Violence broke out at the EUFA Cup Final in Manchester. Rangers fans were reviled for the injuries and damage caused. A new book on biomimicry may throw light on the ‘unwisdom’ of crowds
The day of the EUFA cup-final in Manchester [Wednesday May 14th 2008] was unusually sunny, and quiet. An estimated 200,000 fans, mostly of Glasgow Rangers had poured into the city, and spent a lot of the day soaking up the sun, and the stocks of pubs in the city and surrounding region. The atmosphere was not even particularly buzzy.
A few busses seem to have been used for sight-seeing, and were plying their trade along Oxford Road, bedecked with Rangers flags and standard bearers.
The low-profile policing policy seemed to be working. Providing large screen television also seemed a good idea at the time.
The Mood Changes
A few minutes before the match, the large screen transmission in Piccadilly Gardens broke down. Anticipation turned to anxiety, turned to anger. Attempts to fix the screen were hindered by missiles from the crowd. There followed rapid escalation, arrival of riot police, and more escalation. You can find a much-publicised U-tube via the BBC report. Elsewhere, a Zenit (St Petersburg) fan was stabbed.
Public outcry. Prime Minister demands an enquiry.
Bloodshed and Bioteams
The same day Leaders we deserve received notice of a book which seemed pertinent. It came with the enticing title Bioteams.
The following is from its own publicity release:
Traditional organizational teams [have] just became extinct
With the emergence of global Internet collaboration, social networks and mobile communications, the very meaning of the word “team” has changed –changed utterly. Ken Thompson, former European IT Manager with Reuters and a pioneer of the burgeoning “biomimicry” design movement, has mapped out a fundamentally new model for teams. He teaches organizations how they can look to the natural world to create high performance “bioteams” based on nature’s best designs.
In his just-released book, Bioteams, Thompson offers a way to build exceptionally agile, high performing teams based on a thorough examination of the key communication principles that underpin nature’s most successful groups –from signal bursts of migrating flocks of geese, to the waggle dance of honeybees, to the pheromone trails laid down by ants. Based on nature’s communication patterns, he provides a complete set of practical techniques that have been proven with real teams in the field, whose stories are described in a comprehensive set of case studies in the book.
[According to Thompson] “Using the principles of bioteaming, command-and-control leadership gives way to connect-and-collaborate, where every member of an organizational team is a ‘leader.’ In nature and in bioteams, leaders don’t give commands, they transmit information, trusting the team members’ competencies and gaining accountability through transparency. True team leadership is about cooperation, not control. It’s about acting on opportunities, and letting others lead the leader when they know best about getting stuff done.”
Bioteams offers a vision of what successful teaming experiences look like. More than a book about team dynamics, Bioteams offers stories, principles, and guidelines showing how any individual can successfully participate in almost any work or learning-related situation faced today.
The (Un)Wisdom of Crowds
There has been increasingly attention in recent leadership writings to the wisdom of crowds after the popular book of that title by James Surowiecki
It is an interesting concept. Now I find myself uplifted by the thinking in Bioteams about how I can ‘successfully participate in almost any work or learning-related situation faced today’. So I’ll probably get Mr. Thompson’s book. Any subscriber who reads it before me, will find a place for a review in a future post.
In reading it, I’ll be trying hard to understand the unwisdom of crowds on that balmy night when Rangers came to town.
Image attributed to James Thew