Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feng_shui) provides a nice discussion of the history and principles of feng shui. If we think of data and information as the qi (ch'i) or life force of a business, we can see parallels. We want to encourage the life force to flow through our "dwelling" (the business). We want to hold the good qi and and allow the bad qi to pass through without being retained.
Feng shui begins by studying the physical geography of the dwelling. If the structure is not yet built, the site or sites are examined so that it may be built to take advantage of the natural path of qi. If the structure is already built, everything about its natural geography is taken into account before any suggestions concerning arrangement of furnishings are made.
Holding an understanding of feng shui in one's mind while architecting a governance solution might lead to
- spending more time understanding what currently is before seeking to change it
- including all necessary elements (5 in feng shui) in the design such as process, meta data, master data (conformed dimensions), data quality, metrics, intelligence, ??
- acting small but always within a larger vision
- recognition of yin and yang (actor and receiver) and the need to consider both within all of the elements
We need our business qi, data and information, to flow freely into the business, through every part of the business, and out of the business. We need to discourage bad qi by showing it for what it is and directing it back where it came from. We need to create harmony within and between business units and functions for the well-being of the business as a whole.
I realize that some readers have already dismissed this with a snort and a sneer. I'm not saying anything about the effectiveness of feng shui. What I am saying is that the goals of feng shui should be the goals of data governance and that it is possible to discover some clues as to good approaches by studying something that has been around for more than 5000 years.