Design your organization for redundancy, not efficiency

If people will accept that mother nature is much more successful than us, and they will replicate solutions that nature successfully using for so many years; our creation will have a longer lifetime as well. But we need to feel that we are creating order in the randomness around us, so we deploy our invention based on ideas that more resemble order than chaos and randomness. Regretfully, this is not how nature works.

One great example is efficiency. You can see and hear this world almost in any article or discussion on business. If you suggest that efficiency is a problem and not a solution, you’ll see people looking at you as someone who didn’t get it yet (Yes, I’m getting used see these pitty looks).

If we examine our body, we’ll find out that most of our critical systems are redundant (eyes, ears, kidneys, lungs, testes/ovaries, hands, legs). Having so many redundant organs is far away from efficiency. It is complicated, and it consumes more energy and resources to run and maintain redundant organs. Yet, everyone knows the contribution of organs redundancy to the human ability to survive (btw, this apply to many creatures)?

Back to business, as the lifespan of people keeps on growing, the lifespan of organization shrank from 60 years to 15 years and this trend keep on going. So, is efficiency helping organizations? If you try to add redundancy to your organization (in the expense of efficiency), you’ll find out that it will impact your short term revenues but your business ability to survive internal and external crisis will grow.

I’m not suggesting that every function in an organization need to have redundancy. What I’m trying to encourage is that just focusing on efficiency is a very problematic approach for the organization. BTW, I didn’t touch the conflict between efficiency and innovation that also harm business.

Picture: The dead sea.

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