The Future of Organizational Management: Ecological Systems Thinking

Should innovation be a data driven process or is it more organic, intuitive and qualitative in nature. This is a constant conversation in the innovation ecosystem. Recently, the data practitioners (and their AI counterpart) have seemed to gain the edge. But are we missing something? The author states that:

“… the field of management is failing to provide the empirical, grounded, actionable guidance that organizations require in today’s economy… Traditional tools of management lack an “ecological systems” point of view for thinking about organizational development … What we have not fully captured—as a human species—is the systemic process by which we turn ideas into useful things. (This is) a clash between two opposing worldviews. The battle might be described as rigor versus intuition. Hard versus soft.; Or even numbers versus people.”

He then creates a model/analogy consisting of the “Rules of the Rainforest” and the “Rules of the Plantation” that describes the tension between the activities of innovation and production. This tension and dynamic is similar to the opposing forces that govern the dynamics of a natural ecosystem.  This is an interesting and useful analogy, and one that others have explored. But it is worth considering in the modern context of data-driven management. As the author concludes –

Successful companies must exist in both worlds—innovation and production—simultaneously. That’s hard to do… a paradigm shift is fast approaching. It’s no longer enough to focus only on what’s easy to quantify.

Original Article »

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