The theory behind swarming

More and more companies realize that working in structured organization will slow down the development more than it will enable growth. Swarming, or the swarm approach according to the assumptions of Charles Darwin and the insights of the Evolutionary World View is THE solution for this. It is the new approach for companies that successfully want to compete the challenges of the 21st century.

Employees are very capable of dividing tasks, as soon as they have the insight of all what needs to be done now. Furthermore, a large majority of your employees likes to develop their skills with a larger set of tasks customized for them, rather than one-sided specialism. It will make their job more varied, they will always have something to do and it will therefore be more satisfactory. Nevertheless, for those employees who want to specialize, that will also be possible.

Seen from the Evolutionary World View a company is a system of labor. A system that contains all the work and that is characterizes by positioning itself as a closed system in the environment, that itself characterizes as an open system (a closed system is defined as an environment in which the output of each distinct part therein is input to all parts).

On the highest level of closure (where company transfers to its environment) we speak of a sequence of processes. On a lower level of complexity we speak of sequences of activities and at the lowest level we speak of a sequence of behaviors per activity.

Processes, activities and behaviors can be divided into five types. Four to deliver control, one to deliver use value.

  • Plan (to deliver active feedforward)
  • Organize (to deliver passive feedforward)
  • Do (to deliver use value)
  • Check (to deliver passive feedback)
  • Act (to deliver active feedback)

Active feedforward is knowledge (what needs to be done)
Passive feedforward is a stock of livestock and matter
Use value is the output of the sequence, the sense of it
Passive feedback is information (what became known)
Active feedback is the signal new feed forward is needed or not.

Because of this, the entire system (sequence of processes) and all sequences that are part of each process, are to be seen as living organisms, as closed systems, far from their equilibrium.

When, depending on the situation per process, Plan (assembling activities and behaviors into sequences), Organize, Do, Check and Act take place, all processes are executed whenever necessary, the system will adapt to the environment, balancing the interests of all relevant environment actors.

To enable to Plan, Organize, Check and Act, the Fit2swarm software was developed. For more information, please click here

In our experience, companies that have started with the swarm approach show efficiency improvements up to 300%, because of:

  • The disappearance of the separation between managers and performers
  • The disappearance of management tasks that are the consequences of working in the harness of a structured organization
  • The prevention of over and under load

The swarm approach can best be seen as a different way of living and you do not have to change your entire organization at once. You can select a random process to test if your organization will benefit from swarming. In fact, that is the only way to successfully implement swarming. Think big but act small, get comfortable and then build on, process by process.

Why wait with trying swarming in your own organization? We can’t give you any reason.