Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SIDEARM Presentation to the Business Complexity Conference

I partnered up with Howard Park at ModelAnswers to submit a paper to the Business Complexity & The Global Leader Conference held this week at Suffolk University in Boston.  The paper is titled SIDEARM (Self-organizing for Innovation, Decisions, Engagement, Action, and Risk Mitigation), and it includes the concepts of horizontal and vertical compression (visual complex systems modeling and the Bossless Organization, respectively).  They accepted it and Howard was able to attend and present it today with this slick Prezi presentation, while I attended via Skype.  It was well-received and generated some good Q&A.  Here's the abstract:
The BP oil spill disaster has shown us all too vividly the catastrophic consequences of excessive organizational complexity and the potential risks to corporate longevity. This paper sets out a model for both the horizontal and vertical compression of organizations to simplify them for enhanced risk mitigation, with additional benefits for innovation, decision-making, employee engagement and action. Horizontal compression involves complex systems visualization, modeling, and simulation for cross-organizational integrated solutions, leading to better decision-making, action, and risk mitigation. We also propose vertical compression of the bureaucratic, command-and-control hierarchy into a flat, entrepreneurial, market-based, self-organizing Bossless Organization. This model is inspired by the Silicon Valley and open source ecosystems to improve innovation, employee engagement, and adaptation to the rapidly changing business environment. Bosses are replaced by non-controlling Mentor Investors—modeled on the angel investors of Silicon Valley—who then sponsor self-organizing, intrapreneurial project teams. Linus’ Law of the open source movement also enhances risk mitigation (and therefore corporate longevity): “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” The combined horizontal and vertical compression components of the SIDEARM model can provide a powerful and sustainable competitive advantage to any organization.
If you have any questions or would like to explore the SIDEARM model for your organization, please don't hesitate to comment here or contact Howard or myself (tgattis (at)

Friday, October 1, 2010

OpenTeams profiled in the Houston Chronicle

OpenTeams was profiled in the Business section of the Houston Chronicle this morning! The nonprofit K-12 education initiative mentioned is still in the early stages, but I'll post more on it here as it develops.  Very exciting potential.  In the meantime, if you might like to help or be involved, email me at tgattis (at)  Thanks.