Dans les coulisses de Ouishare
13 février 2020

Réseau en boîte

Pourquoi un réseau en boîte ?

Les entreprises se transforment en organisations plus agiles et plus adaptables dont les membres partagent un objectif et sont animés par des valeurs. Dans ces organisations, les personnes jouissent d'un niveau élevé d'autonomie et peuvent déployer leur créativité et leur potentiel. Ce nouveau type d'organisation est un organisme vivant qui est bien intégré dans son écosystème et qui peut évoluer avec lui. Il apporte de la valeur et il se porte bien. Frédéric Laloux les appelle les organisations Teal, et Ouishare et Enspiral sont deux bons exemples de ces nouvelles organisations : en réseau, évolutives et distribuées.

Un nombre croissant d'entreprises, d'institutions et de communautés adoptent la dynamique des réseaux pour apprendre plus rapidement et devenir plus agiles et adaptables, et c'est heureux. Nous avons un besoin urgent de réinventer notre façon de travailler et de transformer notre économie de l'intérieur. "Network in a Box" est un ensemble d'indices qui nous aident dans cette démarche. Nous parsemerons cet article de liens utiles qui vous aideront à explorer les différents domaines de la création et de la croissance des réseaux.

Le paradigme de la connexion

Depuis la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle, l'humanité est confrontée à un défi de production, que nous avons surmonté avec force. Grâce au capitalisme, à la concurrence et à la gestion, la production de richesses au cours des 150 dernières années a été étonnante et, par tous les moyens, supérieure à nos besoins. Nous sommes aujourd'hui confrontés à un tout autre problème, un défi de distribution, un défi qui concerne tous les humains et la planète dans laquelle nous vivons. L'ancien paradigme industriel s'avère non seulement inefficace, mais aussi carrément contre-productif. Nous avons plus de chances de trouver les réponses à nos problèmes communs et complexes avec un système d'exploitation qui privilégie la collaboration à la concurrence, la flexibilité à l'efficacité, l'apprentissage au processus et la finalité à la croissance. Le nouveau paradigme est ouvert, collaboratif et connecté.

"Le problème est de savoir comment combiner l'énergie, l'innovation et la résilience de la décentralisation avec la capacité de donner une certaine orientation et d'accumuler et de partager les connaissances, les idées et les meilleures pratiques qui découlent de la centralisation. C'est là qu'intervient la conception des réseaux in - or, plus largement, les stratégies de connexion".

Organisations en réseau

Il existe un certain nombre d'organisations qui travaillent sans patron, ni salaire. Elles sont extrêmement fluides et adaptables. Ce sont des réseaux de communautés qui fonctionnent selon une gouvernance distribuée et sont animées par leur objectif. Nous les avons vus naître de mouvements tels que l'économie de partage, l'activisme écologique, l'économie circulaire, l'entrepreneuriat social, les mouvements open source et les collectifs de travailleurs indépendants. S'ils peuvent être un gâchis phénoménal, ils sont aussi extrêmement résistants et innovants. Nous apprenons beaucoup de ces organisations en réseau.

"Les entreprises connectées ne sont pas des hiérarchies, divisées en parties fonctionnelles et irréfléchies, mais des holarchies : des systèmes complexes dans lesquels chaque partie est aussi un ensemble pleinement fonctionnel à part entière".

Même certains dinosaures intelligents comme Deloitte prennent note de ce changement de paradigme : "L'essor de l'entreprise sociale exige que l'on se concentre résolument sur la constitution d'un capital social en s'engageant auprès de diverses parties prenantes, en tenant compte des tendances externes, en créant un sentiment de mission et d'objectif dans toute l'organisation et en concevant des stratégies qui gèrent les nouvelles attentes de la société. L'enjeu n'est rien de moins que la réputation d'une organisation, ses relations et, en fin de compte, son succès ou son échec".

Mettez un réseau dans votre vie

En tant qu'individu ou organisation, il n'y a pas de meilleur moyen d'apprendre que d'établir des liens significatifs avec des pairs et des personnes qui partagent les mêmes intérêts. La technologie nous permet de partager et de co-créer avec une facilité sans précédent, ce qui se traduit par une myriade de communautés et de réseaux, de la conception de services aux clôtures médiévales, de la rébellion contre l'extinction aux associations professionnelles. Que vous soyez indépendant ou salarié, vous êtes vos réseaux professionnels. "Les réseaux d'apprentissage professionnels diffèrent des réseaux sociaux plus courants comme Facebook, qui contient surtout des membres de la famille et des amis. Les réseaux d'apprentissage professionnels contiennent des personnes très bien informées qui peuvent être contactées pour obtenir des réponses et des solutions rapidement et pour fournir un retour d'information honnête".

Skillbox

Pour beaucoup d'entre nous, le fonctionnement en réseau nécessite beaucoup de désapprentissage. Déjà à l'école, et probablement plus encore lorsque nous entrons dans la vie active, nous naviguons à travers une série d'institutions et d'organisations qui s'appuient fortement sur des structures de pouvoir hiérarchiques. De ce fait, nous avons acquis certaines habitudes qui nous permettent de bien fonctionner dans ces environnements hiérarchiques, mais qui ne sont pas adaptées au fonctionnement en réseau. Jusqu'à il y a trois ans, je n'avais même pas entendu parler de termes tels que "leadership au service des autres" ou "travailler à haute voix", sans parler de concepts plus obscurs comme "l'allocation collaborative des ressources" ou "la stigmatisation".

Dans ce chapitre, nous fournissons une liste non exhaustive des compétences que nous avons dû développer (et que nous avons encore du mal à développer) pour travailler dans une organisation en réseau.

