Monday, 26 May 2014

The two worlds side by side

An excerpt from the book Homo Imitans by Leandro Herrero:

Mr Sapiens and Mr Imitans live in different places, but though they should build bridges between them and then use them every day, they should also be very mindful of their different worlds. World II objectives cannot be achieved in world I territory. Social infections (world II) are not created by posters. Revolutions are not announced. Well, not usually. Social movements and cultures are not created by training.

Communication (world I) is not change.

As the figure on the previous page illustrates, the maths of world II could not be more different from the maths of world I. Attrition is to world I what build/scale-up is to world II. World II effects start small, often unnoticed, with selected behaviours being practiced by a small number of individuals.

These are then copied by people in their immediate circle of influence and create ‘clusters of new behaviours’: true new critical masses, copied and spread by others like an infection, eventually generating ‘new norms’.

Let’s look at the differences between world I and world II in some real-life organizational examples. Note that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the contents of world I, but its main problem is poor scalability and sustainability, for which it needs the help of world II as we will see later on. When you look at the highlights in each column, you may have lots of questions.

Don’t worry, as the rest of the book will hopefully answer all of them. For now, it’s enough to simply appreciate the differences or perhaps increase your awareness of which world you spend most of your time in.

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