Synthesizing Ideas is the Step-Father of Necessity

Posted on January 26, 2012


by Chris Williams (Thinking Like a Cheetah)

Synergy has become this weird new expression of the latest orthodox of American Management.  Misused, overused and even less understood, synergy, by definition is also called synergism; the potential ability of organizations or groups to be more successful or productive as a result of a merger.  Synergy is more often an unintended consequence of deliberate actions vice a calculated outcome from combining resources.

Next random thought…we are producing information at a rate that is increasing exponentially.  In tandem with this is the rate at which we are able to store this information.  “Information is doubling faster all the time. It took from the time of Jesus to the time of Leonardo for one doubling of knowledge. The next doubling of knowledge was completed before the American Revolution, the next one by 1900, the next one by 1950, the next one by 1960.  Now knowledge is doubling every eighteen months.” (R.A. Wilson)  As the rate of information increases and our ability to store this information swells, information growth could surpass biological growth and likely become a new entity.

Taking the above two thoughts and combining them, unintentionally, creates a product that has become necessity.  Wikipedia.  A massive amount of information from diverse sources stored in one location that creates a more successful product that people have become accustomed with – to the point of necessity.  Synthesizing ideas is the step-father of necessity.  The internet can be categorized in this crowd, as well as other forms of media that collectively store multiple ideas that allow individuals to draw similar conclusions.

Moving into the future we will likely continue to recycle old ideas and methodologies, and management will likely continue to say, “come on people, we need something fresh and new here.”  The reality is there is nothing new under the sun, however combining ideas and information could lead to conclusions that we haven’t previously considered.

The stifling effect.  When an organization decides to take this “wiki” route it must be understood that synergy cannot be forced, but it is a result.  It is most effective when it is an unintended consequence, not to say that we cannot capitalize on models like Wikipedia (remembering that this synergy of information was not intended from the outset.)  The flow of information must be unhindered and managed by the users and not the management; otherwise the exponential growth of information is encumbered by bureaucracy.  When we have arrived, we will find that synthesizing ideas is the step-father of necessity.