Monday, September 14, 2009


Autopoiesis is a word derived from the Greek and means "auto" - self and "poiesis" - creation. It is the fundamental process for creating and renewing self, for growth and change. Living systems do not self create in isolation however. They must be in constant communication with their environment. Information must flow freely to and from the system as well as within the system.

A healthy system will reorganize itself to deal with the new information. They are adaptive and resilient, rather than rigid and unchanging. A healthy organization will cope with new information; they will actively seek it, because this information tells the system how it might need to change in order to survive and grow.

The system processes the information based upon her identity. Identity is derived from a clear mission statement that communicates who they are and why they exist: the values, shared beliefs and desires, and state the objectives of the organization. From this she will determine what does and does not belong in the system. Change will promote stability in a system that has a clear identity and will enable her to develop in the way of her own choosing.

It is the leader's role to structure conversation to bring forth the information that will raise the intelligence of the organization. We must be willing to look beyond the obvious for information. We must converse with the Sunday school student and the home bound-not only people who serve on a board or committee. We must interview local owners of business,those who live in our neighborhoods and walk on our streets. We must ask the opinion of the local school board members and city fathers, check the activity calendar for city and school sporting activities as well as the local demographics. Congregations grow in intelligence by exercising unbridled curiosity and working with the information she receives.

(The above material is from "If This is How the World Works" by Avery & Gaede, pages 25-35)

What are your thoughts on how we can better gather information from our environment to filter through out vision, mission and objectives?

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. Definition of autopoiesis is not as described. AP systems are organizationally closed, self-creating and regenerating from their own components and they are autonomous! AP systems are the emergent properties of other interactions, such as intercellular or interpersonal as in the emergence of AP social systems - in the latter case, the components are not people but their conversations from which AP soc systems emerge spontaneously. Contrary to the implications above, AP social systems are NOT man-made. They may serve no purpose other than the preservation of their own organisational closure. The world is packed with such systems that do nothing but waste human lifetime keeping themselves alive. They employ arcane and specialised languages and are characterized by taboos against questioning their worth. Most professions, religions and many scientific institutions fall into this category. However it is not morally justified to criticise the poeple who participate in these AP convrtstions - they have been 'entrained' by the system and know, can know, nothing about the role they are playing in perpetuating these, far from benign, systems.