Monday, February 2, 2015

Building a Self-adaptive Digital Organization

Structure and behavior are two elements co-working in every organism in nature and in every system designed by human culture.

Digital means flow; digital organizations have to adapt to the continuous changes and business dynamic in striving as a digital master. Within system engineering, self-adaptive concepts are applied in order to control system risks that evolve due to dynamics and variation. The self-adaptive system is a system able to re-configure its own structure and change its own behavior during the execution of its adaptation to environmental changes.

Structure and behavior are two elements co-working in every organism in nature and in every system designed by human culture: All are based on the continuous exchange of information with the environment: the behavior points out the relations (actions/reactions) between the system and the environment; the structure points out the impacts (changes/ transformation) of environment condition on the system. The structural elements adapt because of the flow; the flow adapts because of the structural elements. The point seems to be that organizational structure has a strong influence on organizational behavior. Could it be another chicken versus egg question: Which came first? Was the structure an adaptation to needed behaviors or is the behavior a result or adaptation to the structure? Once a structure becomes the legacy, people will adapt to it to the extent that the structure imposes real or perceived constraints.

Self-adaptation is a phenomenon strictly linked to see learning (and knowledge) increases if shared and consumed: Of course, learning is a recursive function and consequently, there are heuristics and rules that work for any system (entity, organization, cohort, culture, etc.). Consider nature and culture as to self-organized but interlaced environments, and humans are vehicles of natural and cultural solutions. From the economic and organizational point of view, people are able to adapt themselves and their organization through a collaborative and peer to peer approach better than using a stage and gate approach.

Diagnostic logic and monitoring depend on the defined system and system state: The associated system risks, and the control states to assure acceptable risk. From a system perspective (all elements including the organizational aspects) there are always unknowns. In considering risks, it is possible to compartmentalize or otherwise bound the unknown, as people would do with a “white box” or “legacy system”; via the understanding of physics, adverse propagation, and the natural order. You may consider a formal design plan or system specification which depicts the associated diagnostic logic and monitoring requirements.

A self-adaptive capability or functionality is generally a requirement within some complex systems: Some organizations consciously choose to move or not - to not move is still a choice. To choose to maintain a status quo may be a rational strategy - You don't want to get too far ahead of your constituents. Other organizations unconsciously choose to adapt or not. The next move may be based on internal politics rather than adapting to changes in the constituency and environment. The organization has become "unconscious" because it is no longer responding to the external environment. The business agility based on self-adaptation is the capability to adapt to the change and make "conscious" business choices seamlessly.

A key element in self-adaptive organisms - people: Organizations are made by people and people who decide to postpone a change is focused on "consensus," not yet on the problem-solving. It is a question of time and effectiveness. Each person has a different level of knowledge (consciousness about a problem) and reacts to environmental changes with behaviors that are strictly linked to the information they have and with the way other people (boss, colleagues, etc.) share and collaborate with them.... but knowledge (structure) and reactions (behaviors) change, evolve using them: in time and space.

Incremental consciousness: Self-adaptation is faster if made with the full involvement of people in organizational change, without making "big plans" or "blueprint,” but starting from relations between people. There are heuristics in defining these requirements for the integrated system, as well as the system elements: the human, software, firmware, hardware (automated, semi-automated, and/or manual functions) and the environment; further addressing the system life cycle. Thanks to the rapid evolution in technology and neuroscience, we are discovering many things about our behaviors, our attitudes, and skills. This “incremental consciousness” about our own potentials is changing the way we see ourselves, our roles into a community: a team or a company.

It is possible to see what enables a self-adaptive organism is an information-driven process feeding and sustaining it. Understanding the people and the organization through a common lens then makes it possible to turn organizational “theories” into tangible management processes that use “relations between people” as the loom on which to create management structures and processes that support self-adaptive problem-solving and build “recombinant” business capabilities, in order to master the change and drive the seamless digital transformation.


Excellent stuff!!! It covers almost all the important points about change management. Thanks for the share with us!!!

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