Adapting Old Structures to New Challenges
by Valdis Krebs
"We may not be interested in chaos, but chaos is interested in us." - Robert Cooper When change was slow, and the future was pretty much like the present, hierarchical organizations were perfect structures for business and government. The world is no longer predictable, nor are solutions obvious. Old structures are no longer sufficient for new complex challenges. Businesses have noticed the changes and are adapting. From GE's boundaryless organization to Toyota's amazingly flexible supply web, agility and adaptability are the mantra. Unfortunately most governments are not as quick and creative. Instead of the out-of-the-box thinking found increasingly in the business world, governments are busy shuffling boxes on the organization chart. Figure 1 below is a typical organization chart of a generic hierarchical organization -- either business or government. Two nodes are connected by a gray link if there is a formal reporting relationship and information flow. The nodes on the bottom row represent sub-organizations, while the top two rows are individuals.
Figure 1 - Original Hierarchy
Assume the above organizational chart roughly represents the U.S. intelligence community. Node 001 is the President and nodes 007 to 016 are various intelligence agencies. Nodes 002 to 006 are the leaders of those various agencies. Intelligence Czar
The U.S. government is currently facing a dual problem in the intelligence community: improve accuracy -- WMD in Iraq?
improve agility -- stop terror attacks
One of the solutions being discussed is adding a new formal position to the intelligence community. This new box would be an 'intelligence czar' to which all other intelligence leaders and their agencies would report. The thinking behind this proposed solution is for there to be one aggregation point for all intelligence. Node 017 in Figure 2 represents this new position.
Figure 2 - Adding...