Talk:Organic Design manifesto

From Organic Design wiki

is the manifesto static or ratifyable? is it ever complete? --Phalseid 22:57, 27 Dec 2006 (NZST)

I don't feel it has the necessary polish yet, but it seems to cover the main areas of concern in a relatively coherent manner. I'm about to head away for a few days, would be glad to do more work on it upon returning. But even when it is "presentable" I will it will always evolve and get more refined, also people will use parts of it for their own manifestos, so there will be variations of it depending on the group or context--Milan 23:13, 27 Dec 2006 (NZST)

I believe that the sections on "Charging & Payment"; "Quotes & Agreements"; "Organisational systems" should be in a more specific doc, the Work Agreement. The reason for this is that if you put yourself in the shoes of someone wanting to read up on our most general and high-level values (compare with the section on "reuse", for instance) the above mentioned sections seem out of context in the sense that they apply to us working with paying clients and are quite long and specific. However my belief was that the manifesto should briefly and generally outline our most important values in a way that is readable by people interested in the project, which could be people that the information in the above section does not really apply to. If I was to move those sections into a more specific doc, I would happily write "generalised summaries" of them for the main manifesto if it helps--Milan 10:14, 27 Oct 2006 (NZDT)

I think the issues of charging, quotes etc are general enough that they need to be covered at least to some extent in this article since they potentially apply to all relationships. I was thinking of this doc as a general template that would have parts extracted out to form the foundation of new more specific agreements for various work and projects. What I removed from here before was the sections on "what do we charge for" which definately seemed specific to particular products/services. --Nad 10:21, 27 Oct 2006 (NZDT)
Perhaps a Work agreement summary which could then be reused by embedding at top of Work agreement and in this article --Nad 10:24, 27 Oct 2006 (NZDT)
OK, I'll have a go at doing this when I next work on this doc. As I said, I'm happy to cover those things in the manifesto, with the client-relationship details covered in the work agreement. But maybe it's time for the home page to receive some attention now...--Milan 10:49, 27 Oct 2006 (NZDT)

the need

you have probably noticed a few new folks here on the project. the transformation that i have been going thru in a spiritual sense and intelectually has been helped along and challenged by what i have read here. As a "convert" (ever transforming), i think back and remember that it might be helpful for the "new people" to get some guidance from us as to key concepts that relate to this project.

the idea

im thinking that it might be helpful to have some sort of "thought for the day" with content from within this project. a good example would be Lead by Example. For this to work, we could have a randmom page link, or a thought for the day or ??? Im willing to start it but i don't want to be the only one posting links. --Phalseid 04:12, 3 Oct 2006 (NZST)

the method

I think the best way to do it would be similar to how wikipedia organise the articles which go on the front page, where a cat is set up containing all the articles which the random selector picks from, but articles can only get into that cat when its ok'd by all the admins who wish to comment on it, so a cat of candidates-for-randomly-selectables-articles is needed too where they stay until ok'd. --Nad 04:17, 3 Oct 2006 (NZST)

the location

Since it would be a front-page affair, it could be an italic quote style in the top-left where the page title is (since the home page has no title). I'll put an example of what I mean on New Home in preparation. --Nad 04:23, 3 Oct 2006 (NZST)

I had put it there but Rob removed it so I guess either convince rob or put it somewhere else...


man‧i‧fes‧to [man-uh-fes-toh] plural: -toes.

a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, sovereign, or organization.
  • [Origin: 1640–50; < It; see manifest (adj.)]
  • Unabridged (v 1.0.1)
  • Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

man·i·fes·to (mn-fst) Pronunciation Key n. pl. man·i·fes·toes or man·i·fes··tos

A public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially of a political nature.

intr.v. man·i·fes·toed, man·i·fes·to·ing, man·i·fes·toes

To issue such a declaration.

[Italian, from Latin manifestus, clear, evident. See manifest.]


