Creative Impulse, Creative Field: A New Corporate Structure

I spent a little time thinking about organizational process flows and corporate structure the other day and realized that although the two are often depicted as being linear and flat, the reality of both is that they are multi-dimensional and often conditioned by a fair degree of uncertainty. The formal models taught in business school appeal to the left-brained, but reducing this consideration to such models overlooks the subtle nuances of the actual dynamics at work in an organization.

Organizational behavior is as intuitive, thoughtful and subjective as it is logical, analytical and objective. Viewed from a distance, a business is an ecosystem not unlike a small corner of a rainforest. The more efficiently its component parts work in concert to sustain the corporation by adding value to the larger environment in which it is set, the greater the chances of its survival.

One of my companies, Energetix Corporation, markets dietary supplements and homeopathic drugs to doctors. I’ve come to learn that our value is determined solely by our ability to add value to the lives of the doctors and patients we serve. As such, our livelihood depends on our ability to innovate, not just in the sense of regularly coming out with new and better products (which we will be doing extensively in 2012 and 2013), but also in how we realign ourselves to meet the ever-shifting needs of the market we serve.

My mind drifted a bit to high school chemistry and physics as I pondered this topic, and it occurred to me that organizational theory could benefit from a review of the principles behind atomic theory. Part of us is, after all, an intelligently organized collection of atoms! It makes sense, then, that there might be something to learn from the parts which go together to make the whole.

I recall that the atom is a basic unit of matter composed of a positively charged dense central core that is surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons bound to the nucleus by electromagnetic force. Its structure is forever in motion, dynamic in nature and a little bit hard to explain, because of the uncertainty built into the movement of some of its parts.

Likewise, a product company has at its core thought leaders, innovators, who are surrounded by a cloud of infrastructural elements – sales, marketing, accounting, finance, operations, etc. – that provide a negative complement to the positive, creative impulse emanating from the core of the organization. The product company, as you can see, is not unlike the atoms that compose physical bodies of a company’s individual members.

8 thoughts on “Creative Impulse, Creative Field: A New Corporate Structure

  1. Ricardo B.

    Yes, I can see that many principles of biology do apply as in an ecosystem, if there is any break in the chain of producer, consumer and decomposer, then the ecosystem falls apart. Nutrients, or in the business model, resources, are never lost – simply transformed and the degree of success to all members in the ecosystem relies on the efficiency that they possess. There is an optimal point of equilibrium and surely a good business aims to constantly strike that balance.
    As we dive into chemistry, I can see where the negative electron cloud, while it maintains allegiance with the positive nucleus, in turn attracts other positive structures which contributes to the formation of a more complex structure, the molecule. And on we go – amazing indeed as above so below! I’m blown away by the cohesiveness of life’s operating principles!

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  2. Zach

    I love it when an idea is taken from a certain field and used to make another field better than it currently is. Having an organization made up of atoms, with the corresponding nuclei and electrons, seems like it holds many advantages. I think that it could make an organization much more flexible, while maintaining an integrity of vision that can also get lost in a top-down infrastructure. When there are less people between the vision and the people who interpret the vision and do many of the day to day tasks, that vision usually makes it more intact than if there are many layers inbetween.

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  3. Joshua

    This really puts matters of individual responsibility into perspective! For what is radiating outward from our individual core, has creative influence on the cloud of people and circumstance, for which we are responsible.
    Being conscious of this fact really puts the pressure where it needs to be, on us individually to take serious care moving forward!

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  4. Joshua

    Love this consideration!
    Always a pleasure in review, when
    Underlying elements of principle, seen
    Going all the way through, it’s an inside out process
    Hierarchy from macro to micro revealed, highly organized at that!

    LOT’S, right before our eyes to be seen, all we have to do is look!

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  5. Vincent

    Three are so many implications to the thought you open here. The creative dynamism of those who play roles of initiating and supporting, innovating and filling out, establishing direction and implementing…this is the heart and soul of a living corporation. A corporation, after all, is a body, and its effectiveness depends on its integration, the agreement of its parts as well as the creative tensions that oscillate and pulse. Corporate principles are really life principles, and there is so much to be discovered in this arena that has been missed in typical business considerations

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  6. Steve Ventola

    Interesting consideration. I like the words pointing to the atom as its structure is forever in motion, dynamic in nature relating to the corporate field. This really gives thought to how businesses and even our liives need to be in constant motion. In light of the conversation regarding physics there is a quotation by Einstein that states: “Life is like riding a bicycle—in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.”

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  7. Doug

    The usual corporate structure has myrid constricting dynamics in it. Study a few of the most recent successful companies and their beginnings had many of the organic factors you’re considering. It seems to me their innovations begin to wane as they pushed their company into the presently accepted model, especially when they were preparing to go public. I’m looking foward to hearing how your thoughts are executed.

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