Holonic philosophy, as shared here, is the attempt to take a scientific approach and apply it to social organizations. Functionally, the way this happens has its own scientific process:

(1) Examine an organizational type and state clearly the goals of that organization. In Koestler’s formulation this would be the Gestalt-Form. In the Exponential Organizational model this is called the “Massive Transformative Purpose,” or MTP. For example, if it is a corporation that provides a software platform for connecting people, it might be “to connect the world.

(2) Figure out what fundamentals are related to the health of that organization. For example, if the goal of the organization is connecting people, there are probably ways to see how well this is working. How many people does the network have? How often do they communicate with each other?

(3) Find quantifiable mechanisms to see how well this is working. Once you’ve managed to prioritize goals related to the health of the organization, track them and optimized For example, dashboarding solutions as documented here

(4) Create motivational and accountability mechanisms. For example, it is shown that, for humans, small achievable goals create positive momentum that leads to more being accomplished than gigantic goals that may or may not be achievable.

This structure is remarkably flexible, and can apply to all types of organizations. In fact, it might even be sufficient to determine whether or not there is coherence at all in an organization. For example, in certain forms of cellular life, this coherence happens at the quantum level. Alignment at this level is probably what is most necessary.

Along these lines, this applies equally well to organizations such as a “church” as to corporations. For example, such an organization might have the purpose of “inspiring people and encouraging them to live in love.” When you have that, you might realize that certain ways of approaching problems are not conducive to that overall goal and that you need to embrace a new type of ‘love’ based metrics (perhaps including the latest in neuroeconomics research, among other things).

Equally important in Holonic philosophy is the continual fractal and nested nature of these structures. All of these goals and optimization happens equally importantly (and perhaps even more importantly) at the level of individuals. If the individual is not well, it is unlikely that the “corporate” manifestation will produce good fruit. Additionally, the process of social organization should be one of synchronization and not coercion. Once an individual has identified their purpose for living and is able to articulate it, he/she will be better able to aggregate with others who share it.

“Health” here is a very useful word, insofar as there are clear things which indication of sickness, as well as types of performance that are aligned with the goals of an organization which can continually be optimized. Additionally,the more tightly honed one is to the purpose, the more motivation one has for optimization.

Additionally, various other elements, like money, suddenly look a lot like fuel for facilitating the purpose, rather than ends in and of themselves. That said, creativity in attaining these goals may also be used, and, just as human biology has many different types of nutrients, it is unlikely that money will be an exclusive value transfer mechanism. In fact, in a highly honed purpose driven organization it may not even be the primary mechanism for
expressing value.

In short, holonic philosophy is not merely a theoretical construct. It is a highly practical tool to facilitate optimal system design and applies to all types of social organizations and

Photo by agroffman

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