Category: Social business (page 2 of 5)

The hi:project, social business and Flat Army

Dan Pontefract Flat Army and the hi:project
I help organisations work better, so how on Earth is that connected to the hi:project? Given I dedicate not a small fraction of my time to this non-profit endeavour, I'm asked on occasion to explain how the two are related.

The 'HI' of the hi:project stands for human interface. It's our way of describing the technology we think should and will largely supplant the user interface, the UI. Here's how I've begun to explain it of late ...

When we approach digital, we have a natural propensity to digitize the pre-digital; after all, that is all we know. That's how we ended up sticking an 'e' in front of mail for example, and went from having desktops, files and folders to, well, desktops, files and folders.

Yet digital has unprecedented qualities – it just takes us a while to discover and exploit them. It's only with the passing of decades for example that organisations can now explore alternatives to email. And filing stuff looks increasingly anachronistic with the power of near-instant search at our fingertips.

In the same way, the UI is attached to the digital machine / service today because pre-digital physical machines had a physical interface. Read more

An open letter to Paul Polman, Unilever – from Enterprise 2.0 Summit, London

Enterprise 2 Summit - British Academy London

I'm at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit at the British Academy in London today, courtesy of Kongress Media and Agile Elephant. In conversation with Lee Bryant, Matt Partovi, David Terrar, Damian CorbetCéline Schillinger, Johan Lange, Janet Parkinson and Anne McCrossan, a common theme is emerging – we need such events as this, and the deep and wide potential of Enterprise 2.0, to extend beyond the inevitable echo chamber of today's eager community.

With this in mind, I have penned an open letter to Paul Polman and everyone with an interest in Unilever's success, if only because I love the company's vision, believe it is important in our world, and feel that the stuff we champion in the e2.0 / socbiz / futureofwork communities will be critical in its pursuit.

The letter is embedded below and it's also available as a PDF: Open letter to Paul Polman, Unilever.

[Photo credit: British Academy Facebook page.]

McVeillance, coveillance, and socioveillance in the context of social business

Photographic lenses

I was a victim of McVeillance in June this year. I was walking around a shopping mall under systematic surveillance – CCTV everywhere – when I was accosted by security upon taking out my own camera to photograph the mall. (FYI, the mall itself was the subject of my photography and not its customers per se.)

Professor Steve Mann coined the expression McVeillance after he was manhandled out of a McDonalds in Paris where he was eating with his family in 2012 for no other reason than for wearing a computer vision system. McDonalds was watching him. He was watching McDonalds. And 'they' didn't like it.

I wasn't ejected from the mall as I was actually undertaking a project for the mall's owners, unbeknownst to the security personnel. I was escorted to the security office for appropriate clearance – an act which, per Mann's definitions, officially made me a surveiller.

The word surveillance originates from French, from sur- ‘over’ + veiller ‘watch’ (from Latin vigilare ‘keep watch’). It invokes an authoritative orientation where one in authority, metaphorically if not physically above, watches those below. Mann had previously coined the word sousveillance. The French for 'below' is sous, hence the neologism for watching the watchers. Read more

Introducing the hi:project

hi-project blog post header
The hi:project launches today. It's a synthesis of many of the things I care about, from the original decentralizing visions for the Internet and Web, the aspiration that digital technologies can help people relate to each other better and understand each other better, and the idea that we might connect to each other without wondering who's monitoring our every action.

I believe that making all variety of organization more agile, more valuable, more useful starts by empowering all the individuals that play a role in the organization's success. The creation of mutual value begins with acquiring self-knowledge and mutual understanding to effect mutual influence, and this is exemplified by the question that concludes Attenzi - a social business story:

Do you help all the individuals associated with your organization (employees, customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, etc.) build worthwhile relationships with each other and others, coalescing by need and desire, knowledge and capability and shared values, to create shared value?

Are we really going to answer this question satisfactorily by having everyone interface with the digital world similarly? By having them come to each machine in turn than have the machines come to them? I think not.

Introducing the hi:project. I hope you'll join in.

More questions of influence – size and complexity

https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlatter/5576004597/ BY-SA
Phillip Casey, post-graduate student at Newcastle University, follows up our earlier Q&A with a couple more questions.

Is influence harder to manage as an organisation grows in size?

As before, beware the idea that influence can be managed per se. I'll assume you're referring to the considered design and monitoring of process, culture and operations more widely, to increase the likelihood that stakeholders are influenced and appropriate reciprocation is encouraged, in ways more conducive than otherwise to the organization achieving its goals and living up to its purpose.

Complexity of the influence system does tend to increase with organization size from my observations, and possibly by definition. But I'd caveat that by asserting that such observation should demand a response in organization design terms. Read more

The blockchain is coming your way

Bitcoin index 21 July 2014

Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency with the highest capitalization. As you can see from this screenshot from the "block reader" blockr, the capitalization at the time of writing is over eight billion dollars. According to citations of an IMF report on Wikipedia, that places it just above Moldova's GDP.

