The Geometry of Dynamic Structure

A Fundamental Pattern of Organizational Architecture for Adaptive Transformation and Success in a Changing World Faith Diehl Independent
PowerPoint 1999 Peer Presentation March 2006 PowerPoint plus introductory pages and references posted on SSRN July 2009

You may redistribute this document freely, but please do not post the electronic file on the web. I welcome web links to this document at http://papers.ssrn.com. I revise my papers and providing a link to the living document ensures that the readers will receive the most recent version. Thank you.
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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1431965

The Geometry of Dynamic Structure
Author: Faith Diehl Email: faithdiehl@gmail.com Based: Atlanta, Georgia The author is an independent researcher, consultant and author in the field of dynamic systems architecture, with focus on organizational level governance, leadership and transformation.

Electronic copy of this paper is available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1431965

© Copyright 1999/2009-2010. Faith D. Diehl. All rights reserved.

Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1431965

Introduction and Acknowledgments
This presentation captures the essence of a model of living architecture – in which science is more than a metaphor for social phenomenon. The conceptual framework evolved from an initial insight in January 1998, after reading Donald Ingber’s “Architecture of a Cell” in Scientific American. Other insights were provided by numerous thinkers and writers, including Ken Auletta in his April 1998 article in The New Yorker on industries undergoing rapid change, and biophysicist Werner Loewenstein in his book The Touchstone of Life: Molecular Information, Cell Communication, and the Foundations of Life. Confirming the leap to organizational dynamics, Simon School faculty Jim Brickley, Cliff Smith, and Jerry Zimmerman graciously provided access to a draft edition of Managerial Economics and Organizational Architecture (1997), a derivative of Michael C. Jensen’s theoretical work on the theory of the firm. Gerald de Jong collaborated on the design and development of 3-D software in 1999, and provided introductions to innovators in information technology visualization, including Anthony Judge of the Union of International Associations, who saw the vision and provided a database for an application. From the beginning, encouragement to develop the model was provided by many – from the enthusiasm and support of colleague John O’Rourke – to the ardent interest expressed by Jim Undercofler, Mitch Robinson, Leslie Marx, Malcolm McCullough, Ian Turvill, Nancy Lotane, Mike Waters, Richard Couch, Kevin Parker, Sandra Sucher, Gregg Olin, and Somi Kim and Susan Parr of ReVerb. They all made a difference in my persisting. Special recognition goes to John Diehl who quietly endured my absence while covering the bases at home, and to my children, Sarah and Justin, who were unconditionally supportive. Special gratitude is extended to Mike Jensen, who made possible my graduate education at the Simon School at the University of Rochester, whose work on organizational architecture provided the initial framework for these insights, who graciously set aside an entire afternoon in March 2006 to view this presentation and listen to my story, whose subsequent encouragement was an inspiration to re-immerse myself in the work, and who has made possible this posting through the development of SSRN and his commitment to getting ideas known. With delight in the discoveries of deep listening.
© Copyright 1999/2009-2010. Faith D. Diehl. All rights reserved.

Faith Diehl, July 24, 2009

Abstract: The world is changing rapidly, placing increasing pressure on organizational systems to develop structures, processes and cultures that facilitate ongoing transformation. For half a century, a growing understanding of adaptive mechanisms in biological systems has provided metaphors and conceptual possibilities for organizational process and culture that facilitate change. In this presentation, the structure of living dynamic systems is identified as a critical component of adaptive capacity. A fundamental geometry is introduced that is observed in highly evolved systems – from the micro level in biology to the macro level in societal level organization. It appears that the fundamental structural geometry of dynamic living systems is ubiquitous – applying to all levels. Based on this observation, the author proposes that science is more than a metaphor for social phenomenon, and that organizations are a higher level of biological complexity. This proposition goes beyond a conceptual framework. It provides access to the entire range of advances in the natural and health sciences as templates for understanding and for the development of concrete tools for observation, measurement, intervention and design of organizations. The mechanical properties of this living architecture allows for a high level of elasticity, rapid redistribution of pressure and tension, distribution of information, and harmonic potential – creating conditions for both wholeness and adaptive capacity. The components are distinct, occur in predictable proportion, and appear to emerge in a particular sequence. With these understandings and a growing understanding of how they manifest in organizations, it becomes possible to develop a science of transformation. This presentation is intended to create awareness of the geometry of dynamic structure – contributing to understanding and greater freedom to cooperate responsibly with emergent design as well as co-create design possibilities. Application of the fundamental geometric pattern to organizational structure is one of the most powerful responses to the pressures of a rapidly changing world.
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Tools

Pain

Insights Questions

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today today

yesterday.
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profit = revenue - expense
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today…
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portal Web-enabled mass customization channels customer-service band-width intelligence chaos DNA meme fully-integrated-e-biz T-1;T-3 digital-communities coopetition adaptive-design digital-collaboration-systems supply-chain value-capture cellular singularity legacy seamless connectivity

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…our world is increasingly dynamic.

