The Industrial Age concept of a team is not appropriate for collaboration on the Internet
A group does not necessarily imply a managed team
The articles were very detailed, with numerous case studies and examples of the work being carried out by various solution providers. The first thing that came across was the sheer size of the universal effort being put into finding ways to utilize digital communication technology. Billions of dollars were being spent. The articles provided ample evidence that most big corporations of the Industrial Age are fully aware of the opportunities and challenges of the Information Age. It was clear that most corporations seem to fully understand that they will have to re-organise their work practices to take advantage of the benefits the Internet can offer.
The problem was, these articles were advising strategies based upon the paradigms and structures that had evolved before the Internet came into being. They were all variations on the theme of putting top down, planned solutions into place; in effect, applying the concepts, methods and practices of the Industrial Age to the far different environment of the Information Age.
At another table in the cafe, a developer of sophisticated plug-in units for multimedia solutions, who was actively working at the cutting edge of communication technology, sent in another email:
I find this book very convincing, mostly because I have personal experience in the industry. I am not sure that people of more traditional industries, mostly people from corporate cultures, would buy Peter's advice. The first chapters of the book efficiently demolish the traditional approach. The last chapters are not as convincing. They look academic. Probably because they don't contain as many real-life examples and counter-examples as the first chapters. I wouldn't know how to fix this, though. Should I expect a Zen ending?
Vahe was also recognising that these concepts would not be readily integrated into the mind of Industrial Age managers and executives. It took me back again to the time I'd encountered those first electronic components in the research establishment. I'd spent months learning all the theory, but, when I came to the reality, I was at a total loss to be able to apply this theory to a real world situation. Perhaps this was the problem here? Perhaps Yvan could agree and understand all the theoretical considerations but not be able to map them across to the more complex real world? Was this because of the different way he conceptualised a group?
Vahe asked if he should expect a Zen ending. He meant it humorously, but, it was exactly how I'd planned to finish up. The idea behind Zen philosophy is that you use mental tricks to get away from ingrained and deeply seated dogmas and attitudes to allow you to look at problems in a fresh light. This is also the scientific approach: by putting things into an abstract theoretical framework it allows you to look at problems in a new and different way that is not influenced by previous learned stereotyped ideas. The Zen technique is simply a way of escaping from conventional thinking.
This is what Keynes had done. He'd managed to put the crux of the economic problems into a mathematical abstraction that allowed him to see the solutions clearly. As we saw in the last chapter, the complicated mathematical treatment amounted to little more than common sense, yet, not only did this abstraction helped Keynes provide a solution for the European economies after the second world, it also helped make a fortune in the Stock Market for Keynes' college when he advised them on investment strategies.
I decided to read the articles through once more. I wanted to look at them in terms of the different ways of conceptualizing a group. After all, I was no theorist or academic: I'd spent most of my life in the pragmatic, nitty gritty world of harsh reality and wasn't easily fooled by airy fairy theoretical considerations.