Other Manifestos

Other People of Note

Accounting and Resources

hey, great to see this started. i will do all i can to contribute/improve processes as they come up. From experierience, the first place a company needs organization/processes is accounting. I have some good material to contribute here, forthcoming. --Phalseid 06:46, 23 Jun 2006 (NZST)

Accounts are the foundation of the peer system too. Accounts when thought about more generically are actually based on the list of changes to the dimensions of resource within the organisation. At the lowest level of physics its all accounting! --Nad 09:43, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)
are you talking debits and credits in a sense? fascinating. im really excited to see what im about to learn thru this process. --Phalseid 14:57, 23 Jun 2006 (NZST)
The conservation laws (eg. conservation of momentum, and conservation of energy) are the universes funamental accounting system. It means that a debit on one dimension of resource must equate to equivalent credits over other dimensions. --Nad 10:26, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)
come from nothing...go back to nothing. --Phalseid 15:31, 23 Jun 2006 (NZST)
Peder, the term zero-sum game is normally applied to a situation, i believe, where the win/lose scenario applies to a system with multiple actors. So whatever I gain, you lose, so when you add up the amounts the sum is zero. As opposed to a situation where we can agree on a course of action that benefits everyone and the outcome is greater than zero. This applies to the realms of communication and competition and normally applies when modelling scenarios within the competitive environment of "The Marketplace"--Milan 10:43, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST) → Wikipedia:Zero-sum game
Indeed, nature is the ultimate example, showing us how in working together we can create abundance for all. Remember that there is no resource crisis on Earth, only a problem of a few greedy people keeping most of it for themselves even though they can't use it all. --Nad 11:58, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)

What if the system gets abused?

uh, a thought. what is the groupthink on companies that (i personally) we may have "ethical" problems with abusing this information? ie. spammers, etc. Does the wiki philosophy belief that good people > bad people apply here? can we keep the crap under control? milan, this goes back into our Manifesto discussion i think. aran, your thoughts? --Phalseid 06:56, 23 Jun 2006 (NZST)

The OD wiki is "mine", and therefore if I don't like something I'll change it, and if I don't like a user I'll delete them! After we release the p2p version, then there'll be no "global admins" and people can do what they like. Things like spam will not work in the new system the way the currently do because such patterns of behaviour are easily recognised by the system and results in less opportunity for the spammer. --Nad 09:41, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)
understood. my question was more of the "application" of the principles by the "bad guys" (yin?) . anyone can read it. (right?) is this system self-contained such that the processes only work WITHIN its own structure (which i doubt, but see my notes on history) or that the processes will work with a myriad of other tools. so my concern is that knowledge learned here can (and will) be mis-applied. if that makes sense. im fine just admitting it and moving on, but first, i have to admit it....--Phalseid 14:57, 23 Jun 2006 (NZST)
The evil principle of death is Yin - its natural and is required for the growth and evolution of the network. There is no life without death, potential can only exist within an environment of inherent reduction.
Actually the processes built within the network can only really work within the network, because they require nodal reduction to work, but the network can work with any legacy technology. The main power of the network is its holistic connectivity which only well supported ideas can benefit from, which will reduce the bad ideas to minimal resource, while great resource would support projects designed to stop bad things (not only in-network things, but external issues such as poverty, war and whaling). --Nad 10:05, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)

Supporting the Good with resource, Informed Choice

but does well supported="right"? War is usually "well supported" at some point. --Phalseid 15:11, 23 Jun 2006 (NZST)

