The RSS Organization

Lisa Haneberg refers to it as a BKE (Breakthrough Experience) in her essay in More Space. All the pieces seem to fall into place. The picture is unclear, and it is hard to articulate, much less coherently explain it to someone else, but you know it is a significant transition point.

This particular BKE started a week or so when I read People Subscriptions on 43 People, by  Lee Lefever. Something clicked, the idea of creating an on-line identity by aggregating all the feeds from all of your activities. I realize that this is not a fundamentally new idea, mainly just newly synthesized in my head. But the part that has me really excited is applying this concept to  communications  within organizations.

Look at how most organizations communicate internally now:

  • Hierarchical cascade through the chain of command
  • email to anyone and everyone you thinks needs to know  in order to CYA, not that they really care
  • newsletters, virtual and hardcopy
  • townhall meetings and other big venue presentations

…you get the picture. This is all "push". The content producers try to control the message by pushing it to everyone whom they hope to influence. Unfortunately only a small percentage of the information ever makes it through the filters. And oddly enough there are usually people that want the information that never see it. All in all not very efficient, but a world we all know and unfortunately accept.

What if we change the paradigm. What if organizations operated primarily on an information pull approach? Control shifts to the seekers of information. Let every project, every department, every process (basically any and every entity) that exists within an organization manifest as a virtual on-line entity with tags and RSS. (Let’s ignore for a minute the fear and chaos this is likely to cause and assume the necessary skill sets broadly exist.) As a project leader or a department head, I stop focusing on who I need to influence and start focusing on delivering an excellent outcome. Every bit of content the project/department produces gets tagged and syndicated. If my project has value it will be found. Those that want to contribute will be able to do so, Open Source Operations.

I realize that this is worlds away from operations in most (shall we say all) organizations today, but just think of the gains in productivity that could be made with this type of approach. Transparency and integrity are inherently incorporated into the system. Central control, and with it bureaucracy, goes out the window. The best ideas move to the forefront effortlessly. Bad ideas, no matter what power structure conceived of them, quietly drift away.

OK, maybe I am a bit of a dreamer and an idealist, but hey, isn’t that what blogs are all about, the freedom to put your two cents on the table…more to come!

First Flickr Post

Originally uploaded by ljw7189.

OK, so this is not in line with my main theme, I just wanted to try it out. I took this picture january 2002 in Fiji.

Reason and Emotion

Ever been accused of making an overly emotional decision, without any logical reason? Ever been accused of being Mr. Spock, all logic and no emotion? What I am wondering is why do we (western civ. thinkers) persist in thinking that decision making is an either-or proposition? I believe that emotion is in fact reason, on steriods. Emotion comes from the culmination of all of life’s experience, but it is pre-processed in such a way that it is ready to respond at a moments notice. Most of the time this is a great advantage. I think we should all learn to be more comfortable trusting our emotions and instincts.

On the other hand, cool, collected logic and reason allows us to deal with new situations we have not confronted before. We process more slowly than emotional response, because we are taking more time gathering data. Of course it is impossible to gather all the data, so ultimately even "logical decisions" rely on some amount of embedded knowledge (emotion) to reach a conclusion.

The moral of the story? There is no such thing as a purely emotional or purely logical decision. So pay attention when you accuse someone of making an "emotional" decision, that may in fact be the best way to make the decision. And don’t make the mistake of believing that the "logical thinker" is devoid of emotional components in their decision-making, all decisions are emotional, because no one has all the data.