The Coordination Headwind – How Organizations Are Like Slime Moulds

A wonderful deep dive by Alex Komoroske into the scaling issues that even the best organisations face as they grow. He looks at organisations as complex systems, filled with autonomous individuals whose individual actions can combine in unexpected ways – even when they’re trying their best.

He makes a surprising comparison: lots of organisations are like slime moulds. But that’s no bad thing!

“Slime moulds have many challenges, but they also have some amazing abilities. Instead of trying to fight it, maybe lean into what they’re good at? Slime moulds are extremely resilient. They can handle complex and changing conditions well. Creative solutions pop up organically. They can create more value than the sum of their parts.”

His final note sums up the wisdom of his approach:

“Focus less on being a builder, frustrated that your building materials refuse to behave. Instead, think of yourself more as a gardener.”