Why we should develop orgology: a serious science of organizations

November 27th, 2023
Vignir Gudmunds


“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe” - Carl Sagan

“Unfortunately, we don’t have extensive quantitative data on these organizational networks comparable to what we have for cities and organisms” - Geoffrey West

TL;DR Our mission is to give companies the power to evolve and thrive forever. We aspire to fulfill our mission by building technology at the frontier of scientific understanding of organizations. This nascent field of study will in turn benefit from advancement in technology, ultimately leading to a new era of organizational flourishing.

In his book “Scale”, Geoffrey West observes that while we have a deep scientific understanding of complex systems such as living organisms or cities, our scientific understanding of companies is still lacking. A big part of the problem is that it is difficult to “observe” organizations and collect the amount of data required to conduct the type of quantitative analysis necessary to develop a serious science.

Organizations are essential for human flourishing. While it is possible for one person to write a book, it is not possible for one person alone to go to the moon. Major leaps of progress in human history are almost always a function of our ability to organize and collaborate at scale to solve complex problems. Organizations enable large-scale collaboration and are the fabric of progress, innovation, and wealth creation.

To establish the bedrock premises of orgology (the study of organizations), we believe that we can learn from biology (the study of life) to infer the fundamental principles that explain the nature of organizations.

  1. All Organizations are made of the same fundamental building blocks

  2. Organizations are complex systems

  3. While every organization is unique on the surface, it must solve exactly the same fundamental problems to survive and thrive

What else can we learn from biology?

Biology seeks to understand how living organisms function, interact with each other and their environment, and evolve over time as networked phenomenons. Biology uncovers the existence and function of the fundamental building blocks of life. From atoms, molecules, organelles, cells (first form of life), to organs, and ultimately organisms, which form populations, communities, ecosystems, biomes and biosphere.

While all life forms share the same building blocks, every organism is unique on the surface. You and I are made of the same stuff, but we are unique human beings.

Similarly, orgology seeks to uncover and explain what organizations are made of, how complexity emerges from social and technical interactions, and how they evolve over time.

We have yet to find any extensive study of organizations using this biology-inspired approach.

What do we do with orgology?

"Our world is built on biology, and once we begin to understand it, it then becomes a technology" - Ryan Bethencourt

Much like biology has led to the development of new breakthrough technologies, such as biotech, genetic engineering or medical imaging, orgology can become the scientific foundation for the development of a new wave of information technology that enables and improves organizations as complex socio-technical systems.

As a science, orgology will make the true nature of organizations more accessible to leaders, employees and students, which can unlock a new wave of innovation for how we collaborate at scale.

What will make orgology a widely-adopted scientific study?

The field of biology, as a distinct scientific discipline, cannot be attributed to a single inventor or founder. It evolved over centuries, with contributions from numerous scientists, philosophers, and naturalists.

The same applies to orgology. This field of study will become a worldwide reality with the contribution of enthusiasts and experts that believe in the impact and practical application of the study, which then creates a flywheel of adoption.

What role will Outcome play?

Our mission is to give companies the power to evolve and thrive forever. 

Our product vision is for TeamOS to become the evolutionary system for companies, enabling leaders to reduce complexity and nurture a healthy and high-performing environment.

Evolutionary systems (like TeamOS) will deliver on their promise if their makers are serious about the science of organizations. Therefore, on top of our purpose as a business, we also have a scientific purpose which is to contribute to the development of orgology.

Together, evolutionary systems as a technology and orgology as a science will elevate our understanding of organizations to the same level as we understand cities and organisms.

This will unleash a new era of organizational flourishing.

Written ByVignir Gudmunds

Co-Founder @ Outcome. Previously, Vignir was the Director of Operations for EVE Online at CCP Games.


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