Information overload and Adhocracy

I was checking out the page on “information overload” on wikipedia, which is one of the major hindrances to quick decision making and quite common in the current information age. The term was apparently coined by Alvin Toffler in his book “Future Shock“. So, I also looked up the page on this book and found another interesting term “Adhocracy” which was also popularized by Alvin Toffler. As per the page, adhocracy is the opposite of bureaucracy and the seems to be quite relevant for innovative organizations. The basic idea is behind adhocracy is to have a dynamism and flexibility to tackling different situations which is absent from bureaucracy.

The 7 habits and the 6 hats

I purchased the book “How to have a beautiful mind” by Edward de Bono last weekend. I have covered about half the book so far. It talks about the different angles to discussions in general and the thoughts behind them along with ways to make interactions more meaningful for all the parties concerned. It also had a chapter on de Bono’s six thinking hats (it is also supposed to be covered in the “Start Thinking” course on Learning@IBM). The concepts are quite interesting, and does give some tips to make make you think.

I also found many of the concepts discussed about the thinking hats in particular to be quite similar to the 7 habits discussed by Stephen Covey in his book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” (I have not read this particular book, but the one by his son Sean Covey for teenagers about 6-7 years back). In particular, the concept of the six hats is quite similar to habits 4 (think win/win) and 5 (seek first to understand, then to be understood). So, in effect, both de Bono and Stephen Covey’s concepts aim at making interactions between people more productive and trying to look at things from different angles rather than just putting forward one’s thoughts and trying to get the better of an interaction.

I also think that these concepts are quite relevant in today’s world where social collaboration, networking (which would also be in some ways bring in “the wisdom of the crowds“) and innovation are the buzzwords. It is important to see things form various angles and seek different opinions, especially given the degree of connectivity available to us. So, although both the concepts are close to 2 decades old, they still retain their values in today’s environment.