Leadership

Dans une structure organisationnelle pyramidale traditionnelle, il est clair qui est responsable et où se trouve le pouvoir. Mais qu'en est-il dans un réseau ou une communauté décentralisée ? Comment peut-on développer un leadership distribué ? Depuis des générations, nous sommes coincés dans un paradigme de l'ère industrielle, celui du "leadership en tant que parent", où les dirigeants sont liés aux employés comme les parents aux enfants. Mais en cherchant une alternative, nous pouvons parfois aller trop loin dans la direction opposée, en fuyant le pouvoir et tout ce qui ressemble à une hiérarchie. Cela n'aide pas non plus. Arrêtons les conneries, les organisations sans hiérarchie n'existent pas. Au contraire, il est productif d'être explicite sur le pouvoir - l'influence, l'expérience, l'expertise - des personnes et de développer des hiérarchies dynamiques et choisies, par opposition à des hiérarchies coercitives ou fiat.

Le leadership dans le paradigme de la connexion exige que nous nous formions et développions un état d'esprit différent et un éventail de capacités, ainsi que le désapprentissage de vieilles habitudes qui ne nous servent plus. Nous pouvons cultiver ce nouveau type de leadership à trois niveaux : en développant la conscience de soi et en assumant la responsabilité de nos réponses ; en explorant les dynamiques interpersonnelles et la façon dont nous nous relions les uns aux autres dans nos réseaux ou communautés ; et en envisageant le leadership au niveau de l'écosystème (c'est-à-dire comment interagir avec d'autres réseaux et communautés et les soutenir).

Naviguer dans le changement

La gestion du changement dans un système nous oblige à jongler avec plus de variables que d'habitude. Si nous pensons en termes de transformation organisationnelle, nous sommes habitués à concevoir la destination : la nouvelle culture, le nouveau processus, la nouvelle structure, la nouvelle stratégie, le nouveau... peu importe. Si la destination de notre transformation est importante, nous devons être conscients des deux dimensions de ce voyage : opérationnelle et émotionnelle.

Culture organisationnelle

"La culture est à la fois un phénomène dynamique qui nous entoure à tout moment, étant constamment mis en œuvre et créé par nos interactions avec les autres et modelé par le comportement des dirigeants, et un ensemble de structures, de routines, de règles et de normes qui guident et contraignent le comportement. Lorsqu'on amène la culture au niveau de l'organisation et même des groupes au sein de l'organisation, on peut voir clairement comment la culture est créée, intégrée, évoluée et finalement manipulée et, en même temps, comment la culture contraint, stabilise et donne une structure et un sens aux membres du groupe. Ces processus dynamiques de création et de gestion de la culture sont l'essence même du leadership et font prendre conscience que le leadership et la culture sont les deux faces d'une même pièce".

Pour que la culture de collaboration s'épanouisse, il est nécessaire de créer des espaces sûrs dans lesquels les participants peuvent s'exprimer librement. Il est nécessaire de se connecter à l'objectif de l'organisation et de comprendre ce qu'il signifie dans la vie quotidienne de l'organisation. Voici trois de ces étapes : Construire la sécurité, partager la vulnérabilité et établir le but.

Gouvernance des réseaux

"Pour les réseaux organisationnels orientés vers un objectif et dotés d'une identité distincte, une certaine forme de gouvernance est nécessaire pour garantir que les participants s'engagent dans une action collective et solidaire, que les conflits soient traités et que les ressources du réseau soient acquises et utilisées de manière efficace et efficiente. Les trois éléments de base de la conception de la gouvernance sont : qui décide, qu'est-ce qui est décidé et comment".

Construire des mouvements

"Le nouveau pouvoir fonctionne différemment, comme un courant. Elle est fabriquée par beaucoup. Il est ouvert, participatif et dirigé par les pairs. Il télécharge et distribue. Comme l'eau ou l'électricité, elle est plus puissante lorsqu'elle est en surtension. L'objectif d'une nouvelle énergie n'est pas de la stocker, mais de la canaliser. Les organisations traditionnelles qui veulent développer de nouvelles capacités en matière d'énergie doivent s'engager dans trois tâches essentielles : (1) évaluer leur place dans un environnement de pouvoir changeant, (2) canaliser leurs critiques les plus sévères, et (3) développer une capacité de mobilisation".

Apprendre à haute voix

Les organisations en réseau sont avant tout des réseaux d'apprentissage où les individus découvrent, se connectent et échangent des connaissances avec leurs pairs. Ces échanges conduisent à l'amélioration des pratiques, à la pollinisation croisée et à l'accumulation de réputation entre les individus et le réseau dans son ensemble. Donner un sens à notre travail et partager ouvertement les connaissances que nous développons en conséquence (travailler à voix haute) sont des dynamiques clés dans tout réseau, mais surtout dans les groupes émergents et distribués.

Agile Mindset

Agile est plus qu'une simple méthodologie pour le développement de logiciels. C'est un état d'esprit applicable à toute organisation ayant certains principes culturels, comme la création de valeur précoce, l'apprentissage par la pratique, les personnes et les interactions sont plus importants que les processus et les outils, la flexibilité et la rapidité de réaction, la collaboration avec toutes les parties prenantes, etc.

Facilitation

"La facilitation est l'art d'ouvrir l'espace où les gens peuvent travailler, partager, apprendre, changer, rêver ... de manière à ce qu'ils vivent la meilleure expérience de leur vie. C'est un processus qui permet de réunir des groupes de personnes pour résoudre n'importe quel problème. Les bons animateurs savent comment intervenir, établir un objectif, créer un format riche en possibilités de discussion interactive et diriger des groupes de toutes tailles vers des solutions constructives. Et vous n'avez pas besoin d'un titre de poste spécifique ou d'une certaine expérience pour devenir un facilitateur efficace - vous devez simplement développer un ensemble de compétences qui donnent une structure et un but à l'art autrement indiscipliné de la collaboration".

