There’s no such thing as too big to fail in nature – just ask the dinosaurs!
Why don’t we form organizations that resemble nature more than the military, where pockets of enterprise can grow separately like fractals, or branches on a tree.
When VISA was originally founded it was designed to be a different kind of organization, what the founder called a “chaordic organization.” It has since caved into convention and now is publicly-held/traded like most multinational corporations having forgone its original unique member network structure.
In my wondering I looked for organizations that seemed to work more organically, like nature. Social movements have this nature-like quality, whereby people in different parts of society, even different parts of the world, develop a field of interest without hierarchy, patents, licensing or other market accessories. Often they are steeped in more of a gift economy than a market one with people freely giving of themselves to the cause. The civil rights movement in the 1960s, the women’s movement that followed, and the present day green movement are examples of social organisms that grows wherever they find passion to feed them.
Extremists with darker motives also organize themselves this way. The Mafiosi, drug cartels, Al Qaeda, para-military and skin-head groups all thrive without massive structures or conspicuous physical presence. They have strong social and organizational codes and often very negative consequences for going against those codes. They not only thrive in multiple cultures they defy the best attempts by the conventional organizations to curtail their antisocial activities. In other words, they grow more like fractals, cell by cell, without the hindrances of conventional structures.
Is it time for conventional structures from the past to give way to new forms for governance, leadership and other social commons matters? Is it time for us to bid farewell to the hierarchical boxes over boxes organizational structure we’ve grown so used to and start imagining something more befitting of the times we live in now, not the times of our ancestors?
As some of you know I am hosting telephone / Skype conference calls to explore alternative structures for the institutions we rely on for governance and leadership on the second Thursday each month, 10 AM California time. If you are interested in joining an upcoming call email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you the call in info.
The thoughts this post may have stimulated would be welcome there also.