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?

What types of change cause pain?

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throughout the environment

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transportation and connectivity

rapid change
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telecommunications and connectivity

rapid change
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computers and connectivity

rapid change
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overall connectivity and overall change

rapid change
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within the central core

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Wall Street Journal Fortune Wired Harvard Business Review New York Times Barrons Harris Interactive Customer Surveys Annual Business Report Quarterly Profit Reports Monthly Financial Reports Weekly Sales Reports Daily Stock Exchange Reports Quality Management Fish Bone Reports Fast Track Team Reports CBS C-NBC ABC C-Span America OnLine e-mail spam amazon. Com Yahoo Ask Jeeves ISO 2000 Supplier Specs Boston Globe Economist San Jose Mercury Washington Post Business Week CIO Forbes Daily Deal London Times Newsweek Fox MSNBC Excite Computer World bloomberg.com Computer World AltaVista DogPile Metacrawler Wall Stree Search URL Wire Red Herring Smart Money ceoexpress.com kpmgconsulting.com

information overload
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throughout the interior

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evolving enterprise architecture

SCATTERED COTTAGE INDUSTRIES

SILO HIERARCHICAL

FLAT CUSTOMER-FOCUSED

? structural stress
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increasing speed of enterprise life-cycle

PRE-INDUSTRIAL AGE

INDUSTRIAL AGE

INFORMATION AGE

Key:

Points of value-capture transition

?

structural stress
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in every part of the infrastructure

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disconnects
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human

human

tu ul c

l ra

disconnects
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human

tu ul c

l ra

financial

disconnects
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human

tu ul c

l ra

financial tim e

disconnects
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human

tu ul c

l ra

technology

financial tim e

disconnects
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human

tu ul c

l ra

rm fo in

technology

on ti a

financial tim e

disconnects
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human

physical

tu ul c

l ra

rm fo in

technology

on ti a

financial tim e

disconnects
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es s physical

human

pr oc

tu ul c

l ra

rm fo in

technology

on ti a

financial tim e

disconnects
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?

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Pain of change

?

What questions are implied?

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dig in our heels? cut salaries? blame someone else? throw out all processes? invest in training staff? “tweak” the numbers? contract product lines? deny that change is occurring? bargain for more time? wait for the ax to fall? quit?
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or… accept… the inevitability of the unknown…

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…and learn to deal with change on a continual basis…

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…by identifying the constants.

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Who are we? …our DNA and the dynamic geometry of our architecture…
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What do we want to accomplish? …our value creation for our customers…
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How will we do it? …our roles, processes, technologies…

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How will we know? …our reflections, understanding, memory and wisdom…

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Leading Organizations through Chaos
Negotiating the Port-Hole while Hosting a Mad Tea-Party And Maintaining Integrity Throughout the Journey

Faith Diehl
© Copyright 1999/2009-2010. Faith D. Diehl. All rights reserved.

pain of change

?

questions

What insights offer answers to the questions?

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Part 1: Alice in Memeland

Leading Organizations through Chaos
Negotiating the Rabbit-Hole …..
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insight #1

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where life began … Coral: tetrahyperbarioal
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… the geometric nanostructures of single-celled algae and coral ….
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… contain clues …

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… to the structure of complex adaptable human enterprises.
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the insight –

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the insight – ubiquity of structure

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the insight – ubiquity of structure
• Cellular cytoskeleton = • Fossil corals = • High performance teams = • High valuation corporations = • Effective partnerships = • Evolved governments =

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the insight – ubiquity of structure
Cellular cytoskeleton = Fossil corals = High performance teams = High valuation corporations = Effective partnerships = Evolved governments =

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks
CORE AND CORE SUPPORTS (INSIDE)

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks
CORE AND CORE SUPPORTS (INSIDE) MEMBRANE SUPPORTS (OUTSIDE)

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks
CORE AND CORE SUPPORTS (INSIDE) MEMBRANE SUPPORTS (OUTSIDE) NETWORK SUPPORTS (INTEGRATORS)