Modèles commerciaux à source ouverte

Les gens ont toujours voulu que leurs idées soient diffusées au plus grand nombre. Pour changer le statu quo. Mais le financement du développement et de la diffusion de ces idées a toujours été le goulot d'étranglement pour créer ce changement. Les brevets et les droits d'auteur sont donc apparus et ont permis aux inventeurs et aux créateurs d'être rémunérés équitablement pour leurs contributions. Mais avec l'arrivée d'Internet, c'est devenu le goulot d'étranglement pour la libre floraison et le remixage de nouvelles idées.

Pourtant, quelques pionniers ont créé des moyens de gagner de l'argent tout en renonçant à la propriété de leur idée. Des organisations comme Linux, TED Talks, Adafruit, Cards against Humanity ou Wikipedia, parmi beaucoup d'autres, ont posé les bases et les plans pour créer des entreprises et des associations à but non lucratif qui sont peu coûteuses à mettre en place et qui peuvent générer des revenus solides. Cela leur a permis de faire circuler librement leurs connaissances et de rassembler des communautés de personnes partageant les mêmes idées et de se soutenir mutuellement pour amener le monde à changer à l'échelle mondiale.

Gérer les conflits

Le cerveau humain est câblé pour éviter les conflits car nous sommes une espèce sociale et il perçoit les conflits comme une menace pour notre sécurité. Cependant, si nous pouvons recadrer notre réflexion sur les conflits, il y a tant à gagner. Comme le dit Diane Musho Hamilton dans son livre "Everything is Workable", l'objectif n'est pas d'éliminer les conflits mais de les transformer. C'est pourquoi nous devrions peut-être parler de transformation des conflits, plutôt que de résolution des conflits.

Amy Edmondson, chercheuse de l'équipe, nous dit qu'il est utile pour nous d'identifier la nature du conflit, de donner l'exemple d'une bonne communication, d'identifier les objectifs communs et d'encourager les conversations difficiles. Si nous pouvons faire tout cela, nos réseaux et nos communautés bénéficieront de relations approfondies, d'idées nouvelles et d'un apprentissage précieux.

Au-delà de l'actionnariat

"Il est essentiel de développer d'autres modèles de propriété - de nouvelles façons de posséder et de gouverner l'entreprise pour donner aux travailleurs et aux communautés un intérêt et une voix au chapitre. En effet, la propriété est la clé qui permet de débloquer le changement des systèmes. En effet, nous ne pouvons pas réaliser le changement de paradigme dont nous avons besoin dans la manière dont nous gérons l'économie et pour qui sans changer la manière dont nos actifs économiques et nos institutions sont détenus".

Boîte à outils

Nous dressons ici une liste non exhaustive des outils que nous utilisons et avons utilisés pour construire nos réseaux.

Toile communautaire

"Pour nous, une communauté est un type d'organisation qui rassemble les gens et leur donne un sentiment d'appartenance. Idéalement, elle leur donne une identité qu'ils partagent fièrement et elle fournit un cadre pour se faire davantage confiance, se soutenir mutuellement, collaborer davantage et établir des relations plus significatives. Le Community Canvas est un cadre qui vous aidera à construire une communauté, à analyser une communauté ou à améliorer une communauté existante".

Boîte à outils pour la conception de la plate-forme

Pour comprendre les forces puissantes qui sont libérées par l'explosion des entreprises de plateforme, il est utile de réfléchir à la manière dont la valeur a été créée et transférée depuis longtemps sur la plupart des marchés. Le système traditionnel utilisé par la plupart des entreprises est celui que nous décrivons comme un pipeline. Les plates-formes battent les pipelines parce qu'elles s'adaptent plus efficacement en éliminant les gardiens.

Comprendre comment définir une plate-forme est certainement essentiel mais, d'un autre côté, ce n'est pas suffisant pour saisir complètement l'état actuel de l'économie post-industrielle et numérique. En particulier, bien qu'il soit crucial de connaître les attributs et la dynamique des rouages internes des plateformes, il est certainement essentiel de comprendre également comment les plateformes s'intègrent dans le marché global transformé par le numérique et dans le cadre sociétal. Quels sont les types d'acteurs ? Quels sont les moteurs du marché ? Quelles sont les forces évolutives qui opèrent dans le contexte ? Qu'est-ce qui vient après les plates-formes telles que nous les connaissons aujourd'hui ? Comment les plates-formes évoluent-elles à terme ? Ce sont autant de questions clés.

Les plates-formes aident les entreprises et les organisations à tirer parti de la puissance des écosystèmes pour se développer et atteindre des résultats exceptionnels qui ne peuvent être atteints indépendamment. La conception de plates-formes est une capacité clé pour votre organisation : elle vous aide à fournir plus d'innovation avec des investissements plus modestes en ce qui concerne la création de services traditionnels. Si vous avez apprécié le canevas des modèles économiques, vous devez consulter la boîte à outils de conception de plateforme pour donner un sens à votre écosystème et à la façon dont vous y interagissez.

Prendre des décisions en collaboration

Loomio est un outil en ligne simple et convivial pour la prise de décision en collaboration. Loomio vous permet d'organiser des discussions en ligne, d'inviter les bonnes personnes à participer, de prendre des décisions opportunes et de transformer les délibérations en actions concrètes.