Well that's where faith comes in - I believe that Humanity would do the right thing en-mass when they can see objectively the state of affairs and the right and wrong courses of action laid out before them. People are not inherently evil, its difficulty of circumstance, ignorance, denial etc that bring out these evil qualities. People being born in sin does not mean they are born evil, it simply means they are born into the illusion of not being God (the Source) --Nad 10:20, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)
I think that the word objectively is the key to the problem. by defenition, sin (missing the mark) is caused by a subjective lense of non-self-awareness. im not convinced that objectivity is possible to any degree. --Phalseid 15:28, 23 Jun 2006 (NZST)
Understanding the subjective and objective domains is also a foundation concept of the project. Absolute objectivity is obviously an ideal as is a perfect state of anything worldy. However objectivity can be very close to perfection in a holistic system and leads to harmony. --Nad 13:58, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)
Good point re wars there Peder. I'dd add to what aran said that our current leaders have mastered the art of "manufactured consent" where the populace is manipulated into supporting the most heinous actions of the state. --Milan
yeah. w's gulf war II for instance...i was brainwashed for a while, but something still didn't feel "right".
If the Germans had known the full potential extent of suffering unleashed by WW2 would they have supported Hitler? No way! But the propaganda machine came up with all these reasons why there needed to be a war, without ever talking about the dire consequences. Essentially we have a political environment which allows our leaders to lie. In a transparent system where all courses of action need to be judged by their merits and allowed to be compared with each other in order to gain support/resource for their implementation wars would be impossible to implement, also because it would be demonstrated that we are all people and for one part of humanity to harm another would be like one hand cutting off the other hand = complete insanity!--Milan 10:37, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)
can we reduce war to being about resources? (see debits and credits above...LOL). if so then it boils down to selfishness, or putting ones self above the greater good. this is why politicians (IMHO, except for the humble few who support term limits) do so much damage and why goverments eventually collapse under the weight of themselves....politicians are in general power hungy and only care about the next election and who is stuffing their coffers. important decisions about the fate of the enviroment are better left to stewards that undestand the "greater good." --Phalseid
One of the important underlying principles of the Project is : "Think Global, Act Local", most politicians, and here lies the problem, apply the direct reverse principle: "Think Local (me-and-my-family!) Act Global (wars and lies)". In biology you have the same represented by the cancer, which destroys the host organisam for it's own (local) benefit.--Milan 11:13, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)
This also ties in with subjective/objective, because subjectivity is by definition the local "filtered" point of view. Objectivity comes from widening the context out to the most global scale. --Nad 14:05, 24 Jun 2006 (NZST)

the project vs. google, an inconvenient truth, and peder plays devil's advocate....

damn, thought we lost this thread. found it by searching for recent changes and going back 7 days and 500 posts. no way to search summary, and all i could remember was the word WAX at this late hour. anyway, i may not be able to think cohesively at this moment, but I must contribute some information that is sitting on my brain and needs to be expulsed and worked on:

Yes it is a bottom up approach --Nad 16:35, 29 Jun 2006 (NZST)
  • 1 a) Is the crowd always right?
This question makes the assumptions that all "bottom-up" implementations rely on "the crowd always being right" --Nad 16:35, 29 Jun 2006 (NZST)


  • 1 b) i advocate an oligarchy. lets call a spade a spade.
  • 2) Do we ASSUME that the crowd is always right in the model of the project?

where does wisdom come in? or am i just stupid to assume this?

We assume that the crowd will always exhibit the best solutions, simply because statistically more people have more knowledge - how can the few have more knowledge than the many when the many also include the few. With organisation we can support and re-use these solutions. --Nad 10:28, 6 Jul 2006 (NZST)
Wisdom is knowledge shown through action consistently over time.
  • 3) If this truly is the Next Big Thing (which i now believe) then what is the opposite of it? This problem has been bothering me. Maybe Aran will argue that dis-order or lack of organization is the opposite. I know it is not chaos, because chaos is just ordered such that we don't(yet) undestand/can't grasp. (right?) But I will let Aran speak for himself... :) Aran?
Firstly "the next big thing", "the killer app" etc is all bullshit ego crap, forget that line of thought. The opposite to the project is an oligarchy.

To believe in the project is to reject caste. i get it. but aren't we just replacing caste with the word "education", or "access to certain resources"? --Phalseid 18:11, 5 Jul 2006 (NZST)

  • 4) it seems to me that the project is a bottom up approach. vs. google, which is a top down approach. could somebody bro me in on this aspect of the project?

same guy (see #1 above) posted this:

  • 6) how do you reconcile this with the fuzzy math that goes into the reports of global warming? (can't find the link i really wanted....damn)
It is very similar to fuzzy logic in some ways. --Nad 10:28, 6 Jul 2006 (NZST) --Phalseid 22:24, 28 Jun 2006 (NZST)

New Structure or manifesto as "shared vision"

