Here is another very special episode of my podcast devoted to self-managing organisations and the future of organisational life in general. This time we sat down with Magnus Lindkvist, a trendspotter and futurologist who weaves together the most important and exciting current trends to forecast what life, society and business might look like in the future. It was a great chat with Magnus about the future shape of organisations and leadership.
“Metaphorically we can look at the organisations either as spiders or starfishes. A spider has a central nervous system, it has a head, it has eyes, it has legs coming out from its body, etc. It is operated from the central nervous system. If you cut a spider in two, it inevitably dies. Now, starfish, if you look from a distance, can actually look like a spider. There are ‘things’ coming out from its middle which could almost look like legs, although not eight, there are five of them. But there is no central nervous system in a starfish. Cut it in two and it does not die, it becomes two starfishes, each of them capable of independent life. Most of the modern organisations we work for, invest in and do business with are like spiders. They have headquarters, there is a pyramid-like organisational structure, there is a mission statement, there is a business plan and so on. They operate very much like a spider. At the same time you can see these new ways of organising and being, which are a lot more like starfishes – self-governed and without a central nervous system in place – to emerge. We can for the first time actually start to visualise what a world without hierarchical leadership, or at least a world without a central nervous system, might look like. I find these two ways of thinking of organisations to be very useful. It is metaphorical, but it is a useful map of what organisations will be and become in the future. I do not necessarily believe that spiders will die out, but I think we are going to see a lot more of the starfish organisations around.” – Magnus Lindkvist
Listen and enjoy!