Are networks the new companies? Can our markets shift from capitalism to cooperativism? Can our institutions become networks? Can any of us escape our tribal roots and become network era citizens of the world?
We still lack good network models for organizing in society. Instead, many turn back to older, and outdated organizational models, like nationalism and tribalism, in an attempt to gain some stability. But our institutions and markets will fail to deliver in a network era society because they were never designed for one.
“It seems obvious to me that an individual value proposition for an organisation or nation state that makes a promise (which in itself is an outdated industrial concept) and fails to deliver will have to cope with every customer, citizen and employee holding them to account. In real time. From *within* their own organisations; not just by the hardening of their perimeters. The recognition that individual pathways transcend organisational boundaries is a good place to start.” —Robert Pye
It may be that the only unit of organization that is up to the task of working and living in networks is the individual human (the node). Perhaps this is where we should focus our organizational and societal change efforts. Let’s get people working as weavers, facilitators, and coordinators of networks. Help them develop sense-making disciplines like personal knowledge mastery. If a critical mass of people can adapt to perpetual beta, AKA life in the network era, then they can build the new structures necessary to organize society. I have more faith that thousands of cooperating individuals, with all their inherent complexity, can create better structures than a group collaborating under the direction of a positional leader. If so, the biggest challenge we face is in supporting and educating individual citizens for the network era.