Ideas, Experts and Data

Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds.

We don’t see something until we have the right metaphor to let us perceive it.” – Thomas Kuhn – via @tobiasmeyer

Humans require the difficult and messy social routing protocol of trust.” – Valdis Krebs @orgnet – via @voinonen

What if sucessful projects having a plan is just survivior bias?” – @drunkcod (more…)

Building the network era organization

Part of the shift that organizations will have to make in the network era will be not only to add new dimensions, but to retrieve some old ones. Institutional life often required us to leave our family concerns at the door, and focus on the work to be done. In the military this could be for decades and in the church for life. Later we had to stay sharply focused on the hyper-competition of the market era. There was a battle to be done, and most marketing speak is still littered with military terms, taken from one of the largest institutions we ever created.

But we have shifted from a world dominated by Tribes, to one of Institutions, and currently a society of Markets. The next shift is to a world of Networks, as succinctly described in David Ronfeldt’s TIMN theory. According to TIMN, each new form has built upon and changed the previous mode. We are currently a predominantly triform society (T+I+M). What happens as we become a quadriform society (T+I+M+N) and what aspects of the other three will be helpful to provide balance? (more…)

The future is self-management

Two late 19th century theorists still firmly inform management thinking.

Henri Fayol’s functions of management pretty well sum up how many managers see their responsibilities today.

  1. To forecast and plan
  2. To organize
  3. To command or direct
  4. To coordinate

F.W. Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management viewed management as the necessary controlling layer in order to systematize work and make it efficient. If labourers could not adapt to managers’ directions, then they should be let go. (more…)

Learning quicker by failing safely

I attended the Community Forests International planning session yesterday. This organization, located in our small town of Sackville, is working on two continents and recently received €1.2 million from the European Union for its work on the island of Pemba in Tanzania. The day included participation from many community groups, such as Renaissance Sackville, which I represented. It finished with a wine & cheese at Cranewood (a must-see for any visitor to town) which drew even more people from the community. I’d like to highlight what Jeff Schnurr, the founder had to say, as it reflects the advice I give to many organizations (my paraphrasing here). (more…)

The Zeitgeist

The Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time.


Conversations are markets?

Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@ayeletb: “I want to live in a world of possibilities and experiments; not a cookie cutter world, unless I am baking.“

“If you want to do something new, you have to stop doing something old. – Peter Drucker” – HT @reuvengorsht

@alanwbrown: “The cluetrain changed my life … seriously! So very interesting reading RT @johngoode: Is IoT waiting for Cluetrain?

Cluetrain states: The Market is the Conversation. Could that be reversed? The Conversation is the Market? If so, Cluetrain is what IoT is waiting for:

1. Individuals, Cities, Infrastructure and local authorities produce (and later, sell) IoT data.

2. Google, Amazon, Intel or similar builds a Meaning Engine: an IoT ingest warehouse. It publishes API’s for consuming data (for which it pays) and produces insight (which it sells).

I have no doubt the lawyers will do quite well from privacy, safeguarding and ownership matters.


Rising from the ashes of management

If you want to destroy the entrepreneurial nature of work, then make management part of the hierarchy. Removing management from the hierarchy is probably the simplest thing that could be done to improve innovation and increase the motivation of those who really create business value.

Management at Asana is seen as service role, rather than the next step in the pyramid on the org chart. The usual model, where exceptional work leads inevitably to the management track is a mistake, Rosenstein argues. “The effect of that is that individual work is looked down on,” he says. “That is so caustic.”  – What managers do at a company that’s trying to replace them with software


Everything Connects

A valuable practice advocated by the authors of Everything Connects is the art and craft of blueprinting, centred on the practice of decision mapping.

As you map decision after decision – and perhaps finding yourself making mistake after mistake – you’ll begin to recognize the elements of your identity, your various strategies, and the assets you’re drawing upon for a given decision.

Being mindful of our actions, like any discipline, takes time to master. This personal discipline can then become the foundation for organizational asset mapping, building something beyond ourselves, to include:

  • people;
  • insights;
  • capital;
  • infrastructure; and
  • ecosystem.


Engaging Knowledge Artisans

Every organization today is trying to address the changing nature of work, driven by rapid technological change, and made more complex by global changes in economics, politics, and resources. Simultaneously we are seeing rapid advances in all the sciences and their intersections. But what about our structures that organize how people work together? Providing better tools and developing individual skills only address part of the needs of the digital workplace. There is also a need for cognitive skills that enhance creativity and initiative. For example, working and learning out loud in online social networks significantly change the flow of knowledge and influence power structures. Pattern sensing becomes all important. Even leadership has to be exercised in a different way from the hierarchical organization, understanding the dynamics of networks. (more…)

Democracy vs platform capitalism

Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds.

A Digital Declaration – by Shoshana Zuboff

In the shadow and gloom of today’s institutional facts, it has become fashionable to mourn the passing of the democratic era. I say that democracy is the best our species has created so far, and woe to us if we abandon it now. The real road to serfdom is to be persuaded that the declarations of democracy we have inherited are no longer relevant to a digital future. These have been inscribed in our souls, and if we leave them behind— we abandon the best part of ourselves. If you doubt me, try living without them, as I have done. That is the real wasteland, and we should fear it.