The ConPriDigm and the Hunter

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…a construct for linking patterns.

Why learn that a linked description “does its work not by invoking something beyond which might be described but by putting one fact or law into relation with others.” – Abraham Kaplan

I am a hunter.

The ConPriDigm and resultant theory rely on the existence of Domains. The Domain is the Belgian Congo, the Serengeti and the African Veldt to the hunter which, in turn, depend on the rains of knowledge.

The Domains of preference are redundantly described fields of knowledge related to quality as abstract concepts which cannot be defined.  Just a few examples would be: curriculum theory, waste, variation, control, value, knowledge, and thinking.

The species of interest during our hunt are well hidden due to effective camouflage. The target species is principle. The target is not easy to find because domain environments are burdened with the heat of philosophical approaches that prevent the birth of our species of interest.

I hunt for principles that are concept dense, void of conditional adjectives, set apart with transitive verbs, and enhanced with a correct modal verb, thrown in for clarity.

My vehicle for transport is the lexical definition. Its features are, denotative, and descriptive.

After I have located our principle, the plan of choice for separating it from the herd of ambiguity is Destructive Deduction and Constructive Induction.

My choice of weapon is the decomposed allied concept that is reconstructed to form conceptual patterns.

I aim for trophy principles that have inherited purpose because their genes stem from a sustainable paradigm with a function oriented body of rules.

The ConPriDigm is…

The content of knowledge systematically put together from separate parts in an ordered way.

A standardized example for handling, directing, governing or controlling actions based on a rule or body of rules of conduct.

A body of systematic techniques that result in the action of putting something relevant and of value into operation reached through valid deductive reasoning to achieve a purpose.

Carried out in an orderly, logical arrangement, usually in steps and according to a plan or operation when applied to a specific Knowledge Domain as a function done or the effect that it produces.

An expression of conduct and organizing principles of inquiry as a set of ideas, principles, agreements, or rules that provide the basis and simplified representation for a description of a complex process.

A systematic investigation or search that supports or provides more information on an opinion, theory, or principle.

A guide for a customary way of operation or behavior used in analyzing and solving problems or making predictions that provide the foundation from which something is begun, developed, or explained that makes something comprehensible.

Not founded on proof or certainty but discovers facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based the facts discovered that result in knowledge underlying a particular science or other area of study.

Context for a particular action resulting in a method of universal practice and a set of rules and regulations.

Next Category and set of Posts – Knowledge Domains that must be linked.

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Paradigms – The Business of Discovering the Future

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a shared set of assumptions with a purpose.

Why aggregate concepts and principles by providing rules for their application?

If the meaning of paradigms is understood, the meaning of quality will follow.



According to Joel Barker, paradigms give us the added advantage of being able to create a valid set of expectations about what will probably occur in the world based on our shared set of assumptions. Barker asserted that the paradigm was just as applicable to organization dynamics as scientific revolutions. Barker’s definition of a paradigm;

A paradigm is a set of rules and regulations (written or unwritten) that does two things;

(1) it established or defines boundaries; and (2) it tells you how to behave inside the boundaries in order to be successful.

He adds that a paradigm is used to solve problems and predict future events. Barker is author of Paradigms – The Business of Discovering the Future

Barker uses the game of tennis as a good example. Essentially the rules of the game help each player solve the problem of overcoming the opposing player and scoring more points. In fact, the first principle or purpose of any game is to win. Imagine a game without the first principle. Based on Barkers definition what would be the purpose of a paradigm? Barker pointed out that for most situations our success is easily measured by our ability to solve problems. If we just use his definition we might come to the conclusion that the purpose of a paradigm is two­ fold; establish boundaries, and behavioral characteristics that will lead to success. His definition has wide implications but only if we add the third component to his definition; it tells us how to behave inside the boundaries to be successful solving problems. If we are playing tennis for the first time and we are never given a purpose for accumulating points the activity would quickly become circular and very boring. My point is that any discussion of paradigms must include the concept of purpose.

