Complexity Theory Meets Spiderman
"Complexity theory is new and largely untested in this area but there are some fascinating and powerful techniques (open space, tipping points, narrative and storytelling, probe/sense/respond, conversations, appreciative inquiry, empowered autopoiesis, collaboration, mindmapping and concept mapping, passion bounded by responsibility, the gift/generosity/support economy, pattern recognition, improv, the wisdom of crowds and the four practices, that seem well-suited to support a complex adaptive system 'discovery-and-learning based' methodology (my link)." From Dave Pollard - How To Save The World - Apology, and Some Early Thinking on Stuff Go ahead, read Dave's post, I'll wait.
WOW, even when Dave is limping a long, I am humbled by the quailty of his work and the richness of his ideas.
How to use enterprise social software and coordination theory (Malone) to implement Dave's ideas.
Dave's key questions map to what I wrote, Employee plots to Corporate Scenarios a month ago to address complexity in an org. I'll repeat it here and add some new stuff.
To be clear in a complex world, the rational linear communicator is forced to either ridiculously oversimplify a situation or disappear into mumbo-jumbo bizspeak.
The reason org charts change so quickly is that linear representations of reality are at best temporary-and at worst, bullshit. Reality in the information age is nonlinear (think about the messiness (diversity and independence) of tags via del.icio.us, flickr, Ideascape.) Actually, reality has always been nonlinear but things used to move slowly enough that we could pretend like we lived in a linear and predictable world.
Spiderman spins a web of aboutness using personal tags.
Fly with me here for a sec since tagging objects is an integral piece of Ideascape that connects and depicts the why, what, where and how. Up to a short time ago, most of our information was represented in containers such as in hierarchical type directories. Bam! I like my taxonomies neat and orderly and my tags fluid and soupy. The tagging culture war by Dave Weinberger gets jump started with a thread from Tom Coates - "Two cultures of fauxonomies collide..".
Be sure to read the comments on both posts. Tagging - the aboutness of
objects is what connects people, places, things to ideas and rich-information.
Strategic planning in the traditional sense is passe.
Two- and five-year plans are becoming rather vague. Many companies are turning to metaphor and scenario planning to give direction to this unpredictable, highly complex, and ever-changing world in which we now live. In other words, they are using story (seth godin on getting attention) to replace the old strategic plan's goals/objectives/strategy format.
Digital Stories make sense of chaos, they give people a plot to work from.
In this land of complex reality, story is king. One of the ways that story influences people is that a story can reframe frustration, suffering, or extra effort as meaningful. A story can help people make sense of
their frustration. Meaningful frustration is much easier to bear than meaningless frustration. Every individual story is somehow connected to a specific circumstance, aggregate theme or future possibility. These individual stories/plots are folded into a larger, macro story where the plots get thicker and more complex.
Connecting individual plots to scenarios - the right things, the right time, the right place.
People everywhere, inside and outside the business, have mind-boggling ideas and compelling stories to tell. They really want to improve themselves, their jobs, the world. Enterprise social software - blogging platforms - tagging makes it easy for every worker to give voice to their crazy ideas and share their iridescent stories with others. Finding, discovering, and connecting story plots
(employee wisdom) to business scenarios smooth's out complexity and chaos while focusing attention on creating, innovating, and adapting offerings, processes, and skills.
Euan Semple has ideas and insights on how to apply social software in an organization.
The knowledge: Euan Semple"Running the unusual line between rebelling against senior-management expectations and over-delivery on objectives seems to be Euan Semple’s forte. Since his appointment as head of KM solutions at the BBC, he has jumpstarted collaboration and knowledge sharing among employees on a budget that would make most software vendors squirm." By Sandra Higgison from Inside Knowledge. Euan's Blog - The Obvious.
The cool thing about the BBC is that they are providing us all with stater kits for digital stories.
Bonus - Ideascaping Del.icio.us