15 years ago I coined and defined the term and concept wirearchy.
Wirearchy – a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology.
– Jon Husband
Future of Work Part 1: The Transition We’re In
Future of Work Part 2: Tough Choices
changing a mental model – really hard – but once you really get it – can change almost instantly
link Jon shared during 1st hangout of 7 days of new future ed lab:
The short description of each scenario reinforces the perception that we are both individually and collectively in transition from a linear, specialized, efficiency-driven paradigm towards a paradigm based on continuous feedback loops and principles of participation, both large and small in scope. Whether we will shape this into an harmonious and effective new paradigm or some relative degree(s) of dystopia remains to be seen. As noted earlier, these are all early signs of cultural ‘mutation’ that are already with us.
x-d glasses ness
Significant transformations and mutations demand new and effective principles and guidelines. Many are seeking to articulate the outlines and ‘rules’ of our new environment. However, it seems clearer by the day that new principles are emerging that can help guide us, individually and collectively, towards our preferred future
J. Husband & H. Macleod
The concept of wirearchy (other terms also have been used to describe the elements and dynamics of emergent network principles and guidelines) has been applied to offer insight into the manifest implications of this new environment.
Today, more and more people confirm seeing these principles in action in a range of important ways.
a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology.
– Jon Husband (1999)
authority? based on results?…
This is all occurring at a time when it also seems people everywhere are seeing and feeling the loss of parts of their lives to the ‘enclosure’ of privatization and the diminishment of the commons (the public spaces where certain types of common services and goods are made available to the public).
But .. the dominant models of governance, commercial ownership and the use and re-use of that which is co-created by people are going to have to undergo much more deep change in order to disrupt the existing paradigm of proprietary commercial creation and the model of socio-economic power that this paradigm enables and carries today.
I believe we’re just at the beginning of a massive amount of individual and collective unlearning and re-learning what it means for humans to be in (perhaps more organic) interaction with each other .. and with our selves. All of our existing social institutions and the ways we interact with and use them will be changed.
I’ve also spent a fair bit of time …(always) swimming.
I am perpetually curious about what people do, why they do what they do and how they go about it.
We need to find better ways and better reasons .. ways and reasons that honour each and every one of us whilst offering the individual and his or her close circles the possibilities of an expansive and fulfilling time on earth.
indeed – a nother way
Jon Husband (Wirearchy inventor) and Vinay Gupta discuss blockchains, governance,
hierarchy.. based on knowledge being talk down and
3 min – the day the wirearchy.. came into my head.. archy of living in a wired world.. was at beginning of career crisis.. had quit my job.. was thinking about.. went to dictionary and looked for word – hierarchy 1\relationship between god and arch angels.. had clans/tribes.. leaders strongest/smartest.. then became kings/queens.. then along came divine right of kings.. god giving knowledge to them.. then came gutenberg press.. beginning to spread knowledge around.. 200 yrs.. many book burnings.. because books represented power..
5 min – we have this polarity happening now.. now a 4th source of power.. church, state, corp, .. now public opinion shaped on web..
6 min – the world connected up..
7 min – most recent ie: panama papers.. should laws be changed.. one of best things because of fb.. bit by bit.. weight and impact of awareness of info.. becoming activism central.. now question… what world will be like in 2025 after another 10 yrs of hyper link and surveillance..
8 min – i’m not as optimistic as i’d like to be.. working defn of wirearchy is neutral
9 min – knowledge, trust, credibility, results/social value .. each of four is a generic phrase… trust.. remembering we are social animals.. fundamentally human thing..as is credibility.. but credibility is trust verified…
11 min – blockchain – as single whole.. computer.. rather than lots of smaller pieces..
12 min – i’m more of a sociologist/anthropologist.. mostly all tech/men/people w/money in eyes.. little paid attention to ethics.. what we can expect as blockchain moves out of financial and into ed, health..
? how is ed any better than finance..?
notarizing legal docs around real estate..
? how is that not straight up finance..?
14 min – who owns server.. and who owns code
15 min – could blockchain become an operating system… – jon
it’s a piece you wrap around hardware.. – vinay – so could think of blockchain as os..
16 min – jon – so in my futurist imagination.. ie: took 200 y rs for press to have real impact on society… i’m thinking of .. given way tech accelerates through society now.. in 50 yrs.. could blockchain and browser bring wirearchy to bare.. w diff society..
18 min – jon – we’re still arguing over deep opposing defn’s of human nature..
vinay – where we get to w blockchain.. if improved B – get better society.. ie: cheating has to happen at lower level..
