Has Our Time Come?
A few years back Jacqueline, Ric and I noted that networks could become 'organisations', while some traditional organisations were trying to become 'networks'?
We sensed that, one day, the two could meet--as networks organised and as hierarchies melted.
Well, it's arrived!
I've just attended the Self-Management Symposium in Sacramento, USA, sponsored by the Morning Star Tomato Processing Company--a $750 million company, with no managers. (See December HBR story by Gary Hamel.) Not only that, they invited me to give the opening presentation. I called it "Architectures of Collaboration".
My central idea was there are many examples of such 'architectures', including:
SMOs (Self-managed organisations like Morning Star)
VOs (Volunteer organisations like Wikipedia, Firefox, etc.)
ROs (Results-only organisations where you can work when/where/how you like as long as your get your results--like Best Buy)
COs (Community organisations, like Gangplank and N2N, where the currency is social capital)
NOs (Network organisations, like TOYFNET)
By and large, the audience was very comfortable with the idea of being organisational designers (or architects).The fact that the CEO of Morning Star was in the room was living, breathing, compelling proof.
He, by the way, speaks in 'design' language...and his design is a great example of Deep Simplicity (as we called a workshop we designed and ran in Bangkok years ago!).
And to cap it all off, one attendee told me their boss might want to emulate Morning Star. In which case: "I'll tell him we should hire Ken Everett as a consultant." It seems the ideas we wrestled with so long ago are now resonating, or we have found the right audience, or both.
Before the Self-Management Symposium, I attended a Peter Block workshop on Community--and the conversations that support it.
After the Self-Management Symposium, I attended the Conscious Capitalism Conference, and many of the same ideas were being canvassed.
There is evidence of a wider movement emerging.