Intro to ‘terminology’

We’ve had spreadsheets since 1978. And mostly, we have thought of spreadsheets in much the same way over this time. In order to introduce new ideas, new ways of looking at things, we need new language.

But ‘new’ language is problematic. The newness of new terms keeps us from communicating effectively. Therefore, we need to explain new ideas using ideas we already understand. Hence my use of every-day-concepts like viscosity (syrup!) and contractless (bank card).


To think differently. Blue Sky Thinking, thinking without being limited by existing boundaries. Fresh thinking. ‘How would an Alien look at this problem’?


Syrup runs very slowly, compared to clean running water. Business runs on information, data flow, workflow. It needs to run smoothly, without debris and muck. Without stop-start and interruptions.


Many messy steps, now reduced to just one touch. Inspired by how our payment process has gone from writing ‘cheques (checks) with bank guarantee card’ to touching a Contactless terminal.


Knowing and taking account of expected changes. Will the spreadsheet need major structural alternation next week? Next month?


As for Future-proofing, have we taken into account changes in volume? Will we need major structural changes to cope?

Data Model

Contrasting the traditional cell-to-cell linking (of formulas), vs the joining of related tables.

External Data Model

Locating a Data Model centrally (centrally accessible) contrasted with the Data Model being embedded in a workbook.


Serial vs Parallel workflow. Many people waiting for a shared workbook to be editable.

‘Re-engineered’ Automation

Not just plain ‘automation’. Re-engineered through reimagining the architecture of a spreadsheet process. A single step, rather than automating a series of manual steps.


Transferring data to and from a spreadsheet to a central Data Model. Done by just a click.

Hiran de Silva

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