The first is the concept of corporate scar tissue that Adrian Cockcroft brought up. Complex rules, procedures, and processes that we all chafe against when dealing with large organizations have evolved as responses to previous injuries in the same way that scars record past injuries on a person or animal. So they are there for a reason, but mostly to record what not to do, and to prevent against recurrence of identical bad situations.
I found it a useful analogy, because all too often these frustrating rules and processes seem to have been designed to inhibit efficiency and progress (and even if they weren’t designed that way, that’s their net effect). You could say the same thing about the vast majority of laws in any country, too – always drafted to prevent the recurrence of a past issue; almost never looking forward in anticipation.
I’m currently working with a client on an information governance project and using this analogy helped them to see that their rules on retention were almost entirely focussed on addressing bad things that had happened in the past. Our job is to look forward to try and reduce the future development of more inflexible and painful hypertrophic scars or keloids; instead we should develop robust, flexible, pro-active ways to avoid future injuries (while remembering what caused the old ones).