Allocation des ressources en collaboration

Pour s'adapter et prospérer dans l'environnement actuel en rapide évolution, de nombreuses organisations souhaitent devenir plus collaboratives et plus centrées sur l'humain. Nos années d'expérience de travail dans des réseaux distribués nous ont montré que l'un des aspects les plus difficiles de la collaboration concerne la gestion de l'argent et des ressources. C’est aussi un point de départ puissant pour créer un engagement et une participation. Nous pensons que l'ouverture des décisions relatives à l'allocation des ressources et à l'argent contribue à rendre la collaboration réelle et orientée vers des actions tangibles. Notre expérience de la mise en œuvre de pratiques de financement collaboratif dans des réseaux tels qu'Ouishare et Enspiral a montré qu'elle peut être un outil puissant pour accroître l'engagement, la transparence et l'agilité des organisations, des réseaux, des communautés et des groupes.

Partage des connaissances

Depuis des décennies, les entreprises tentent de gérer les connaissances, avec plus ou moins de succès. Elles ont souvent essayé de perfectionner la machine, d'améliorer l'efficacité et de faire répéter les meilleures pratiques aux équipes. Aujourd'hui plus que jamais, il est évident que la connaissance ne peut être gérée, mais simplement partagée. Nous apprenons en travaillant et la valeur collective de toutes ces connaissances réside dans notre capacité à donner un sens à ces connaissances dans notre contexte commun (partagé avec nos collègues, nos partenaires et l'écosystème au sens large). Le renforcement des réseaux par le partage des connaissances ne peut venir que de l'individu, et non d'un processus externe (hiérarchique) qui nous serait imposé.

Événements

Le passage d'organisations traditionnelles à des organisations en réseau pose ses propres problèmes. L'un des grands avantages d'une entreprise de la vieille école est que la plupart de ses employés se présentent au travail du lundi au vendredi à une heure et en un lieu donnés. Ces employés apprennent à bien se connaître et à travailler ensemble efficacement. Dans une organisation en réseau, ce n'est pas une évidence, car nous sommes tous très mobiles, super flexibles et travaillons sur un large éventail de projets. Il est tout à fait normal de ne pas voir beaucoup de mes collègues pendant des mois. C'est pourquoi il est essentiel de se rencontrer dans la vie réelle aussi souvent que possible. Les événements sont une manifestation très importante des organisations en réseau, de sorte que l'écosystème peut se réunir pour établir des liens, partager des connaissances et instaurer la confiance. Les événements peuvent être de toutes sortes : sommets, sprints d'équipe, bureaux d'été ou conférences, pour n'en citer que quelques-uns. C'est dans ces rassemblements que naissent la plupart des nouveaux projets.

A suivre

En 2020, nous continuerons à recueillir les ressources et les conseils essentiels au fur et à mesure de l'évolution de nos réseaux et de notre façon de travailler ensemble, et nous publierons une mise à jour dans un an. N'hésitez pas à nous contacter si vous souhaitez contribuer à ce travail.

Cet article est co-écrit par Alicia Trepat, Miriam Moreno, Jaime Arredondo, Lisa Gill, Francesca Pick et Manel Heredero.

Réseau en boîte

par 
Manel Heredero
Dans les coulisses de Ouishare
7 février 2020
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ANALYSIS. For several years, Ouishare has been experimenting what it means and what it takes to be a networked organisation. Here we capture some of publications and tools relevant to the creation and growth of networks.

Why network in a box?

Companies are transforming into more agile and adaptive organisations whose members share a purpose and are driven by values. In these organisations people enjoy high levels of autonomy and can deploy their creativity and potential. This new type of organisation is a living organism that is well integrated in its ecosystem and can evolve with it. It provides value and it does well. Frederic Laloux calls them Teal Organisations, and Ouishare and Enspiral are two good examples of these new organisations: networked, evolutive and distributed.

There is a growing number of companies, institutions and communities that are embracing network dynamics to learn faster and to become more agile and adaptive, and thankfully so. We are dire need to reinvent the way we work and to transform our economy from within. “Network in a Box” is a collection of clues that help us in this journey. We will be peppering this article with useful links that will help you explore the different areas of building and growing networks.

The Connected Paradigm

From the second half of the 19th century, humanity has been facing a production challenge, which we overcame mightily. Thanks to capitalism, competition and management, the production of wealth in the last 150 years has been astonishing and, by all means, in excess of our needs. We now face an entirely different set of problems, a distribution challenge, one that cares for all humans and the planet we live in. The old industrial paradigm is proving not only ineffective, but rather outright counter-productive. We are more likely to find the answers to our shared and complex problems with an operating system that favours collaboration over competition, flexibility over efficiency, learning over process, and purpose over growth. The new paradigm is open, collaborative and connected.

“The problem is how to combine the energy, innovation and resilience of decentralisation with the ability to provide some direction and to accumulate and share knowledge, ideas and best practice that comes from centralisation. That is where network design comes in — or, more broadly, strategies of connection.”

Networked Organisations

There are a number of organisations out there that work without bosses, nor salaries. The are extremely fluid and adaptable. They are networks of communities who function under distributed governance and are driven by their purpose. We have seen them being born from movements such as the sharing economy, ecological activism, circular economy, social entrepreneurship, open source movements and freelancer collectives. While they can be a phenomenal mess, they are also extremely resilient and innovative. We are learning a great deal from these networked organisations.

“Connected companies are not hierarchies, fractured into unthinking, functional parts, but holarchies: complex systems in which each part is also a fully-functional whole in its own right”.

Even some smart dinosaurs like Deloitte are taking note of the paradigm shift: “The rise of the social enterprise requires a determined focus on building social capital by engaging with diverse stakeholders, accounting for external trends, creating a sense of mission and purpose throughout the organization, and devising strategies that manage new societal expectations. At stake is nothing less than an organization’s reputation, relationships, and, ultimately, success or failure.”

