Systems thinking and organisations
It is self-evident that the principles of organisation of ecosystems - which are the basis of sustainability for our species - are identical to the principles of organisation of all complex systems, including forests, organisms and commercial companies.
I believe that the systemic understanding of life is of paramount importance in the management of today's business organisations. Applying the systems view of life to organisational learning enables us to clarify the conditions under which learning and knowledge creation take place and to derive important guidelines for the management of today's knowledge-oriented organizations.
The following four lesions are taken from Fritjof Capra:
Lesson 1: a living social system is a self-generating network of communications
The aliveness of an organization resides in its informal networks, or communities of practice. Bringing life into human organizations means empowering their communities of practice.
Lesson 2: you can never direct a social system; you can only disturb it
A living network chooses which disturbances to notice and how to respond. A message will get through to people in a community of practice when it is meaningful to them.
Lesson 3: the creativity and adaptability of life expresses itself through the spontaneous emergence of novelty at critical points of instability
Every human organization contains both designed and emergent structures. The challenge is to find the right balance between the creativity of emergence and the stability of design.
Lesson 4: in addition to holding a clear vision, leadership involves facilitating the emergence of novelty by building and nurturing networks of communications
Creating a learning culture in which questioning is encouraged and innovation is rewarded; creating a climate of trust and mutual support; and recognizing viable novelty when it emerges, while allowing the freedom to make mistakes.