The closest thing to designing and building an organization is the designing and building a house. However, you should not start with a picture or a drawing of the house. Instead, you need sets that can be applied to old and new, redecorating or greenfield building. For us, these are:
- An Enabling Design. A ‘structure’ so that the activities of the organization can be facilitated, enhanced, not impaired. Regardless of the ‘final look’. Many organizational structures are clearly not enabling. We know that a very hierarchical design does not foster innovation. You can’t have an army formed by totally self-managed units either.
- An Operating System. A set of rules and (social) algorithms that make the structure work and that can cater for many ‘activities’. Decision making rights sit here, for example. Designing an operating system is more than designing processes. Anybody can design a process on the back of an envelope.
- A Mobilizing Platform: a way to mobilize and engage people to get things done. The mobilizing platform is largely ideological (ideo-logical, that is) but has to be workable in (2) a particular operating system and (1) a particular design. Here it sits Viral Change™.