Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Social Creativity uses various types of organization

Social Creativity or Social Genio would use a number of types of organization in its work depending on situations and specific tasks. Let’s take a quick look at some thoughts on basic types of organization.

A first level of organization may be questionably called ”organization”, in any case, it is a Market. By market it is meant not only an economic market but markets of ideas, values, lifestyles etc.

A market is not so much an organization but a collection of disparate individuals or entities, we might call it a “disparation”. But markets are essential because they are the foundation of creative activity.

They are the general condition which promotes creativity and where creative people and organization live and where creative products are formed, sent, housed, disseminated, traded and even “marketed”.

In a market, many players compete, they succeed on the influence of their ideas or the appeal of their products.

The market is not organized into a true structure of any sort. It is a specific type and degree of chaos. It is a vast collection of diverse individuals and groups making individual decisions and actions. It is dynamic, interactive and complex. Many metaphors may describe features of a market – crucible, ecosystem, garden, nursery, arena, collection, agglomeration, ensemble, diverse, assortment, cacophony, variegation etc.

There are rules and some centralizing institutions but for the most part we have free individual action by producers and consumers. The market has no obligation to support any player and has no vision as to what is good or bad. This is all managed at a micro level of a matter of taste or need. The market is voluntary and to increase influence we have argumentation, education, trading, interaction, studies, travel, exposure, endorsers, experimentation, marketing, advertising, forms of propaganda and so on

In Social Genio, the market is employed to develop ideas, to develop businesses, to develop cultural institutions. Creativity takes place in the market. Centralizing institutions whether economic, government or civil are not the fundamental drivers of creativity in a society (though they may be creative forces in their own right). The market is the opposite of the centralizing form, and both need each other, but one serves the other.

A coordinating institution might be an economic form where an industry plans out certain targets that spur innovation – such as the silicon chip industry guided by Moore’s Law. Another institution might set goals for the development of alternative education giving support to many directions and schools of thought -- but trying to coordinate the plans and in the end produce a complete curriculum and real functioning experimental schools. Another organization may do experiments in alternative energy in a attempt to develop a workable solution that involves a mix of tactics and technologies.

Coordinating entities are centralizers in a sense, they give some structure and guidance to a market. Centralizers do not restrict the market because they know that the market is the garden where the flowers bloom. The coordinating institution serves the market and does limit it or try to substitute itself for the market.

While coordinators can be creative in their work and must be, their creativity is designed to multiply the creativity of the numerous entities in the market.

Coordinators provide plans, goals, regulations, standards, sub-organizations, requirements and so on.

Centralizers employ social creativity leaders whose job is to accelerate, expand, diversity and raise the quality of a market’s creativity.

In some situations coordinators can point in certain directions, set specific goals. Then with a consensus authority a centralizer can cull creativity and set the next round of targets.

So coordinators can be charged with various missions.

Creativity for a centralizer comes in 2 modes. First is promoting creativity in a market. Second is the creative strategy or tactic of the centralizer to achieve this end. So in Social Genio a coordinator activity can be very innovative. Leaders are making their contributions too.

Some historical points: The prime 20th century error was to let a centralizer suppress the market.

Reaction to this has led to deregulation in some cultures, this is the opposite error of fostering a condition of pure chaos. This results in lack of cooperation and joint goals, alienation, disconnection, super-competition, lack of community, lack of overall vision and plan. This then leads to the continuation of dominance by larger entities, a monopolization --  or the formation of combines that seek narrow interests and suppress the creativity of others. This is the paradox of deregulation and pure chaos.

Higher than the coordinating entity is the Community. Communities can be big or small, specific or general. Communities are families or federations of diverse individuals sharing some overarching views and ends.

A green movement is such a community. Natural foods is another example. These communities can get larger when we choose more common issues that bind people or create a larger mix of values to connect individuals. We a have here political parties, cultural blocs and so on. On the highest level we have a Nation which theoretically should unite all or most communities and sub-communities.

Some communities are often excluded from participation in larger relationships but nevertheless they are legitimate and strong communities (Black or Latino communities for example).

In a nation struggling for liberation, a national United Front is a community striving for independence.

A community is bigger than the coordinator concept discussed earlier. And a community will have its general all inclusive forms, for example a Legislature in the case of a state or nation, leadership councils and general meetings in other cases and so on.

These organizations are backed by citizens, members, activists or entrepreneurs.

The Community produces the coordinating institutions and the social creative leadership. It also helps form the market itself with its basic philosophy and values.

