Hacking As Purposeful Organizational Change

For the past several years we’ve heard lots about BarCamps, WordCamps, BookCamps, GovJams, Unconferences, Hackathons and various forms of collaborative spaces, etc. All of these represent forms of organization in which people come together and group around a purpose with the objective of carrying out some practical experiments. Typically today such groupings are invited, planned and often facilitated by people connected online to other people because of affinities of purpose, interest, values or skills.

The aim is to see what can get done when a bunch of people with passion, similar interests and diverse skills come together and get started at seeing what the results of focused collaboration might be.

Why can’t that be done by larger organizations, and become seen as a ‘strategic business process’, a form of crowd-solving ? Why not hack onerous and out-dated HR processes and policies ? Or ask people to tackle other problematic areas of an organization’s operations ?

I believe there are some early examples in (for example) IBM’s large-scale and sometimes global jams. But it seems to me evident that grouping people around issues and problems that they care about will make useful things happen much more quickly and efficiently than might otherwise be the case.

Wirearchy in action ?

2 comments

  • Arnold Beekes

    Jon, you ask:Why can’t that be done by larger organisations,…. I have the same idea for the large problems/challenges in our society like climate change, youth unemployment, health issues (obesity, depression) etc.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we would use forms like Hackathon, Jams or Tweet Chats to connect with a diversity of brilliant minds to address these challenges!

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