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.
Latest Articles on Organizational Living Systems:
- Week in Review: May 21, 2012 Seven ideas on meaningful work, myth, mobile computing, philanthropy, and networks.
- Klout, Influence, and the Future of Business Klout helps companies better understand the influence of employees and customers, and this opens the firm more fully to the outside world. Despite its many problems, Klout not only symbolizes the growing importance of influence in marketing, but the increasingly permeable nature of the firm.
- Week in Review: May 14, 2012 Four mini-posts on: Google’s new ‘knowledge graph” and the semantic web, the sad story of Flickr (and CarPoint), why Justin Bieber has a higher Klout score than President Obama, and the future of market research. Phew…
- Week in Review: May 7, 2012 Three interesting articles: focusing on market efficiency, governance, and a high-tech evolution of the old trading company.
- Quiznos and the Old Business Model The Quiznos near-bankruptcy highlights the dangers of the old model for running business networks: one that uses outsourcing of value creation in an exploitive fashion.
- Radical Connectedness and the Evolution of Business From the self-reliance of yesterday to the radical connectedness of today.
- Social Networks and the Renaissance of Local News The new economics of local news distribution rests on linking and networking behavior, and that requires a whole new type of relationship with readers – one that treats them less like passive consumers and more like proactive partners in disseminating news.
Cocoon image by Ecoagriculture Partners. Thank you.