Sonja Blignaut wrote an article on Medium titled Reconceptualising organisations: from complicated machines to flowing streams.

« Over the last few years, I have come to realise that the interplay between flow, constraints and options is key to understanding how to navigate and thrive in complexity. With “flow”, I mean flow in the broadest sense of the word. There are some flows that we are very familiar with: workflow, process flow, cash flow, data flow, information flow … however, we need to broaden our thinking.  »

« If we look at organisations not as machines, but as living entities — ecosystems or organisms, we have to look at them as flow systems. Flow, therefore, becomes a beneficial lens to help us think about new ways of working, new organisational structures and new forms of management.  »

« Anything that is a process is a flow — so if we consider how things flow through time, then learning and change are also flows.   »

« In complex systems, we need to consider how to enable a variety of multi-directional and even non-linear flows. I believe this is one reason why we are seeing the increasing focus on networks and distributed leadership models e.g. Stanley McCrystal’s Team of Teams. Ironically it has always been the informal networks in organisations that facilitated critical flows that the hierarchy could not. The problem is that in our over-focus on efficiency we have disrupted and in some cases virtually destroyed these invisible networks.  »

« In light of all this, I have become increasingly interested in the notion of fluidity. In unstable and even turbulent contexts, the so-called VUCA world, resilience and transformability are critical. I believe that enabling fluidity of form over time requires fluid structures that can morph without a loss of function, i.e. without compromising essential flows. »

« In nature, form follows flow. In human systems, we tend to design our structures first and then try to force flow through them. To create fluid structures, we need to ask different questions. We also need to realise that in part, we are designing for emergence, i.e. creating environments where new structures can emerge and evolve as needed.  »

« My friends at Toyota are also focusing on flow and have developed the Toyota Flow System that also has complexity as a core tenet.  »  See also The Toyota Way.

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