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Are antifragile organisations possible? I wrote this blog post, so I’d appreciate some gentle feedback. Overview: Nassim Tabeb suggestes that we need antifragile orgniastions. His examples of antifragility are all organic. Stafford Beers Viable Systems Model is able to model organic systems, and when discussing organisations and cultures we can use organic metaphors rather than mechanical ones.

Are these ideas all compatible, pointing in the same direction?


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    I tried to post this to your blog page but it wouldn’t take. Might be a

    problem with my browser. Kent Myers
    • Antifragile organization: increases capability when recovering from stresses, similar to Learning Organization.
    • Resilient organization: able to recover from stresses
    • Robust organization: maintains performance over a broad range of environments and stresses -Optimal organization: combines highest performance at least cost, given specific, constant conditions. May lose performance suddenly and in large measure if conditions change, even in small ways. Optimal organizations are typically not robust, resilient, or antifragile because these characteristics entail costs which are eliminated in its efficient design. Resilent, robust, and antifragile are all different qualities but are not exclusive. In other words, an organization have the characteristics of one type and may or may not have the characteristics of the other two types.

    • I would prefer a positively stated term rather than Taleb’s “antifragile”. Optimal is not the opposite, though it is. The opposite to anti-fragile might be “wasting organization” (one that loses muscle after stress). So is the opposite to that the “strengthening organization”? I do think the Learning Organization is close. That doesn’t match Taleb’s analogy, but learning is a more accurate description of what an organization does rather than strengthening.

    • I don’t think that a rock is an appropriate example for any of these qualities, and it isn’t an organization besides! Human organizations are very different from rocks, machines, and organisms, and ‘general systems’ talk can mask what we really should be talking about.