What Drives Three?

Ancient concepts of three interdependent components contributing to the well being of the whole, like the third eye depicted in the mask above have remained integral to many cultures over the ages for a reason. The rational explanation may be that it is easy for humans to process three interrelated things such as father-mother-child for the nuclear family or CEO-CMO-COO for the global business, but maybe it goes a bit deeper than that...

After a recent conversation with a friend about the three components that keep a business going (Distribution-Development-Operations), it suddenly occurred to me that maybe there is a deeper truth here that applies to all the three-pronged dynamics in the universe.

The obvious examples of the minimum requirements of legs on a stool, spokes on wheel, etc. are a given. They are about the structural rules which even translates to everything from writing to persuasion to choice architecture. The "a-ha" wasn't really that, it was the nature of the relationship which hold the three together that is most fascinating.

Within every architectural case there is a:

-Driver: Something that inspires the need
-Developer: Something that answers the need by creating
-Derivative: Something that is produced as a result needing to be managed in order for the cycle to continue

In most business paradigms, the "Driver" equals creating and delivering the market, i.e., sales and marketing..., The "Developer" equals the development of the product and/or service, i.e. R&D, engineering, design, architecture, etc... and the "Derivative" is the management challenges of a growing organization, i.e. operations.

The realization that the other two cannot exist without the "Driver" is crucial in understanding how all three pronged systems work. It's very easy to get distracted and spend energy on the "Developer" (trying to make the product perfect) or the "Derivative" (designing the most efficient operation management system) while losing focus on what drives them.

This is universal regardless of context, and definitely not limited to business. Here are some other examples:

1. Family: Providing, Nurturing, Prioritizing
2. Learning: Stimulus, Knowledge, Recall
3. Relevance: Need, Choice, Context

See what I'm getting at? What do you think?

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