"Where all of the edges meet, you get this astonishing conversation."
Organization design expert, Naomi Stanford, has drawn my attention to a great talk by poet and philosopher, David Whyte. In Life at the frontier: The conversational nature of reality (see below), Whyte eloquently sets out his thoughts on what he describes as the "incredible conversation of life."
There is much in what he says that resonates with my notion of organizations as dynamic networks of self-organizing conversations – not least when he refers briefly to the conversational nature of organizational reality. At the same time, Whyte applies the term "conversation" to a wide variety of settings in the world at large, in which there is a coming together of disparate entities – both living and man-made, known and unknown. As such, he uses the term metaphorically, whereas I use it literally. That is to say, I see an organization literally as the ongoing act of communication between human beings in the currency of their everyday interactions.
So to what extent does Whyte’s idea of the conversational nature of reality mesh with this?