The Rise of Emergent Organizations
Beth Comstock

Very well written and an enjoyable read. It’s refreshing to know this thinking is now emerging at the top of your organization. Emergent Organizations can also be observed as Living Organizations. Here are some aligned comments from personal research of long ago.

Invisible influences on human behavior operate consistently with the rest of nature. As much research is showing, the quality of our life’s experiences is intimately connected to our relationship to and familiarity and involvement with the natural word around us (i.e., the ecosystems upon which our life unfolds). When people are extremely disconnected from the natural patterns, rhythms, and ecosystems around them, they develop countless emotional, mental, and behavioral abnormalities. There is now a mental/emotional disorder called “Nature Deficit Disorder” caused by inadequate time being outside “in nature”.

How do we gauge this? We gauge this through the resulting behaviors that manifest in our cultures. Behaviors, for the most part are “invisible” yet impactful at the same time. What triggers behaviors? First, let’s explore how nature leverages invisible information to organize, govern, and then how (invisible) information influences our behaviors. Just some of the “invisible” influences within human social and organizational structures are listed below.

“Information is organized by an . . . invisible element [called] “meaning”. . . . Information and meaning-making do not obey the . . . laws of physics that govern matter. As energetic forces, they move and act differently . . . [and] travel with great speed anywhere in the universal web and appear suddenly as potent influences that surprise us. . .information is an invisible, immaterial thing, without which life cannot give birth to anything new; info is absolutely essential for the immergence of a new order [or new form]. . . life uses info to preserve itself, [and] to grow and generate new capacities.

. . . To foster these self-organizing capacities in our organizations, we have to work with info the same way life does. . . . No other species suffers from the delusion that they can manage [and control] information . . . Organizational intelligence is a system-wide capacity directly related to how open the organization is to new and disconfirming info and [is] filled with enough informational newness to disturb the system into wise solutions . . . . we are so needy of [info] that if we can’t get the real thing, we make it up. When rumors proliferate and gossip gets out of hand, it is always a sign that people lack the genuine article — honest, meaningful info. . . .we need to be nourished by [not starved from] info . . . [info is a key ally to ] resilient organizations, a prized property of living systems . . . [our training is to measure against and look for what’s “normal”] . . . consequently, we aren’t able to respond. . . yet in [living systems] newness is [what’s looked for]. . . . Organizations are changing their approach to info by changing metaphors . . . seeing info as nourishment rather than as power[i]. . . . . we didn’t grow up learning about non-material forces. But this has become critical curriculum. We must learn how to work with life in all its dimensions, seen and unseen. However long we may hope it isn’t true, we are [being] forced to accept that [understanding the energetic dynamics of “invisible”] information — is our only hope for order in a world that no longer waits for us to respond.” 3

[i] Leadership and the New Science, Chapters 6 & 9


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