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Shared vision as an order parameter

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


Society for chaos in psychology and life sciences international conference


This paper is dealing with a way to temporarily change the patterns of thinking and acting of a team. Or more specific; to move a team through a phase transition from an ordered phase to a complex phase. The aim is to make it possible for production personnel to contribute and be integrated in idea development processes. Innovation and improvement are important to ensure long term competitiveness for most companies. Since patterns of thinking and acting in idea development is different from the ones needed in production it is often recommended to perform this work in a department not connected to production. The division between production and idea development may lead to several problems; e.g. impoverishment of the work of production personnel, no input from common days experience in idea development, and harder for production personnel to understand and take responsibility for the production of new products resulting from the idea development, and thus e.g. hamper future work with improvements of it. The ideal for team creativity is to be able to make use of all members’ different ideas, experiences and different ways to understand things, in a common creative process. This is possible if each team member at the same time is both autonomous, independently using its competence in action, and integrated, relating each action to an emerging idea shared by all team members. When independent agents interact, and an organization which controls the actions of the agents emerges in this interaction, then we have a complex system, by definition. The agents are at the same time autonomous, following their individual organization, and integrated to the system, following the organization of the system. Most of the work tasks for normal teams in work life demands predictability, not creativity. Such teams develop patterns of thinking and acting that is good for repeatedly producing with high efficiency and quality. This is possible for an ordered system with low autonomy, not a complex system. The question of this paper is: Is it possible to find a strategy that may be used to support a team to reach a complex phase, were it is creative sooner than predictable? An important inspiration writing this paper has been an article Movie making as a mediator in dialogue (Palus & Drath). The thoughts presented in the article were similar to our understanding of how to support creativity of teams and we have decided to use this technique in our creativity lab. In our paper we describe how to understand this technique from a complexity perspective, and start a discussion about how to measure the complexity of a team’s social interaction.


author = {Tomas Backstr{\"o}m and Anette Str{\"o}mberg and Carina Sj{\"o}din},
title = {Shared vision as an order parameter},
month = {April},
year = {2010},
booktitle = {Society for chaos in psychology and life sciences international conference},
url = {}