I came across a fascinating example of self organizing in the Plexus Newsletter – it’s called “slugging”.
“It is a form
of commuting — solo drivers picking up strangers so they can all
cruise to work legally in high-occupancy-vehicle lanes — is called
"slugging." Passengers are "slugs," a label alluding
not to their energy or wit but to counterfeit tokens and coins. A ride,
too, is a slug. Drivers are drivers, or less commonly, "body snatchers,"
"scrapers" and "land sharks." With little notice outside
Washington, these Northern Virginia commuters to the nation's capital
and big office sites of nearby Arlington, Rosslyn and Crystal City have
blended hitchhiking and carpooling into a quick, efficient way to outmanoeuvre
a traffic-choked freeway.
Talking of newsletters, I am on the mailing list of several and I find them a constant source of information, inspiration and challenge to how I see the world. So I thought I would list them all so that you could also have the chance to subscribe to them:-
Plexus Complexity Post
This is a weekly post from the Plexus Institute which explores the phenomena of complexity in our everyday world. Each week they give an example like the one in the introduction above. Contact them at PlexusNews@plexusinstitute.org
Change Management Newsletter
This is the newsletter of Holger Nauheimer in Germany. Each edition describes a different change management tool as well as other items about change. To subscribe http://www.change-management-toolbook.com/
Complexity Digest is an independent publication that gives extracts and links to new items relating to complexity. ComDig is published by Dean LeBaron and edited by Gottfried J. Mayer. For individual free e-mail subscriptions send requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the newsletter of Sarah Lewis’s Jemstone Consultancy. Below is an extract from one of her newsletters.
You can subscribe via her web site http://www.jemstoneconsultancy.co.uk/
This is Dave Gurteens
newsletter which majors on Knowledge management . but which also has many
other interesting items. Dave’s site is a great source of quotes
as well as much more.
A monthly newsletters with a series of articles about new ways of looking at the world. Subscribe via http://www.oryon.nl/frameset/index.htm
Here is a set of inyeresting articles which I have come across recently.
Life Support Systems
This is a new article on my site which examines how we should approach organisational issues when we understand an organisation as a living organism.
Wicked Problems: Naming
the Pain in Organizations
”Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them”. -Laurence J. Peter
”There is a subtle but pervasive pain in organizations. You can recognize it in such complaints as "How am I supposed to get my work done with all these meetings?" and "We always have time to do things over again, but never time to do them right." It is the pain of expecting things to be one way and repeatedly banging into a different reality. It is the pain of trying to do good work in an environment full of motion and effort but few results.”
Social: an introduction to online social software methodology
This paper is based on the author’s experience of trying to develop meaningful online applications that have a real world purpose or that support existing communities of people over the past 7 years, and is partly also a response to recent debate around the idea and practice of social software.
“What interests me is the question of how humans learn to live with uncertainty. Before the scientific revolution determinism was a strong ideal. Religion brought about a denial of uncertainty, and many people knew that their kin or their race was exactly the one that God had favored. They also thought they were entitled to get rid of competing ideas and the people that propagated them. How does a society change from this condition into one in which we understand that there is this fundamental uncertainty? How do we avoid the illusion of certainty to produce the understanding that everything, whether it be a medical test or deciding on the best cure for a particular kind of cancer, has a fundamental element of uncertainty?”
Bringing Life to Organizational
“After so many years of defending ourselves against life and searching for better controls, we sit exhausted in the unyielding structures of organization we've created, wondering what happened. What happened to effectiveness, to creativity, to meaning? What happened to us? Trying to get these structures to change becomes the challenge of our lives. We draw their futures and design them into clearly better forms. We push them, we prod them. We try fear, we try enticement,. We collect tools, we study techniques. We use everything we know and end up nowhere. What happened?”
Thanks to Dave Gurteen for these quotes:-
"The essence of competitiveness is liberated when we make people believe that what they think and do is important - and then get out of their way while they do it."
*** Jack Welch (b. 1935) Retired CEO of GE ***
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."
*** Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut ***
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
*** Albert Einstein (1879-1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate ***
"I am not my memories. I am my dreams."
*** Terry Hostetler American Entrepreneur ***
"The world comes
to us in an endless stream of puzzle pieces that we would
*** Robert M. Pirsig (b. 1928) Author ***
For those of you who like optical illusions which demonstrate how the brain works:- http://www.sandlotscience.com/
I have two stories for this edition both courtesy of Sarah Lewis at Jemstone. The first is about the perceptiveness of Lego:-
“In 1998 Lego began selling a £170 build your own robot with a proprietary microprocessor, operating system and so on; presumably anticipating many months of exclusive supply and development.
In no time at all it had been reversed engineered and the software posted on the web. People got interested and started developing programmes to make it do little tricks.
Lego could have got litigious, instead it embraced the unexpected development and now provides web and software support to the community. It seems everyone is happy with the outcome; a better product.
Do the unexpected and let your customers add value.”
And the second story is a cautionary tale
“A man was told that somewhere on that beach there was a pebble of pure gold. He dedicated himself to finding it. Everyday, from 9-5 he walked the beach, along the sea’s edge, picking up pebbles, quickly examining them, and discarding them into the sea. Pick up, examine, discard, pick up, examine, discard, pick up, examine, discard: all day working to a rhythm. He dedicated his life to finding the precious stone, ‘when I find it all my problems will be solved, my life will be heavenly’ He ignored all entreaties and offers of other ways to solve his problems. All day, every day, year after year, it became a way of life.
And so, in his 56th year he picked up a stone that was different from the rest. Even as he noted that it was different, his body, moved ahead in rhythm and discarded the stone to the sea.
Was he a lucky or an unlucky man?”
Thanks again to Dave Gurteen for this quote which sums up perfectly the concept behind trojanmice.
"The only way to change is by changing your understanding."
*** Anthony de Mello (1931-1987) Jesuit Priest ***
And finally finally a possible date for your diaries. I have been asked by LSE Complexity Group to attend as speaker at a Complexity Business Seminar supported by the Exystence NoE (http://www.complexityscience.org/index.php). The Seminar will take place in Spain-MCC (www.mcc.es) in the Basque Country
This Seminar will try to cover the recent interest that complexity science is showing in network structures and network dynamics.
The seminar will consist in three presentations that can cover these important issues from two main dimension; the first one is the academic-practical spectrum, and the second one is the intra-inter organizational spectrum.
I will be speaking about "Humberside TEC Experience: Intra-Organizational Network Development in Practice"
I am really looking forward to it as you can imagine.