Put a network in your life

As an individual or as an organisation, there is no better way to learn than building meaningful connections with peers and folks who share similar interests. Technology allows us to share and co-create with unprecedented ease, which is resulting in a myriad of communities and networks, from service design to medieval fencing, from extinction rebellion to professional associations. Whether you are a freelance or an employee, you are your professional networks. “Professional learning networks differ from the more common social networks like Facebook, which contains mostly family and friends. Professional learning networks contain highly knowledgeable individuals who can be approached to get answers, solutions rapidly, and to provide honest feedback”.

Skillbox

Operating in a network requires a lot of unlearning for many of us. Already in school and probably more so when we enter working age, we navigate through a series of institutions and organisations that rely strongly on hierarchical power structures. Because of that, we have acquired certain habits that allow us to function well in those top-down environments but are ill-suited to operate within a network. Up until three years ago I had not even heard of terms such as “servant leadership” or “working out loud”, let alone more obscure concepts such as “collaborative resource allocation” or “stigmergy”.

In this chapter we are providing a non-comprehensive lists of the skills we had to develop (and still struggling to) to work in a networked organisation.

Leadership

In a traditional, pyramidal organisational structure, it’s clear who’s in charge and where the power is. But what about in a decentralised network or community? How can you grow distributed leadership? We’ve been stuck in an industrial-age paradigm of “leadership as parenthood” for generations, where managers have related to employees like parents to children. But in searching for the alternative, sometimes we can swing too far in the opposite direction, shunning power and anything resembling hierarchy. This is also unhelpful. Let's cut the bullshit, organisations with no hierarchy do not exist. Instead, it’s productive to be explicit about what power – influence, experience, expertise – people have and to develop dynamic, chosen hierarchies, as opposed to coercive or fiat hierarchies.

Leadership in the connected paradigm requires us to train and develop a different mindset and range of abilities, as well as unlearning old habits that no longer serve us. We can cultivate this new kind of leadership on three levels: by developing self-awareness and taking responsibility for our responses; by exploring the interpersonal dynamics and how we relate to each other in our networks or communities; and by looking at leadership at an ecosystem level (i.e. how do we interact with and support other networks and communities?).

Navigating Change

Navigating change in a system requires us juggling more variable than we usually do. If we think in organisational transformation, we are used to designing the destination: the new culture, the new process, the new structure, the new strategy, the new … whatever. While the destination of our transformation is important, we need to be aware of the two dimensions of this journey: operational and emotional.

Organisational Culture

Culture is both a dynamic phenomenon that surrounds us at all times, being constantly enacted and created by our interactions with others and shaped by leadership behavior, and a set of structures, routines, rules, and norms that guide and constrain behavior. When one brings culture to the level of the organization and even down to groups within the organization, one can see clearly how culture is created, embedded, evolved, and ultimately manipulated, and, at the same time, how culture constrains, stabilizes, and provides structure and meaning to the group members. These dynamic processes of culture creation and management are the essence of leadership and make one realize that leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin.”

For collaborative culture to flourish it’s necessary to create safe spaces in which participants can express themselves freely. It’s necessary to connect with the purpose of the organisation and understand what it means in the everyday life of the organisation. These are three of the steps: Build safety, Share Vulnerability and Establish Purpose.

Network Governance

“For goal-directed organizational networks with a distinct identity, some form of governance is necessary to ensure that participants engage in collective and mutually supportive action, that conflict is addressed, and that network resources are acquired and utilized efficiently and effectively. The three basic elements of governance design are: who decides, what is decided and how”.

Building Movements

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it. Traditional organizations that want to develop new power capacity must engage in three essential tasks: (1) assess their place in a shifting power environment, (2) channel their harshest critic, and (3) develop a mobilization capacity.”

Learning Out Loud

Networked organisations are, above all, learning networks where individuals discover, connect and exchange knowledge with their peers. These exchanges lead to improved practices, cross-pollination and accumulation of reputation between individuals and the network as a whole. Making sense of our work and openly sharing the knowledge we develop as a result (working out loud) are key dynamics in any network, but especially so in emergent and distributed groups.

Agile Mindset

Agile is more than just a methodology for software development. It’s a mindset applicable to any organisation with some cultural principles as early value creation, learning by doing, people & interactions are more important than processes & tools, flexibility & quick response, collaboration with any stakeholder, etc.

Facilitation

“Facilitation is the art to open the space where people can work, share, learn, change, dream … in a way that they live as the best experience in their lives. It’s a process for getting groups of people together to solve any problem. Good facilitators know how to jump right in, establish an objective, create a format packed with interactive opportunities for discussion, and lead groups of all sizes toward constructive solutions. And you don’t need a specific job title or a certain amount of experience to become an effective facilitator–you just have to develop a set of skills that gives structure and purpose to the otherwise unruly art of collaboration.”

Open Source Business Models

People have always yearned to get their ideas spread far and wide. To change the status quo. But funding the development and spreading of these ideas has historically been the bottleneck to create this change. So patents and copyright came along and get inventors and creators fairly paid for their contributions. But once the Internet arrived, this has become the bottleneck for the free blooming and remixing of new ideas.

Yet a few pioneers have created ways to make money while giving up the ownership of their idea. Organisations like Linux, TED Talks, Adafruit, Cards against Humanity or Wikipedia, among many others, have set the foundations and blueprints to create businesses and non-profits that are cheap to set up, and that can generate solid revenues. This has allowed them to get their  knowledge to flow freely and gather communities of like-minded people and support each other to lead the world to change at a global scale.

Dealing with Conflict

The human brain is wired to avoid conflict because we are a social species and it perceives conflict as a threat to our safety. However, if we can reframe our thinking about conflict, there is so much richness to be gained. As Diane Musho Hamilton says in her book “Everything is Workable”, the aim is not to eliminate conflict but to transform it. So perhaps we should call it conflict transformation, rather than conflict resolution.

