Building Organizations

Pattern 4.1: Nested Domains

Understanding an organization in terms of nested domains to account for – and areas where the people responding have semi-autonomy to decide – facilitates more effective collaboration.

When defining a domain in relation to an organizational driver, consider responsibilities, the resources and skills required, and the constraints to people’s autonomy to account for it, considering necessary collaboration and exchange with other domains.

Pattern 4.2: Circle

A circle is a semi-autonomous, self-governing, and self-organizing group of people collaborating to respond to a driver.

A circle:

  • may be permanent or temporary
  • is accountable for its own development

  • semi-autonomous and self-organizing:

    • a circle acts within the constraints of the surrounding organization
    • each circle responds to a primary driver, can create value independently, and organizes its day-to-day-work
  • self-governing:
    • leads in creating its strategy and agreements

Pattern 4.3: Role

A role is a set of constraints for how an individual can account for a domain.

People selected into roles are autonomous to decide and act within these constraints.

  • people can be in more than one role
  • selection is by consent and for a limited term
  • people in roles lead in creating strategy for how to account for the role’s domain, checking for objections with the parent circle
  • peers support one another to develop in the roles they fulfill

Role: one way to account for a domain

Pattern 4.4: Linking

Facilitates flow of information and influence between two circles (or teams).

A circle (or team) selects one of its members to represent their interests in the governance decision making of another group.

Pattern 4.5: Double Linking

Facilitates two-way flow of information and influence between two circles (or teams).

Two interdependent circles (or teams) each select one of their members to represent their interests in the governance decision making of the other group.

  • creates equivalence between two groups
  • can be used to draw out valuable information in hierarchical structures

Pattern 4.6: Representative

Representatives (a.k.a. links):

  • stand for the interests of a circle (or team) in another circle
  • are selected for a limited term
  • participate as full members in the governance decision making of the circle they are delegated to, and can:
    • raise items for the agenda
    • participate in forming proposals
    • object to agreements and proposals (when there is reason to do so)

Read next: Bringing in S3 (or back to Enablers of Co-Creation)


©2017 by Bernhard Bockelbrink and James Priest. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0