Digital Information Expert

What Does Handball teach us about the Global Language of Trust?

We were watching a game of women’s handball between Angola and Russia. For those who like their sport fast-paced, physical, and tough, this is a great event! It is somewhat surprising the sport is not more popular in the US.olympics-handball

But here we are, sitting in Virginia, watching live video from London on a laptop, two national teams from different continents, speaking entirely different languages, playing the same game.

Even without the commentator’s audio, as spectators we were able to understand the game. Though separated by distance, language, and radically different cultures, both teams were able to play to win. When the game was over, both teams knew who had won, and graciously accepted the outcome.

So, what makes this possible? The rules of the game create the shared language for playing. The rules are the building blocks of understanding, communication, scoring, penalties, winning and losing. The rules prescribe the court, the size of the net, the shooting lines, the size of the ball, and the materials with which the ball is constructed.

Even when translated into different human languages, the rules deliver the consistency, the structure, the methodology, and the manner of scoring and winning. They enable everyone to trust the game, and play with vigor and resolve.


In the global inventory of complex information systems, each system begins as its own nation. But to engage in commerce, to exchange information, to execute transactions, and to create wealth for the operators, the systems must move onto a new, shared playing field.

It is not enough to look at the Internet as the only field of play. Health care, consumer games, financial services, supply chain management—each adds its own rules to create the game to be played. But playing the game requires  that a system (and a system’s owner) know, and execute, all of the rules—the business rules, the technology rules, and the legal rules. The rules must be authored so that everyone who wants to play can access, and understand, the rules.

Using my Trust Prism, I help companies see and better analyze what all the rules are, build an inventory of those rules, and develop the systems and processes for assuring those rules are followed. In doing so, a company is better prepared to play to win.

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Digital Information Expert