.: on the frontiers of venturing and venture investing :.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Venture Vortex

Over the years I've been collecting management theories and practices that I found useful in venturing and found myself starting to organize them into a map. That map started painting a picture that has now become the Venture Vortex model.

It's primary strength is in providing a platform to organize thinking around the process of building a venture and I am using it both as a design and a diagnostic tool.

Broken into 4 primary regions: internalities; externalities, core ideology and the vortex itself, the arrows and chevrons show of sequencing of rational thought in the design process. Of course, no venture is static but rather an ever evolving mix of people and activity amidst a shifting environment. The model seeks to acknowledge the foundational element of any venture as the core ideology itself which is connected to the key people through values and the calling through purpose.

The core ideology in fact is the fulcrum around which everything pivots. It is the ulitmate basis against which any planning or activity can be checked for congruence. In fact, the organization can only do what it's true purpose and values will allow --- which also means we can't 'make-it-up'... as the actual purpose and values will always express themselves.

Uncovering the true core ideology then is a critically important task if we are to most effeciently build an organization to serve it. Doing so is about deep questioning of the personal intentions of the key stakeholders and the calling that is bringing them together. Finding the answers is often thought of as having statements that look a certain way. My experience though has been more about it being a felt experience. There is no right answer or right structure but the feeling is undeniable when it arises.

From that point moving up the venture vortex is a process of increasing rationalization within shortening time horizons up until the highest level which is the realm of near-term planning activities. The challenge in this, particularly for ventures working on systems-depth shifts or consciousness change is conducting the planning process in a manner consistent with the ideology itself. Conventional approaches often reflect the systems that the ventures seek to change. Now that's not to say conventional approaches are not at all applicable but rather must be managed and applied from a grounded values perspective.

The most effective model I've encountered in business system design is Stafford Beer's Viable System model which is essentially the application of systems science to organizations. For strategic and action planning I've found nothing that comes close the power of a truly co-creative approach with a broad mix of participants --- another thing that fits well with systems science --- but more on that in another post.