#organisationdesign and the value of the avant-garde

The word avant-garde is little used  anymore these days. referring to advancement and new  the word innovation has replaced the modernistic word avant-garde in the domain in organisation. Reason could be the fact that avant-garde is refers to the world of art. Or maybe avant-garde  is surpassed by the reality and cynicism of the post-modern world. Or may be it is just old-fashioned and out of date.

And at the same time I think it is loss. Innovation is a bloodless word referring to a nearly mechanistic, rational and certainly businesslike form of advancement. Something that can be managed and controlled. Innovation implies a choice free of idealism or conviction, a way forward that just makes sense. It is the nec plus ultra of enlightened modern management.

And at the same time real advancement is rooted in conviction, in idealism, in a deeply felt need to change, in curiosity, in a drive to overcome a stalemate standstill, in pushing the boundaries, because they are there to be pushed. And the word avant-garde implies that kind of drive, mindset and behaviour, not just hyper professional management. Avant garde is about asking the questions that nobody else asks and at the same time it is optimistic, hopeful and human centered about the answers to these questions. Avant garde is about courage and taking risks without feeling so.

Avant garde is also funny, creative and sometime just completely mad. And always mind-blowing original.

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But avant-garde is also about progress. And if  beauty in organisation matters and is about new trade offs and ambitious moonshots, avant-garde is certainly an element that has a much deeper and stronger meaning than the bloodless innovation.

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