Teams researcher Amy Edmondson tells us that it’s helpful for us to: identify the nature of the conflict, model good communication, identify shared goals, and encourage difficult conversations. If we can do all of that, our networks and communities will benefit from deepened relationships, new ideas, and valuable learning.

Beyond Shareholder Ownership

“Scaling up alternative models of ownership – new ways of owning and governing enterprise to give workers and communities a stake and a say – is critical. This is because ownership is the key to unlocking systems change. Indeed, we cannot achieve the paradigm shift we need in how we run the economy and for whom without changing how our economic assets and institutions are owned”

Toolbox

Here we are making a non-comprehensive list of the tools we use and have used to build our networks.

Community Canvas

“For us, a community is a type of organization that brings people together and makes them feel like they belong. It ideally gives them an identity that they proudly share and it provides a framework to trust each other more, support each other more, collaborate more and build more meaningful relationships. The Community Canvas is a framework that will help you build a community, analyze a community or improve an existing community.”

Platform Design Toolkit

To understand the powerful forces that are being unleashed by the explosion of platform businesses, it helps to think about how value has long been created and transferred in most markets. The traditional system employed by most businesses is one we describe as a pipeline. Platforms beat pipelines because platforms scale more efficiently by eliminating gatekeepers.

Understanding how to define a platform is certainly key but, on the other hand, is not enough to completely grasp the current state of post-industrial, digitally enabled economy. In particular, despite knowing the attributes and dynamics of platforms inner workings is crucial, certainly key to understand also how platforms fit in the overall digitally transformed market and societal frame. What are the types of players? What are the market drivers? What are the evolutionary forces that operate in the context? What comes after platforms as we know them today? How are platforms evolving eventually? These are all key questions.

Platforms help companies and organizations leverage the power of ecosystems to grow and reach outstanding results that cannot be reached independently. Platform Design is a key capability for your organization: it helps you deliver more innovation with smaller investments respect to building traditional services. If you enjoyed the business models canvas, you must check out the Platform Design Toolkit to make sense of your ecosystem and how you interact in it.

Making Decisions Collaboratively

Loomio is a simple, user-friendly online tool for collaborative decision-making. Loomio lets you host discussions online, invite the right people to participate, come to timely decisions and transform deliberation into real-world action.

Allocating Resources Collaboratively

To cope and thrive in today's rapidly changing environment, many organizations want to become more collaborative and human-centered. Our years of experience working in distributed networks has shown us that one of the hardest aspects of collaboration relates to money and resource management. It is also a powerful starting point for creating engagement and participation. We believe that opening up decisions around resource allocation and money help make collaboration real and driven towards tangible actions. Our experience of implementing collaborative funding practices in networks such as Ouishare and Enspiral have shown that it can be a powerful tool to increase engagement, transparency and agility in organisations, networks, communities and groups.

Knowledge Sharing

For decades companies have been trying to manage knowledge, with varying success. They often tried to perfect the machine, improve efficiency and make teams repeat best practices. Now more than ever it is obvious that knowledge cannot be managed, but just shared. We learn as we do our work and the collective value of all that knowledge lies in our capacity of making sense of that knowledge within our shared context (shared with colleagues, partners and the wider ecosystem). Strengthening networks through knowledge sharing can only come from the individual, not from some external (hierarchical) process imposed on us.

Events

Transitioning from traditional organisations to networked organisations brings about its own set of problems. One great perk of an old-school company is that most of their employees show up to work from Monday to Friday at a given time and at a given place. These employees get to know each other well and learn how to work together efficiently. In a networked organisation this is not a given, as we are all very mobile, super flexible and work in a wide range of projects. It is quite normal not to see many of my colleagues for months at a time. For this reason, meeting in real life as often as possible is key. Events is a very important manifestation of networked organisations, so the ecosystem can gather to build connections, share knowledge and build trust. Events can be of all sorts: summits, team sprints, summer offices or conferences, to name some. It’s in these gatherings that most new projects are born.

To be continued

During 2020 we will keep on capturing the key resources and guidance as we evolve our networks and our way of working together, and will publish an update in a year from now. Please get in touch if you would like to contribute to this work.

This article is co-authored by Alicia Trepat, Miriam Moreno, Jaime Arredondo, Lisa Gill, Francesca Pick and Manel Heredero.

by 
Manel Heredero
Inside Ouishare
February 7, 2020

Network in a Box

by
Manel Heredero
Inside Ouishare
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ANALYSIS. For several years, Ouishare has been experimenting what it means and what it takes to be a networked organisation. Here we capture some of publications and tools relevant to the creation and growth of networks.

Why network in a box?

Companies are transforming into more agile and adaptive organisations whose members share a purpose and are driven by values. In these organisations people enjoy high levels of autonomy and can deploy their creativity and potential. This new type of organisation is a living organism that is well integrated in its ecosystem and can evolve with it. It provides value and it does well. Frederic Laloux calls them Teal Organisations, and Ouishare and Enspiral are two good examples of these new organisations: networked, evolutive and distributed.

There is a growing number of companies, institutions and communities that are embracing network dynamics to learn faster and to become more agile and adaptive, and thankfully so. We are dire need to reinvent the way we work and to transform our economy from within. “Network in a Box” is a collection of clues that help us in this journey. We will be peppering this article with useful links that will help you explore the different areas of building and growing networks.

The Connected Paradigm

From the second half of the 19th century, humanity has been facing a production challenge, which we overcame mightily. Thanks to capitalism, competition and management, the production of wealth in the last 150 years has been astonishing and, by all means, in excess of our needs. We now face an entirely different set of problems, a distribution challenge, one that cares for all humans and the planet we live in. The old industrial paradigm is proving not only ineffective, but rather outright counter-productive. We are more likely to find the answers to our shared and complex problems with an operating system that favours collaboration over competition, flexibility over efficiency, learning over process, and purpose over growth. The new paradigm is open, collaborative and connected.

