Organizational Transhumanism

There is a lot of talk about transhumanism, the idea that we can augment our bodies and minds with technology and in so doing, evolve as a species. This is an interesting and very real trend with many interesting dimensions.

The root word of the term corporation is ‘corpus’,  the Latin term for ‘body’.

Enterprises– corporations—  have been engaged in augmenting their ‘bodies’, their, ‘corpus‘, for a very long time.

Organizational transhumanism is a reality. Banks execute thousands of trades per second using computer programs. Insurance companies play the odds with a very high degree of accuracy using sophisticated software technology.

The typical successful business organization is actively transhuman. Most businesses cannot function without interfacing with technology. The best businesses are out-flanking and out-competing the others by actively creating systems that co-create, with humans, a whole new way of working.

These systems have a name: sociotechnical systems. Not fully human, not fully machine, sociotechnical systems are those systems that successfully connect and then leverage the best of both….to create something new.

Sociotechnical systems are systems that blend hardware and software technologies with the sociocultural structures of the organization.

This is transhumanism applied to organizations. To achieve it, the organization must be relentless about questioning assumptions about reality, dealing in differences, and acting quickly to exploit and fully leverage the current best idea. Working in this kind of org is not comfortable for most people.

Super-rational organizations that “get” this concept are not issuing press releases. Instead, they are quietly leveraging software development teams to create custom software that creates a huge set of sociotechnical business advantages.

It’s not an accident that the best Agile software teams are usually found working in extremely successful businesses. It’s correlated.


NOTE: Sociotechnical systems are covered in my next book, being being written now. If you want early insider access to this writing as it evolves, get on the THE CULTURE GAME mailing list now.

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Sociotechnical Systems: Related Links