The “So What” of Wirearchy

The following was provided by Jon Husband in July 2016 as background to our conversations on Structure & Flow.

About three years ago, when first developing the notion of Wirearchy, a friend who is the Dean of a well-known business school said: “Interesting idea – and so what?”

Here’s a first stab. Nothing really different than the many prognostications that have suggested that the impacts of the interconnectedness of the Internet will be large, but it’s my version – let me know what you think, or how it can be improved and/or made more meaningful.

  1. For all intents and purposes, personal computers didn’t exist 40 years ago. In fact, 20 years ago they were very rare
  2. In the same sense, the Internet ‘began’ about 30 years ago.
  3. For most people, mass consciousness of the interconnected WorldWide Web began about 8 years ago – in 1994/1995.
  4. Today, there is a globe-girdling infrastructure of interconnectedness, which will only continue to grow.
  5. Wireless capabilities do not nullify ‘wirearchy’, because the wireless capability will always be built upon the completely – interconnected wired infrastructure
  6. Through the development of the "Semantic Web", it’s likely we will continuously have more access to more structure and context-based information.
  7. Using interconnected knowledge, we (collectively) MAY continue to move along a continuum from Data to Information to Knowledge to Meaning.
  8. Due to interconnectedness and the behavior of networks, organizations will become more and more “transparent” to networks of customers and stakeholders.
  9. Hierarchy is still a necessary condition for decision-making – about where to direct efforts and how to go about doing some things.
  10. However, the nature of hierarchy will be strongly impacted, in a real sense, by ubiquitous access to information and knowledge. As decision-making and control is pushed or pulled out to customers and employees, fundamental aspects of power and control are dispersed to the edges – to multiple nodes of networks.
  11. There’s so much information and knowledge available that intelligent filters or membranes (meme-brains 😉 are required to manage the double-feedback loop that includes executives, managers, customers and employees.
  12. This fundamental shift in power and control will (eventually) necessitate more open and fluid organizational structures and dynamics (organizations will have to be more open and more focused at the same time).
  13. The logical conclusion to this shift is a new paradigm or principle called Wirearchy.
  14. Over time (the next 5 – 10 years ?), the evolution of Wirearchy implies that certain patterns of decision-making will work their way into peoples’ daily lives – both work and personal. These patterns will be embedded in software, the Internet and the personal tools used by people (such as clothes, appliances, vehicles, and personal and work spaces).
  15. This interconnected electronic ‘atmosphere’ will continuously become smarter and more useful.  This in turn will lead to patterns of behavior, and the use of knowledge and decision-making tools and processes, that wil drive a real evolution of both conscious and unconscious dynamics.
  16. These major changes will accumulate and reinforce the buildup of control and power embedded in the interconnected capabilities of the Internet.

This will be both good and bad for us. But it will be real.


For more information, contact the content author, Jon Husband, via twitter.

Content (c) 2016 Jon Husband, published with permission of the author, 7/18/16.


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