Reads on Evolutionary Organizations

I read Aaron Dignan’s Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization? last January, and in the past week I read the illustrated version of Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations. As I read the latter, a lot of the stuff mentioned — terms, concepts, examples — felt so similar and consistent with BNW which made me think if Dignan just made a spin-off of Laloux’s work. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. Either way, I found both books interesting and they were both easy reads.

As for differences, I think RO elaborated more on the evolution of organizations throughout our history. It also promotes the metaphor of organizations as living systems. There were some enumerations on management structures and practices that need upgrading, but not all items were discussed in the book (but maybe they’re covered more in the non-illustrated version). The book does have companion resources including a crowd-sourced wiki that has elaborations on the stuff not elaborated in the book.

BNW focuses more on the organization’s Operating System — elaborating on the different domains or parts that make us the OS canvas. Examples of the domains (there are 12) include purpose, strategy, meetings, membership, etc. Each domain gets covered with examples and you get ideas or suggestions of what you can consider applying to your own organizations. I think BNW also offers more guidance or aides e.g., sensing tensions (78 tensions that can be used as conversation fodder), proposing practices (deck of practice cards), conducting experiments (experiment worksheet).

I made a lot of highlights in both books, and I saw several instances of me saying “interesting…” in my notes. I guess one of my favorite ones (might be trivial) is on the use of the word “fractal” in BNW.

“Like organizational purpose, strategy is multidimensional and fractal—it’s happening on many fronts at many levels. Which means coherence matters.

Say fractal and images of geometric figures with repeating patterns come into mind. A definition of fractal is “a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole.” To describe something consistently happening at all levels at all fronts as fractal is such a cool word choice.

2 thoughts on “Reads on Evolutionary Organizations

  1. Pingback: What I’ve been reading, and what to read next | testkeis

  2. Pingback: What I’ve been reading, and what to read next -

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