The new world will have hierarchies and will not be open – For that is Nature’s design

Many say that they hope that the new world will have no hierarchy. This is just as much a fantasy as the positional hierarchies in traditional organizations are. A hope based on nothing. Many say that new systems will be “Open” meaning that all can access them. This too is a fantasy. In nature all systems have boundaries that are defended vigorously.

Many profess that they hope we will find algorithms to filter the best stuff from the web but miss the fact that unless we trust the source, content is just noise. No filter works like human filters and quite small groups can cover a lot of ground. You won’t miss much with a group of 33 or max at 144. For the real filter is in our own heads and can only be pierced by a trusted source.

Here is a post of mine on FF that explains this. 

What is value? Usually it is something that is scarce. What is scarce today? Certainly not content which is why all the attempts to make content pay are doomed. Content has never been more plentiful. In fact we are approaching the point where content is all but infinite.

The Value point then becomes finding content that means some thing to each of us. So Search is a Holy Grail here. And it is very valuable. But can we rely only on algorithms?  I do not think so.

This week two people that I respect and trust a lot Craig Newmark and Jeremiah Owyang have put their own stakes in the ground saying that ironically it will be a screen of named people in our social orbit that will be the final layer of screening for meaning. That our impersonal transactional world will return to a personal world where reputation is key. There is enough convergence to call it now I think.

What you are about to see is how the world will be organized in the future. It’s official now!

This is the new Org Chart.

fibnumbers

The Inner Circle is your Trusted Space – moving out from this is a gradient of Trust and Intimacy – These rings have numeric boundaries. The Inner Circle is limited to 8. The next ring for you is 34. The outer ring is of course 144. If you look up to the diagram above the “Donut”, you will see the Fibonacci Curve. There you will see that these numbers are the boundaries of the curve – this is how nature organizes all complex systems. The Dunbar number is 144. (Not 150 by the way) We know that 8 is the ideal team size. We know that 34 is the ideal large team.

To the left I have added the “Permaflower” – this is the organizing model for Permaculture. I think that this may be the model that we use to organize the Natural Organization.

Here is how Craig opens his piece:

People use social networking tools to figure out who they can trust and rely on for decision making. By the end of this decade, power and influence will shift largely to those people with the best reputations and trust networks, from people with money and nominal power. That is, peer networks will confer legitimacy on people emerging from the grassroots.

This shift is already happening, gradually creating a new power and influence equilibrium with new checks and balances. It will seem dramatic when its tipping point occurs, even though we’re living through it now.

Everyone gets a chance to participate in large or small ways, giving a voice to what we once called “the silent majority.”

Here is how Jeremiah describes it:

jorings

Here is how a Permagarden is layed out:

permagarden

Here we see the idea of a gradient in the hierarchy more clearly. Inside the network are of course sub networks. In Permagardening, these are called Guilds. They are reinforcing groups of diverse species. Toby Hemenway is the source of these lovely garden images.

permaguild

Talking about guilds here is how Chris Allen has shown us how Guilds form in WOW.

teambuilding blocks

In this slide you can also see the leverage that the Fibonacci Sequence can give you. Imagine your 8 inside the Trusted Space. Imagine that you have 4 good friends in the next circle who have 4 friends who have 4 friends and then 4 more – that is 4,096 people. A group of 34 with 4 friends gets you 1.3 million. 144 gets you 429 million.

A small group can have huge social leverage. Enough I think to do anything.

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3 thoughts on “The new world will have hierarchies and will not be open – For that is Nature’s design

  1. The misnomer is that Open Systems don’t have structure, form or hierarchy. This is actually not true. Open systems have formal governance that determines how the company operates and how information flows and decisions are made. I do think that traditional structures will always exist but I do believe that our world is moving toward flatter and more open organization designs. I’ve written two research papers on this and am focusing my doctoral studies in that direction – would love to have a dialogue because I believe this is a very important conversation to have. There is room for many different organization styles and one-size does not fit all.

  2. Good point Phillip – I am pushing back at those who seem to have no idea that all systems have deep structure.

    I would enjoy talking more with you.

    My bias is to look for the natural structure that is deep in human systems and in the wider scope of nature rather than to invent the kind of structure that we have all gown up with.

    I find it refreshing that the Roman Legion – no kumbaya organization – was built on units of 8 and 80. The tent and the century. In total they would be about 5,000. The HQ was 10 people – 3 hard core centurions – the Legate on a 3 year term + 5 1 year tribunes. Basically all the work was devolved to the centurions – 1 per 80 and then to the tents. Now look at how we run organizations!

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