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The Intelligent Organisation October 4, 2005

Posted by poseidongroove in Collaboration.
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I read an article from the Financial Times a few days ago which, follows on from my previous post about “Three Dimensional Relationships”. You can find it here Simon London: Metaphors that constrain our Thinking. In summary the article recognises the unruly nature of how value is created in business today and how we find nuggets of information using various mediums like blog, web etc. The article also uses metaphors to describe how Microsoft can be likened to a cathedral builder and open source Linux being a bazaar.

I believe the commercial software industry is entering a new age where Open Source software development model will ultimately alter the way commercial software is developed and delivered to customers today. Ultimately, the intelligent organisation that knows how to harness the chaotic model of open source software development to its competitive advantage will succeed in this new world. A plug-in mentality like Eclipse will allows development engineers, customer support, pre-sales and consultants alike to actively contribute to improving a product. You only do this by making the source code available to all staff. Yes, there are inherent worries about losing intellectual property when an employee moves on. Time to market will probably be less. Another benefit is that there everyone adopts development practices in line with the architectural patterns used to implement the platform.

The intelligent organisation is one that doesn’t operate on a “need to know” basis. An example of a barrier to innovation is that most companies have a silo mentality in structuring product development teams. An intelligent organisation is one where sharing knowledge is an implicit behaviour. It thrives on a bazaar mentality as well as cathedral checks and balances. Software companies should encourage more bazaar mentality. Wiki, Forums and Blogs encourage peer review of ideas that will benefit everyone. Formal means of sharing restricts creativity and learning on organisations. Ralph Stacey has done a lot of work on Chaos Theory outlines this well. In his book on Complexity and Creativity in Organisations

Again, if you don’t use available technology appropriately to build organisational intelligence it’s pointless.

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