representation of the preferred perspective taken by Quintessence in consultancy work.

Quintessence's analysis can be expected to substantially cover the political aspects of a situation. Yet, Quintessence tends to go beyond politics when conclusions are drawn. This was expressed in the picture below that appeared in Optionality many years ago.

This picture expresses that one can argue about being right, while seeking the 'right' balance between the left and right sides of politics, yet still be wrong for the very reason that one trusts politicians to come up with a solution. What the picture expresses is that one should not expect to find the solution of all that is 'wrong' on either side of politics, instead one should move in the direction of optionality, which constitutes a move on another, ideological dimension than the traditional sea-saw of left-versus-right.

However, the picture does not give recommendations as to what is preferable on the dimension where politics reside. Left and right are political preferences that typically become manifest within a multi-party democracy. Many political systems do not even allow people to make such choices. DonParagon points at agreement-based relations as the way to go in future times, but a similar vision has also been worked out by Voluntaria. The problem is that even when one makes banners or pictures to express this, the message is usually contained in words such as Optionality, Voluntaria or Libertaria.

E. Further Contributions like this!

Much of the background on Quintessence's comparative analysis method has already been described in detail in earlier articles. However, a good picture is important, it deserves a thousand words to describe its background.

Quintessence is well aware of the shortcomings of the verbal nature of articles, this has been discussed in many earlier articles. For a change, this particular article does not offer much new discussion in a verbal sense, instead it mainly discusses banners. Graphical contributions have the great advantage that they are instantly accessible by large groups of people, without having to be read and perhaps translated first. Interpretation of icons requires little or no competence in literacy or knowledge of a specific language. Also, a picture is not time-sequential, i.e. the whole picture is there at once and can be explored at the convenience of the person looking at it.

Quintessence has tried to combine all these pictures into a single one, in order to be even more upfront about Quintessence's approach. After all, openness and clarity go hand in hand with optionality. It would be great to have more pictures to express what the Comparative Analysis method is all about! Such pictures could look like the ones below. However, these particular pictures do not fit into the 468 x 60 size that generally is the maximum size for exchange banners. Also, the pictures below may still be too verbal and too complex.

 combined banner
Combined banner, 468 x 100

Another banner, slightly different, expresses the same idea:

 combined banner
Combined banner, 614 x 88, also displayed at the top

In DonParagon's Vision, financial issues, the law, politics and science are each looked at separately, in order to predict what the future will look like for each of them. DonParagon warns against comparing a concept such as optionality with concepts such as capitalism and democracy, arguing that this is like comparing apples with pears. One may therefore consider replacing the policemen by University professors or judges, complete with togas, wigs or the funny hats, and replacing the words 'right' and 'left' by 'true' and 'false' or 'guilty' and 'innocent'.

Quintessence welcomes further graphical contributions that express the ideas that have been supported by Quintessence in so many verbal articles. Quintessence believes in different graphical representations of optionality, just like it should be possible for different points of view to coexist under one perspective, as in optionality.

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