Simon I understand people can be rats but I’m starting to think that some way of accommodating for this reality might be better than trying to change them. When management declares that the world is now into an era of “permanent whitewater” it’s a direct declaration that obligation and accountability are now out and what-the-boss-sez’ is now in. To me, mess isn’t a problem among equals respectfully (or even urgently with purpose and consequent with poor manners) seeking an answer. I’ve seen this in medical teams where the goal is apparent, urgent and above the personal but do wonder if disorder set before unequal participants encourages group work or induces the emergence of bossiness or power tripping?

Could we test for bossiness as a way to determine “good” or “bad” messiness? We must need bossiness in some situations but in others it solves nothing. So put a cat on a carpet and ask it a question followed by trying to lift it. If the question induces curiosity only, the cat will come free of the carpet while a sticky cat will indicate interest with claws out making that question dangerously messy and off the list:-)

This makes me think that there are questions or situations that induce the urge to take control over the urge to cooperate? Or maybe it’s the people and not the situation itself? In Rhizo14 we have a mess of difficult questions that can’t be answered with certainty thus neutralizing the control-by-being-a-know-it-all mechanism which throws people into a state of open speculation. This “permission” to think out loud is a condition of the participants willingness to engage without advantage–something like spontaneous cooperation mixed with respect and self-control which transfers the question from a “problem” to an engagement without necessary resolution. Not needing a final “solution” is also a form of agreement and a type of trust in the general usefulness of the discovery path and also the notion that the value here is not in the specific ownership of an idea but the dynamics of its creation and the delight in the work. A kind of potentiality of unselfishness in discovery. Or a true Toddler’s Mess.