Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Thursday, May 6, 2004day link 

 William Torbert’s Nine Developmental Frames
picture From Empowerment Illustrated, a mention of Action Inquiry and William Torbert's nine "developmental frames":
A system for understanding people and their roles in life is explained at Martin Leith's Resources site. William Torbert analysed autobiographies and found 9 developmental frames that represent a 'journey of life'. They are:

1. Impulsive (Conception)
2. Opportunist (Investments)
3. Diplomat (Incorporation)
4. Technician (Experiments)
5. Achiever (Systemic Productivity)
6. Strategist (Collaborative Enquiry)
7. Magician / Witch / Clown (Foundational Community)
8. Ironist (Liberating Disciplines)
9. Sage / Cron
Those levels or frames are described in detail in Martin Leith's site. It is quite intriguing. I like the progression of archetypes getting more and more mystical. I'm not sure I really buy the exact progression. Some of it seems a little arbitrary to me, or a little off. I'm not sure they're even a sequence. But interesting and useful, nevertheless. In part for recognizing what roles people are playing within an organization. Like, a Magician at level 7 is somebody who's likely to create transformation around them, changing paradigms, but without anybody recognizing they're doing it. Anyway, if I had to find myself on the list, it would probably be the Strategist, although I recognized myself also in Technician, and in Magician.
[ | 2004-05-06 08:22 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Anarchy, Open Source/Content and Value Systems
picture Interesting article by Gerald Gleason.
In trying to think about the success factors for Open Source (OS) projects, and evaluate their character and structure, as well as thinking about extending this idea to other areas, I had the insight that the essential character of OS project organization is anarchy. As a political/intellectual movement, Anarchy is probably the most pure form of Libertarianism. Forget any associations you may have with the idea of creating anarchy in communities or societies by throwing bombs and other disruptive acts, since these are both factually incorrect, and have nothing to do with what Anarchy advocates. The correct association is of anarchy with "a state of nature", the Garden of Eden, if you will.

Humans, being highly social animals with highly advanced systems for communication of symbolic knowledge, have the ability to impose rules of all sorts on this original state. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this, but history shows many examples where "the rules" become highly oppressive. In tribal societies, the social unit is a small group where social "norms" can operate effectively, and it can be argued that the "norms" are essential for the survival of the tribe, but human development did not stop there. With the development of agriculture, the stage was set for creating hierarchical structures, monetary systems and large scale warfare (i.e. beyond inter-tribal conflicts for territory).

It is well know that Libertarian thought is pervasive in the highly technical software development community, and it is easy to see the attraction of these ideas to a class of highly intelligent, somewhat individualistic people. Add youth to that, and you get a lot of contempt for conventional systems of power and authority. In the beginnings of the software industry, there wasn't much of a market for additional copies of specific programs, and a lot of development happened in academic and other research labs, so there wasn't much thought or attention from the capitalists. Programmers freely shared their code with anyone who asked, and nobody thought about cashing in by selling millions of copies of a program. Richard Stallman created the GPL in reaction to the way code sharing was being closed down by the potential to cash in by selling code over and over. [...]

All of this is the essence of an anarchistic organizational system. Yes, formal structures are developed and put in place, but only with the tacit support of the community. It only works because everyone is free to participate or not, according to their desires and interests. There would be no debate about any of this if we weren't embedded in a system of market capitalism where value is equated with money, and money is necessary for each of us to be able to live and make choices. [...]

The bottom line is that while monetary systems and markets work well to efficiently distribute scarce commodities, they also tend to simplify complex systems of values into a single dimension, and they are particularly bad at promoting the efficient development of IP resources that gain their greatest value the more widely they are shared. It should be clear to most of us by now that this one-dimensional value system becomes non-functional in an information economy, as well as undervaluing the diversity and quality of the natural environment necessary for our long-term survival. The way forward will involve the emergence of new value systems based on sharing of information. To get there from here, we need to operate in the context of market capitalism, and actually exploit it to fund the transformation. This will involve convincing those who control the money to fund the rapid development of the IP Commons for the benefit of everyone.
Indeed. A one-dimensional value system no longer works, as our collective relationships become more complex and multi-dimensional. The purpose of an economy is to facilitate the valuation, distribution and coordination of items we need for living, and which we don't already possess. An economy and an organizational system that is based on centralized control and valuation by only one parameter is no longer adequate. Effective coordination among free people, who basically can do what they feel like, is certainly a harder problem. But not unsolvable, if we recognize that a new paradigm is required. The payoff can be enormous.
[ | 2004-05-06 10:07 | 8 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Who owns what
Via Puzzle Pieces: Who Owns What from Columbia Journalism Review. An overview of what major media companies own. And, yes, we need ways of visualizing it.
[ | 2004-05-06 10:14 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]

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