a new reality in business organisations and the purposeful social space

in october 2015 three leading business magazines propogated on their covers a changed thinking on the traditional business organisation. 

the angles differed but the common message was: leaders have to rethink their organisation in the light of new means to finance the corporation, that the days of (western) incumbents are over and that the disappearing transaction costs diminish the necessity for organisations as we know them.

the analysis is solid and sharp as can be expected. the ideas on the form of the new organisation fall short. 

the concept of the purposeful social space might yet provide some fruitful design ideas. here are some.

spheres instead of corporate entities.  activities are organized in various overlapping spheres, each with its own conventions of participation. human actives are too divers and the complexity of interaction too large to catch them in one overarching entity. 

the label instead of the company. the label signals the shared desire that is owned by the participants of a specific sphere. the brand as the value of a corporation ceases to be a  meaningful concept. the dirigism of traditional brand management is replaced by labeled, responsible membership. 

the customer is more than demand. the traditional idea of the customer as the impersonation of demand is insufficient to grab the fulness of what is required from the new organisation. supply and demand is replaced by an far more interesting exchange of a broad spectrum of values. values that cover whole man not just homo economicus.

these three ideas are examples of a whole new set of design rules for the new organisation.

defining and experimenting with these new rules is a promising challenge and in that sense geoff colvin of fortune is right: the most valuable assets of the 21st century are openness to new ideas, ingenuity and imagination.