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks
CORE AND CORE SUPPORTS (INSIDE) MEMBRANE SUPPORTS (OUTSIDE) NETWORK SUPPORTS (INTEGRATORS)

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks
MEMBRANE SUPPORTS (OUTSIDE)

CORE AND CORE SUPPORTS (INSIDE)

NETWORK SUPPORTS (INTEGRATORS)

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks
MEMBRANE SUPPORTS (OUTSIDE)

CORE AND CORE SUPPORTS (INSIDE)

NETWORK SUPPORTS (INTEGRATORS)

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks

tensegrity structure
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cellular building-blocks

tensegrity structure
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Tetrahedron

cellular building-blocks Tensegrity
Geometry

Buckminster Fuller tensegrity structure
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building-blocks of ocean corals & creatures

tensegrity structure
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building-blocks of ocean corals & creatures

tensegrity structure
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building-blocks of ocean corals & creatures

tensegrity structure
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building-blocks of ocean corals & creatures

tensegrity structure
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building-blocks of ocean corals & creatures

tensegrity structure
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team building-blocks

tensegrity structure
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team building-blocks
TEAM LEADER; CONTENT EXPERTS Kelly
John Robert

tensegrity structure
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team building-blocks
TEAM LEADER; CONTENT EXPERTS Kelly
John Robert

CUSTOMER UNDERSTANDING FORAGERS; OUTCOME EXPERTS Kevin

Pat

tensegrity structure
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team building-blocks
TEAM LEADER; CONTENT EXPERTS Kelly
John Robert

CUSTOMER UNDERSTANDING FORAGERS; OUTCOME EXPERTS Kevin

FACILITATORS; INFRASTRUCTURE PROVIDERS Susan Andy

Pat

tensegrity structure
© Copyright 1999/2009-2010. Faith D. Diehl. All rights reserved.

team building-blocks
TEAM LEADER; CONTENT EXPERTS (CORE SUPPORT) Kelly
John Robert

CUSTOMER UNDERSTANDING FORAGERS; OUTCOME EXPERTS (MEMBRANE SUPPORT) Kevin

FACILITATORS; INFRASTRUCTURE PROVIDERS (INTEGRATORS) Susan Andy

Pat

tensegrity structure
© Copyright 1999/2009-2010. Faith D. Diehl. All rights reserved.

team building-blocks
TEAM LEADER; CONTENT EXPERTS (CORE SUPPORT) Kelly
John Robert

CUSTOMER UNDERSTANDING FORAGERS; OUTCOME EXPERTS (MEMBRANE SUPPORT) Kevin

FACILITATORS; INFRASTRUCTURE PROVIDERS (INTEGRATORS) Susan Andy

Pat

tensegrity structure

team building-blocks
Kevin John Robert Andy

Susan

Kelly

Pat

tensegrity structure
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corporate building-blocks
CHARTER; NUCLEUS
Finance Production CEO HR

INFRASTRUCTURE

R&D

Marketing

CORE SUPPORT

tensegrity structure
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MEMBRANE SUPPORT

corporate building-blocks; including “band-width”
Finance Production CEO HR

R&D

Marketing

INFORMATION FLOW (relevance, accuracy, completeness) INFORMATION FIT (time, place, clarity), INFORMATION RESONANCE (is “heard”)

tensegrity structure
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partnership building-blocks
PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT INFRASTRUCTURE: STAFF; DATABASES

Litigation

HR

Tax

Environmental

CORE SUPPORT: MANAGING PARTNER(S) & PRACTICING ATTORNEYS

MEMBRANE SUPPORT: PRACTICING ATTORNEYS

tensegrity structure
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government building-blocks
Legislature

CONSTITUTION

President

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Supreme Court

Congress

JUDICIARY

tensegrity structure
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LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

Part 2: Alice in Memeland

Leading Organizations through Chaos
Negotiating the Rabbit-Hole …. while hosting a Mad Tea-Party
© Copyright 1999/2009-2010. Faith D. Diehl. All rights reserved.

insight #2

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integration is critical…

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…to integrity of fit within the nanostructures and throughout the macrostructure.

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women’s inner psychological life centers on connection…for them, difference is a marker of human condition, not a problem to be solved. In a Different Voice Carol Gilligan

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cognitive reframing for effective emotional listening, called mirroring, is a requirement for learning. Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman

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culture is the way in which a group of people solves problems. Riding the Waves of Culture Fons Trompenaars

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notable exceptions to the glass ceiling are in the communications and entertainment industries. there, rapid change and highly segmented customer markets requires highly sophisticated, flexible integration for survival and growth. In the Company of Women The New Yorker
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Part 3: Through the Looking Glass

Leading Organizations through Chaos
Negotiating the Rabbit-Hole ….. While hosting a Mad Tea-Party ….. And not Loosing Sight of “Who You Are”
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insight #3

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all living organisms…

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…have the same DNA…

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…embedded in every single cell.

