4 Jan 2016

Getting Organised?

From TED Radio Hour, 9:00 am on 4 January 2016

How did ant colonies come up with the algorithm that now runs the internet? Why would a CEO design his company like a rock band? What does computer programming teach us about family planning? To get the big job or the little one done, it just takes a little organization.  Five TED speakers about new ways of handling complexity—in the workplace or in disaster relief—by organizing.

The world's largest ant colony stretches over 3,700 miles.  It succeeds, biologist Deborah Gordon says, because no one is in charge. Instead, ants communicate with each each other and use algorithmic patterns to survive and thrive. 

When a rare tornado hit the town of Munson, Massachusetts, Morgan O'Neill and her sister accidentally became leaders of the town's recovery -- despite being only 20 years old.

The conversation continues with Morgan O'Neill. She was 20 years old when she and her sister spearheaded the effort to rebuild their town in the aftermath of a tornado. Afterwards, she developed software and a portable plan to help other communities rebuild after natural disasters.

These days, all it takes to start a protest is a cell phone, says professor Zeynep Tufecki. But does the ease of social media impede social movements from making big gains?

Ricardo Semler was in his early 20s when he became the CEO of his father's small manufacturing company in Sao Paolo, Brazil.  He reorganized the company from the top down, believing less management and more flexibility meant a better workplace and bigger profits.   

Parents help their kids manage their lives.  But according to Bruce Feiler, it can work the other way around, too. It just takes a little insight, drawn from Japanese computer programming principles.

From NPR's TED Radio Hour.

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