22 min – jon – ultimate agreed upon.. is the law.. ultimately what goes on will be regulated and controlled by law..
vinay – maybe maybe not..
jon – pressed to come up with answers for new conditions.. maybe maybe not brings up notion of hyper links and self organizing work systems.. dao’s decentralized autonomous orgs…
25 min – vinay – bottom up .. end up with rule of men rather than rule of law.. hope in blockchain.. is that you can have bottom up that’s rule of law rather than rule of personality.. because machinery is abstract..
jon references Manuel de Castells – as wanting to know his take on this.. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Castells
27 min – jon – mit using blockchain to credential…
29 min – jon – patent/anti-trust – controlling man.. does internet change this game..
30 min – vinay – 1700 yr long monopoly of priests controlling word.. no denying internet is radically changing people’s access to knowledge
31 min – vinay – patient self-org – jon – communities of interest.. forums.. vinay- could turn in to funding of research .. jon – esp if you start thinking of how to use blockchain intelligently
32 min – jon – on dao – and to show that new form of decent org is possible..
33 min – jon – so there is a gate keeper… often when we talk about wirearchy.. they thing it means the demise of hierarchy.. and i’ve never said that.. but virtually all forms of human activity.. more intelligent/feedback systems of hierarchy..
35 min – jon – permitting centralization and decentralization simultaneously.. to me .. that’s wirearchy… that’s what info system working together permit…
jon – a horizontal tower of babel..
36 min – jon – reflecting on fundamental polarity posed by locke vs hobbs.. will we always be wrestling with this fundamental issue of human nature as to whether social animal.. spiraling to greater consciousness.. or will we always be nasty.. needing some form of social order before we kill each other..
i go with the first.. hands down..
38 min – vinay – i don’t think the critical issue isn’t ineq.. it’s quality of life for lowest.. equality requires huge architectures of control…
so equity – everyone getting a go everyday.. – not equality..
39 min – jon – the world has turned pretty savage pretty quickly
40 min – jon – will we need a world govt (us never wanted one).. vinay – blockchain allow global governance..
or perhaps.. completely diff..
41 min – jon – back to notion of second super power being opinion.. always actors..
43 min – vinay – on oracles and miners..
so deep .. then into 50 000 dollars and smart contracts.. ugh
44 min – vinay – mining produces fair level playing field – thru relentless competition to produce results.. if you correctly architect competitive plains..and incentives.. results in level playing
45 min – steven johnson – emergence connected life of brains/ants/cities.. – connected life only needs 2-3 simple rules..
above is just an essay on book.. taking notes on my (kind of) reading of book here: emergence
Jon starts at 8 min
i’m scared and confused… i wanted to play.. everybody knows …something really big is going on – [leonard cohen – fight was fixed, poor stays poor,… the boat is leaking, the captain lied, …].. and i think it’s really just started.. we’ve had web 15-20 yrs.. we’re trying to adapt.. but still working at plans/models.. what’s the right answer.. and i’m not sure there are any..
10 min – i don’t have any answers.. and i’m afraid i’m going to embarrass myself..
11 min – i was always interested in the knowledge worker.. portfolio career…
12 min – wirearchy – we have models/consultants/venders… we impose models.. workforce is disengaged..
what is it that makes people come alive…
13 min – a both and world..
i live in montreal .. i live in french..
15 min – present shock – when everything happens now – rushkoff
creating millions of niches… you could say.. each person is his/her niche…
16 min – w internet.. 2nd super power.. mass opinion… becoming a 2 way flow of info and power
? consent ness..
17 min – purple line – what does this mean for economy..?
make it irrelevant..
future is very volatile, uncertain, ambiguous… so want to get into learning as a way of being..
18 min – we’ve come through (since ww2) process.. of assumptions that there is a formal/stable arrangement of knowledge.. that’s what determines org charts..
20 min – all rely on vertical employment of knowledge.. hyperlinks change that… the nature of hierarchy will change.. leaders/managers.. need to be in/of ecosystem of info/knowledge that is their org/market..
does there have to be a market..?
hierarchy know how.. technocratic method… sit down w job description.. but it’s a box you fit people into..
22 min – info and knowledge is power.. and structure guides that
23 min – hard to solve problems trying to keep going back to your job description… ends of creating org chart and pay grades.. 50-60 yrs of this being used in orgs.. not related to work anymore.. but to status.. power control.. the internet .. collab platforms are menacing to that control… the conditions we’re in now is not going away.. so going to have to adapt to that
wierarchy – dynamic 2 way flow… based on knowledge, trust, credibility, generating results.. enabled by interconnected people.
what i’m interested in now a days… blockchain.. sweep through society and change ed, healthcare, finance, smart contrasts… baked in levels of trust so don’t need middle men
we can do better..
