Autopoiesis

Posted by Kirsten Gibbs on May 21, 2019
  • Last weekend I spent a day going through my old London Business School notes before throwing them out to make room.   Its 21 years since I did my Sloan Fellowship, so this stuff is bound to be out of date.

    Still, I skim-read quite a bit of it – lecture notes, my coursework, case studies – along the way, and I was struck by how much of it still resonated, especially an extract from ‘Leadership and The New Science’ by Margaret Wheatley, entitled “Change, Stability, and Renewal: The Paradoxes of Self-Organising Systems

    According to Ms Wheatley, that’s not at all surprising.   One of the characteristics of a self-organising system (e.g. a human being) is that “as it changes, it does so by referring to itself [autopoietically]; whatever future form it takes will be consistent with its already established identity”,  “when the environment demands a new response, there is a reference point for change.”

    For a business that reference point is it’s Promise of Value.   The more clearly and explicitly that is spelt out, and built into the way a business works, the more resilient that business will be – not because it won’t change, but because changes will always be adopted in a way that is consistent with that Promise.

    As long as the system is self-organising, that is.    More on that tomorrow.

     

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