Let’s go back to the first paragraph in this section of the chapter and extract the real purpose of a paradigm in Barker’s own words -“to create a valid set of expectations about what will probably occur in the world based on a shared set of assumptions.” The expectation is a purpose and the shared set of assumptions is a set of principles. We will make use of, associated concepts, principles and purposeful paradigms from multiple knowledge domains to build the ConPriDigm™ Theory.

Next post – The connection, Paradigms and Theory.

Chapter 4 – Understanding Principles

In a matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle stand like a rock.  -Thomas Jefferson                                                                                                                                                                   

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.



Principles tell us how to thoughtfully put concepts to work. By the end of this chapter we will learn what a principle is and what it is not. We will learn how to recognize one, how to write one, how to analyze one, and why they are so critically imperative for processing information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition is the process by which we recognize and understand things. Cognition is not viable without principles and allied concepts.   Let’s discover how a principle is typically labeled to garner a few conventional examples.

The most common labeling protocol for the word “principle” is connected with the preposition “of” and the allied key concept. For example: Principles of Composition, Principles of Physics, and Principles of Law. When the word ‘principle’ is associated in this way, by very wide-ranging concepts, it can make it very difficult to extract the principles from the text unless the author makes an attempt to specifically identify them for the reader.

A second widespread labeling format precedes the word ‘principle’ with a flashy adjective, for example, The 80/20 Principle or The Oz Principle; both examples are titles for books. A flashy combination of adjectives and a concept attracts the attention of potential readers.

A third way we label ‘principles’ is with a seemingly obtuse description that is not wide-ranging but very specific to a particular field of knowledge.  For example, in the field of Dendrochronology (the study of annual growth rings in trees) we have The Uniformitarian Principle and The Principle of Ecological Amplitude. Both of these principles target a specific outcome.

The final example for representing principles is through the use of a single word such as Responsibility or Consistency.  This is where we may get into trouble differentiating a concept from a principle because most writers proceed to define the concept and never approach a well thought-out principle.  This leaves the reader with the question, just what is the principle and how do I take action to put it to use?  Unfortunately, the lack of or the poorly stated principle leaves the reader possessing keen insight and understanding in the lurch. The problem stems from a philosophical approach that contributes to the intellectual bank but fails to provide utility. Utility is the quality or state of being useful.

How can we make principles useful?

Steven Covey will provide some insight in my next post.


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Principles – The Covey Perspective

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.


Stephen Covey enlightens in his book, Principle Centered Leadership: “principles are not practices.” He went on to say: “practices are specific activities or actions that work in one circumstance but not necessarily in another. Principles empower everyone who understand those principles to act without constant monitoring, evaluating, correcting and controlling. Principles have universal application and when they are internalized into habits they guide people in the creation of practices that payoff with more creativity, expertise, and shared responsibility at all levels of an organization.” Covey gives us an account of what principles are like, how they are used, and how they apply.

  • Correct principles are like compasses: they are always pointing the way and if we know how to read them, we won’t get lost, confused, or fooled by conflicting voices and values.
  • Principles are self evident, self validating natural laws, they don’t change or shift, and they provide “true north” direction to our lives when navigating the streams of our environments.
  • Principles apply at all times in all places and they surface in the form of values, ideas, norms, and teachings that uplift, ennoble, fulfill, empower, and inspire people.
  • Principles, unlike values, are objective and external.  They operate in obedience to natural laws, regardless of conditions.

When we identify what we think is a principle and then ask: Is it like a compass? , Is it self-evident? , Does it apply at all times in all places? , Is it objective and external? , we may be locked into the realm of subjectivity, but they still apply. There may be a few more important questions.

  • How would we identify and extract principles from a book or white paper?
  • What are the essential elements or characteristics of a principle?
  • What’s the difference in a principle and a practice or just a statement?
  • Are principles action-oriented?
  • Do all principles always contain at least one concept?
  • Can a principle be used as a tool; can it be put to work?
  • How would we write one?

