Ishikawa Diagrams (Part 1 of Many)


Since my previous post the idea of the “Ishikawa digram” seems to persist in my consciousness.  Some people call them “fishbone diagrams,” but I prefer to give credit to the innovator.

Technically, the Ishikawa diagram is not an inventory.  It is a method of diagramming the elements of a problem or situation.  In the case of a 12 Step style inventory, the Ishikawa diagram could be used to illustrate some part of the “inventory,” particularly the relationships that surround a person or the elements of a situation.  It is a different way of looking at the problem, one that might bring to light relationships that are not obvious.  If you draw one of these, you might not see the answer immediately.  But it might leap out to your “sponsor” or trusted other.  If nothing else, it could provide the starting point for a different kind of discussion.

Before watching this video, keep this in mind: just as Bill W did, we are borrowing ideas from industry.  While this particular example is not directly tied to “recovery” or “personal growth” or anything similar, making that kind of application of this method of exploring situations is up to you.

Beyond the “Big Book”


This blog is not for people “starting out” in a 12 step recovery process.  It is for people who have been exploring that process for a “long time.”  What does that mean?

For someone who is a “low bottom drunk” struggling to make meetings and just stay sober, a “long time” could be years or at least months.  For someone in a fellowship such as Underearners Anonymous, a person with no chemical dependency problems and no other 12 step history, a “long time” could be months or at least weeks.

We work the program one day at a time.  But stacking up days can be important.

This is NOT a place for beginners.  And it is not a place for hard-core traditionalists who are not willing to explore anything beyond what was written decades ago.

We admit that our ideas are “different.”

This leaves a question: who is our audience?

The answer is simple: anyone, including “normal people” without serious life problems, who wants to explore beyond the original model of the “searching and fearless” moral inventory into areas where concepts of inventories (such as the “newsvendor problem” and “economic order quantity”) are applied to expand our perspectives on our relationships and personal patterns and how to stop believing that repeating the same behavior can somehow give us a different result.

Both the “newsvendor problem” and “economic order quantity” pre-date the writing and publication of the “Big Book.”  As a bit of an expert in inventories in industrial settings, a person who “put food on the table” by understanding them, Bill W had to have heard of at least these basic concepts (basic to experts in inventories) and probably more advanced concepts (though not sophisticated late 20th century models).

But we see no mention of these ideas in the Big Book.  Why?  Bill W is long dead and so are his cohorts and probably most people who at least met them.  We cannot dig them up and ask them.  This means we have to speculate, and that can lead us into blind alleys.

But consider this: “keep it simple” has always been a staple of “the program.”  Could it be that Dr. Bob or some of the other early members convinced Bill to leave out these concepts?  We have no way of knowing.  But, on this blog, we will explore the possibility that precisely this happened, an intentional omission of these more sophisticated techniques and perspectives.  Furthermore, we offer that if you are “stuck” in your life and the old traditional methods are not working any more, these expanded methods might give you the breakthrough that you need.  This blog is devoted to this topic and any related topics, out to more exotic ideas like “Six Sigma” and “Project Management” and “Ishikawa” fishbone diagrams to explore just what are the causes of problems and ways to solve them.

This will not be a “daily dose” style blog or even promise a weekly or monthly entry.  Sometimes it might be a flood.  Sometimes months, or even years, may pass without an entry.  We are only reaching out to others who might like our ideas and find them helpful.