Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Is the Historic Preservation Office becoming a Mobius strip organization?
“If you can see in any given situation only what everybody else can see, you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture that you are a victim of it.”
S.I. Hayakawa, Berkley
A “learning organization” * is defined by its ability to be open minded, self - reflective and ever changing in response to new circumstances and new information. In essence it thinks and acts differently as times change. A learning organization is so “self-disruptive” that in 5 years time it might not even be recognizable as the same company. Very, very few large organizations have the capacity to do this. G.E. is an excellent example of an exception. Large companies chart their future directions guided by (a) external market forces and (b) outside regulations about how they do business. Would anyone approve of large banks being able to not only create their own rules of behavior and governance crafted in their own best interests, but also enforced only by themselves? Of course not!
Any company without periodic injections of inspiration from outside the company (“new blood”) rapidly becomes stale, for they can only see that which they have been accustomed to creating and seeing already. The company becomes like a Mobius strip with the illusion of making progress all the time because work is expended; yet one always ends up right back at the same place one started. This ossification can only be realized when viewed by others from the outside.
A reader’s comment in response to Shilpi Paul’s recent coverage of a project proposal at 14th Street and Wallach (Urban Turf) prompted the author to wonder if perhaps HPO has become somewhat insular to its own detriment.
“ Johnny said at 9:10 am on Friday October 25, 2013:
I like the design as it is. Too bad the HPRB has to offer their usual input. Which is to make it more boring. “use all the same material and no cantilevering. Just a big box with windows would be GREAT!” DC would look so much cooler if it weren’t for them. Every time it’s the same. “Make it shorter. Make it blander. Make it look faux historicy (sic) whenever possible so that it ‘blends in’” Builders in DC have learned to churn out box after box because what’s the point of trying to make something cool when they know they will just be sent back to the drawing board.”Reference