This posting from Wired Magazine is one more serious round of PowerPoint bashing. I bash PowerPoint myself from time to time. For really good critiques of the shortcomings and abuse of PowerPoint I recommend Edward Tufte’s work, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within.
I think the military graphic is actually pretty good. We bitch a lot about how complex the world is and how the complexity is used as an excuse for doing nothing or for doing something stupid. We should give the people that drew this diagram some credit for trying to figure out the complexity and to present their beliefs in a transparent way. How many pounds of Environmental Impact Statements would it take to describe this kind of complexity?
The true test of a good decision coach is how well they can help a team of people figure out which 3 to 5 of the nodes and links in the diagram are the most important in a given situation. They can’t all be equally important. And furthermore brain research is revealing that we really can’t deal with more than about 5 things at a time. So which 5 is it?