Inventing The Building Blocks

This is one of a series of pieces considering how we evolve our Organisations from the legacy Domain basis (structural and segmented), through to a more dynamic and interconnected one: it’s built upon the work first shared in ‘The Socially Dynamic Organisation’, which considers this from an Industrial to Social Age frame, in terms of Organisational Design, and is a space for me to iterate ideas and illustrations. Today i want to consider the ‘building blocks’ we use, and how we come across them (or whether we need to invent them).

Unlike in art, function tends to define form. Our Organisations are designed more as entities of effect than of beauty. And some of that effect is common: people need to be paid, things need to be put together or shipped, we need to allocate labour fairly, and to report on what we are doing, and so on. Put simply, Organisations tend to be recognisable as Organisations largely because all Organisations tend to look somewhat similar, even if they vary in their specific mechanisms of effect.

This commonality may breed familiarity and hence some degree of lethargy: when we design an Organisation, we will tend to use the blocks that we were given.

But that may be a mistake: in the context of the Social Age, much has changed, not simply through the impacts of technology, but also an evolved social context born of our radical connectivity. It’s possible that we can invent new building blocks. And it’s probable that we could retire some of the older ones.

But what would a new building block look like?

Maybe a block of ‘Belonging’: perhaps this would be a foundation?

Perhaps a block of ‘Belief’, a pillar that holds up the roof?

Maybe a block of ‘Curiosity’, which would be very wide, and a common piece. Everyone should have one of these.

Perhaps ‘Voice’ would be a block: a brightly coloured one so that we can clearly see that everyone has one?

It’s easy to think that we start with ‘Finance’, ‘Logistics’, ‘HR’, and ‘Legal’, but those are form based blocks. What if we started with Belonging, and even engineered in some Risk?

It’s a game of course: these things are not real, and yet they limit us nonetheless.

I’ll continue to #WorkOutLoud around this space.

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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