Imaging Change

The idea that organisations might behave in some way like fractals has intrigued me for a while. We tend to view our organisations, institutions and even social structures like machines - innovation happens at one end and then change is 'driven' through. Along the way those changes meet with resistance which needs to be countered with our 'change toolkit' and, if necessary, with coercive force.

The image of the fractal leads us to think differently about leadership and change. The maths behind fractal formation is tricky but we can say that they are visual representations of frequently simple formulae that repeat and feedback into themselves. The interesting thing is that a tiny change in the original formula often leads to an enormous change in the resulting image.

Fractal organisation is how I have been thinking about the political changes around the Mediterranean - somewhere there has been a key shift - and it is having dramatic effects. I'm left wondering if the fractal 'phase-change' is the result of a small change in communication. People can now self-organise in a way that hadn't been possible before mobile technology - leadership can happen locally rather than on a grand scale - and people can begin to work against the oppressive machines that have kept them in check for so long. 


Steve Marshall2 Comments