To help answer some of the above questions let’s take look at the 80/20 or Pareto Principle. According to Richard Koch, author of the 80/20 Principle: The secret to achieving more with less: The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort (20%) usually lead to a majority (80%) of the results, outputs or rewards. In this particular case, we don’t need to extract the principle because the entire book is about the key principle. Koch clearly identifies the principle for us.

In my next post  – the characteristics of a principle.


Principle Characteristics – Concepts and Conditional Adjectives

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.


The 80/20 Principle (Koch): A minority of causes, inputs, or effort (20%) usually lead to a majority (80%) of the results, outputs or rewards.

The essential elements of the Pareto Principle are eight nouns (concepts) a transitive verb (lead) and a limiting or conditional adjective (usually). It also contains a few “connecting” elements to help it make sense in the English language. If this principle is an exemplar, then initially we can say that it is concept dense.  Lets’ call this the first characteristic:

The Concept Density Effect

The word “usually” in this principle is troubling. It creates a condition for the transitive verb. “Usually” means there is a confident belief or strong hope that a particular event will occur but there is no assurance the event will occur.  The original principle developed by the Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906 did not contain the adjective. In 1941 famous quality guru Joseph Juran discovered the work of Pareto and began to apply the Pareto principle to quality issues. In later years Juran preferred to refer to it as “the vital few and the trivial many” not “the vital few and the usually many”. Perhaps we have identified the second characteristic for separating a principle from a practice or a simple statement or idea:

The Conditional or Limiting Adjective Effect

 We covered meaning in Chapter One and concepts in Chapter Three.  The conclusions and processes presented, in those chapters, directly apply to our example principle if we are to understand the true meaning.  Employ one connotative definition for any of the concepts and the principle becomes something other than what the originator intended. Or maybe the originator failed to “define” the concepts contained within the principle. If this is the case then it will be wide open to interpretation.

Next post: The Transitive Verb Effect

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Principle Characteristics – The Third Effect

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.


The third effect involves a transitive verb.

A transitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing a doable activity. Second, it must have a direct object, something or someone who receives the action of the verb. In our example principle the action verb (lead) expresses the doable activities of results, outputs or rewards. In this specific example the principle is expressed via a structured complex of concepts and a transitive verb. We can change the 80/20 Principle by removing the transitive verb (lead) and replace it with the transitive verb ‘impacts’. A minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually impacts the majority of results, outputs or rewards. A minority of causes leading to a majority of results is not the same as a minority of causes impacting the majority of results. The former shows the way, the latter is a collision of circumstances, an important differentiation in a principle and a simple statement. Let’s call this the Transitive Verb Effect. A transitive verb is necessary in a principle and the verb that we choose for our principles may be critical.

In my next post, let’s apply what we have learned about concept content, conditional adjectives and transitive verbs. Perhaps we will discover another effect.

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Principle Questions — Answered

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.


Returning to the questions proposed earlier in this chapter…

How would we identify and extract principles from a book or white paper? 

Identifying concepts is rather straight forward; we just look for the nouns. Identifying principles is another matter.  We need to be trained to hunt for principles.  Hunting is not always successful; a minimum requirement is the existence of that which is hunted.  Using the criteria presented in this chapter can help but the job of presenting knowledge in the form of a principle is the responsibility of the individual espousing to communicate that knowledge. I am striving to do just that in this book. Well written principles are the essence of knowledge linked to a particular domain and its concepts.

When we fail to clearly identify principles we create a void of poor comprehension that will not lead to action.

What are the essential elements or characteristics of a principle?

The key elements are: Concepts relevant to the field of knowledge being addressed; Transitive verbs that focus the concepts on a doable activity associated with a direct object; The absence of limiting or conditional adjectives as modifiers to the transitive verb; The absence of modal verbs (exception: must).  And finally, a principle and associated domain without purpose is very difficult to execute with meaning.

