learning on the edge of chaos

“the future of work will be based on hacking uncertainty”Esko Kilpi

Esko Kilpi passed away in early 2020 and his work had informed my own for many years. He published a number of essays on Medium and I would like to curate some of the highlights from 2019.

“Instead of thinking about the organization let’s think about organizing as an ongoing thing. Then the managerial task, but not necessarily a manager’s task, is to make possible very easy and very fast responsive interaction and formation of interdependent individuals into value creating groups.”2019-01-15

“We live in a time when we have compartmentalized ourselves into disciplines, using highly engineered processes in the name of efficiency and productivity. But if success is a result of learning and innovation, we need to think differently, we need to cross boundaries to create new insights.
Crossing boundaries is always about working with differences. This is why differences are potentially conflictual in nature, and this is something we should now welcome. Conflicts give rise to the possibility of innovation and the potential for finding totally new solutions.”2019-01-21

“The Internet first enabled more efficient communication and commerce. It now makes coordination and network effects possible in ways that we have never seen before.
Complementarity is not about recombining skills but redefining work and learning. To be competitive in the new post-industrial, post-fossil landscape is to be cooperative.”2019-02-04

“Because of greater complexity, coordination cannot be planned in advance. Authority needs to be distributed; it is no longer delegated vertically but emerges horizontally. Under distributed authority work teams and knowledge workers need to be accountable to other work teams and other knowledge workers. Achievement depends on learning by mutual accountability and responsiveness.”2019-02-10

“Social intelligence is not a separate type of intelligence. All intelligence emerges from the efforts of the community.
Work starts from problems and learning starts from questions. Work is creating value and learning is creating knowledge. Both work and learning require the same things: interaction and engagement.”2019-02-18

“Changing the way we communicate is the way we change organizations … There can be no change without changes in the patterns of communication.”2019-03-08

“All organizations are power and communication structures. Very often communication is corrupted just because of power … Leadership is participating and exercising skills of conversation which uncorrupts information, keeps the necessary paradoxes alive, and keeps on opening up the possibility of new meaning rather than closing down the further development of thought.”2019-04-02

“An aesthetic view of life also means elevating beauty to the methodological mainstream, filling some of the blind spots of the present cult of innovation and productivity.”2019-04-10

“Problems in organizations tend to get labeled as lack of information. It feels more professional to try to solve a knowledge management problem that is called lack of information than a problem that is called confusion … If people want to create shared meaning, they need to talk about their experience in close proximity to its occurrence and have a common platform for conversation.”2019-05-13

“The new, entrepreneurial experience of work is very different from the mass-industrial experience. It is about acting into the unknown, not necessarily working towards a known goal. It is more about improvising together than creating and following a script. It is more about emergence than rational causality. It is more about sciences of complexity than systems thinking.”2019-05-27

“Complexity refers to a pattern, a movement in time that is, at the same time, predictable and unpredictable, knowable and unknowable … This level where coherence and novelty are experienced simultaneously is called the edge of chaos.”2019-07-11

“The educational task is to learn, to train our mind, to have a more thoughtful worldview based on the fundamental interdependence of all species. It is a world in which things don’t have distinctive essences that set them apart from one another, unless we wrongly separate them.”2019-08-06

“What is needed is to see the broken mirrors, the failed sense-making systems we have, and to create an alternative approach, building on the significance of creative small moves in everyday life. It would mean appreciating the enormous potential of moments in which people are more deeply engaged and more present in their unique life. Life is the most profound work of art!”2019-09-28

“The mindful experience of work involves two features: It understands the present activity, the means, as integrally connected to goals, the end, and it values the continually developing, creative, present as equal, or even more valuable, than any future state or goal.”2019-11-11

“Creativity is a social and political tool. As it is about expressing ourselves, it gives a voice and a form to democracy. As it is a platform for ideas, it is an agent of change. As it raises new questions, it is about the very thing that makes us human — imagination.”2019-12-08

“Change occurs not so much as a result of new information leading to individual learning but when the patterns of connectedness between individuals change.” -Esko Kilpi

“Change occurs not so much as a result of new information leading to individual learning but when the patterns of connectedness between individuals change.” —Esko Kilpi. Image via @tmiket

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