7.0 The psychoactive organisation

‘Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.’ ~ Viktor Frankl

This section of the Emergent Code chronicles is a look at the organisational dynamics of a digitised society, the gestalt of movements and organisations, what they form around, and how.

Psychoactive organisations are smart because they have a strategic neuroplasticity. They know when neurons fire together, they wire together. They’re comfortable working in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.

A psychoactive organisation is intelligently networked, emotionally aware, participative and dynamic. These organisations form positive relationships around real-time, they favour dynamically linked and open data. They treat the world like a learning laboratory and they share that learning as educators.

Psychoactive organisations know that the pursuit of continuous, improved connectivity is the route to future prosperity and they’re the antidote to unresponsive, zombie economy and ‘uncanny valley’ management practices.

A Machiavellian view of power has prevailed that’s led to closed business cultures and corporate dissonances. Marketing has often created organisations that are geared around projecting hoopla but that ultimately ring hollow and are hard to believe in. In the majority of countries now, there’s a below 50 percent level trust in business. For governments, that figure is even lower.

Psychoactive organisations are natives of the knowledge economy. They’re comfortable working with intangibles values, and data flows generated by interaction. They’re motivated by core, closely held beliefs and are geared to delivering against them. They’re about doing and making measurable impact. Crucially, they let the data do the talking.

You can recognise a psychoactive organisation by its emotional intelligence. It will not need a lot of structure to get results, just the space for committed individuals to speak freely. Their cultures reject the mimicry of inauthentic relationships. They seek out uncomfortable truths and the unflinching pursuit of soundly curated data loops in the support of their values and goals.

The ‘teachability’ inherent in the mindset of the psychoactive organisation is a key to unlocking freedoms, fostering trust, reducing blind spots, increasing reliability and creating paths of continual progress. This may sound like an ideal,

This may sound like an ideal. It is also a digital imperative. Of the companies within the FTSE 100 in 1999, more than half had left the index by 2014, just 15 years later. We have an investment crisis on our hands with this illustration. It demonstrates just how much we’re experiencing an increasing fluidity and impermanence to organisation.

15 years is now the average lifespan of the world’s largest corporations. Professor Richard Foster at Yale University estimates that, by 2020, more than 75% of the S&P 500 will be companies not even heard of yet, such is the changing nature of today’s operational landscape.

It takes alert and connected organisation to maintain agility these days. The digitalisation of commerce and community encourages us to live in the ‘extreme present‘, as Marshal McLuhan once predicted. There is a chance to ramp up how we develop our skills of organisation and to bring new intelligences to bear in the digital age in doing so.

Digital interactivity gives us a better finger on a bigger pulse and a closer connection to the zeitgeist at any point in history, with innovation and responsiveness now increasingly crucial aspects of how we organise for advantage.

This section highlights how business and communities can move towards more fluid forms of organisation as part of business modelling. It will look at how closing the gap between stimulus and response increases resonance and reduces the risk of big data magnifying error. It will consider the new civilisations that might emerge in the digital era and showcase frameworks for developing sustainable opportunities in digital organisation.