Michael Platt's WebLog

Computer Engineering


Partners: A slime mould?

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I noticed that Andrew Mcafee has changed his definition of Enterprise 2.0 after my blog about the use of Web 2.0 technologies outside the enterprise to include customers and partners. This got me thinking about the whole partner space and supplier network effects following on from John Hagels work.

The conclusion I came to is that the concepts of separate partner / customer / enterprise are becoming very diffuse and the model of separate entities for enterprises / suppliers etc is going to become rapidly out of date.

From a enterprise point of view what we will see will be a transparent enterprise without a clear boundary but rather a set of levels of access. This has an analogy in the security space, we used to think of a firewall being the boundary of an organization but now we think in terms of defense in depth.

From a partner point of view I think the analogy is closer to a slime mould which is comprised on individual entities which can work together to a common goal. I think this is an excellent model for the organization of the future, in fact I think I might rename my blog to be "the architectural slime mould"

  • As I understand it, slime mould is only able to cooperate under conditions of stress - a compelling event (such as drought). As the stress levels drop, the ability to cooperate dissipates. I wonder if this is true of Enterprise 2.0 as well?

  • I think some can cooperate under different conditions but then arent enterprises always under some sort of stress?

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