Today, most of the learning and information exchange within a business take place during the employees’ social and informal interactions, not in the training rooms or under predetermined structured forms. Studies show that the extent of informal social learning within organisations is 70% up from 20 % to 90 %. When adding the fact that all-embracing digitization makes it easier for us to exchange information and reach out to our informal networks, we have the basis for the flowing organisational structure known as Wirearchy.
The term Wirearchy was coined by organisational advisor Jon Husband who defines it as “a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority, based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology”.
Wirearchy reflects the fact that if I have a problem or a question, I turn to people around me. I look for the answers in my knowledge gaps amongst those whom I know work with similar queries, who I have encountered previously or whom I’ve been recommended by people I trust. Many questions get their answers during my informal meetings with colleagues during quick breaks, at the coffee machine or at lunch. In reality, I am just leveraging my social network I’ve developed over time, as most of us would do. Similarly, we ask for feedback on ideas or suggestions that we have been working on. As we want quick answers, we test our ideas on our closest colleagues and those in the organisation we’ve gained confidence in. However, our personal network is small compared to the collective power of all employees in the organisation.
Another dilemma is that we often seek validation that supports our own perception or expectation. We sometimes tend to overlook or disregard divergent opinions. But what if we could get more people to have their say, yet in a structured though informal way? And moreover, if everyone feels even more motivated to participate and we then also get an instant and objective compilation of everyone’s thoughts and opinions?
Digitization makes this happen; the majority of humanity can come together via the Internet, apps, emails and text messages. Everybody has mobiles and most of us have computers. Through these, we can reach informal networks and in a structured way direct their power towards issues and goals to the advantage of the wider team or organisation. Everyone’s informal contacts can be linked into one gold mine of thinking-power, ideas, opinions, experiences and feedback. When linking all the minds around us, we gain access to an almost omnipotent superhero. The interconnection through digital collaborative platforms will simplify lateral collaboration within companies, between departments for example, but also externally to partners and customers. If you then consider all aspects of what AI can add, such as automatically analysing, processing and structuring the contributions of those minds, you’ll gain access to real-time insights and conclusions. Valued data that would have taken months, if not years, to collect and process.
This type of AI-supported collaborative tools for digital workflow will soon be available for all kinds of organisations. With these tools, you will be able to reach customers, partners and employees, regardless of time and location. Therefore, it is a high agenda priority to implement the collaborative digital “spirit” in your organisation and re-think how to promote Wirearchy to release the power of everyone’s informal networks. This will help make the organisation more collaborative, agile and transparent.
We have developed Vocean based on the philosophy that all minds are thinking and valuable contributors. Our platform’s strength is that it is intuitive, scalable, AI-prepared and really generates valuable insights.