What’s the difference in a principle and a practice or just a statement?

The condition of having the essential elements or characteristics is what separates the principle from a practice or statement. Intrinsically the principle applies universally and a practice only applies under certain conditions.

Are principles action-oriented?

By virtue of a transitive verb a principle is inherently action oriented.

Do all principles always contain at least one concept? 

A principle without concepts is a simple statement of practice. Concept density is a requirement; high density translates to powerful principles.

Can a principle be used as a tool; can it be put to work?

The correct application of principles is the foundation of execution.

How would we write one? 

There are essentially six steps.

  1. Associate a domain of interest.
  2. Identify the purpose of the domain.
  3. Identify all key concept nouns that are associated with the domain.
  4. Connect the concepts with transitive verbs in a coherent way.
  5. Utilize the modal word – must – if appropriate.
  6. Avoid conditional or limiting adjectives.

A simple example…

Domain: Survival

Sub Domain: Surviving on the Road in Cold Environmental Conditions

Sub Domain Purpose: Avoiding frostbite on the road.


Our PrincipleGLOVES must be worn while changing a flat TIRE during a SNOW STORM to avoid FROST-BITE.

Acquiring knowledge is not possible without principles and associated allied concepts. A poorly stated principle leaves the reader possessing keen insight and perception unbalanced.  The Principle Effects outlined in the chapter arm the reader with the tools to hunt for, identify and write principles. Finally, a principle and associated domain without purpose is very difficult to execute with meaning.

The next chapter on paradigms is the third component of a construct that I have labeled the ConPriDigm TM which is also the domain name for this blogged book. The reader will learn that principles and paradigms are closely associated. In fact, the example presented in this chapter regarding tree-ring research is an example of a paradigm. Dr. Grissino-Mayer gives us a hint: “As with any science, tree-ring research is governed by a set of principles or “scientific rules” that must be adhered to or else all research could be flawed.” Paradigms can paralyze an organization or they can shift with new scientific discoveries and/or knowledge.  They are a critical component of the ConPriDigm TM (Concepts, Principles, and Paradigms).

Please enjoy the concept map for principles.


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Along the Path Narration

November 19, 2013  

As this point in my blog you are probably thinking that the chapter on theory was a little too intense.  Perhaps, too much information in just a few short posts. But, if you stick with me I can assure you that everything will come together and you will be well on your way to understanding the DNA and Meaning of Quality.  The chapter on theory lays the ground rules for all following chapters. I am reminded of a quote by James Conant, former president and organic chemistry professor of Harvard University, “Seek simplicity – and, having found it, suspect it.”  My entire career was driven by the concept of – Keep it Simple Stupid or the KISS principle. We might suspect that Conant would have a problem with the KISS principle. When I started this adventure I sought simplicity and was disappointed. When we make things simple we avoid meaning, or at least we convey meaning in a very narrow sense. Perhaps we might say “narrow minded”. We can force our minds to become “broad minded” by accepting the fact that everything is connected and when we accept and realize the truth of this revelation.  But, we need a model for realizing what, how and why things are connected – THEORY IS THAT MODEL – and provides a path to meaning.  From time to time please go back and review Chapter One and Two. Assimilate them, and you will understand why my book is structured to broaden your understanding of quality. Your understanding will be so intense that quality will be considered in all of your decisions…because you will know how to do it. But, you can’t do it if you don’t grasp its meaning and follow a path that will get you to the destination. The next three chapters will cover Concepts, Principles, and Paradigms…doesn’t this just make sense?


December 10, 2013

If Quality is a complex concept and an organization becomes more complex as it adds products, suppliers, ingredients, customers and staff then quality must be integrated into the thoughts and minds of everyone.  Quality can no longer be a separate function or a project seeking the reduction of loosely defined defects, or the streamlining of processes to eliminate waste.  Quality must be paramount in every decision that is made. Not the Quality of old or the quality of the present but the quality of where it must be. Quality must be meaningful.

