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Six steps to transform the way we do business

August 6, 2013

Our institutions, organisations and economies were conceived, designed and
built for a simpler more linear world. Overwhelmed by complexity these have
become disrupted and unsustainable. There is an urgent need to transform our
societies, organisations and economies by better design to thrive in what I
call a ‘non-linear world’. A non-linear world has significant implications for
leadership, strategy, and innovation – the design of organisations and economic models as a whole.

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This blog is a guest article written by Alan Moore, author of No Straight Lines.
A non-linear world is one in which we embrace the power and potential of
complexity rather than trying to break it down into unconnected bits and that
we see the world systemically. A non-linear world is where we have the capacity
and the tools (which already exist) to transform our organisations commercially
and non-commercially to work with the grain of human nature not against it that  run leaner, more efficiently, and are greener. Finally a non-linear world is a  significant upgrade to our linear one proving that better much better does not  necessarily have to cost the earth.

No Straight Lines has six framing principles as philosophy and practice of how
to design organisations and economic models for a non-linear world.

Principle 1 Ambiguity

When we individually and collectively live in an age of uncertainty, we must
all become masters of managing uncertainty. It requires us to take a more
holistic, systemic engagement with the forces that are reshaping and disrupting
us as a form of diagnostic.

Diagnostically we need to detect and identify underlying patterns and hidden
relationships to create meaning from chaos. Pattern recognition enables us to
move from a position of perceiving potential alternatives of organising,
creating, designing and building as risky and unrealistic to, recognising new
common sense opportunities.

Principle 2: Adaptiveness

We have to be prepared to continually upgrade ourselves, our business models,
ways of working – we can only do this if we learn to become agile. Adaptiveness
is based upon a continual process of creating, collaborating, communicating and
critiquing – it is a practice that evolves a new literacy of thinking and doing
because, if we cannot describe a new destination, we will never be able to get
there. Today, we have tools and technologies, software and hardware, computing
capability and organisational processes that mean we can now design for
adaptation.

Principle 3: Openness

Natures default setting is open; nature is regenerative and resilient. The
concept of being open facilitates new organisational, social and commercial
capability. Playing a key role in helping participatory cultures to function
properly. Openness is cultural – open to new ideas. Openness is mutuality, the
sharing and redistribution of, knowledge, information, data resources and
wealth. It is inclusive by design, and its by-product is organisational and
social cohesion. Openness as a principle and practice offers new capabilities
as in open platforms, higher organisational performance as in open innovation
accelerating R&D plus reducing costs, trading models as in open business
models, it is software as in open source, and it is a legal framework as in
Creative Commons.

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Principle 4: Participatory Cultures and tools

The insight is that human beings are designed to work in aggregate, there are
many benefits of participatory cultures, including opportunities for
peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude towards intellectual property, the
diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the
modern workplace and a more empowered conception of citizenship. We need to
embed sociability into everything, from the buildings we design to the software
code we write, the processes we create, the business and organisational models
we conceive, the governmental institutions we create and the means by which
those institutions operate. The multidimensionality of humanity needs to be
coded into the fabric of all those things.

Principle 5: Craftsmanship

To envision, create and build in a non-linear world we call on the almost forgotten art of the craftsman. The Craftsman represents the trinity of
creativity, the combination of the Hand, the Heart and the Mind. Craftsmanship
is as relevant for the individual as it is for an organisation enabling a
deeper, more finely tuned approach to learning and the craft of innovation.
Providing an ethical framework and values based approach to commercial and
business practice, by asking, ‘is what I create for the collective good?’ The
craftsman or the crafted organisation exists in permanent beta (a constant
creative process), the craftsman is always naturally curious, sees systems,
builds patterns and evolves literacy through a constant process of exploration
of the possible through the interplay between expression and technique.
Tellingly the craftsman is joyful in sharing knowledge, and operates from a
position of confidence and self-belief.

Principle 6: Epic

As we collectively face real, and significant challenges, we must adopt a state
that seeks not incremental change within the existing paradigm, we must seek an epic win – a tem coined from gaming. The gamer seeks, or indeed quests for an epic win. It is about recognising the opportunities for value creation and
having the courage and the conviction to blend new and old tools, processes and language together to evolve, fresh, novel and meaningful strategies and
operational approaches. Which means striving for sustainable economic success, better government, education and healthcare. It demands innovation and the transformation of all the existing organisations, legal systems, economic or otherwise, that currently frame and define our world to better serve us as humanity. And better much better does not necessarily have to cost the earth.

For more on this and business transformation in a volatile world join the Face Book community here

To read Alan Moore’s original article visit here.

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