Thursday, May 7, 2020

Converting from the Mechanistic Paradigm to the Systems Paradigm

The fierce competition and continuous disruptions force digital leaders to be proactive and get really creative on how to leverage architecture, design, and engineering aspects to manage a system paradigm shift.

It is true that information technology grows exponentially even in the case of the paradigm shift. It is also true that the growth of technology may trigger a paradigm shift. Those who look through the lens of the previous era see their own reality very differently from those who use the lens that the new era has crafted.

Paradigms at a strategic level should be a fundamental area of Systems Thinking: Organizations generally consist of varying intersecting and interacting systems that can be perceived through the lenses of sociology, psychology, the economics of education, the anthropology of cultures, economics, organizational and communication sciences, etc. Systems Thinking is all about the interconnectivity between parts and the whole. The mechanistic production metaphor needs to be replaced with the organic service metaphor because the digital organization is more like the living thing with an organic nature. Business leaders are able to perceive the big picture of the company, comprehend the complexity and systemic issues they face, and understand the hyper-connectivity and interrelationships of the digital organization.

Digital organizations are all about information savvy, adaptation, people-centricity, high-performance, and speed, with an amalgam of socio-systems, techno-systems, bio-systems, and Econo-systems, etc. To make a seamless paradigm shift, keep in mind, organizations today cannot be organized using the outdated or mechanistic paradigm that resulted in bureaucracies. In fact, designing an organization, that is a socio-technical system, is the order of magnitude more difficult than designing a "data-driven mechanistic system." The goal of the organizational redesign is to improve business responsiveness and maximize its potential.

Supporting multiple paradigmatics of demand: Digital organizations are the complex dynamics of the ecosystem within which the business is competing and with which the business is unavoidably entangled. The business dynamics are driven more by horizontal linkages than by vertical (sovereign) accountabilities, and they have to work with multi-sided forms of demand supported by correspondingly multi-sided platforms. The collaborative platforms enable companies to enable cross-functional communication and collaboration, integrate the critical business components to adopt a more modular, multi-layered, and expanded organization.

In reality, every organization is at a different level of business maturity, has its own struggles and conflicts. What’s “best” yesterday will not always be the best tomorrow. Thus, they have to keep developing their best and next practices, maintain and fix any imbalance in key business elements. To start and to expand the collaborative process, it will be effective to examine, challenge, and perhaps, even shift the underlying paradigms, breaking down silos, flattening organizational hierarchical layers, and significantly improving the overall organization’s competency and growth potential.

A new paradigm arises out of new knowledge, and enters the Age of Enlightenment: The emergent technologies create a context in which people can collaborate and they are empowered, respected, and make collective decisions. These high mature organizations are open to changes, informative to act, creative to design, flexible to take alternative paths, nimble to adapt, intelligent to decide, elastic to scale, and resilient to recover. This is the essence of the people-centric business and the symbol of the Age of Enlightenment.

A new paradigm arises out of new mindsets, knowledge, and approach. It is transformational to “step outside” of the system for having different perspectives to gain an in-depth understanding of the business dynamics. From the leadership perspective, communication can be made with Systems Thinking, broadening the horizon to convey a clear vision, help people visualize the big picture about changes, engage, and participate. Design and cultivate an innovative culture by making an alignment of both visible business factors such as people process, structure, technology, and invisible success factors such as leadership, communication, culture, etc, and ultimately achieve high-performance business results.

The fierce competition and continuous disruptions force digital leaders to be proactive and get really creative on how to leverage architecture, design, and engineering aspects to manage a system paradigm shift. It is a multidimensional evolution based on scientific, artistic, philosophical, psychological, sociocultural, sociotechnical, socioeconomic, etc, disciplines and structural approaches to drill down critical business success factors, connect the old and new, mix the solid and fluid to enforce digital confluence, catalyze innovation and accelerate business performance.


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