- How did that expanse of wildflowers manage to flourish on this barren rock outcropping?
- Where did that meadow come from next to so much marsh land?
- How did that hardwood forest appear when there is not another tree anywhere near here?
I've been pondering very similar questions about the conditions defined by the Cynefin model (chaotic, simple, complicated, complex). I've been wondering:
- How each condition shows up in the first place?
- What previous dynamics (practices, interaction patterns, infrastructures, etc.) contribute to each condition's emergence?
- What contributes to the ripeness or fitness of the emergent condition for the related societal form to take hold (tribal, institutional, market, network)?
To the extent that the TIMN and Cynefin frameworks can be given a mash-up — and it’s an interesting, even fun idea — perhaps it would work better if the associations were rotated. Show that Tribes associate not with “chaotic” but with “simple” approaches to problem-solving — as indeed they really do in comparison to the other forms. Then, Institutions go with “complicated,” and Markets with “complex.” That fits with historical and current realities.Where I've been saying tribal forms respond TO chaotic conditions, David is saying the tribal responses ARE simple compared to institutional form and responses. Likewise, I'm seeing institutional forms respond TO simple conditions while David sees institutional forms ARE complicated compared to simple tribal forms This suggests to me that institutional forms are highly dependent on the simple forms and novel practices of tribes. The tribal responses increase the simplicity, stability, knowability of situations that allow institutions and their best practices to emerge.
We can imagine that it takes a critical mass of tribes to generate enough situational simplicity for institutions to not fall prey to lingering chaos, instability, disruption and unpredictability. Without a critical mass of simplicity, the societal scale institutions would disintegrate as failed states, fallen dictators, or constant civil wars. The market scale institutions would go out of business, get bought out by a bigger rival or liquidate some of their holdings to sustain a faltering core operation. Tribal responses successfully put the chaotic situations into remission. Local scale institutions would cut back on police protection, social services, educational offerings, road repairs and other affordances.
It then follows that when tribes are entangled in their dark side (-T), they merely contribute to their chaotic situations. When they realize their bright side (+T), they generate simple solutions, practices, rituals and relationships. Those successes set the stage for subsequent institutional forms. The simplicity that tribes can provide to overall situations gets realized as a spill over effect of their being successful, cohesive, productive and energizing.
A similar argument can be made for institutional forms providing critical mass of the prerequisite complications for complex market forms to emerge. Likewise, market forms introduce the needed complexity that enables the emergence of chaotic networking forms and responses. It then may come back around full circle, where networks provide the ripe chaotic conditions for simple tribes to reemerge -- perhaps as hyper-localized nodes in a resilient, sustainable network.