Form follows Function

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Photo by: Phoester

I was inspired to write this post after reading and seeing the pictures on this post on Bureaucratics:  A  Global Portrait of Red Tape

Bureaucrats get a bad rap.  Which is not always fair.  They do serve an important purpose.  If you’ve been to Singapore, you find they can be so efficient it is almost exciting.  However, I do think it is important to take a critical look at organizational form.  We have to pay attention to the way we structure ourselves when we aim to do things together.

In my own spectrum of organizational forms, I tend to place bureaucracies where we find deadening and restrictive structures and I tend to place self-organizing networks where we find vibrant, life giving structures.  But we must always lead with an authentic inquiry:  What do we want to achieve together?  What kind of world are we trying to build?  Form follows function.

I often invite policy advocates to pay attention to the form that will implement their policy of choice.  It is important to note that bureaucratic implementation only comes after victory.  Victory comes after long and exhausting battles that are inevitably fraught with a string of compromises along the way.

It is important to ask ourselves what it is we are doing, where is it that we want to go and how do we start living in that world right now – what is the form that best serves our purpose?

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