Three realms: Operations Monitoring & Evaluation Change


With operations we mean a series of actions or interactions that are done by one or more actors to produce a particular result and measure the production. Operations are always specific to either private sector activities, functions of government, or their interactions. Consider for instance the attending of school by a child, the paying of teacher salaries, or the paying to an agency of income taxes on declared or estimated income.

In these operations we recognize individual persons, such as the the pupil, the teacher, and the tax payer. These are called pico level actors. The school is an organisation and is a micro level actor. Its performance is measured by specific indicators. The tax collecting agency is interacting with all "taxable" persons in the constituency and is a macro level actor.

This dictionary's first focus is on the operations performed in socio-economic entities such as countries, sub-national states or municipalities, or the global society.

Poverty can be equated to, or considered as an insufficient outcome of the "livelihood operations" of poor people in World AS-IS. Fighting poverty will require Change to those operations and the context in which they are performed. Such change will consist of initiatives taken by various actors.

Improving the global society operations (World operations 2016), is the purpose of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development which proposes nearly 170 targets (SDGS) for evaluating the "performance of the global society operations", including the elimination of poverty, in World operations 2030.

When discussing workplans that are created under such agendas it is important to clarify which operations are in their scope. Via indicators and data about the operations, for instance the Poverty headcount ratio at $2 a day (PPP) (% of population) we can obtain insight about the extent of a problem (the gap between actual and targeted "performance") and express the intended outcome of an initiative (World Plan[i], Country[j] Plan[i], ..). After the implementation of the initiatives we can then evaluate their performance, by checking whether the achieved values match the targets. Obtaining indicator data for operations, and evaluating both the operations and the impact of change initiatives is the object of Monitoring & Evaluation (which includes assessments). The figure displays the interrelationships between the three realms for the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. In this figure we use motivation, implementation and migration concepts and notations from Archimate1.


Action plans must have a shorter time window than 15 years, and therefore we introduce intermediate "operations plateau"2 to make current action plans more concrete. For a country or sub-national territory, to be at an operations plateau means that the various functions of government (usually or may), and the corresponding market and non-market interactions by agencies, organisations and individuals perform at a certain level, with indicators between certain ranges.

The world operations are composed of the country operations of the countries that take part in the global economy, and these in turn are composed of sub-national operations, for instance in a state, province, region, district or city.

In the Monitoring & Evaluation function we need performance data about the operations. These data support us in making decisions about where to invest in Change, for instance to improve health care, education, roads, utilities, environmental protection, etc. It will be clear that not all change can be implemented simultaneously and therefore it is useful to introduce the concept of plateau for the operations: it are operations as enabled by a relatively stable social architecture which exists during a limited period of time.

Material and Content Scope

The focus is on interactions which may take place both in the content and the material stratum3. Material stratum activities such as growing crop or raising livestock may have narrow interfaces with the content such as plans (prescribing what to do when), and recording applications (recording what has happened, for instance for monitoring and evaluation purposes).

Operations are particular to sectors and their localization to conditions, such as geography, ecology and regulations in the countries of the world.

Possible Economies

Economies of scale and skill, the economies typically achieved in production systems and supply and distribution chains.


Collective or Individual Action?

Excessive collective action in the operations realm harms competitiveness, innovation and creativity. Also regulation may harm competitiveness.

The decision monopoly that is characteristic of government or any other collective decision making has a tendency to harm diversity and accumulate more operational tasks than is optimal.

This is a major concern of free market advocates. In the operations realm, individual action and its aggregation in competitive firms tends to yield progressive outcomes.

The elements of operations

The below figure from Worksystem (Do) (Ens Dictionary) uses the model elements and layers of the Archimate Architectural Framework for describing the elements of operations.

The elements of operations in the facility or work system pattern (using ArchiMate's model elements)

A role for cooperatives

Cooperative entities may create for their members low hurdle access to multiple critical resources that matter to achieving economies of scale and skill. Such cooperative entities are classified as meso actors in the social architecture.