Up to this point we have labored over the meaning of meaning and the critical importance of addressing the “How?”, “What?” and the “Why?” or theory. We just covered how important it is to explain and describe concepts. We are moving along the path to exposing the DNA and meaning of Quality. Along the way we will expose the chromosomes, the DNA, the genes and the resulting proteins that make up the complexity of Quality.

I have answered the following questions:

  • Why should we seek meaning in conceptual fields of knowledge and those allied concepts, principles and paradigms that describe and control them and then connect them with a theory?
  • Why should we seek criteria that will lead to a coherent quality theory with explanatory power?
  • Why should we identify the mental glue that secures our past experiences?

We have a long journey ahead of us. In the next three chapters, on our path to meaning, I will answer the following questions:

  • Why should we establish concept to concept relationships?
  • Why should we aggregate concepts and principles by providing rules for their application?
  • Why should we explore the notions of applied imagination, suggested by Alex Osborn, and Destruction and Creation by John Boyd?


January 8, 2014 – from Paradigms

How can we understand and comprehend anything without first understanding what meaning  – means? Meaning cannot exist without patterns of thought that are built on a foundation of associated knowledge, principles, concepts and paradigms. Meaning is best comprehended in rich descriptions that I call conceptual patterns. There are several examples of conceptual patterns in the Pattern Dictionary. Conceptual patterns must be linked; they cannot stand on their own.  Conceptual patterns link fields of knowledge with associated principles; principles with associated concepts; and the paradigms that provide purposeful rules for their application A theory bundles everything up in a neat package.

The book will provide the methodology for developing and linking conceptual patterns. If you have the experience associated with an abstract concept, the book will provide you with a model for writing your own book. Simply follow the model and expose the DNA.

The journey to the meaning of quality involves exposing its DNA and requires the following steps.

Step One: Recognize the knowledge domains that encapsulate it. Up to this point we have recognized the following foundational domains; Meaning, Theory, Concepts, Principles, and Paradigms.  The table of contents outlines the remaining domains that we must dissect.

Step Two: Distinguish each domain of knowledge with a purpose. The purpose of any field of knowledge is always first principle. Let us get started but expand later on.

Meaning: The purpose of meaning is the explication of worth, importance, or usefulness to meet needs and wants for achieving an anticipated outcome.

Theory: The purpose of theory is to guide explanation, behavior and comprehension of phenomena and answer the questions, What, Why, and How.

Concepts: The purpose of a concept is to form classifications and implicitly express the theories through which we comprehend and interpret what we see, taste, hear, smell and touch.

Principles: The purpose of a principle is to connect concepts in a logical way that will lead to action.

Paradigms: The purpose of a paradigm is to aggregate; fields of knowledge, the associated principles and concepts that provide purposeful rules for execution.

 Step Three: Express each domain of knowledge in principles. In Part Three we will cover the specific knowledge domains that relate to the meaning of quality. I will identify six principles in each domain that will expose meaning resulting in the development of conceptual patterns of explanation. First principle is always purpose.

Step Four: Categorize and link the concepts captured by principle in a way that is consistent. In Part Two, I will introduce: the legacy of Alex Osborn and John Boyd; my inspiration for this book; the Pattern Engine for developing conceptual patterns; and the ConPriDigm. Part two will be presented only in summary form in this blog.

Step Five: Forecast the implications as conceptual patterns and clarify everything in a theory that addresses, How, What, and Why. The final chapter of the book will document a general theory of quality that will be constructed from all that precedes. The final chapter will not be included in this Blog. The purpose of this blog is to develop interest in the book while giving back at the same time.

My next post will be presented in a summary format for Part Two – Synthesis.

October 9, 2014

  • Who is Todd Siler?
  • Todd was the first visual artist to receive a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Psychology and Art from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of his books, Breaking the Mind Barrier, was nominated for an award in education for “a work of outstanding educational achievement with potential for worldwide impact”.
  • Dr. Siler introduced the concept of Metaphorming in his book, Thinking Like a Genius.  People that will be using the published version of this blogged book will be Metaphorming. See if you can connect what Dr. Siler describes as Metaphormng to many of the concepts presented in this blog…and I quote.


