This week I’ve noticed that everything seems to come back to our artificially created systems. If I’m waiting for a decision it’s because of poor information flow at some bottleneck in a hierarchy. If I’m not able to take action on an idea that would help many people it’s due to some artificial construct called a regulation or policy. No one is responsible; it’s the system. I feel blocked at every turn and I’m not alone. Mark Federman sums it up best with his thesis pitch:
I make the observation that almost all organizations that we have in our world – be they business corporations, non-profits, volunteer organizations, sewing circles, soccer clubs, schools, religious organizations – they all look like factories. By this I mean that they are Bureaucratic, Administratively controlled and Hierarchical – in other words, BAH! I suggest that this is not because it is human nature to be BAH, but rather this is an artefact of the Industrial Age that was mechanistic (with roots in the Gutenberg Press), industrial, fragmented, and functionally oriented. Now, as I look around, I observe that we are no longer in the Industrial Age. Rather, we are living in a world in which everyone is, or soon will be, connected to everyone else – an age of ubiquitous connectivity. This brings about the effect of being immediately next to, or proximate to, everyone else – in other words, pervasive proximity. I therefore ask the question, what form of organization is consistent with the ubiquitously connected and pervasively proximate world of today, rather than with the 19th century?
We are in desperate need of new models for living, working and learning. Rob Paterson has been discussing the messy world that we now live in and how modern armies cannot win against insurgents or stabilize failed states. Dave Pollard & Jon Husband recently talked about the value of leadership. Leaders may be required in hierarchies but are they necessary in wirearchies?
The great work of our time is to design, build and test new organizational models that reflect our democratic values and can function in an inter-connected world. Failure by our generation to do so will leave the next one to deal with the reactionary forces of corporatism; something our children are already facing.