Ton Zijlstra has been reflecting

Ton Zijlstra has been reflecting on muliple conversations among bloggers on how to collaborate to do work. He discusses a model where groups of freelance consultants join together to work on specific client problems in groups that dissolve and reform differently for the next client. He writes

Personally I think this has potential as it combines the best of the independent single consultant (geared to the problem, not to off the shelf copies of previous solutions, flexible, versatile, agile) and the bigger consultancy organisations (authority by wider reputation, explicit bodies of knowledge e.g. toolkits), and might even turn out to be the basic enterprise model of the future: ad hoc virtual organisations of people from within a wider network, emerging around a specific question or issue, melting back into that wider network after the need has been fulfilled. These types of organisations are intrinsically geared to delivering value, not to merely furthering their own continuity.

This makes sense to me in many ways. Perhaps what this amounts is that organisations will continue but their lifecycles will accelerate. In some ways that’s quite a scary thought, since many of us attach some value to elements of stability in our lives. It’s the old paradox of structure and freedom.

4 thoughts on “Ton Zijlstra has been reflecting

  1. Ton Zijlstra

    Maybe it’s less scary when we realise that the stability will then come from the network, and our place in it. It resembles the stability gained from the surrounding social fabric in pre-industrial times, or as it existed in villages until a few decades ago. The difference being that this social fabric is now much less coupled to fixed geographical locations, and / or family ties, but more to networks based on mutual interest, curiousity and being able to get along with eachother as networkpartners.

  2. Johnnie Moore

    Yes. I also think that geographical proximity must not be excluded from the thinking. Human relationships have formed face-to-face for many thousands of years and we’re hard wired for that kind of contact. The best virtual networks create face-time… Dave Snowden talks about the power of places like New Zealand and Western Canada to create communitarian ideas…

  3. Taran

    Density and distribution of people within different parts of the organization themselves is key. The bottom line remains the people involved, and their synergy.


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