The end of Democracy or its Golden Age?

by | Dec 15, 2018 | Change, Ideas

I’m glad I am not a politician, especially in the UK or the US at the moment.  Interesting times to say the least.  While most of us are not in Politics, we all interact with politics regularly, especially in our organisations.  The question of governance comes up daily for me in conversations around projects, consortiums, and simply how our organise ourselves.

Many organisations use a centralised model of governance, especially when they start out and then tinker with a slightly decentralised or federated model when they spread geographically.  Hopefully, when they move to a federated or decentralised model they make clear decisions about what decisions remain centralised and which ones are decentralised, otherwise a mess is guaranteed to be the result.  Usually, one of the common features of centralised, federated, and decentralised models is that either there exists or it is possible to bring all the system information together in one place or ‘look’ at it through one lens.

As the digital era becomes more and more embedded, many of us assume that it will simply make decentralisation easier, more efficient, more effective, which is true as digital can certainly help with this. However, this is similar to using digital to only move from capturing data on paper to capture data digitally – it certainly improves things, but misses the transformation.  In a digital era, governance can (and likely will) move to a distributed model where no one node has the whole view or complete ‘power’.  See image below for a visual of this.  Moving to a distributed network governance model is difficult to imagine because of the shift it is, but this is where digital is taking us so it’s likely wise to start understanding it more.

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