A lot of organisations feel like closed systems with a clear division of labour and a natural tendency towards compliance. No wonder that the focus of the discussion is shifting towards the way we organise and work together, also outside organisational boarders. We believe in an open design: an organizational design that stimulates adaptability through cooperation, that fosters change based on external and contextual sensitivity and trustful cooperation.

thriving organisation_

Why an open design?

Organisations started to live their own lives. A life where continuity, financial performance and growth, became the most important goals. Making budget became more important than purpose and value creation. People have lost their common purpose and cooperation has become the way to survive based on distrust. Leading to self absorbed organisations, losing connection with reality.

So an open system is crucial to reconnect with reality and the creativity within the organisation and to finally disrupt organisations that run aground. For a system to thrive it needs to be an open system, creating a platform for new ideas, experiments and development journeys. And above all, there needs to be a natural tendency to adapt accordingly. Unfortunately most companies are closed systems where innovation doesn’t thrive and teams don’t advance enough.

How do you create an open design?

We believe that focussing on the organising principle sustains your resilience to adapt based on external challenges. We also believe that we all need to rethink the way we look at the division of labour and that it is important to empower people to act intrinsically based on external and contextual sensitivity. Furthermore, an essential element is to incorporate duality in your goal setting and that you decide based on abundance in the entire value chain in order to lift the whole industry and/or sector.

From adopting tot adapting

People are dynamic and innovative – organisations aren’t. If organisations learned to adapt effectively to their environment through their employees, rather than making large investments to ensure employees follow orders and adopt procedures, a lot would change. Most traditional organisations still derive trust from manuals, job descriptions and hierarchy. In doing so, a lot of organisations are pinned down. A strong hierarchy often results in people looking upward instead of outward and inward. This asks for a new way of approaching the way you design cooperation, empowering people to self-assess their activities based on their strength and the collective ambition, instead of looking at their job description.

From organisation to organising principle

More and more we hear that organisations need to get back to the purpose of organising to regain grip on their future. It seems a nice way to put a hold on the fragmentation and speed of disruption. The question is how to regain grip together based on trust. You don’t want to invent a new organisation form, but instead should concentrate on the evolutionary organising principle. The rise of self-organising teams in organisations should therefore be treated in its purest form. So, learning people in teams to self-organise instead of adopting another dominant model. By helping teams to find their organising principle they return to their purpose, consequently organising themselves to reach their goals.

Thinking about and acting out of today and tomorrow

Thirdly, we believe that there should be a duality in the way you organise yourself. Most innovation is handled in designated departments or even outside the company boarders. We believe it should be in the DNA of every employee and team to explore new opportunities and therefore make it part of your organising principle and day to day work.

Think shared value

Thinking with shared value in mind starts with trust and believing in abundance. Game theory tells us that value is created when we do what’s good for ourselves and for the system. So what does that mean for your organizational border, getting out of the box and freeing potential? Is it possible to broaden your perspective towards your sector or your value chain and take decisions that create value for the whole system?


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