Friday, October 31, 2014

228. Self Organizing Adaptive Systems and Movement

In The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church, we talk how the church is facing an adaptive challenge here in the West. By definition, an adaptive response requires you to innovate. In other words, an adaptive challenge resists already existing solutions. If the existing solutions were adequate, than we would not be facing the challenge.

So how do you make an innovative, adaptive response to an adaptive challenge? The simple answer is you allow people to self-organize in their own context and let the movemental energies of the gospel, community, discipleship, and fivefold (APEST), work themselves out in organic ways. But how does this work in real life?

Centralize before you Decentralize

Any time you hear someone say something really cool, and propose a clever solution, you should always pause and ask: What's the back story? In other words, how do we actually get there? The simple (yet challenging) answer to this question is: through disicpling relationships.In order for people to make an adaptive response, they first have to be discipled into the core DNA (essential skills,sensibilities, paradigms and practices) of being like Jesus, the most adaptive leader ever. The discipling relationship is a season where a few people centralize around a leader in order to learn how to live and lead into the core DNA of a movement. It is through discipling relationships that the DNA gets transmitted in a movement. After a period of centralization, then you can de-centralize and let innovation run wild. It is this core DNA that allows any organism, system, organization or community to self-organize and formulate adaptive responses.

The Monk Offense

As I researched the concept of self-organizing systems, I ran across a guy named Ron Ekker, a seasoned NBA coach who started a training organization called Basketball Talk Pro. This guy created the Monk Offense, an offensive strategy that incorporates the principles of self-organizing, adaptive, improvisational systems.

Ron doesn't necessarily package his training well (talks slow, a bit boring) but he is the only person I know that has systematically applied the concepts of self-organizing adaptive systems to the realm of sports and teams.  He really is a genius in explaining how the concept of DNA (what he calls "rules") is axiomatic to any system being able to improvise, and thus make an adaptive response.

This is a video of him explaining how it works in basketball. It is a beautiful example of how simple DNA(rules) can facilitate movemental dynamics and facilitate innovation.

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