Web culture is antifragile, which means as it hits more problems and changes it gets stronger. Things that last on the web are things that can adapt and learn from disorder and disruption and chaos. And so, you have things like the domain name system or the actual web server system where no single point could actually fail and bring the whole thing down.
The same is true of our culture, the way that we talk to each other, the way that we share what we know, the way that we value relationships over transactions.
Organizations, on the other hand, are generally based on this culture of command and control. This idea that if our plan is good enough and if we predict well enough we can completely control the environment and nothing can ever go wrong.
And so, we end up with things like Waterfall where because we won’t tolerate failures on a small scale, we end up in absolutely massive, humungous failures at the project level.
I think we spent way too much of our time trying to fit our culture, which is actually about failing and learning, into this industrial, predictive, theoretical culture by writing strategies and coming up with return on investment and business plans and all this kind of stuff, which actually isn’t appropriate for the real task at hand, which is learning and cultural transformation.
Why don’t we stop that? Why don’t we stop trying to write more strategies and stop trying to improve ROI and stop trying to get respect in the boardroom for our practice and instead reframe the problem as one of learning and transformation?
Let’s start to bring cross functional teams, agile working practices and open, safe spaces where we can improvise. Fail in a way that doesn’t involve shame and use that as a way to learn so that we can help organizations to get out of that industrial way of thinking, of prediction and planning and control and realize that if they let go of control and allow themselves to learn they’re going to be in a much better position.
I think we are the right people to do that and we can do that now. It just means taking more risks personally.