By Giles Hutchins
Business strategist, Peter Senge, notes that our world today is shaped not by individuals alone but by networks of businesses and institutions, and that these organizations are grounded in an old logic which needs to radically shift for the times we now live in.
New horizons are created through new ways of thinking, perceiving and attending to ourselves, each other and wider life. It is up to the individuals within these organizations to co-create a new logic. This shift in logic is what Senge says is the biggest challenge facing organizational management and leadership today. Without this radical shift in thinking we will be unable to transform successfully towards a sustainable future; in other words, we will utterly fail in our evolution.
The logic of yesterday is of top-down, hierarchic, command-and-control, risk-adverse, competition-oriented, short-termed maximization, control-based thinking best suited to the Industrial Age. It is a mechanistic worldview based on reductionist logic that fragments reality into abstract definitions, silos and objects to be quantified, measured, controlled and then maximized, while largely overlooking the interrelated, fluid, connective, collaborative, participatory nature of nature.
In drawing inspiration from nature, we may step beyond our narrowed-down view of life and recognize the intrinsic patterns and reciprocal relations in our midst. These patterns can often seem confusing or complex for our reductionist minds, yet for our intuitive logic they are quite natural to cohere with – we are, after all, part of nature. Such patterns and flows are, by their nature, regenerative and sustainable. In applying this inherent logic of life, we no longer need to superficially bolt-on sustainability initiatives to unsustainable modus operandi. In going with the flow of nature, we redesign for resilience, ensuring sustainability – in all sense of the word – is ingrained in how we operate and innovate.
For Senge, creative orientation is what facilitates our shift beyond yesterday’s flawed logic. Creative orientation helps us address our many practical problems as opportunities for transformation, rather than risks to be mitigated or problems to be worked around. Real life challenges are what afford us the opportunities to transform to more resilient ways of operating. Through humility, openness and playfulness, creative orientation brings a radically different mindset beyond the hyper-competitive, quantized linearity of old. It is a ‘learning-through-doing’ approach to prototyping by collaborating amongst diverse stakeholders. Here, future outcomes are beyond pre-definition: It is the co-learning journey rather than the pre-defined destination that brings transformative value to the organization and wider ecosystem of partners involved; real benefits beyond ‘doing less bad.’ Click to continue reading »
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