This post isn't about bitcoin but the cryptographic foundation of Bitcoin. (The community prefers to capitalize the word when referring to the system, and lower case when referring to the currency.) This post doesn't explain Bitcoin or the blockchain in detail – I recommend this series of presentations courtesy of the Khan Academy for those who want to learn more – but rather it's about the technology's wider application and its emergence and growth beyond the early adopters.

Get this into your block

So why am I interested in Bitcoin specifically, and its blockchain foundation more broadly? What does this have to do with social business?

We are contemplating blockchain platforms to enable decentralized consensus in the not too distant future, allowing us to codify, decentralize, secure and trade many things that historically have demanded some centralized facility. This is akin to the bitcoin currency functioning without the need for a central bank, and the vista includes voting, domain names, financial exchanges, crowd funding, organizational governance, intellectual property, contracts and agreements of most kinds. The landscape even extends to so-called smart property with appropriate hardware integration.

Sometimes I wish I was more of a wordsmith, but this word will have to suffice – wowzers! Read more

Deliberate and emergent, by design

crab sand

I've been trying to reconcile the apparent tensions between the deliberate and emergent strategy schools of thought. After all, it's a fundamental question at the heart of organizational life today.

Defining deliberate and emergent strategy

The deliberate strategy process is the one with which most people are most familiar if only because it dominated 20th Century organizational life and still does. A senior team reviews the market, the trends, the SWOT, the fruits of R&D, etc., and formulates strategy – where to play and how to win – that the wider organization is then charged with executing. And based on nothing more than atavistic agricultural habits that are now largely irrelevant, we exhibit a predilection for going through this process with a calendar based drumbeat.

Emergent strategy adherents on the other hand insist that such practice is pure fancy. It's divination beyond the realm of even the most cogent, gifted and able senior leadership team. The deliberate strategy process supports C-title egos and little else. Rather, we're better off making the organization sensitive to even the slightest changes, the weakest of signals, and developing an organizational fabric with the agility to react appropriately, to exploit opportunity and close down risk. Read more

The Mozilla Manifesto amplified, from Internet to organization

Mozilla manifesto amplifiedInspired by the analogy of organization-as-software, and indeed the reality of organization-as-software, what might it look like to take a manifesto about software and digital networks and apply it to human networks and organization?

In my recent presentation, The Future of Organization, I took the majority of the Mozilla manifesto and replaced references to the Internet with references to organization. I liked the result so much I thought I'd post it separately here for ease of reference. Read more

Organization is software

Angkor Thom, Cambodia
This post is about an exciting vista for organization, one that may sound unhuman on the face of it but which, in contrast, I think could serve human dignity very well.

I first presented it in my Future of Organization video May 23rd, a presentation that appears to have been well received (and the accompanying Slideshare accrued over 2000 views in the week). Given the variety and perceptiveness of the comments the video garnered I'm particularly pleased to have excused the presentation up front as being far from comprehensive. Pete Burden picked up on building inclusiveness and sustainability, and humanity, pointing me to this webpage on concious business. And soulfulness was at the heart of a similar exchange with Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organizations. (I consequently elevated the book to the top of my to-read pile and at page 36 I'm enjoying it very much so far.)

Mr. Wirearchy himself, Jon Husband, was good enough to 'tweet out' (appended here). And my dear friend Gabbi Cahane wondered what balance of my living in the future and living in the present might be best for business. Hmm, good point :-)

In this post, I'm referring to what I've named Bread incorporated – a distributed, self-regulating, incorruptible, frictionless market for organization. Here's the slide in question and the transcript: Read more

The Future of Organization – a video presentation on the major themes and some new provocations

Office building in New York

There's a lot to think about when it comes to the future of organization, and plenty to be optimistic about. Saying that, like any and all topics worth grappling with, it takes a bit of time to get up to speed on the depth and breadth of things. As a member of the advisory council for the Future of Work community, and part of the steering group for The Responsive Organization community, I know I'm not the only one looking to communicate these ideas effectively.

Mike Grafham and I talked about compiling a three-minute explanatory video, and I failed woefully at such brevity. This 42-minute video presentation aims to provide a relatively speedy immersion in some of the main themes, spanning human rights, complexity science, the death of heuristics, the six influence flows, personal knowledge mastery, social physics, trust, the digital nervous system, Web 3.0, performance and learning, public relations, collective intelligence, sociocracy, Holacracy, podularity, wirearchy, emergent civilzation, self-organization, organized self, socioveillance, the middleware corporate, Bread incorporated, distributed autonomous corporates, and the Mozilla manifesto.

Read more