Healthy growth is multidimensional

Learning to think and relate in multiple dimensions, is consequential for the health of a growing ventures, and of the health of all they are affecting.

Yesterday Adrian Cockcroft spoke at Plus Eight Boosted – events where global experts assist scaling ventures. He spoke about two things that triggered an appreciation of the very ways in which our conceptions, communication and organisation are isomorphic with what we ‘create’.

The two things he spoke about were:

1) Three aspects of “what goes wrong with” (and presumably can go right) with startups, and described the relationship of those three things as ‘orthogonal’ i.e. related at right angles, so defining three ‘dimensions’,

2) Conway’s law its inverse and reverse. He gave cases of how desk arrangements (e.g. Netflix) and relationships between teams within organisations (e.g. AWS) reflect, or can be designed to influence, the architecture of the products and services they create.

I appreciated:

a) thinking about growth, scale, patterns, design, threats and vulnerabilities in at least three dimensions and likely four (time), and

b) the consequential relationship between what we normally consider to be different, uncorrelated contexts thought, communication, structural relations and physical arrangements, and

c) the consequences of those relationships within influential organisations (e.g. AWS), for human domains (e.g. 34% of cloud-based software services).

Plant growth kinematics: orthogonals, orientations and evolutions

These three appreciations provide a profoundly different context for thinking about the implications of how design, code, measure, communicate or organise.

Suddenly, using ‘flat’, static, or separate models (e.g. drawn on a page, coded on a screen, graphed on an x-y axis, or inconsiderate of other dimensions) are highly consequential.

Separately, Adrian wrote, if “consciousness is an intrinsic capability of things all the way down to inanimate objects, [that] the object has to have a mechanism for adaptively modeling its health and environment to be conscious.”.

And perhaps: if we are the mechanism for consciously evolving and enabling the health of humans and our environment (all the way up and down), we must do this adaptively using appropriately multidimensional and healthy: mental models, modes of communication, and organisations.