Emergence and Flocking - From the OSLIST Archives

Deborah Hartmann deborah at hartmann.net
Thu May 31 17:38:32 PDT 2007

Oh, by the way: upon re-reading, I note that this line is misleading:

 > there is no way to meet all three goals at once.

In fact, it is better put this way:

 > there is no way to meet all three goals separately, simultaneously, 
given these resources.

This is because the "aha!" of the exercise is that it IS possible to 
meet all three goals with a single, more complex solution in which all 
participate :-)

Deborah Hartmann wrote:
> On groups, and simple rules.
> Did a really interesting exercise recently:  this is different from 
> flocking, but it's about self-organization when three "flocks" come 
> together... which is the "wall" many self-organizing teams hit within 
> the organisation.
> 1) Give three sub-groups three different, simple objectives, which 
> seem to conflict.
> 2) Tell them all to achieve their own team's goals.
> 3) They must not make any sounds.
> 4) Let them go in a room of limited resources: all teams need to 
> manipulate the same resources in their own way to "win", and there is 
> no way to meet all three goals at once.
> Watch people go from
> * blind obedience
> * to defying and foiling one another,
> * to standing still, puzzled,
> * to standing still, observing,
> * to modeling different behaviour,
> * to collaborating,
> * to success for everyone.
> Isn't this a bit like what happens in Open Space? People come, each 
> with their own agenda. Some "pro" and some "con" and some for the fun 
> of it and other for the networking, and yet others don't know why they 
> came. And now we start to dance... :-)
> People go thru these at different paces, so some are leaders, some are 
> followers. Everyone succeeds.
> It's a really fun exercise to watch - keep your vidcam out :-)
> I think Diana Larsen may have participated in this exercise... Diana, 
> wasn't it fun?
> lol
> deb


Deborah Hartmann
Agile Process Coach
deborah AT hartmann DOT net
mobile: fouronesix 996 4337

"Learn the principle, 
abide by the principle, and 
dissolve the principle." 
-- Bruce Lee

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