Chaordic Orgs

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in the phase between CHAos and ORDer, the Fertile Edge of Life

Many leading scientists believe that the principal science of the next century will be the study of complex, autocatalytic, self-organizing, non-linear, adaptive systems, usually referred to as "complexity" or "chaos theory."

They believe that such systems, perhaps even life itself, arise and thrive on the edge of chaos with just enough order to give them pattern, but not so much to slow their adaptation and learning.



Chaordic means characterized by the fundamental principles of nature and evolution.

The word chaord was formed by borrowing the first syllable of the two words: cha- from chaos, -ord from order.



Re-thinking uni-dimensional models


Decentraized - Centralized ... > Distributed (=UnCentralized = Chaordic)



  • Decentralized:

the dots (points of the system) are ... 

Totally autonomous




Unstable relationships


Diferent or uniform


Radom growth

The PermaCulture 'network' currently fits this description



  • Centralized:

the dots (points of the system) are ... 



Conected by power


Fixed relationships




Growth from the centre

Some organizing in the PC 'network' can be seen to fit this description

(perhaps started to attempt to balance the great weaknesses of the decentralized system) 



  • Distributed (Networks - Chaordic Organizations):**

the dots (points of the system) are ... 



Connected by protocol


Stable relationships, 

dinamic environment


Diverse and uniform


Growth from any point 

in any direction (initiative)

But perhaps what we all really aspire to is for our PermaCulture Network to be more like this description



Chaord - (kay'ord)


1: any autocatalytic, self-regulating, adaptive, nonlinear, complex organism, organization, or system, whether physical, biological or social, the behaviour of which harmoniously exhibits characteristics of both order and chaos.


2: an entity whose behaviour exhibits patterns and probabilities not governed or explained by the behaviour of its parts.


3: the fundamental organizing principle of nature and evolution.



Chaordic - (kay'ordic)


1: anything simultaneously orderly and chaotic.


2: patterned in a way dominated neither by order nor chaos.


3: existing in the phase between order and chaos.






Characteristics of Chaordic Organizations


• Are based on clarity of shared purpose and principles.


• Are self-organizing and self-governing in whole and in part.


• Exist primarily to enable their constituent parts.


• Are powered from the periphery, unified from the core.


• Are durable in purpose and principle, malleable in form and function.


• Equitably distribute power, rights, responsibility and rewards.


• Harmoniously combine cooperation and competition.


• Learn, adapt and innovate in ever expanding cycles.


• Are compatible with the human spirit and the biosphere.




A Collective Intelligence Issue


There are other very interesting differences between these three structures


The portmanteau chaordic refers to a system of organization that blends characteristics of chaos and order. 

The term was coined by Dee Hock, the founder and former CEO of theVISA credit card association.

The mix of chaos and order is often described as a harmonious coexistence displaying characteristics of both, with neither chaotic nor ordered behavior dominating. 

Some hold that nature is largely organized in such a manner; in particular, living organisms and the evolutionary process by which they arose are often described as chaordic in nature. 

The chaordic principles have also been used as guidelines for creating human organizations -- business, nonprofit, government and hybrids—that would be neither centralized nor anarchical networks.

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