25 min – wirearchy is not a method/framework/prescriptive approach.. (holacracy is)… it’s an emerging organizing principle… so need to understand org’s context much better than before… participative/inclusive..
27 min – wirearchy taking us from one size fits all to mass customization.. have to figure out how any individual learns.. and make that type of learning accessible to them..
28 min – taking an x ray or mri of org chart… who connects most densely/often with whom.. allows you to look at org and ask strategic questions..
29 min – touches all aspects of business.. more and more apps coming along.. implications… size of department/budget/role clarity..
? – how is this diff..?
31 min – dave snowden chart – arguing wirearchy and complex adaptive systems…
32 min – learning – lms, mooc w blockchain, mit.. blockchain for certification, ..et al
ugh – why verify courses..?
44 min – i’ve had a lot of training training.. the things that made them come alive for me.. were the things that got my curiosity going.. the whys.. why do we do this.. how can i do it better..
perhaps even start from scratch.. decide a new what to do.. rather than doing what have been doing better.
47 min – a lot of people just want decent jobs.. being told what to do.. so can get money for family
but not really.. no?… that’s just our current intoxication…
48 min – early days of apps/platforms.. platform capitalism.. end up with less visible benign dictator.. because people want to be told what/how to do… it’s confusing heck out of people..
50 min – i think young people have given up.. want to find another way.. and are ignoring us
51 min – michel, vinay, … lots of initiatives because people are hurting..
53 min – the unconscious civilization – corporatism.. – by john ralsom saul
1:02 – on ambiguity increasing and increasing
1:03 – very useful for us .. to live in flow.. and come to terms with ambiguity..
1:05 – internet essentially like the atmosphere.. underneath streets amazing amount of infrastructure.. how many of you could live a week w/o being connected…
via fb share by Anne:
When so much has been written and said, and so much in less than a week, this is the stand-out article so far of it all for me.
It accurately portrays the organic flows of human history and basic nature…to survive, I think this is what we must consciously choose to transcend. via Jon Husband
Secondly, since *hierarchies are absolutely necessary for groups beyond a certain size, this time we must figure out how to create healthy hierarchical systems that effectively support the health and prosperity of the entire social, economic, and environmental system including everyone within.
are we sure about *that..?
thinking more in terms of a possible hierarchy.. the smaller we go.. ie: art ist vs bot ist ness..
Jon fb share – talk to self
imagining/experimenting with a nother way to live.. where data focus is self-talk
David Terrar (@DT) tweeted at 9:58 AM – 29 Nov 2016 :
#entdigi16 #EntDigi Interviews: Jon Husband of Wirearchy fame @jonhusband https://t.co/L0ZuZBolLd(http://twitter.com/DT/status/803644211341967360?s=17)
oct 2016 – #entdigi16 Interviews..Interview-Series on UK’s state of adoption of social collaboration and digital transformation
these conditions (hyperlinks, platforms, feeds, touchscreens) are not going away
spreading: working outloud.. and communities..
succession of buzzwords: enterprise 2.0 (id collab platforms); social business (connected conditions here to stay); digital transformation (accurate.. world has gone digital.. so necessary to transform way we work.. all implications of concept of wirearchy)
6 min – on blockchain at mit.. building alt certification.. & in london.. fintech.. banks worried about blockchain architecture can do.. ie:smart contracts.. cut out middleman that are basis of major industries.. not sure how much existing businesses can reconstruct themselves..
existing co’s .. using core assumptions that come from industrial era.. division of labor et al.. where start ups don’t have to worry about what exists..
john cotter – accelerate.. and you get larger… structure needed..
can adopt diff pay philosophies/practices..
? isn’t that worrying about labour for pay.. et al.. and what exists..
11 min – if business focus on adapting existing.. might miss complexity of time.. and might hyper perform your way right out of business (para)
12 min – 20 yrs ago- i did competency models.. job eval.. work design.. i would suggest to any co.. make work design simpler and more generic.. consider design work/pay.. looking at maybe 4 levels of org.. make pay/performance more generic.. so more fluid to changes.. let people go wider in their jobs
via Jon fb share
I’m watching this as it unfolds because I believe the possibility is vastly important and we don’t know what it will mean or bring about.
and we’re missing it..
when we assume the measuring ness of us.. we limit the capabilities of blockchain.. ness
Disclaimer: I am not a technologist and don’t know much about technology nor the engineering of blockchain or the Web. I do pay attention to what each of them enables and can create, especially sociologically.
he (tim) said. “Coming down the pipe hot on its its heels is web authentication. Instead of all those passwords, the browser will handle your identity.”