  • The term “metaphorming” is derived from the Greek words meta (transcending) and phora (transference).  It refers to the act of changing something from one state of matter and meaning to another.  It begins with transferring new meanings and associations from one object or idea to another.
  • You use metaphorming to foster creativity, to discover and invent something new, to connect things that seem unrelated, to solve a problem and depict solutions, to entertain an original idea or question it, to enrich the experience of learning and enhance communication.
  • Metaphorming is something you have to do to understand.
  • Anything that you connect or compare with something else is a metaphorm. The things you bring together are expanded in meaning by this connection, because you learn something new about them.
  • It is a process of inquiry – one with infinite possibilities for discovery and invention.

Contrast some of Silers thoughts with those of Abraham Kaplan…..Quality IS

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The DNA Connection – Part Two

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a pattern of allied concepts.

Why seek meaning in conceptual fields of knowledge and those allied concepts, principles and paradigms that describe and control them and then connect them with a theory?


DNA provides a detailed set of plans that are manifested in the familiar double helix or DNA strand. Quality DNA strands are principles. The DNA strand is composed of letters, words and sentences that are called genes. The Quality DNA strand is composed of letters, words and sentences called concepts.

Genes contain instructions for making molecules called proteins. Quality genes are manifested in the concepts that are used to describe principles. Genes are the machines that make all living things function.  Genes are instruction manuals for the organism. Concepts are instruction manuals for quality. Although the Quality DNA strand (principle) is the carrier of genetic information (concepts) in a cell (functional organization department), proteins (patterns) do the bulk of the work.

Cells use the information specified in their genes. Each gene in the DNA specifies information about how to make a specific protein. Proteins perform specific functions. For example, the hemoglobin gene creates a protein to capture and carry oxygen. Principle concepts specify information needed to make a specific pattern. Proteins are equivalent to patterns of explanation, with a function that can be traced back to its principle and associated field of knowledge.

DNA cannot make protein without a partner. For example, all genes that specify proteins are first made into an RNA strand.  RNA carries the information contained in the DNA strand out of the nucleus of the cell to the protein assembly machinery called the ribosome. The ribosome complex uses the RNA as a template to synthesize the exact protein specified by the gene.

Quality DNA also needs a partner. All concepts that specify for patterns are first made into synthesized definitions (Quality RNA strands). Quality RNA carries the information specified in principles to the assembly machinery called the Pattern Engine (ribosome). The Pattern Engine uses the synthesized definitions to create the exact pattern specified by the concept. The Pattern Engine is fully explained in chapter seven.


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In Summation – Understanding Meaning

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a pattern of allied concepts.

Why seek meaning in conceptual fields of knowledge and those allied concepts, principles and paradigms that describe and control them and then connect them with a theory?


 The meaning of the word “Quality” cannot be found in a string of words. It is manifested in a collection of knowledge domains, dominated by a diverse set of authorities, expressed in domain principles, explained by conceptual patterns, and governed by individual and organizational paradigms. Armed with the right ingredients, we can then decide how to best communicate the required components in an acceptable manner. We need a recipe—a theory—grounded in the data, that will provide a foundation for meaning to emerge.

There are several keys for developing an explanation leading to the meaning of quality. First is the existence of fields of knowledge or domains that will form the umbrella. Second, each field of knowledge is governed by a paradigm will be reduced to a simple purpose and five principles. Third, each principle contains a number of concepts that are expanded to form patterns of explanation that can be used to create assumptions, and propositions needed for grounded quality theory. Everything is connected—a unified system of objective relations.

We have discovered conceptual patterns built upon linked and allied concepts. Now it’s time for us to put them in context to promote understanding.  In Chapter Two we will explore the concept of “Theory”, in depth.

Patrick Kelly, MSQA


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