10 Traits of Organizations 2.0

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

MolecularThe general situation with regard to the changes we could include under the ‘2.0’ tag continues to progress in the right direction.

Although it is true that this evolution is in fact much slower than many of us would like and, above all, than is necessary, it does seem as though the conditions necessary for its definitive acceleration are appearing, and for the change to occur across the board.

I mean, of course, organizations whose raw material is knowledge, not necessarily solely but at least partially. In other words, a growing percentage of organizations in developed countries.

If we look back four or five years, we see that we have gone from a situation in which hardly anyone in a position of responsibility in an organization was aware of what ‘2.0’ was all about, to one in which three large and very different groups have appeared:

  1. The first group, probably the largest, is made up of people who still don’t dare to make a move in order to be part of the change, but who are increasingly more aware that they need to.
  2. The second group, the smallest, is made up of people who, admirably show sufficient courage to actively contribute to change. They are our great hope and an example to follow
  3. The third group,which is fortunately becoming smaller and smaller, includes different tribes: cynics, skeptics, unbelievers, the ignorant, the proud, egomaniacs and other organizational specimens, who continue to show active passiveness, if not open resistance, based on the absurd belief that no change is a viable option and that this way they will protect their status quo.

In spite of all this, it appears that there is still a certain amount of confusion about which traits define an organization 2.0. Being an organization 2.0 goes beyond “having” communities of practice, enterprise social networks, internal wikis and a presence on social networks.

Being an organization 2.0 is, above all, about “showing” that a series of so-called values 2.0 have been understood, adopted, interiorized and begun to be expressed, and also proving that it has evolved, overcoming the bureaucratic traditional administration model, towards new forms of understanding the role of people, processes, technologies and structures in organizations, which allow answers to be given to the needs arising from this new situation.

There are probably more, so these ten points are just a starting point. So, here are the 10 traits of organizations 2.0:

  1. Netarchy: This is an indispensable requirement. An organization cannot be considered genuinely 2.0 until it has overcome the paradigm of control. By definition, an organization 2.0 is a network organization that is merit-based, rather than hierarchical. Meritocracy replaces the organizational chart. Painful as it may be for some, hierarchitis and groupitis are organizational diseases typical of a bureaucratic administration model. As Eugenio Moliní rightly points out, “the network is the only configuration where it is possible to shine with your own light at the same time as others”.
  2. Distributed: An authentic netarchy doesn’t need physical structures to obtain its identity. Large corporate infrastructures make no sense in a network world where connection replaces physical presence. In the Knowledge Era, work is what you do, not somewhere you go. The work centre and working hours are two relics of the past which are anachronistic to an organization 2.0. In a world that is increasingly more globalized, structures must be flexible, dynamic and delocalized.
  3. Fluidity: We live in fluid times and organizations 2.0 cannot ignore this reality. They must therefore be flexible in configuration and size, leaving behind the obsolete concept of job position and focusing on projects. This means changing from understanding the organization as an institution to understanding it as a platform.
  4. Connected: BYOD is the bridge towards a new environment in which each node of the network is an autonomous and independent person responsible for the technology he or she uses. In an organization 2.0, being connected is critical. Nodes of the network must be able to share information and knowledge at any time and under any circumstances, immediately and efficiently. Technology must be understood as a means of uniting people and not become a permanent obstacle to collaboration, as occurs currently in the large majority of traditional organizations.
  5. With a purpose: A large number of organizations have currently stopped being a means and have become an end. Hierarchies are looking for ways to perpetuate, even at the cost of sacrificing the reason for which they were established. In organizations 2.0 sensemaking cannot be brushed aside. Organizations 2.0 don’t need an empty mission, vision or values, but a real and shared “for what”, representing the interests and values of their nodes.
  6. Innovation: To innovate is in the DNA of any organization 2.0, to point where it must form part of its purpose. Innovation is understood to be an essential requirement for adapting and survival. The objective of the people, processes, technology and structures of an organization 2.0 is to encourage and facilitate continuous innovation.
  7. Diversity: One of the main obstacles to innovation for traditional hierarchical organizations is the lack of diversity. The typical groupitis of hierarchies becomes single thought. Diversity, the hybridising of experiences, knowledge, characters and perspectives that are different and complementary, are the essence of any organization with a vocation for innovation.
  8. Open: In line with this vocation for innovation, organizations 2.0 are open. If, as it appears, it is true that there is such a thing as collective intelligence, why not use what our customers, suppliers, friends and even competitors can contribute. In an organization 2.0, the desire to learn and collaborate in order to innovate must always come before the interest to compete and win.
  9. With a human voice: There is room for all voices and opinions in an organization 2.0, not only because they are enriching but because otherwise it would cease to be an organization with a human voice.
  10. With productive people: The challenge for organizations 2.0 is to become networks of productive people who innovate. The increase in productivity must be understood as the aggregate result of the increase in the personal productivity of all of the nodes in the network. The performance of an organization 2.0 is only possible if the people in it are productive at an individual level.

What features would you add, change or delete? Do you know any organizations 2.0? Feel free to continue the conversation with your comments.


 Jose Miguel Bolivar holds a degree in Chemistry and a degree in Sociology, and has a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Coaching. He is the author of the blog in Spanish, Óptima Infinito, a collaborative space where he writes about Innovation and Productivity for a World 2.0 as seen by individuals, networks, and organizations, and where you can find the original publication of this post.