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on a primitive basis, chartering forms the DNA.

more digitally evolved organizations… use portal technology to embed DNA.

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?

pain of change

insights questions

what new tools would enhance the value of these insights?

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Neither the naked hand nor the understanding left to itself can effect much. It is by instruments and helps that the work is done, which are as much wanted for the understanding as for the hand. Sir Francis Bacon
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tools to evaluate: • structure • integration • DNA

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…are different than the tools for evaluating profit and loss.

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For example:
measurement of fidelity to the optimal geometric structure: • # of cells without key components (gap analysis) • # of strategic cells missing components (focus) measurement of recognition of infrastructure significance: • # integrators per cell mass • reward system for integrative behaviors measurement of DNA dispersion: • % of staff with access to system wide planning documents • % of staff with understanding of their role in big picture

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The Results – Nimbleness
Flexibility to discern when to “change on a dime” and what to “wisely hold constant” with regard to: customers core mission enablers (technology, financing, people management, structure, processes, culture) whole system mechanisms to anticipate, sense, respond, adapt and propagate

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DON’T STOP rewarding the hunters – the customer service, marketing, and core production specialists…
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…DO START rewarding integrative facilitation, the people and processes that plant the seeds, that are the hub of communication, that keep in mind the “long-now.” they are the sine qua non for all organic transfers of information. they fit components together. they transform entropy to information. they are the G-proteins of complex social structures.

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The Solution – Adaptive Design
Legislative Constitution Judiciary Executive

“Using design to find order and opportunity in the chaos.” Clement Mok
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Growth, evolutionary growth, is set into motion when a molecule chances upon a partner capable of information transfer. the conditions are ripe for transfer if the molecules have closely complementary shapes, are in proximity, and if one emotes an electro-magnetic energy that pulls them together.
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so, to create conditions that invoke spontaneous growth, means to provide opportunities for: • flexible components (integrators) • to be in proximity (structure) • to cross pollinate (DNA) as their instincts and the instincts of their cohorts see fit, within the context of organizational DNA.
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Imagine a world where geometric principles and aesthetic design guide the assembly of all matter, including atoms in the “living phase.” Imagine a world where “life” ranges from the microscopic to the organic orchestration of corporations and governments. Imagine a world where information exceeds fact, where learning is defined by the flow of time and the transitions from one phase to another. Imagine a world where boundaries aren’t limits, but the next ripple toward an eternity, shaped by the constancy of never-ending waves of enthusiasm. Imagine a world where mass-less particles, from phonons to photons to the voices in telephones catalyze forms that are greater than the sum of their parts. Imagine a world where human striving is understood in the language of Bucky architecture, elastic intervals and field theory, opening doors-of-perception to new points-of-view and new realities. Imagine a world where imagination is released, where quantum consciousness opens each of us to a meta-consciousness that is all of us. Faith Diehl 1999
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“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. . . . I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.” Albert Einstein, 1931

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tools

pain of change

insights questions

the rewards – beyond imagination

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References
Auletta, Ken, “In the Company of Women,” The New Yorker, April 20, 1998. Brickley, James A., Clifford W. Smith, Jr., and Jerold L. Zimmerman. Managerial Economics and Organizational Architecture, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, New York, 2009. De Jong, Gerald, Elastic Interval Geometry Java Applet, 1999. Fuller, Buckminster, Synergetics; Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, Macmillan, 1975. Gilligan, Carol, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, Macmillan, 1993. Goleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ, Bantam, 1995. Hampden-Turner, Charles and Fons Trompenaars, Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1998. Ingber, Donald, “The Architecture of Life,” Scientific American, January, 1998. Jensen, Michael C. and William H. Meckling. “Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs, and Ownership Structure,” Vol. 3, 1976. Lewin, Kurt, Field Theory in Social Science: Selected Theoretical Papers, Harpers & Bros., New York, 1951. Loewenstein, Werner R., The Touchstone of Life; Molecular Information, Cell Communication, and the Foundations of Life, Oxford University Press, New York, 1999. Mok, Clement, Designing Business: Multiple Media, Multiple Disciplines, Hayden Books, 1991. Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre, The Phenomenon of Man, Harpers & Row, New York, 1959.

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