“The problem is how to combine the energy, innovation and resilience of decentralisation with the ability to provide some direction and to accumulate and share knowledge, ideas and best practice that comes from centralisation. That is where network design comes in — or, more broadly, strategies of connection.”

Networked Organisations

There are a number of organisations out there that work without bosses, nor salaries. The are extremely fluid and adaptable. They are networks of communities who function under distributed governance and are driven by their purpose. We have seen them being born from movements such as the sharing economy, ecological activism, circular economy, social entrepreneurship, open source movements and freelancer collectives. While they can be a phenomenal mess, they are also extremely resilient and innovative. We are learning a great deal from these networked organisations.

“Connected companies are not hierarchies, fractured into unthinking, functional parts, but holarchies: complex systems in which each part is also a fully-functional whole in its own right”.

Even some smart dinosaurs like Deloitte are taking note of the paradigm shift: “The rise of the social enterprise requires a determined focus on building social capital by engaging with diverse stakeholders, accounting for external trends, creating a sense of mission and purpose throughout the organization, and devising strategies that manage new societal expectations. At stake is nothing less than an organization’s reputation, relationships, and, ultimately, success or failure.”

Put a network in your life

As an individual or as an organisation, there is no better way to learn than building meaningful connections with peers and folks who share similar interests. Technology allows us to share and co-create with unprecedented ease, which is resulting in a myriad of communities and networks, from service design to medieval fencing, from extinction rebellion to professional associations. Whether you are a freelance or an employee, you are your professional networks. “Professional learning networks differ from the more common social networks like Facebook, which contains mostly family and friends. Professional learning networks contain highly knowledgeable individuals who can be approached to get answers, solutions rapidly, and to provide honest feedback”.

Skillbox

Operating in a network requires a lot of unlearning for many of us. Already in school and probably more so when we enter working age, we navigate through a series of institutions and organisations that rely strongly on hierarchical power structures. Because of that, we have acquired certain habits that allow us to function well in those top-down environments but are ill-suited to operate within a network. Up until three years ago I had not even heard of terms such as “servant leadership” or “working out loud”, let alone more obscure concepts such as “collaborative resource allocation” or “stigmergy”.

In this chapter we are providing a non-comprehensive lists of the skills we had to develop (and still struggling to) to work in a networked organisation.

Leadership

In a traditional, pyramidal organisational structure, it’s clear who’s in charge and where the power is. But what about in a decentralised network or community? How can you grow distributed leadership? We’ve been stuck in an industrial-age paradigm of “leadership as parenthood” for generations, where managers have related to employees like parents to children. But in searching for the alternative, sometimes we can swing too far in the opposite direction, shunning power and anything resembling hierarchy. This is also unhelpful. Let's cut the bullshit, organisations with no hierarchy do not exist. Instead, it’s productive to be explicit about what power – influence, experience, expertise – people have and to develop dynamic, chosen hierarchies, as opposed to coercive or fiat hierarchies.

Leadership in the connected paradigm requires us to train and develop a different mindset and range of abilities, as well as unlearning old habits that no longer serve us. We can cultivate this new kind of leadership on three levels: by developing self-awareness and taking responsibility for our responses; by exploring the interpersonal dynamics and how we relate to each other in our networks or communities; and by looking at leadership at an ecosystem level (i.e. how do we interact with and support other networks and communities?).

Navigating Change

Navigating change in a system requires us juggling more variable than we usually do. If we think in organisational transformation, we are used to designing the destination: the new culture, the new process, the new structure, the new strategy, the new … whatever. While the destination of our transformation is important, we need to be aware of the two dimensions of this journey: operational and emotional.

Organisational Culture

Culture is both a dynamic phenomenon that surrounds us at all times, being constantly enacted and created by our interactions with others and shaped by leadership behavior, and a set of structures, routines, rules, and norms that guide and constrain behavior. When one brings culture to the level of the organization and even down to groups within the organization, one can see clearly how culture is created, embedded, evolved, and ultimately manipulated, and, at the same time, how culture constrains, stabilizes, and provides structure and meaning to the group members. These dynamic processes of culture creation and management are the essence of leadership and make one realize that leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin.”

For collaborative culture to flourish it’s necessary to create safe spaces in which participants can express themselves freely. It’s necessary to connect with the purpose of the organisation and understand what it means in the everyday life of the organisation. These are three of the steps: Build safety, Share Vulnerability and Establish Purpose.

Network Governance

“For goal-directed organizational networks with a distinct identity, some form of governance is necessary to ensure that participants engage in collective and mutually supportive action, that conflict is addressed, and that network resources are acquired and utilized efficiently and effectively. The three basic elements of governance design are: who decides, what is decided and how”.

Building Movements

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it. Traditional organizations that want to develop new power capacity must engage in three essential tasks: (1) assess their place in a shifting power environment, (2) channel their harshest critic, and (3) develop a mobilization capacity.”

Learning Out Loud

Networked organisations are, above all, learning networks where individuals discover, connect and exchange knowledge with their peers. These exchanges lead to improved practices, cross-pollination and accumulation of reputation between individuals and the network as a whole. Making sense of our work and openly sharing the knowledge we develop as a result (working out loud) are key dynamics in any network, but especially so in emergent and distributed groups.

Agile Mindset

Agile is more than just a methodology for software development. It’s a mindset applicable to any organisation with some cultural principles as early value creation, learning by doing, people & interactions are more important than processes & tools, flexibility & quick response, collaboration with any stakeholder, etc.

