The current fad in the way of working together is “super-collaboration”. Everything and everyone is expected to connect to everything and everybody else. Excessive mail-distribution lists have been the early beginnings (well, that was another age). Today it’s collaboration platforms, (misunderstood) “chapters”, open plan office setups and — most of all — just the notion that is given to everyone that networking is the thing. In a way this has strong and good reasons. In a VUCA world, developing solutions needs to take into account a lot of different influences. Creativity can be spurred by interaction and somehow it might just be necessary to incorporate the world of Snapchat and Instagram into our daily workings. Actually, I am a fan. In a way. Would I otherwise write these posts?

Super-distraction

On the other hand, super-collaboration makes you inefficient. Collaboration for the sake of it might just replace delivery. What do you tell your kids, when they follow their friends on Instagram while — supposedly — doing their homework? — “Put that thing (aka smartphone) away and focus!” What do you tell your kids when two of them start a conversation while the third is supposed to do her homework in your living room? — “Talk elsewhere, she has to concentrate!”. Well, for the latter case technology has proven to be another enabler — for the open plan office setup. Noise cancelling headphones make them bearable.

A microservices organisation

Autonomy is super-efficient. No idle times waiting for someone else’s input (or just comments), the ability to think deeply, the time to do things and deliver, not talk and text. And by the way, networking can spur creativity but it can also trap you in your filter bubble. Of course, autonomy has its disadvantages, too (see above). Thus, as always, the trick is to find a proper balance between autonomy and interaction. IT might point the direction. Microservices. (Autonomous and — for the adepts — “stateless”) services that interact via simple interfaces, a finely tuned balance between autonomy and interaction, nimble and resilient. Actually, this is also quite an organic paradigm: Autonomy within a cell and simple interactions between cells.

 

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