Emergence and Flocking - From the OSLIST Archives

Deborah Hartmann deborah at hartmann.net
Thu May 31 05:23:33 PDT 2007

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?



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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