Facilitation

“Facilitation is the art to open the space where people can work, share, learn, change, dream … in a way that they live as the best experience in their lives. It’s a process for getting groups of people together to solve any problem. Good facilitators know how to jump right in, establish an objective, create a format packed with interactive opportunities for discussion, and lead groups of all sizes toward constructive solutions. And you don’t need a specific job title or a certain amount of experience to become an effective facilitator–you just have to develop a set of skills that gives structure and purpose to the otherwise unruly art of collaboration.”

Open Source Business Models

People have always yearned to get their ideas spread far and wide. To change the status quo. But funding the development and spreading of these ideas has historically been the bottleneck to create this change. So patents and copyright came along and get inventors and creators fairly paid for their contributions. But once the Internet arrived, this has become the bottleneck for the free blooming and remixing of new ideas.

Yet a few pioneers have created ways to make money while giving up the ownership of their idea. Organisations like Linux, TED Talks, Adafruit, Cards against Humanity or Wikipedia, among many others, have set the foundations and blueprints to create businesses and non-profits that are cheap to set up, and that can generate solid revenues. This has allowed them to get their  knowledge to flow freely and gather communities of like-minded people and support each other to lead the world to change at a global scale.

Dealing with Conflict

The human brain is wired to avoid conflict because we are a social species and it perceives conflict as a threat to our safety. However, if we can reframe our thinking about conflict, there is so much richness to be gained. As Diane Musho Hamilton says in her book “Everything is Workable”, the aim is not to eliminate conflict but to transform it. So perhaps we should call it conflict transformation, rather than conflict resolution.

Teams researcher Amy Edmondson tells us that it’s helpful for us to: identify the nature of the conflict, model good communication, identify shared goals, and encourage difficult conversations. If we can do all of that, our networks and communities will benefit from deepened relationships, new ideas, and valuable learning.

Beyond Shareholder Ownership

“Scaling up alternative models of ownership – new ways of owning and governing enterprise to give workers and communities a stake and a say – is critical. This is because ownership is the key to unlocking systems change. Indeed, we cannot achieve the paradigm shift we need in how we run the economy and for whom without changing how our economic assets and institutions are owned”

Toolbox

Here we are making a non-comprehensive list of the tools we use and have used to build our networks.

Community Canvas

“For us, a community is a type of organization that brings people together and makes them feel like they belong. It ideally gives them an identity that they proudly share and it provides a framework to trust each other more, support each other more, collaborate more and build more meaningful relationships. The Community Canvas is a framework that will help you build a community, analyze a community or improve an existing community.”

Platform Design Toolkit

To understand the powerful forces that are being unleashed by the explosion of platform businesses, it helps to think about how value has long been created and transferred in most markets. The traditional system employed by most businesses is one we describe as a pipeline. Platforms beat pipelines because platforms scale more efficiently by eliminating gatekeepers.

Understanding how to define a platform is certainly key but, on the other hand, is not enough to completely grasp the current state of post-industrial, digitally enabled economy. In particular, despite knowing the attributes and dynamics of platforms inner workings is crucial, certainly key to understand also how platforms fit in the overall digitally transformed market and societal frame. What are the types of players? What are the market drivers? What are the evolutionary forces that operate in the context? What comes after platforms as we know them today? How are platforms evolving eventually? These are all key questions.

Platforms help companies and organizations leverage the power of ecosystems to grow and reach outstanding results that cannot be reached independently. Platform Design is a key capability for your organization: it helps you deliver more innovation with smaller investments respect to building traditional services. If you enjoyed the business models canvas, you must check out the Platform Design Toolkit to make sense of your ecosystem and how you interact in it.

Making Decisions Collaboratively

Loomio is a simple, user-friendly online tool for collaborative decision-making. Loomio lets you host discussions online, invite the right people to participate, come to timely decisions and transform deliberation into real-world action.

Allocating Resources Collaboratively

To cope and thrive in today's rapidly changing environment, many organizations want to become more collaborative and human-centered. Our years of experience working in distributed networks has shown us that one of the hardest aspects of collaboration relates to money and resource management. It is also a powerful starting point for creating engagement and participation. We believe that opening up decisions around resource allocation and money help make collaboration real and driven towards tangible actions. Our experience of implementing collaborative funding practices in networks such as Ouishare and Enspiral have shown that it can be a powerful tool to increase engagement, transparency and agility in organisations, networks, communities and groups.

Knowledge Sharing

For decades companies have been trying to manage knowledge, with varying success. They often tried to perfect the machine, improve efficiency and make teams repeat best practices. Now more than ever it is obvious that knowledge cannot be managed, but just shared. We learn as we do our work and the collective value of all that knowledge lies in our capacity of making sense of that knowledge within our shared context (shared with colleagues, partners and the wider ecosystem). Strengthening networks through knowledge sharing can only come from the individual, not from some external (hierarchical) process imposed on us.

Events

Transitioning from traditional organisations to networked organisations brings about its own set of problems. One great perk of an old-school company is that most of their employees show up to work from Monday to Friday at a given time and at a given place. These employees get to know each other well and learn how to work together efficiently. In a networked organisation this is not a given, as we are all very mobile, super flexible and work in a wide range of projects. It is quite normal not to see many of my colleagues for months at a time. For this reason, meeting in real life as often as possible is key. Events is a very important manifestation of networked organisations, so the ecosystem can gather to build connections, share knowledge and build trust. Events can be of all sorts: summits, team sprints, summer offices or conferences, to name some. It’s in these gatherings that most new projects are born.

To be continued

During 2020 we will keep on capturing the key resources and guidance as we evolve our networks and our way of working together, and will publish an update in a year from now. Please get in touch if you would like to contribute to this work.

This article is co-authored by Alicia Trepat, Miriam Moreno, Jaime Arredondo, Lisa Gill, Francesca Pick and Manel Heredero.

by 
Manel Heredero
Inside Ouishare
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