Where we are and where we've been

Here is some of what I learned via Twitter this past week.


The Internet: “The private interests of all have to be subsumed to the public good.” – by @robpatrob

@Euan “We depersonalise business so it doesn’t get messy. Instead it gets dysfunctional.”

Leadership Freak: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less” ~ General Shinseki – via @KoreenOlbrish

@AronSolomon – “Insiders who claim a desire to change the status quo are sheep in wolf’s clothing.”

The advantages of social learning propelled incipient human groups along a different evolutionary path from chimpanzees – via @c4lpt

The new data on early human social structure furnishes the context in which two distinctive human behaviors emerged, those of cooperation and social learning, Dr. Hill said. A male chimp may know in his lifetime just 12 other males, all from his own group. But a hunter-gatherer, because of cooperation between bands, may interact with a thousand individuals in his tribe. Because humans are unusually adept at social learning, including copying useful activities from others, a large social network is particularly effective at spreading and accumulating knowledge.

The Return of the Barbarian –  “Civilization is the process of taking intelligence out of human minds and putting it into institutions.” – via @sebpaquet

In the short term this works brilliantly. The ideas of the smartest people (usually embedded higher barbarians) are externalized and encoded into the design of institutions, which can then make far stupider people vastly more effective than their raw capabilities would allow (this is the reason why the modern economic notion of “productivity” is so misleading).

But in the long term this fails. The smart people die, and their ideas become obsolete and ritualized. Initially, more intelligence is being externalized into institutions than is being taken away through ritualization, but at some point, you get a peak, and the decline begins. As entropy accumulates, it becomes a simple matter for another wave of lower barbarians on the periphery to take down the civilization.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger: A Time of Institutional Recomposition – via @raesmaa

When companies are no longer competitive, they go out of business and their clients take their business elsewhere.  But, the invisible handcreative destruction and other powerful free market forces that impose rigorous disciplines on business have not applied to government.  There is a huge difference between failed companies and failed communities, cities or countries.  Clients can easily find other companies to do business with in place of the ones no longer around.  This is not the case with citizens.

Systemic vs. Silo Thinking & Social Media – by @JDeragon

Social media are an influence on markets. The market of conversations can be used to improve an organizations system and its ability to serve a market. That is of course if we understand the “system and all the interrelated parts”.

Most organizations are failing at social media because:

It is being used in silos
The current measures are not relevant to systemic improvements
It is disconnected from the organizations people, processes and systemic improvements
Use is isolated in marketing and advertising processes
It is not designed around people’s intents or relational objectives

The advancement and improvement of any organization starts and ends with alignment of people, processes and communications. Not leveraging social technology systemically means the organization will be out of alignment.


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