Going Bedoin

Whilst reading Stowe Boyd’s /Message I picked up on a post by Greg Olsen of Charter Street called "Going Bedouin." It’s a recurring theme in Silicon Valley that it’s desirable–at least to some minds–to stay as flexible and mobile in work style as possible. The more enterprises build structure as a result of success, the more they become encumbered. An alternative is the notion of "going Bedouin" meaning organizing people for action with a minimum of structure and overhead. Owen offers a recipe for going Bedouin that’s interesting. It comes down to about three principles:

  1. Team agility
  2. Information systems agility
  3. Physical environment agility

Basically, the idea is minimalism in all three areas so individuals and teams can move and innovate with maximum speed.

The thing is, while Olsen is writing about tech start-ups, I think it applies to nonprofits as well. The NetSquared effort has a large measure of enabling nimble nonprofits to avoid becoming entangled in the IT infrastructure that has been a burden for many during the last decade. So, don’t go there; go web 2.0.

The article is something to contemplate even for large, established enterprises like the Society. Maybe there could be Bedouin work teams that work by minimalist principles for innovation and growth. And for individuals early in their careers, I recommend thinking in terms of the flexibility and nimbleness that’s suggested by the Bedouin concept. Get outside the cubicle, outside the office building, outside the IT firewall, outside the boxy job description, and, most of all, get outside the confines of conventional thinking. Let your mind, at least, be a Bedouin.