Thursday, January 17, 2008


The idea of sovereignty may have been the most profound organizational innovation in history. It tied space to legitimacy creating very durable structure.


Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge. How does this happen? There are of course the generally accepted processes of appropriating existing knowledge through absorbing already codified knowledge by reading or being taught in some fashion.

The process that interests me is where something in the ordinary course of events strikes a false note. The normal flow of things is interrupted. Something happens that does not make sense. There is cognitive dissonance - events do not fit into one's mental model of the world. And then, suddenly, there is an insight, a new realisation that offers an explanation for that which made no sense - a wow moment. This is the creation of new knowledge, perhaps often only new to the individual, but sometimes an insight is uncovered that is new to humanity. This is the source of creativity.

Introducing ambiguity into a situation may lead to exactly the process described. This might be a valuable insight for those leading organizations - an enabler for creativity.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Structure and fear

Linking control and fear is no new insight. I don't promise that. What I would like to point out is that hierachies not only operate through fear, needing it for control, but they also seek out social orders wherein fear can be sustainable. That is, one must worry about boundary crossing and its risks continuously just to survive.

I live on an island now. In island cultures large and small, social order must be fairly rigid because anonymity is very hard to realize. That is, borders of a certain sort are essentially a given. But what then do we do with globalization especially through the Internet? We melt of course.

But how can a physical border as definitive as those of an island melt? Through internal segmentation first, and ultimately through loss of common identity and purpose as an island. One sees this to some degree in all islands--Britain for instance. Japan perhaps less so, but it is emerging as globalization rises. Do smaller islands melt slower? Unclear.

Learning forces us to engage across boundaries. Blur results and identities must become patchwork.

Jon Husband has been writing about Management 1.0 and Management 2.0 at his wonderful blog called Wirearchy. I highly recommend it. Not sure how it relates, but I think there is a tipping point rather than a constant tension between Management 1.0 and Management 2.0. That tension plays out in crises. Crisis and structure is an essential topic I hope to explore further soon.