Exponential Future / by John Schlichter

by John Schlichter

An exponential future is accelerating toward us, and projects, those temporary endeavors that create knowledge and deliver change, are the management paradigm for thriving in that future.

In this complex, volatile, and uncertain world, project teams form to meet changing needs. Teams are composed of personnel who span traditional corporate and agency boundaries as ephemeral networks.

Project teams span departments, business units, supply chains, and persons who may represent other organizations or themselves as individuals peer-to-peer.

The teams come together when a project starts and disperse when a project finishes, and while this has the advantage of endless adaptation it subsequently creates the problem of knowledge loss as team members depart.

Knowledge necessary for the problem solving inherent to projects must be captured, codified, and internalized as standards for networks of projects to implement strategy capably over time.

The trick is learning how to develop those standards without creating fossilized bureaucracies and the inability to adapt to changing needs.

In June 2010, OPM Experts organized a summit on this topic, described in the video below.

In March 2011, we held a symposium on the same subject at Emory University, sponsored by the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Research and Learning. It was described in an agenda titled "Knowledge Futures."

Nearly a decade later, the same questions framed in this ongoing inquiry have never been more pressing. Are you interested in participating in a follow up symposium on these topics? If so, contact us.