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Reimagining Culture: Three perspectives of Culture as complex adaptive system

People are thinkers, doers and learners. Innovative ideas often arise when people interact at the interface between various types of competence, when combining multiperspective thinking. Organisations and people aim to interact continuously with their environment and find new useful ways to learn and operate.

From stiff mental blocks into collaboration & co-creation

In reality, an organisation comes to life in everyday discussions and collaboration situations, regardless of how its structure and responsibilities are described on paper. Kenneth Gergen, a professor in systemic organisational development, has said that an organisation is built in every discussion.  The individual always has an emotional connection to the organisational culture and its relations and the & concept of humanity.  In other words, it is crucial & useful to create genuine encounters between people and build shared meanings for a greater purpose and impact.  The performance of a workplace community is created through collaboration, and  – it means that building up relationships consciously between individuals is crucial.

No human community is not a machine or a combination of cause and effect relationships. Instead, it involves parallel realities. Things look different when you look at them from different directions. The era of hierarchical, position-based culture is overnearing its end. The task of culture is to shift the focus from the individuals to the whole system, to observing its phenomenon, operations and renewing its co-creation practices. At the same time language determines our thinking. By paying attention to relationships, interaction, reciprocity, and the direction of human agency, we help each others act in ways that are beneficial for ourselves & others. Do you recognise mental blocks or patterns in your culture?

Era of collaboration in ecosystems

In today’s world few people or organizations can make it alone. Successful collaboration is about finding meaningful problems to solve, discovering like-minded individuals and organizations to solve with them and tangible enough objectives to get started. In short, key people, key organizations and a key project. Collaboration of diverse organizations and people is far from being easy. It calls for rational, strategic thinking to ensure commitment of the often so rational decision makers, and cultural space where everyone feels valued and is able to build on one’s superpowers. The magic happens when rational meets emotional, where commitment matches with excitement and joint learning. That’s where solutions to complex or even wicked problems lie. Often, an orcheto create that safe space and trust.

Can culture be measured?

Culture is as real as it is elusive to define in precise terms – and properly measuring and analyzing culture is quite tricky, though. Culture will not fit well into ready-made boxes of strict definitions, and oversimplifying it means missing a lot of the vital intricacies. However, there is an easily accessible shortcut to culture: language. Culture has a clear effect on the kind of language people use, and language dictates our thinking and therefore guides our culture. If we really want to understand and measure culture, we must listen to people, and especially what they, in their own words, say is important to them. Values are those things that are really important to us and we tend to prioritize, and culture is born when values collide with the constraints of reality – and we commonly agree on what should be done, and what should not be done, in a given situation. Analysis of culture in this way is possible through modern natural language processing technology.

AUTHORS:

Sari Kola, Ecosystem guru, Keynote Speaker

Janne Korpi, HRD Analytics Advisor, Iloom Oy

Annika Ranta, Organisation Consultant, Humap Consultation

The three authors all belong to Humap’s ekosystem.

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