After reading the 5Th Discipline and wanting to apply the concepts I am wondering whether we should apply the structure Senge suggests to express "what we believe in", which is in my opinion the purpose of the manifesto:

Vision is the "What" - the picture of the future we seek to create. Purpose (or "mission") is the "Why?" the organization's answer to the question, "Why do we exist?" Great organizations have a larger sense of purpose that transcends providing for the needs of shareholders and employees. They seek to contribute to the world in some unique way, to add a distinctive source of value. Core values answer the question "How do we want to act, consistent with our mission, along the path to achieving our vision?" A company's values might include integrity, openness, honesty, freedom, equal opportunity, leanness, merit or loyalty. They describe how the company wants life to be on a day-to-day basis, while pursuing the vision. --Senge, 1990, pp 223-224

That would mean creating three separate new docs or three sections of a new "Shared Vision" doc:

  • Vision is the "What" - the picture of the future we seek to create.
  • Purpose (or "mission") is the "Why?" the organization's answer to the question, "Why do we exist?" Great organizations have a larger sense of purpose that transcends providing for the needs of shareholders and employees. They seek to contribute to the world in some unique way, to add a distinctive source of value.
  • Core values answer the question "How do we want to act, consistent with our mission, along the path to achieving our vision?"

--Milan 19:28, 4 January 2008 (NZDT)

definitions of bottom-up

an organization in which the focus is on the individual employees, empowering them to influence decisions, and the administration encourages and supports their activities; the opposite of “top-down”


What is profit?

The concept of revenue exceeding expenditure is resolved as drawings and profit, which are different.

When a profit and loss account shows an excess, drawings are taken out first, and this is apportioned to the business owners in their capacity of workers for the business according to some agreed principle, generally involved with effort and complexity of task. This is still part of the work cycle. In some businesses it could be agreed that all excesses were apportioned in that way. If this were done then each owner would be responsible for some measure of investment in the business, as agreed.

The amount left once tax is paid is pure profit. Business owners will decide usually to reinvest some of it, and pay some to themselves by way of dividend. It is this last component which rewards owners by way of a margin for taking risk and for owning the plant needed to enable the business to run.

If the business were owned by some other entity, such as community organisation, then that would be responsible for coming up, inside itself, with strategies to deal with surpluses. It would also be expected of it that decisions about apportionment and reinvestment would have to be made in a way that benefited the business as a business, not as its creature.

What about the workers?

The issue of wages as an expense is a practical and moral issue. If the business is paying wages to workers who are exposed to none of the risks of business ownership, there is still an ethical preference and a practical incentive to distribute to them some agreed part of any surplus (generally in the form of shares, so they are exposed to some new risk commensurate with their new stake).

Notes cut from text

  • JW: mutual advancement and co-operation
  • Bottom-up: The Red Army (China) still (theoretically) has a ranking system where a private is at the top and the general at the bottom.
more specifically about this system
  • feedback & monitoring
  • 7 layers (sanctions)?

Leadership and Peer-based organisation

We need to add this aspect to the manifesto, which concerns the notion of the director role and leadership. Conflict in organisations can arise when people in the director's role think that the director is the leader in that the director can issue commands and order around people filling other roles. However, leadership is embedded in the system in a peer-based organisation. Peers need to create communications protocols that help them work together, in a way that embodies their beliefs and way of working. In our case, the systems need to be in accord with the manifesto. We still believe that it essential to have the director role filled in any organisation, however this is more in the sense of someone who fully embodies the manifesto in their being, who represents the group and makes alliances on behalf of the group as well as stepping back and looking at the big picture. With this attitude, the director can suggest a direction for the organisation. However, this is contingent on the agreement of the peers, the director cannot order other roles around just because he or she holds that title. Nor is the director role any more "secure" than the other roles in the organisation. It is subject to review, and with flagging performance or non-aligned behavbiour, the peers may elect to replace their director. This can also be looked at as a conflict in the way the role of director is perceived from the top-down mindset vis-a-vis the bottom up mindset.

