Blockchain Organization: Future Music or Current Fact?

Many analysts and writers are under the assumption that the bitcoin bubble will burst in the next year or so. And if it doesn’t that this will certainly happen in 2021 when the stock of bitcoins will be empty or in other words when all available bitcoins are in circulation. Of course, there are other cryptocurrencies to turn to, but that will not be THE solution. Perhaps you should rather say that the cryptocurrency bubble will burst.

This is not the case however for the blockchain technology behind it which is currently being widely adopted. Blockchain is no longer limiting itself to just a technological concept but it is also coming up in other areas. One of those is change management, the form of management focused on changing the structure or way of working of an organization. This current is called “Blockchain organization” and it is part of the Weconomics trend.

It is excellently discussed by Paul Bessems and Walter Bril in their book “Blockchain organiseren for managers”(Blockchain Organization for Managers). Their main focus is that organizations as for instance corporates will no longer exist or have a value to exist in the near future. Even the word “organization” may cease to exist. “Collaboration” is the keyword here. Bessems and Bril mention that during the 19th and early 20th century people started to collaborate differently with the introduction of new forms of industry and techniques. Therewith introducing new forms of organizations. No longer was the community the main form of organization, but firms which turned into corporates in the course of the 20th century.

Now that we are in the early decades of the 21st century, we are in the same kind of situation as a hundred years ago. New things like the digitalization of society are disrupting every kind of business sector. This also has an influence on the way people are collaborating. Traditionally organized corporates cannot cope with these changes and blockchain organization may just be the answer according to the authors.

In short, blockchain organization is defined as “building new forms of collaborations where there is a direct relationship between supply and demand and man and means”. Bessems and Bril present blockchain organization as if this near-future music. Their book is more a disquisition of the theory behind the trend including the ways to apply it as well as the effects on society and organizations.

I believe however that blockchain organization is already a fact. I am drawing this from my experience in meeting up with startups and independent entrepreneurs in all different kinds of places as well as from what I see happening to former colleagues who have started their own business. Admittedly not all succeed, but that is the common way for startups. The basic fact is that the number of independent entrepreneurs is booming in all areas of knowledge.

I have met startups in hotels along the highways, in local meeting points such railway stations in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague and the like. When you enter such a place the first thing you see is lots and lots of people sitting together with their laptops. At first I just assumed that these were business people who stayed at the hotel or who had missed a train. Doing some work in between travelling. But the more I entered these places, the more I hesitated if this assumption was indeed true. So as soon as my meetings with the startups were done, I went over to these groups to ask who they were and what they were actually doing. Without asking you don’t really know what is going on and your assumptions can be incorrect. Well that turned out to be the case with me.

One part of my assumption was correct: they were doing business. But not as colleagues but rather as co-workers or collaborators. What usually happens is that one of them is asked to work on a project based on the experience or knowledge he or she has. They are hired as a freelancer. However during the project it turns out that knowledge or experience is not sufficient. The question then being asked to them is: do you know other people who can help out?

Now as an independent entrepreneur one of the key things is that you have to have a huge network. So it is not that strange that they knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who could join them on the project. And that’s what they are doing: meeting up to brainstorm on a solution, work on an MVP or whatever the project asks of them. All of this outside of the usual corporate building, outside of the regular project managed team. They are just supplying their experience and knowledge to the demand of the moment.

This is an entirely new form of collaboration, and when you look at the definition of blockchain organization, it is just that: collaborating between people (man) who have the means and can answer (supply) a specific demand of the market.

It’s not future music, it’s already a fact.

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