the 21st Century Organization
ValueWeb Model cannot be understood and actualized
without understanding recursion.
present way of organizations is based on UpSideDown
Economics. This is leading to the systematic destruction
of our planet. Will ValueWeb architecture address
this? It can. Webs must be designed as a system.
They have - if constructed properly - inherent complexity,
scale, diversity and balance. They follow the principles
of ecology. They self-organize.
this, they become mere mechanical supply chains and
networks. This will not do. A mere engine runs
down. It requires high-overhead maintenance. A living
System self-repairs and grows. Engines are important
as a subset of a living system - they cannot be
20th Century, and still 21st Century, organizations
are engines based on the Industrial Paradigm. Competition
and the drive for customer and shareholder value at
the cost of everything else - while good for one level
of the system - actually is reinforcing old, now destructive
models and habits. As long as the concept of customer
service reins, as long as ownership is
merely the message of maximum return, this will be
the case and the system-as-a-whole will be put at
greater and greater risk.
you experience yourself constantly feeding your organization,
know that you are slave to an nonviable system. This
is necessary in the nascent stage - in start up. It
is killing in a mature organization of
present-in-place economic paradigm is one of fundamental
sacristy. This leads to the improper application of
the competition principle which leads to sub-optimization,
destruction of local ecologys, inhuman acts and...
war. War is Natures court of last resort - when
all else fails, blow it up. Dont be fooled by
the present peace. Read the statistics.
The body count is still very high even through the
number of set piece confrontations are
low. Business, itself, is increasingly being conducted
utilizing tools once reserved for nation-states in
conflict. As yourself if you think this trend is sustainable.
Ask yourself if you believe that it is moral.
is not an attack on the principle of economic freedom
and the theory of Capitalism. It is a criticism
of how we have allowed structure to determine
the scope and style of our social/economic practice.
It is a criticism of how we have employed a partially
constructed free-enterprise system to do some really
stupid and bad things. Freedom requires greater awareness
and sometime constraint. Something does not have to
be done just because it is possible to do it.
are missing many critical feedback loops in a system
that is far too simple for the complexity inherent
in a global economy. Can I afford it cannot
be the only major feedback driver if we are to have
stability. If consequences to the larger system and
longer-term outcomes are not made visible at the level
of individual buy-or-not decisions, then the power
of the market will become the biggest destructive
force in the world.
day-to-day economic terms, our current model creates
incredible waste and tends to drive the quality of
life downward. We become economic units rather than
humans who employ economic means to
achieve some values.
you wondered, in an economy of extraordinary options
and tooling and incredible wealth-building, that you
life is not getting that much better? Are you
employing the economy or does it own
are architectural issues. Structure wins.
We should blame people less and design better. If
you place people in a structure/process that is fundamentally
competitive in a game that is fundamentally biased
and stacked in favor of some of the players, you will
get what you deserve. If you stay in that game you
are likely to end up a victim of evolution.
If you stay in that game - thinking you can win and
get out - you will get, ultimately, what you
deserve. This sounds harsh. I am not being harsh.
Nature does not care. Nature is nature.
If the engineer in me is too critical and bent on
improving this issue, then attention too it will just
help us all do it better. However, if my premise -
one that I have been working for over 25 years now
- IS (more-or-less) true, then
failure to restructure our organizations can be catastrophic.
I believe that my premise is true and that our time
is short. Organizations such as we now employ tend
to be change-resistant and extremely good at protecting
themselves. This kind of organization tends toward
catastrophic failure. The Soviet Union is an example.
Its fall surprised a great number of people.
The recent (2001-2002) failures of major corporations
may just be a cycle - or, it may be the early warning
(not too early!) of systemic failure. True Capitalism
is built on creative failure as a feature.
However, if the scale of this gets out of hand the
resulting problems can overwhelm a system even as
robust as our present economy.
Nation State, of course shares this vulnerability.
old economic/organizational model cannot escape this
criticism. Despite all the political rhetoric and
intellectual apologists, we are building a world of
massive unintended and destructive consequences.
of the Nation-State
Nation-State, as we know it, has a very short shelf
life. In its currant form, it is about to become an
artifact of history. The Nation State will be a player
for some time - however, it will be - at best - a
player among many institutions that have equal power
to compete within and influence the future shape of
global society. Nations as Brand, will most
likely be around for a long time. Nations as EXPERIENCE
will be there. When we speak of FRANCE do we mean
the government or the culture?
passing of the Nation-State as principle organizer
of societies will leave a powerful, and dangerous,
vacuum in the architecture of organizations that make
up the Human Enterprise. How this is filled will be
critical. It is not a slam dunk that the best solution
will emerge in the short term.
have fallen before. We forget this. We assume that
we are wiser and more sophisticated than anything
that came before. We assume our knowledge and tools
will save us. This can be a paper thin promise in
a number of likely consequences.
am an optimist. I believe we have gathered and created
most of what we need. It is a matter of assembly and
design. The question is if we will address the issues
we need to, on the scale we need to in the time frame
we need to.
