Friday, October 20, 2006

Shooting yourself in the foot: Designing for Emergence

Great post at EEK Speaks on capturing the magic of social software, and where organizations go so very wrong. You can‘t bring your old ways of working to these new environments, and then expect different results. The control-freaks can‘t help but meddle and it spells certain disaster.

You can‘t organize self-organization. You can‘t control emergence.

The biggest mistake that people say is that they point to Wikipedia or to MoveOn, and they say, “I want that.” Then they install a tool or spend a lot of money, and they expect some grand end state to emerge. That‘s not how things work.

You can create conditions and space, and you can facilitate and catalyze what happens in that space, but you can‘t control it. As soon as you try, you break your conditions, and you will fail. (emphasis mine)

You have to trust the process and let go. It‘s not a question if these tools work. We already know that they do. How much more proof do we need? If they don‘t work for you, then perhaps you are trying too hard.

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