The Industrial Age concept of a team is not appropriate for collaboration on the Internet
The puzzling post
One post did surprise me though and made me think much more about the implications of the Information Age. This was written by Yvan Caron, the Canadian systems analyst whose comments and observations I always value:
I read the new chapter and I found it interesting. I really like the passages that were taken from your CD How GOD makes GOD. When I think about your different models that you propose such as Hilbert space, Game-theory and Competing for co-operation I feel that you take great care to explain them in a straight forward manner.
However, I do wonder why do you put so much energy to explain what seems to me just plain common sense. For example, when you say that 'It was only after further reading that I found out that, in the case of humans, the prime survival unit is not the individual but the group.'. In some way this chapter and the previous one present many ideas but you use somewhat a scientific language to express these common sense ideas as if they were new or mysterious. I think that we all know that it is not what our country can do for us but instead what we can do for it. In some way this summarizes the essence of chapter 10 and I heard it many years ago from a previous president of the United States.
Also, it would be nice if you could present some initiatives that are being done on the internet in order to manage projects in a distributed world. Particularly when you describe what should be the behaviors of the solution builder. I would recommend that you read...
Yvan then provided URLs to several Web site articles that gave quite detailed analysis of various other strategies and approaches being used for e-business and e-commerce solutions. I was quite surprised when I read them because they weren't just alternative approaches he was pointing to, they were approaches that were diametrically opposed to everything I'd written in the previous chapters of the book: they were written from the mind set of Industrial Age paradigms.
Having respect for Yvan's opinions, I wondered how it could be that after reading through and seemingly to follow and agree with all the chapters in the book so far, he'd seen these alternative approaches as practical and viable. For an author, trying to explain fundamental concepts, it is quite worrying when a reader seems to have lost the plot altogether.
The clue to this perplexing anomaly, was his rapid dismissal of the "scientific language" I'd used to explain what seemed to him to be common sense notions of a group. Suddenly it clicked. His idea of a group in the corporate world was totally different from my idea of a group in the Information Age. He was automatically associating a group with the concept of a group that is programmed into the mind set of the Industrial Age: more usually referred to as a team.
Isn't the formation of a team, a key concept of every management training course? Isn't this concept taught to every Industrial Age manager and executive as the basic work unit for all strategies? No wonder Yvan was seeing the group as a common sense issue that needed no special elaboration. He'd been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Why bother to re-examine the idea of a group when it has been so extensively and exhaustively covered over many decades of corporate experience and learning?
However, the concept of a group in the corporate world is a very special type of group: it is a managed team. As far as I was concerned, the managed team is a totally inappropriate type of group for the Information Age. My idea of a group is quite different, I'm thinking of a more natural type group: a leaderless group, where the bonding comes through mutual group member advantage and not as an artefact of carefully orchestrated design. I then looked more carefully at the Web pages Yvan had referred to.