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Institutions vs. collaboration

December 21, 2011

A focus on what we do and how we do things, while forgetting obout the purpose (why we do it), can lead to ineffective organisations. If we optimise our method (how) to what we are measured on (what), instead of what we’re trying to achieve (why), we run the risk of forgetting about the original purpose as we go along. In bigger organisations, methods can become “institutionalised”, and disconnected from other methods and the purpose (see previous post).

In the -quite dated (2005)- talk below, Clay Shirky explains how he thinks that loose networks can be more effective than closed groups or companies. How, because of new communication technology, fluid cooperation can be more efficient than rigid planning. I think, one of the reasons why loose networks can be so effective, is because they form around a common purpose (passion or interest, e.g. mermaids), rather than only a method (task, skill, e.g. photograpy) or a measurement (target, planning, institution).

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