all tied to money.. only one (nova spivak) that seemed open to go beyond.. but still saying.. decentralizing trust.. distributed trust..
guy (godaddy) at end on his son doing .. crowd swap.. like trade bigger game.. .. but still trading things.. rather than just facilitating/connecting curiosities/people..
why/what would you use blockchain for if some man-made constructs (ie: money/financials, contracts/bureaucracies, ..) didn’t exist
via Jon fb share
As long as you remain within that field of the culture, of society, of greed, of envy, of achievement, you are not a free human being. You may think you have free will, but you are just part of this monstrous society, a conditioned human being. – Krishnamurti
Our agreements will be our organizing structures.
by Rob Knight
The key insight here is that blockchain, as a distributed systems technology, provides a mechanism for solving a set of coordination and consensus problems that were previously intractable. In a nutshell, blockchains use a combination of cryptography, economic incentives and batched transactions to allow a global consensus about the order and effect of writes to a shared append-only database.
What does blockchain technology give us? I’d argue that it’s the ability to reach agreement.
why – in today’s age/capabilities.. must we reach agreement..? why can’t we just go on where your whimsy takes you that day.. ie: can’t our curiosities be our org structures..?
And agreements, ultimately, are about restricting flexibility: our freedom to do as we please is limited by our need to fulfil our obligations under the agreements we have made
? who decided this.. who consented to this..?.. why restrict flexibility..? why not do whatever..?
why do we assume relationships have obligations..?
gershenfeld sel et al
Jon fb share
Tammy Lea is a kick-ass interviewer.
By “kick-ass” I do not mean aggressive, assertive, over-insistent.
I mean respectful, engaged, seeking to create value greater than the sum of the parts. her dedication to learning shines through, in my opinion.
13 min – tammy: the real time act of sense making..
15 min – humans make sense by sharing/interpreting stories – dave snowden – sense makers suite
sense makers suite sounds like waggle dance
17 min – harari’s sapiens.. premises way we humans differentiates is by stories/narratives.. of what we want.. et al
19 min – tammy: for me it’s about telling a new story by living a new story
tammy: excited about a real time documentation
20 min – red flag to living your story.. on finding purpose/passion.. do what love and money will come.. when misinterpreted.. recipes for selfishness and for missing bigger picture.. and there’s an awful lot of that about.. ie.. getting into bubbles.. gun toters living their life.. so .. address: how ought we to live..
25 min – do i like what i do now.. yes.. do i know what i do now.. not really.. past: hippie to banker to humans rights to management consultant..
31 min – 1999 – what are principles for living in a wired world – wierarchy..
100s have asked me to be more specific about what it is.. been coy on purpose..it’s just a name for ongoing orgs of people
32 min – a dynamic two way flow of power/authority based on knowledge/trust/credibility.. what is always going on between people.. they are exchanging their stories and listening to each other.. transactional analysis..
34 min – all the rage now to .. dump on sm.. ie: fb.. yet.. fb is one of best ie’s of wierarchy.. both in positive and neg ways
43 min – known now for being .. mr wierarchy.. and now trying to emulate what that means.. interesting and interested online.. role modeling behaviors.. going out into world..
44 min – skiing and swimming and meet people..
come to colorado Jon
46 min – my superpowers: high level pattern recognition.. ability to access emotions which leads to intuitions..
have you read scattered..?
48 min – another super power: pretty good at connecting with people that should be connected but are not
from 2 fb shares – incentive ness
Stowe Boyd’s Socialogy Interview with Jon Husband .. on the origins and implications of #wirearchy (from 2014) .. https://t.co/kWgiiPlbgw
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/jonhusband/status/1015723932320718848
Hierarchy isn’t going away.
as David Weinberger famously said 15 years ago, “hyperlinks subvert hierarchy”.
I have been involved in a long and intense process of study of the sociology of work, organizations and institutions for 40 years now. Today I believe that a major transition towards what some futurists call a “knowledge-based society” is underway. In that context what I call wirearchy represents an evolution of traditional hierarchy. I don’t think most humans can tolerate a lack of some hierarchical structure, primarily for the purposes of decision-making. The working definition I developed ..recognizes that the necessary adaptations to new conditions will likely involve temporary, transient but more intelligent hierarchy. The implication is that people in a wirearchy should be focused on seeking to better understand and use the growing presence of feedback loops and double-loop learning.
via jon fb share – piece he published in 2013 on co creating
People are searching for ways to find others with similar interests and motivations so that they can engage in activities that help them learn, find work, grow capabilities and skills, and tackle vexing social and economic problems. As awareness spreads and experience grows, more and more of these types of events and purposeful gatherings occur.
