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Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Emergence of STARFISHES

The Starfish and the Spider - The unstoppable power of leaderless organizations

is a fascinating book. I try to get a hang of it again and again. The hypothesis is that forces of decentralization - that are all pervading - have changed the rules of game. Further this change has been so RAPID that industries and government have found themselves employing outdated methods. These are failing - failing so miserably that the centralized control organizations are stifled and loosing their value-creation capability. We have seen some attempts - which I characterized as "When Elephants cant stamp they start dancing, When Elephants Cant Dance, they start OPEN INNOVATION ?"

Well! There is a paper which characterized open innovation as " What is Mine is Mine. What is yours could be mine too?".

The decentralization revolution is much deeper. Technology enabled global networks are making centralization - old hat.

Starfishes are emerging, despite the spiders. They are emerging so rapidly that spiders will have to create starfishspiders or spider starfishes. The new rules described in the book which I would like to re-articulate as

  • Smaller is Better - Connected Smalls are better than One Big.
  • Increasing the network is more important than managing your network (mark the words "the" and "your")
  • It pays to be Chaotic - Messiness is the seedbed of creation - learning to accept chaos
  • Inclusive contribution of each - is the game - All want to be involved in the process of creating
  • Dont try to kill the Starfishes by killing their head - there are just catalysts no heads in decentralized organizations
  • Catalysts have taken the world by storm - if you turn the catalyst into CEO that sure will kill the organization
  • Values drive the organization - it is much deeper ideology that creates decentralized organizations
  • When measuring decentralized organizations - it is better to be vaguely right then precisely wrong - Our Six-Sigma friends may find this extremely difficult to digest - "managing a decentralized organization requires someone who can be an architect, cheerleader and an awe-stuck observer"
  • All the Elephants out there, best way to defeat the decentralized organizations is to join them
  • "What initially looks like Entropy turns out to be one of the most powerful forces the world has seen"
I am love-stuck with this book! Do I need to say more?


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