The Experimental Organisation: Your Uncertainty Or Your Foundations?

We could describe our ‘uncertainty’ as the things that we know to be curious about, whilst our foundations are things that we know to be true.

When we think about the places our curiosity may carry us, we often look outwards: into the unknown, into the realms of possibility. And that’s a great place to look. But as we stand there, looking outwards, it’s worth considering the value of looking down: we all operate from a place of certainty and safety, but what about if we stop to test our own foundations? What if we examine the certainty that lies right under our feet (and behind our actions).

Organisations are keen on ‘experiments’ as part of their efforts to change: in this series of articles i am exploring what it means to ‘experiment’ within an Organisation, and what an ‘Experimental’ Organisation would look like: should ‘experiments’ reach forwards, or down?

Culture is build upon the foundations we stand on: so in that sense it is an artefact of ‘certainty’ as opposed to ‘curiosity’: but to change may require us to question our own certainty. To look down at the foundations under our feet and to deliberately take them apart.

If we limit ourselves to staring into the distance, we may feel unconstrained, and yet lack true curiosity, limited by the things we ‘believe’ to be true.

For example: we may talk about ‘engagement’, as if we know how it operates, and just need to earn more of it. But are we certain? We may talk about ‘community’ as if we know what it is, and just need to build it, but are we certain? Much of my own best work has been done not when i stare into the distance, but when i look down at my feet, and pick up one of those stones, before taking it apart.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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