Philippe Dancause, a Canadian practitioner of various social technologies of collective intelligence shared some insights of great clarity in his blog that I roughly translated as follows.
“In most organisations, there are very few real forums that allow the emergence of new visions, perceptions, possibilities, solutions, and realities. Few places to make a point, evoke a combination of opinions, play out a diversity of experiences, and really understand the vision of the other person (no, the 2-day annual strategic retreat by senior management is not enough!).”
As long as the meaning-making conversations of the organization has access limited to the top decision makers, that diagnosis is unlikely to loose relevance.
“Should we say that the members of the organization serve only to play their role in the current activities, to perpetuate what is already established? I may exaggerate a bit here, but maybe not… We can say, at leas, that the collective intelligence of the organization is obviously (and sadly) underused.”
If you work in a company or any other hierarchy-dominated organization, your experience probably tells you that Philippe is not exaggerating. It is that very CI deficit of the dominant mode of organizing work, which makes it historically obsolete, unfit to perform under the conditions of increasing complexity multiplied urgency.
The good news is:
As Chris Corrigan’s song goes, “the old world is dying, and the new is yet to come.” In that evolutionary jump time, the future is up to us. It will grow out from our passionate longing for it, from our courageous experimentations, and most of all, from our wise, cohering actions that connect with one another at increasing scale.
“Great talents are rare! They get bored rapidly with, and accept less and less having, on one side, a private life that can benefit from their whole creativity, and on the other side, work that under-estimates them. Using the whole collective intelligence of the organization cannot only contribute to its growth but in addition, it also allows to retain (and attract) the best people.”
There are more and more corporate refugees who leave the working conditions that become unsupportable as they reach a level of personal development that cannot put up anymore with the waste of talent and creativity that bureaucracies still impose everywhere. However, a mass exodus is neither feasible nor desirable. Not only not everybody can become a consultant or a craftsman but there are areas of production where multi-layered organization and coordination of work is a condition of its effectiveness and efficiency.
Philippe Dancause is asking: “What actions would let us really move to the next level (of collective intelligence)?” I wrote something related to it here.
What do you all think?