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November 6, 2010 / davebirss

Blurring the lines

One thing that’s become a recurring theme in recent conversations is what I call Smudginess™. Here’s a short explanation:

As organisations get bigger, they need more structure. And they need processes to go with that structure. It’s natural. If you didn’t have that, the place would be mayhem and very little work would get done.

However, one of the magical things about smaller organisations is the Smudginess™ of the silos. People’s roles overlap, there is more collaboration and processes can change according to the work going through. This often makes them more efficient, adaptable and creative.

The curse of rules is that they lead to ruts. They lead to inefficiency. They lead to uncooperative attitudes. They lead to predictability. They lead to stagnation. And some of the worst places I’ve seen the damage is in creative departments.

At the moment I’m working out ways to add Smudginess™ into larger organisations. I believe that smaller, more accountable teams – supported by group functions like production, artworking and finance – can work well. And I have a few other embryonic ideas that I’m trying to develop.

But I’d love to know if you’ve seen anything that works well. If you can think of anything, please drop me a line or leave a comment.

Smudginess™ is a trademark of no one in particular and is here for piss-take purposes only. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments. Sale ends Bank Holiday Monday.

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