Understanding an ecosystem starts with form, space, and order.

Creating a system in balance is the goal of any organizational ecosystem. All parts and pieces cooperate to create an effective whole.

A new language is required to describe how people interact within this system. For me, the conversation starts with how one views the system. I see organizations through three lenses: form, space, and order.

Form is shape and structure. The shape of information, the structure of a building, or the layout of a website affects how we perceive, experience, or interface with it. 

Space is the volume or area created by the form of an organization where human interaction takes place–or doesn’t.    

Order is how the parts of an organization or an experience relate to the whole and ultimately convey a shape or structure’s purpose. 

This new language will be visual in nature because it is the most effective way to communicate complex relationships. Mapping a system is part of the process to develop understanding. Special attention must be given to the nodes and points that connect the various elements of the whole. The quality of the relationships at each node will dictate the flow of information across each point.

Once you can see the organization, a leader will have a better sense of how to anticipate how it will develop over time and in response to various forces.

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