What began twenty years ago as a journey of exploration into the interplay between chaos, order, and the creative process culminates in this capstone work of Harrison Owen’s pioneering career. From the creator of Open Space Technology (OST), Wave Rider shows how to apply the fundamental principles of self-organization – the driving power behind OST’s immense success – not just to a single event but to the day-to-day management and leadership of organizations.
Owen proposes that all systems – not only our organizations but indeed the entire cosmos – are fundamentally self-organizing. Control is ultimately an illusion, and attempts to assert it are a waste of time and can even be destructive. If we want to have truly high-performing organizations, at some point we need to set aside our preconceived goals and strategies, important as they are, and align ourselves and our work with the primal force of self-organization – learn how to ride that wave. To that end, Owen lays out eight concrete steps for becoming a successful Wave Rider, derived from the global experience of hundreds of thousands of Open Space events, wit ha clear focus on producing exceptional performance.
The book includes a real-life tale from a genuine Wave Rider, Dee Hock of VISA International, as well as an imagined account of a day in the life of a wave-riding manager, to show how self-organizing principles can deal with specific functions like running a staff meeting, managing projects, motivating staff, and much more. Wave Rider is another exceptional contribution from one of organizational developments true innovators.