Harold Jarche – Organizations are going to have to be more connected

Sometimes it’s attributed to McLuhan; sometimes it’s attributed to Churchill. It’s “at first we shape our structure, and then our structures shape us”, and our current organizations are a result of sort of the second Industrial era. You know the first Industrial era was powered by the steam engine. The second Industrial era by the combustion engine, and oil and petroleum products, and then we created corporations. Standard Oil being one of the first major corporations that owned this entire supply-chain because it needed to be able to find oil, refine oil, ship it, fill cars, do all those kinds of things.

And as a result of that, we created these things like corporations, and you take a look at the model that we have with the wiring diagram, an “organigramme” as they say in French. And where there’s one person at the top, and then two or three people who follow that person, and then that branches out, and everybody… You show somebody an organization chart, and everybody knows what it is. Really what it is is a simple branching out. And you know all those craps talks about that, and you say yeah this is just a network. It’s just a very inefficient network.

So I think that organizations are going to have to change. One of the main reasons is, I talk to clients about this, and so what happens when everybody outside your organization can share knowledge faster, can collaborate faster, can make decisions faster, can get stuff done faster than you can inside. You had… you’re going to become irrelevant or redundant, unless whether you’re a business or a government organization and not-for profit. So I think that, that we’re seeing that, that the new more effective organizations are ones that look more like the internet, the web outside, they are more organic. They are more networked. They are less hierarchical.

It doesn’t mean that there is no responsibility, there still is, but it’s a networked kind of a responsibility and it is much flatter. So I think, so all our organizations have always reflected the environment that they are in. And I think that when, again, 2 billion people are connected, organizations are going to have to be more connected themselves.

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