Monthly Archives: March 2003


Gyan from Arie de Geus
Arie is a thinker whose simple book “The Living Company” affected my views of organizations. Here he talks about the organizations that are needed for the future …superb reading

How might companies look different in the future?

The human element will be dominant as communities, managed for longevity rather than for profit, evolve in harmony with changes in competition, technology and values.

How should performance be measured?

Set wide performance targets, in terms of final outputs. Leave lots of room for people to organize themselves to achieve that output. Go for effectiveness, rather than efficiency. Effectiveness means achieving the highest quality output in the shortest possible time, rather than at the lowest possible cost. Count on your people to take care of efficiency-if you trust them and if they trust you.

How can learning become operational?

Maximize intellectual output by establishing a learning process. The best learning takes place by play. Play has been defined as experimenting with a representation of reality-a simulation that you have created yourself-rather than experimenting with reality itself. A team at play comes to a satisfactory end result in, measurably, about one half of the time that it would take in a reality-based situation.

Is there an analogy in nature?

Biology teaches us that birds, being mobile, propagate innovation by flocking. When individuals are hired for their skills and kept static-not moving around organizationally-there’s very little flocking, which results in an ineffective transfer of innovation. Knowledge travels best as individuals move around the organization through regrouping, promotions and career changes, which promotes “action learning” in the new destinations.



Another Comment of mine in KnowledgeBoard

Knowledge Exchange

The fallibility in most of the “people process” models for Knowledge Sharing and Exchange is that they seek to address the superficial acitivities by initiatives like training and communication.
The problem lies more at a fundamental mental model level. The mental model driving most KM initiatives in organization is “extractive” is nature (that is, KM is seen as an initiative from which the organization gains without investing too much in people) over other initiatives like Organizational Learning which have a more developmental orientation


My post on Radical vs. Incremental Innovation at the KnowledgeBoard Innovation SIG

We distinguish incremental and radical innovation by the following methods.

Incremental innovation happen at the activity and idea level, but radical or breakthrough innovation occurs when mental models shift.

To facilitate such shifts in mental model is a process that is deeply reflective not just on “how” and “what” but also on questioning the “whys” …the ability to challenge the sacred cows that are assumed for one’s domain and industry, and essentially also entails disrupting the ‘established’ structures and processes.


A comment on definition of CoPs

I think that a useful point that could be included in these definitions is the paradoxical nature of CoPs, because unlike a social community there is an inherent ‘design’ that is included in them, and yet they are emergent as they develop, and any attempt to craft them usually tends in stunting their growth.


My definition of Organisational Culture On

“Organisational Culture is the the sum total of the image the organisation has of itself and the identity that others give to it. It includes the mental models that drive it and the assumptions that cloud it. This covers values, norms and artifacts of the organization.”