Focusing on the participation of users with respect to their needs and ways of using software is an important signal or development.
1:54 film about a guy who’s been swimming regularly for 80+ years.
His words: “I guess it’s a form of meditation. It makes me feel much better about myself.”
I agree . Here’s to another 30 years for me.
the only time i realize i’m not (in my 40s rather than 90s) is when i take a look in the mirror
if i’m feeling lonely or a little depressed.. i go for a swim and my spirits rise up
the water is always changing.. your emotions never change no matter how old you get
via jon fb share
Honestly, it’s the best scenario on offer, it seems to me. I’ve been saying for a few years that the next 10 – 20 years will be very unsettling for many or most of us.
<< “His theory predicts that global society is drifting toward a new form of self-organization that will recognize limits to demographic-economic expansion – but only after we go through a new chaotic transition that will start sometime between now and the 2030s. >>
thank you:Neither competitive nor cooperative, what is it?????
11 min – occupy was often asked.. what are you asking for.. what are you demanding.. and they refused to answer.. and i think very intelligently.. because anything that we propose to you is effectively asking for permission.. because there is an existing infrastructure system way of doing things.. this is effectively what occupy wall st was protesting was.. the system..t
and too.. if we really want change.. want to hasten change.. true .. we don’t need to answer to anyone.. but we do need to do something other than protest.. ie: revelation of everyday life et al
12 min – so rather than go ask the city for permission.. why can’t/don’t i.. because it’s cheaper/nicer.. go out w a pic/shovel and get rid of the asphalt.. plant a few shrubs.. because the city is already doing it in a bunch of places
@costrike @johnkellden @hjarche “Someone” needs to become the Robespierre of our times.
Perhaps there will begin to emerge some coherent consensus from all the interconnectedness of people and information flows ?Maybe that “someone” is us ?
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/jonhusband/status/1247211427338862592
“Knowledge, power and an historic shift in work and organizational design” … work/org design has begun to respond, shift to remote work is a massive vector … https://t.co/n1SZmcJnLp
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/jonhusband/status/1248214220358942723
post from 2014:
The hierarchical arrangement of knowledge (and the related assignment of power and authority to roles expressed on organizational charts) did not foresee the arrival of social computing tools and the horizontal networking now shaping today’s workplace.
However, there’s ongoing dissonance between the Taylorism-derived methods .. the ones behind structured, highly-defined organizational activities forms .. and the growing demands imposed by the world of hyper-linked flows in which knowledge and meaning are built layer by layer, exchange by exchange, resulting in the « scaffolding’ of knowledge to feed continuous improvement and innovation . These are the results which, increasingly, networked social computing enable.
A primary tool in designing work and its organizational structures is called job evaluation (which is often accompanied by derivatives like accountability mapping and redundancy analysis).
Fundamentally, job evaluation (work measurement, as noted above) relies on the core assumption that knowledge is structured and used hierarchically.
These methods did not envision or foresee the *Web, hyperlinks and the exchanges of information which have spawned and carry the bit-by-bit layering and assembly of knowledge and peer-to-peer negotiation of results and responsibilities we are seeing emerge with greater frequency in this new networked world.
let’s do this first: free art-ists.
This is an area where David Weinberger’s phrase from the Cluetrain Manifesto — “hyperlinks subvert hierarchy” (or expose it, which may be better)—is likely to have real impact. . Take Weinberger’s additional concept of first- , second- , and third-order organization of emergent knowledge (outlined in his “Everything Is Miscellaneous”), combine it with hyperlinks and spaces designed for interaction based on core usability principles and you have a potent recipe for looking at the design of socially-networked work groups.
ie: art ist vs bot ist ness
Of course, with the arrival of the Internet and the advent of the interactive participative environment that is generally called Web 2.0, “the room” is larger and “the whole system” increasingly does indeed mean everyone, or at least the whole of the organizational crowd that makes up that organization.
today we have the means for it to mean everyone.. and it has to be everyone.. everyday.. or it won’t work
Reams have been written about the Internet’s potential to democratize the access to and use of information.
the way(s) we go about these core issues of work design are almost certainly going to have to undergo significant revision if not complete *re-invention.
perhaps it’s time to *let go.. of ie: solving other people’s problems (aka: work) et al..
Jon Husband (@jonhusband) tweeted at 7:18 AM on Fri, Jun 19, 2020:
<< in ongoing conversations, with ourselves and others, that challenge instrumental theories.” >> only way possible (imo), not guaranteed to succeed (but will continue on and on) …
to undo our hierarchical listening