I think another important aspect of this is that the role of "director" is a role like any other in that the person (or persons) filling that role are carrying out specific documented procedures which are all concerned with the organisations "direction". In a peer-based organisation the only "boss" who has authority is the system itself - and since that undergoes change through feedback over time, it may be "authoritative" over the members at any given time, but it is subject to their will in the longer term. --nad 09:28, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Emergent Benefits

In this section we will define the objectives we want to achieve with platforms. A significant part of our motivation to do this work stems from imagining the possibilities that are opened up from moving closer to these objectives. Some of them are emphasized here due to their relevance to the requirements of current times. These challenges include an increasing speed of change, growing political and economic uncertainty, and the need to implement solutions to a number of problems at great speed and on a massive scale. With all of this we cannot rely on the centralised, hierarchical organisations to come through with solutions. Instead, we need independent efforts at mass-collaboration to help us achieve a better future than the one in store for us if, as a global society, we fail to change quickly enough. Some of the objectives listed here may be stepping stones toward that good future.

The Learning Organisation

We refer here to the learning organisation as defined by Senge. Such an organisation continually expands its capacity to create its own future. Employees at such an organisation are there because they can share a larger vision with the others and in being a part of the organisation are following their own path to self-realisation. Being a member of a learning organisations means understanding ones own part in relation to the whole operation and working with the others to extend the definition of such an organisation. The employees therefore do not show up merely because they have "a job", the work encompasses personal mastery as well as team learning (two of the five disciplines Senge describes) and is embedded in systems thinking, the employees understanding their organisation as a system and refining it together through feedback and dialogue.

While Senge has been hailed as a leading thinker in management circles, we have not seen an uptake of his ideas on a large scale yet. If his ideas are so worthwhile and could address serious societal issues such as the increasing levels of alienation in workplaces, work-life balance and the sense of contributing to something meaningful, surely they should be applied swiftly within multinational corporations and governments? We hope that part of the solution to this lies in making available the tools required for people to easily form learning organisations.[1]

How do the criteria relate to the "building blocks" of the learning organisation, the five disciplines?
  • Systems thinking - this is implied since from the beginning we form the ontology as a system evolving through feedback and the communications amongst stakeholders is also system-related from the start.
  • Personal mastery - Personal mastery refers to the ability of someone to develop and hold a clear vision for their life while striving for a clear and objective view of the current situation. If someone can be honest while holding a vision, "creative tension" arises, which provides the driving force for self-improvement. A learning organisation must comprise members on a journey of personal growth ("being on the path"), for this is the foundation of other vital disciplines of the learning organisation, such as shared vision, where creative tension is created at the level of a whole organisation. To support this, tools for self organisation need to be provided by the organisation, as well as a number of educational programs from various disciplines and spiritual/philosophical leaders.[2] Personal mastery relates to the value of self-improvement and the criterion of "All Aspects Changeable" on a personal level. It encompasses a development of a clear personal vision, a commitment to the truth and the holding of creative tension between what is and what could be for the stakeholders. From this it can be seen how much of an overlap exists between the shared vision within the organisation and the personal vision of any given stakeholder.
  • Mental Models - This discipline points to the need to provide tools to uncover the mental models of stakeholders, to model, discuss and change them. From this a culture of decision-making arises, which is grounded on shared understanding. Within systems modelling software, aggregate data is used for analysis and simulation within organisations, possible interfaces for this would be related to TGAL and the Geoscope.
  • Shared vision - TGAL implies shared vision so if an organisation can fulfil the TGAL criterion, shared vision is a given. Software interface can show how shared vision relates to the role of the individual, development requirement for productivity apps. Openness and completeness are also important criteria for establishing true shared vision.
  • Team learning - Team learning refers to the ability of stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue, to remain objective and able to discuss each others' strengths and weaknesses (this benefits from an application of personal mastery, of course) and balance advocacy with enquiry. A "collaborative" organisation provides tools for dialogue which support team learning, a wiki is very good for this aspect, it is a medium that just about enforces team learning. An organisation interested in team learning will therefore foster an organisational culture of dialogue and develop effective dialogue procedures for "face to face" processes such as meetings. With our approach, such procedures and techniques will be included with any organisational templates we develop.

