The DNA of human social environments


The term 'DNA' has become common parlance, loosely bandied about to mean something like 'foundational' - the inner essence that make us who or what we are.  We will hear a football manager say, on national morning radio, that something in the their style of play is in their DNA - as if an intimate knowledge of the off side rule had conferred some key selection advantage, on the savannah plains of Africa.

But DNA is essentially the thesis that four entities, four chemicals, in a range of combinations, can account for all the phenomena that we see, in biological life.

What, then, can we do with five?

Opinion as data



A bridge too far?

The PIE concept, and the PIEs 2 framework, are both peculiarly 'multi-purpose'; that is, they intend to cover a wide range of different services, in a single framework (HERE).

This is, as we freely acknowledge (HERE), quite an ambition. To suggest that the same framework might also offer a workable research tool is already to stretch that ambition still further.

One serious question mark has to be over how far it is really possible for one single framework to be suitable for so many different purposes.  The PIE framework only claims to be a heuristic (HERE)  - a useful way of looking at services, that helps to identify the key features that the services may wish to explore, and work on.

Yet if this framework does prove to be a common language for 'what works' in services, and for research on what works, it becomes not just a way of looking, but a way of gathering data; and the way we organise and describe the data we gather will  become, in effect, a taxonomy of the subject we study.

To what extent, then is the PIEs framework fit for this purpose?

At some point in the future, when the PIE Abacus is rather more widely used as an assessment and change management tool for services, we will want to bring together a colloquium of researchers, to explore how far if can be used in research.

Until that day, we would be keen to have more 'modest' discussions with perhaps a small handful of researchers. to begin to test these waters.


Further background reading/listening/viewing

The simplest, most effective way to evaluate and improve your PIE from Daniel O'Brien on Vimeo.


PIElink pages

The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz (summary) : HERE

What are people saying about the PIE Abacus? : HERE

Costs and sustainability : HERE

Use and terms of use : HERE

Ambition and modesty : HERE

A single framework : HERE

Customising the PIE Abacus : HERE


Essential background for PIE leads

The PIE Abacus range - an introduction for PIE leads : HERE


For applications in particular settings, see:

The PIE Abacus – in medium to large agencies HERE

The PIE Abacus – in local practice networks : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in smaller 'stand alone' services HERE

The PIE Abacus – as a research tool : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in communities of practice : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in service user-led assessments : HERE

The PIE Abacus – with services using PIEs1 : HER