Posts tagged ‘rhizome’

How Strange Attractors, Panarchy and Rhizome Can Be Used To Support Organizational Change

Picture source here. The blog title is about three not so commonly used topics.  Allthough i’m certainly not an expert in these topics, I envision some practical use to combine these topics into some kind of generic, organizational change process. Let me try to explain. Many people have a natural habit to form communities around a certain shared topic or idea or concept. You could compare a community with a rhizome, where in the figure to the left, the new idea starts as a new, fresh node on the rhizome.

Before a community starts, it allways starts with the initiative of only a single person, the thought leader if you like. And then comes the next step: as a community initiator, you need to attract other people towards your idea. And using social networks/internet, you  could attract ‘strange attractors’, suddenly coming out of nowhere, helping you catalyzing your change or your idea. The next step is perhaps the most difficult: how do you sustain the energy into the bare bones community you just have initiated? In this step, good ideas often vanish again. It seems the energy gets lost. And exactly like Esko writes in his blog: “communities seldom grow beyond the group that initiated the conversation, because they fail to attract enough participants. Many business communities also fall apart soon after their launch because they don’t have energy to sustain themselves.”  you will often experience that lacking energy is one of the inhibitors to really sustain change. So what could be done about that? I wonder if the panarchy model (picture below) could assist us here a little. If you take a look at the never ending, lemniscate model which the panarchy represents, you could try to approach it from a ‘strang attractors’ point of view. For each phase in the model, one might need phase-specific attractors that help moving to the next phase.

This makes a nice bridge to the introduction of an excellent interactive panarchy visualization made by Gavin Keech et al. You might consider it as an organizational change framework. By combining the panarchy as a generic (organizational) change framework, using it as a kind of meta change process, you could try to assign the proper change agent archetypes to each phase in the panarchy lifecycle. It might turn out just so that the change agents ARE able to sustain the change, because there specific role is phase dependent. And you could say, they give the right type of energy depending on the phase. What I have written down here is all ofcourse just based on assumptions, no scientific approach, just a bare idea. Anyone care to validate it or work it out a bit further?


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