The Seed, Self-containment

Completeness gives rise to self containment, because it means that every aspect of itself is part of the description. Combined with the concept of openness (in the sense of making it as widely accessible as possible) allows this description to act as a seed which can grow in diverse environments. It can grow because all aspects required to create the same kind of organisation are made available in an active reproducible way.

Independence & Resilience

We must accept that we currently depend on corporations and the financial agenda to some extent because the bottom-up systems cannot currently manufacture hardware and other necessities. But we must bear in mind that we need to strive for ever more independence and use open-source community developed solutions where ever practical.

Applying this principle successfully leads to decentralisation. We believe that people should have as much local autonomy as they need in order to make decisions and live their lives. We would like to practise localness on Organic Design by working with people who are providing localised solutions and creating tools to allow individuals and organisations move from dependence to independence to interdependence. There are many forms this striving can take: In the creation of software tools we aim to give people the ability to change the tools in any way they wish without needing to be specialists, and without needing anyone's consent. In doing work for clients, this means giving the client all the information and settings they need to solve their own problems or choosing other contractors if necessary.

Another aspect of independence is network connectivity. Many remote groups do not have readily available Internet access and many more people will be in this position if some of the larger problems get worse, such as the credit crisis, peak oil or the environment. The network of re-usable knowledge and organisation needs to be able to operate with minimal technology if necessary and this means a strong lean towards established convention rather than heavy reliance on high-level applicational features.

Applying this principle successfully leads to organisational strength and adaptability. We live in times of uncertainty and change, therefore we follow the principle of resilience, which allows us to adapt to circumstances, so that we are not devastated by rapid or intense change such as natural catastrophes or war. We know that over a long time and geographic span all kinds of events can happen. Rather than hoping it will always strike somewhere else, we can prepare for it and maintain agility. The Resilience Alliance puts it like this: "We define resilience, formally, as the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure and feedbacks - and therefore the same identity." Source:

We practise resilience here on Organic Design by making sure data is backed up and regularly in a distributed way and that any IT infrastructure we set up comes with procedures for disaster recovery.

Technology Independence

Reuse & Utilisation

An often-overlooked obstacle to achieving sustainability is the need to "reinvent the wheel" throughout our society. If we could effectively reuse our collective creativity and extend each other's ideas we could as a whole get by with much less work and drudgery. An example of this would be to create a best-practice procedure for a client and then to add it to a shared repository of best-practice procedures. There are often technical and language barriers to this form of reuse, meaning that we have to keep re-inventing solutions other people have already perfected somewhere. However, the main obstacle to reuse is legal and commercial in nature, specifically it is the intellectual property concept. We don't believe that information should cost money whether its binary or conceptual. Only the things which have a direct correspondence to resource should cost money such as man-hours, processing or storage.

While proper reuse allows us to free up an abundance of time, utilisation is the key to freeing up vast material abundance for the people of the Earth. If we could properly manage and share our resources we could all be wealthy and live in a sustainable society. Think about the fact that in any so-called developed country even people in the same house or block are unable to share household tools or vehicles, requiring everyone to own everything, even the things they only need ever so rarely. Can we afford to apply this kind of wasteful behaviour to the entire planet?

Duties of the Masters

These are a summary of the four duties of the Masters in "The Path of the Masters" by Dr. Julian Johnson.

  • connect people to the audible life stream (the Source)
  • Teach people the Way (Tao)
  • Lead by example (be a perfect instance of the Tao)
  • Work on bringing harmony to the whole world (the Project)

The third duty logically means that we should also adopt these duties as best we can in our non-enlightened state. But also, since the Tao teaches that the whole is the macrocosm and the person the microcosm, the aim of the project is to implement these duties as objectives encoded into the mechanism of the global system.

  1. Hopefully one day we will be comfortable just assuming that an organisation is of the learning kind; so that we will just say organisation" when we mean "learning organisation".
  2. Examples for such tools would be the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" developed by Steven Covey, or David Allen's "Getting Things Done" a.k.a "GTD" methodology. The challenge is to seamlessly integrate these methodologies with productivity software such as "groupware" (email, tasks, scheduling, etc.) and project management software used by organisations.