Meg Wheatley and Ralph Stacey (organizational development experts) write "that systems are most creative when they operate with a combination of order and chaos." They say that when systems live on the edge of chaos they are able to abandon undesirable ways of doing things and embrace more suitable patterns. Barrett says that by allowing improvisation in the organization it creates the condition for "guided autonomy" or finding the limiting structures that allow for coordination around core activities. This maximizes opportunities for diversity and the opportunity to experiment.
He gives the example of rebuilding after 9/11 where Mike Burton, the executive deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction, ended up taking over the reconstruction efforts. He happened to be downtown at the time of the attacks. He immediately began to call four companies who he knew were qualified and could support the reconstruction. He set twice daily meetings to coordinate activities. He divided the work into four areas so that each company could handle one section. Each of these decisions created the "guided autonomy" to allow for the rebuilding to occur with some improvisation from the beginning.
Where can you implement some "guided autonomy" in your organization? What limited structures can you put into place in order to allow for novelty to be created?