Some communities actually suppress a market, we know this, but anyone concerned with Genio will strongly oppose this. The market is self realizing, it will spontaneously arise if given a chance. This happens because it is formed from the ideas, desires, ambitions, energies and actions of millions. The market is external to community or coordinator structures, it expresses inner personal needs. The market arises from the free independent activity of a solitary Human being -- the source of this is not the state, a monopoly or any big organization.

Community however does bring a higher level of organization to an entire collection of people. Community is fundamental for it protects a market, gives it rules and guides it. So community forms are indeed creative in this sense.

A collaborative entity is a creative form that has a diversity of views and manages on a consensus basis, it is a product of direct democracy.

Collaborative creativity would include coops, certain kinds of democratic corporations and other organizations formed around a stress on egalitarianism and consensus. These forms can be in economics, education, art, media, psychology and so on.

Collaborative organizations may bring leadership out of he ranks or appoint leaders from the outside pursuant to a pledge to implement the goals of the association. Experts and professionals can be imported to help the members achieve their mission.

A collaborative situation works best when there is an overall agreement of vision and goals. When this does not exist, there is friction and little collaboration. Collaborative organizations take longer to make decisions and must search hard for compromises. Also in order to function, collaborative forms must be practical about degree of consensus so that decisions can be made.

On the other hand the benefit of a collaborative form is that it involves all in the life of an organization and very importantly brings in everyone as a participant in creativity. The collaborative form unleashes the greatest amount of creativity.

Another creative strategy is less free-form and not consensus driven. It brings together group creativity with individual creativity.

The assimilator assimilates the creativity of others either by taking what exists and putting it together OR by putting out an idea and getting individuals and departments to provide the elements for this vision.

In some forms of assimilator creativity the organization is controlled by a leadership, in others the relationship has aspects of consent and consultation. The result is that fundamental creative decisions are made by leadership but it is not necessarily the source of the creativity.

Examples of this may include the film industry where a producer or director is in charge. They utilize the creativity of many (actors, writers, cinematographers, costume designers, set designers, CG technicians, composers etc.) and they will offer their creative contributions too. The assimilator has the final say on issues because she or he has a Vision of the project, of how to put everything together.

But it is possible for the vision to held by many in various departments of the creative process, particularly if the parties have a long history of working together or are chosen for their sympathy of point of view.

Apple Computer might be considered another example of this mode of creativity.

The particular personalities of these creative forms vary. You can have a spectrum from strong control to less, from vision held at the top to vision held by many. The organization might be structured so there is no say over leadership prerogative or there may be mechanisms to include input.

But what essentially distinguishes this from a collaborative form is the restriction of consensus.

So why is this considered a creative organization? Because creativity is individual. Each particular creative contribution is individual. And the overall, general vision is often individual too. Even if the vision is widely held, someone or a few will have to make the final decisions and specific changes.
And there are people who are good at the overall vision and the management of its tasks. Just as there are people much more adept at particular creativity.

The collaborative entity has the opposite problem compared to the assimilator style. It must make sure that a specific vision is maintained and that it does not muddle up competing views which might make it inconsistent or rob it of its spirit or clarity.

The lesson is that individuality is highly important in creativity. And the problem we often face is that organization among individualists can often end up undermining individuality.

Exceptional creativity refers to the individual who is an exception, whose creativity is exceptional, strong, extensive, productive, original etc.

In this case, an entire organization or company can built around her or him in which associates generally supplement the work of the principal with details, application, tactics, mechanics, technicals, filling in gaps and so on.

Such a form does not promote democracy but on the other hand it does provide needed creative products from an outstanding individual.

Solo creativity is at this point the most common form of creativity. This is simply the solo individual doing her or his work.

The solo person may be quite happy working alone and making her or his contribution, or may see the solo phase as temporary and looking to connect with others to form something new,  be it collaborative, assimilator etc.

So to provide a general sketch these are some forms of creative organization to consider: Market, Community, Collaborative, Assimilator, Exceptional and Solo.

Both market and community form a kind of duality where the foundation is the market and community is the superstructure of sorts.

The range from collaborative to assimilator to exceptional to solo expresses a kind of spectrum of organizations from group to individual, and shows us the complex dynamic involved between a collection of people and a solitary Human being, and the many modes of relationships that can be established.

Sometimes we can choose the organization forms we need, other times practical conditions determine what you can do. In any case, if we stick to the concept of creativity, if we are loyal to it, and promote it and its requirements, then we can make organizational forms produce innovation by unleashing individual independence and initiative.

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