Tag Archives: 2x2matrix

Revisiting the 2×2 Matrix – Part 1.

Never Wrong Matrix

What I term a ‘four square,’ or matrix, derives in modern times from The Boston Consulting Group’s Growth-Share Matrix. I devise my own four squares and collect any others I encounter. At times the 2×2 Matrix in either its ‘cross’ or ‘four squares’ versions have done duty in my work to help depict human situations. For example, I have employed the following one and used it as the basis for a learner to reflect upon the challenge of having it both ways.

Dr Puck' s problem matrix

MDFI Matrix aka Dr. Puck’s Problem Solver

Such visual devices have come to be known as 2×2 Matrix. The essential book on the use of the 2×2 Matrix in business, The Power of the 2×2 Matrix, presents authors Alex Lowy and Phil Hood’s understanding of the tool’s value as an aid to decision making. The Power of the 2x2 Matrix They write:

2 × 2 Thinking is inherently and profoundly transcendent in nature. Two people face an identical problem differently: one sees an insurmountable problem, while the other perceives options and opportunities. Systems thinker Jamshid Gharajedaghi calls these two approaches either-or versus both-and. Confronted by tough choices, the either-or reaction is to feel trapped and obliged to pick one or the other. The both-and response draws us automatically to a new and different perspective, where it is possible to search for ways to reframe the problem or use conflicting factors in the solution.

2x2 Matrix

The Institute for Manufacturing at The University of Cambridge describes the matrix yet misses two central capabilities, the use of the 2×2 Matrix to plot values, and, the implicit relational dynamic given in the identification of what in this description is termed characteristics.

A two by two matrix is a useful tool for initial sorting of qualitative data.

The axes should be chosen so that, e.g., the data with the most desirable characteristics will fall into the upper left quadrant and the least desirable in the lower right quadrant. While groups may be unable or unwilling to assign absolute values to qualitative data, they usually find it relatively easy to come to a consensus as to which quadrant something belongs in.

Generally, the two by two matrix is a useful tool for categorising things that can be reduced to two simple variables, particularly when quantitative information is unavailable and qualitative judgements must be made.

It enables a rapid clustering (or separating) of information into four categories, which can be defined to suit the purpose of the exercise. It is particularly useful with groups as a way of visibly plotting out a common understanding or agreement of a subject.

2×2 Matrices I’ve found, from the growing collection:

Robotics Matrix

Inscrutible Robotics Matrix

Social Media and Business Qualification Matrix

Management Matrix

Unsatisfying to me, “Management Matrix”

I devised the following to depict the tension of oppositions betwixt four entangled philosophical themes.

Unity Matrix

The 2×2 Matrix is a very Batesonian device too. I haven’t beta tested a workshop during which learners build a view of their self (or what-have-you,) using the format, yet, it seems a good idea!

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More Matrices

[An archival post carried over from the defunct Transformative Tools blog] If this looks like a version of the medicine wheel, know the medicine wheel expresses the archetectonic fundamental; is the archetypal template for the matrical model and heuristic learning process. This tool was profoundly influenced by the work of Little Bear and Hummux, their investigation following the work of the great process theorist, Arthur S. Young. The matrical form is encountered as descendent of the sacred hoop in Young’s book, The Geometry of Meaning.)Another way to look at it is to think of the simple “four square” matrix, (well known as the Johari Window,) as another kind of depiction. Going farther, these kinds of matrices also formulate compasses and mandalas.The learning principle is straightforward: plotting positions on the form articulates a positions with respect to the arrangement of opposed categories. In turn, each categorical pair expresses a dichotomy or pair of opposites. Any position or relationship between two or more positions encompasses a critical tension betwixt and between these dichotomies. The result is a way of plotting and learning about the tension of opposites. Obviously, this process is explicitly dialectical.

Here’s a simple example:

It could address an inquiry based on the question, If happy or sad, how sensitive is this mood to being changed?

Here’s a richer matrix upon which is set two pairs from Baxter’s Relational Dialectics. It’s more abstract yet it could yield a lot of data in response to a concrete and practical question.

I’ve most often intuited a set of two dichotomies in response to the process I’m engaging with learners. There’s no normative aspect to setting up a given matrix. In effect, they can be conjured as a matter of feeling what the critical tensions in a situation seem to be. Alternately, by drawing two cards from the deck of opposites, (another tool,) the matrix can be randomized. Here’s the result of drawing two cards right now:

Hmmm…good draw. Any matrix given through any procedure is employed against the, hopefully, already critical inquisitive intention of the learner.

As a learner, you can put together, ad hoc, your own 4 square matrix.

Here’s an example of a political self-test using this format.

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