So how do we operate? Well, we don't use hierachies, project plans, graphs, charts, organisational infrastructures, offices or timesheets. Instead we utilise two simple techniques, one to define our relationships to each other, and the other to implement activities. We'll look at the two techniques, then we will discuss the theory behind them.
Peers and Proxies
Individuals in our network can never be hired or fired. They have no fixed job title and any label or fixed is applied temporarily (for the duration of a project or task) to the relationship they have to one or more tasks, roles, responsibilites or people. This is a relativistic way of looking at roles and responsibilities.
Relations can be broken down into two distinct types. These are the Peer and the Proxy.
A peer is someone who works with you on an ad hoc basis. Neither party is responsible directly to the other, or tells the other what to do. Help is offered, not asked for. Peers keep each other informed of activities in the most passive manner possible. There may or may not be a two way exchange of values.
A peer is a collaborator, an enabler, an associate and a friend. Working peer relationships are built without expectation and may be terminated at any time by either party. The most effective peer relationships involve clear communications and ideally peers should keep to their word and do whatever they have commited to do, though this shouldn't be enforced.
Sometimes someone will agree to do something then change their mind later on. This is normal. A strong peer relationship and can involve full collaboration. A weak peer relationship may involve occasional meetings to discuss individual progress or even just a mutual exchange of web links on the internet.
A proxy is someone who has been given responsibility to manage some part of another person's network, take responsibility for an asset or to assist someone in a task. A proxy becomes a peer (in a sense, they are fired as a proxy) if expectations are not met or objectives are not successfully achieved. At this point the role may be taken on by another proxy.
Let's look at some examples.
John is working on a tune I wrote. He is the 'producer' on my 'song'. He is also working with Jane on a herb garden. They are 'collaborating' on the garden. John is my proxy, Jane is John's peer.
John decides he can't work to my specifications and asks if he can remix my tune. He takes it away to work on in his own time. I ask Jane to fix my garden and offer to pay her fifty pounds upon completion. John is now my peer and Jane is my proxy.
Meanwhile Jane asks if I can work with John fixing her shelf. I ask John, he says sure. I am Jane's proxy (I am working for her fixing her shelf) and John is Jane's peer (He's working in her environment but is not directly responsible to her) and my proxy (He's responsible to me for the duration of the shelf fixing exercise. I may have to negotiate payment with him, and with her!). Jane is still my proxy (she's fixing my garden) and we are all peers when we sit down later in the evening and have a discussion about quantum relativistic duality.
We are only peers in terms of a task or responsibility. We are only peers in terms of our relationships.
Larger tasks can be assembled through the recursive application of this model. By working through other people we can have our ideas interpreted and expanded upon by others. If we do not want to be told what to do or instructed, it is better if we are peers. If the task involves some responsibility, or we need guidance or to work to a timescale because of a dependency it is better to be a proxy.
A simple application. Project management using recursive trees.
Step 1 I assemble a list on Facebook, using a group. I transmit the word 'Go' to the group. Each member is expected to return 'Recieved' as a comment as soon as possible. I start with a list of 20 people. 5 people return 'Recieved' within a day of the transmission. I delete the other 15 members, and add another 15. I type 'Go' again. This time I get eleven responses. I keep going, doing the same thing until I've had 15 responses. The list is ready to be utilised operationally.
Step 2 I transmit 'Go to Primrose hill, 11pm 18th August'. 5 people return 'Recieved'. 4 people return 'Accepted'. When I go to Primrose Hill 3 people turn up. I explain the process to each of these 4 people and tell them to compile their own lists using the technique outlined in Step 1.
Step 3 I transmit 'Retransmit. Go to Primrose hill, 8 pm 24th August'. This time 3 people return 'Retransmitted' followed by a number. This is the number of people that have returned 'Accepted' when they retransmitted my command 'Anshu: Go to Primrose hill, 8 pm 24th August' through the list. The first number is 7, the second is 2, the third is 3. So I expect 3+7+2+3=15 people to turn up. 12 people arrive at Primrose Hill at the appointed time.
Step 4 Someone transmits a command to me, I retransmit it through my list. This is a 2 way channel. I start to make my commands more complicated and build different lists for different purposes 'Retransmit to architects, go to Map Music 29th August, 6pm, bring friends and plans for project UKCreate.com/artinstallation/V2 for discussion about next steps'. I am now ready to use the network to plan and implement projects.
Multi dimensional relational fractal recursive temporal trees
Tasks are constructed using a relational network working towards an objective or goal. The recursive assembly of a network forms a temporal tree, or bifurcating chain. Responsibility is handed down the tree, which is a temporal dimensional extension from a node. This is also how the neural network of a brain operates. The tree may be multi dimensional. Dimensions are different axes, built on requirements, skills etc, rather than top-down as in the traditional organisation. When the tree is recursive it breaks down infinitely in a predictable way. Any organisational behaviour may be simulated using this model.When trees feed back into themselves, fractal behaviour emerges. This is basically what you're seeing when you're tripping out ;-)
Dimensional Has many attributes, aspects or directions.
Temporal Exists in time, or is temporary.
Relational Objects exist only in relation to each other, not in an absolute sense.
Recursive Items repeat as they break down, in a self-similar manner.
Bifurcation An element breaks into two parts. It is possible for elements to break down into more than two parts at a time, this could be described as Trifurcation etc.
Fractal When an element feeds into itself, unexpected things happen, infinite universes emerge.
Node A point in a network.