For the next generation of companies, we need to move beyond seeing organizations as machines and begin seeing them as open, living systems that are inherently social and alive.
We can learn a lot about organizations from biology. The way cells connect with one another and with their environment offers a particularly rich metaphor for rethinking the organization.
Featured Articles on Organizational Living Systems:
The boundary between what’s inside and what’s outside the firm is where the future of organizational thinking now lies. The membrane is a powerful metaphor for the way modern organizations connect with people, organizations, and their environment more generally.
The membrane that surrounds the organization and connects it with its external environment is made out of a wonderful layer of humanity. What’s more the number of people involved in helping organizations exchange information with the outside world is radically multiplying and decentralizing.
Companies need to move beyond the old, mechanistic strategies for connecting and collaborating. To thrive today, they must now look to the biology-inspired strategies of networks. This is the evolution of the firm – a move away from the self-reliance of yesterday, to the radical connectedness of today.
Trust makes networks work. When trust is high among members of a network, there’s a wonderful cohesiveness and capacity to get work done. When it’s low and relationships are plagued by suspicion, networks collapse into brittle organizational structures that rarely offset their operational costs in real world outcomes.
Twitter is not a social network. It’s a “real-time information network” and once you see it that way, its competitive edges look a lot closer to Google than Facebook. Facebook is a social network utility, while Twitter is a social network application with real-time information as its end goal.
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Cocoon image by Ecoagriculture Partners. Thank you.