Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Organic versus active or planned design.

I helped facilitate a workshop this week where we discussed the pros and cons of taking control of your design from a top down holistic perspective as opposed to allowing the business to evolve without intervention i.e. organically.

One of the interesting points to come out as ever was language.

Organic growth to some particularly finance people means growth from within as opposed to growth through mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

To others it means growth without intervention using the agricultural analogy of organic growth being growth without  inputs - fertilisers or chemicals. Organic also means to some natural growth or growth without human intervention. Organic design as described by the building architect Frank Lloyd Wright meant design in line with nature; he argued that form and function were one and form would naturally evolve from function..

All of these interpretations mean growth within - neither party is wrong here, it is just a different perspective due to richness of the English language.

I understand the issue and that the word organic means different things to different people; so the learning point here is to make sure the audience does hear something or reach an interpretation  that you didn't intend. Be ready to step inside others shoes and see where there use of language is taking them.

Organic growth in design terms means "Businesses become what they become" whilst  in the case of Planned or Active Design "Businesses become as they are designed". In other words businesses evolve through the default  "survival of the fittest" rather than by management taking active control and directing holistic business change.

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