ValueWeb structure/process, although it must grow
organically, is the only Model I know of that can
weave the many existing parts together into something
fundamentally new - and potentially do it in time.
As A Hunter-Gatherer
working model of the basic Human Enterprise, since
the mid 70s, is that we have
traveled full circle back to a new form of hunter-gatherer process/organization social architecture.
this cycle, we hunt and gather knowledge and tools,
live and work in local and global affinity tribes
(which we choose to be in not just happen to born into), we form organizations and processes - ValueWebs with are both our personal and work organization and social ecology - to create and ship product,
learn and evaluate - then, restructure our enterprises and do it again. This is,
essentially, an ad-hoc process and fundamentally
as different a work process than the agrarian and industrial
models were compared to tribalism. Consequently new kinds of relationships, groups, and organizations are emerging than we are not used to thinking about and putting to proper use. Because, on the surface (and certainly still legally), organizational
structure and mechanisms do not look much
different than before, we get trapped in an old model and its various substructures. We think we are driving one kind of organization when in fact we are in an entirely different vehicle. No wonder we go off the road so often. No wonder we do not realize that now we do not even need a road.
often speak, as example, as working for an
organization - I work for IBM. Rather
than asking which organizations work for you?
Or, which organizations do you employ in your
work? Or, how do these entities AUGMENT
organizations are formed and reformed in order to
specifically develop a particular opportunity. Toffler,
in Future Shock, talked (in narrower terms)
about this kind of enterprise structure in 1971. The
creation and use of power will be quite different
as this societal architecture evolves. The evolution
process will be punctuated, thus, likely
to be overestimated in the short and underestimated
in the medium term.
this global society is still coming for
most members of humanity, it is the present reality
for educated, affluent knowledge workers
as defined by Drucker
in the 1960s: The Age of Discontinuity,
The Effective Executive and other works.
course, some of Humanity are still hunter-gatherers
in the traditional sense of the word - they may have
surprising gifts to bring to this new emergent life-work
modality. We may have something to learn from how
they see time and community as only
a couple of examples.
this hunter-gatherer model is literally true or not,
it makes a useful test for thinking about and evaluating
competing organizational theories and practices. It
suggests an ad-hoc-ness and organizational mobility
that is likely to be a major experience for an ever increasing
number of people. It is critical that whatever replaces
present organizations both deal with this reality
and transform many important, enduring human patterns
into a viable new solution.
...from November 1977 Renascence Reports
I first addressed the issues of organizational structure and Toffler’s concept of ad-hocracy in the November 1977 Renascence Reports Vol. 1 No. 5 p3. Richard Georing was editor of this newsletter. The germ of the ValueWeb which was not to emerge until 1985, can be seen - in retrospect - in this writing.
|The intent of the piece was to shift the framework, within which human organizations were being discussed, by introducing cybernetic and systems theory terms as a means to introduce new models and modes of thought. We humans grow up in organizations. These are rarely thought of as the result of a design process. It becomes a “fish-in-water” experience. Human organizations, by default, are treated as if they are an act of Nature rather than a human created artifact. There is much “re-organization” activity yet this is often just shifting around the pieces of the same organizational design. Gail calls this “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
Today (as of this editing in 2012) disruptive technologies are rapidly changing almost all organization’s process architecture. Yet, the old paradigm remains remarkably solid and in place with the emphasis on people, behaviors, motives, mistakes and brilliant insights - all important - with little awareness of the hidden impact, on all of it, which is the consequence of all organization’s deep structure. This neglect is a major cause of poor analysis, fragmented understanding and “too little, too late actions leading to inadequate results. Change is overwhelming the major systems - which we rarely look at - of our society. We blame politicians, business leaders, schools, ourselves and anyone who sticks his head up while talking about our major institutions and social covenants as if they were the same as the were fifty years ago.
June 22, 1999
voice of this document:
INSIGHT POLICY PROGRAM
Building ValueWebs -
Part 1 of 2
August 18, 2012
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this document is about 42% finished
Matt Taylor 1977, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2012