Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Enterprise 2.0 Zen: Emergent Crystalization of Quality

I am a huge fan of the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" which looks into the metaphysics of quality. A central part of this is "crystalization" driven by quality, you have to have a sense of what's good and what's not. Crystalization separates useful from meaningless in perceived information, it applies quality.

The elevator pitch of Enterprise 2.0 is that it is freeform, emergent, social collaboration that draws on our collective intelligence to solve business problems. So what exactly is "emergent"?

The idea behind the notion of emergence is simple:

Individual agents, self motivated and operating according to simple rules, can suddenly produce patterns. In certain circumstances, these patterns can evolve into behavior that is intelligent.

Emergence is what happens when the whole is smarter than the sum of its parts.

[Emergence: the connected lives of ants, brains, cities and software by Steven Johnson]

It is micro-rules leading to adaptive macro-behavior. So emergence is like crystalization, it can produce patterns based on standards for interaction that may lead to good results - it is collective quality if you like.

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