Commitment is fickle, reputation volatile, and loyalty scarce. In short: Companies have lost control – over their workforce, their customers, and as a result, their brands. Or, more precisely, as Charlene Li points out in her book Open Leadership, they have never really been in control – what they are actually forced to give up now is their need for control.
The loss of control enables the creation of more weak ties in a company’s network (inside and outside of the organization), and, as social network research has shown, weak ties are more conducive to transporting foreign ideas, knowledge, and skills – because they move faster from one node to the other as the network becomes more accessible and nimble on its fringes. The further you get away from the core of your network, the less control you (may want to) have.
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Openness as permanent crisis
If you think about it, this insight may provoke a different notion of openness – understanding it as a system where exit and entry are identical. In this line of thinking, an ecosystem on the Social Web could be seen as a system in permanent crisis – it is always in flux, and its composition and value are constantly threatened by a multitude of forces, from the inside and the outside. What if we understood “designing for the loss of control” as designing for structures that are in a permanent crisis? Crises are essentially disruptions that shock the system. They are deviations from routines, and the very variance that the advocates of planning and programs (the “Push” model) so despise. At their own peril, because they fail to realize that variance is the mother of all meaning; it is variance that challenges the status quo, pulls people and their passions towards you, and propels innovation. “Designing for the loss of control” means designing for variance.
E uma referência foda ao Wikileaks:
One system in permanent crisis that contains a high level of variance is WikiLeaks. The most remarkable thing about the site appears to be the dichotomy between the uncompromised transparency it aims at and the radical secrecy it requires to do so. The same organization that depends on the loss of control for its content very much depends on a highly controlled environment to protect itself and keep operating effectively. But not just that: Ironically, secrecy is also a fundamental prerequisite for the appeal of WikiLeaks’ “there are no secrets” claim. Simply put: there is no light without darkness. And there is no WikiLeaks without secrets.