Christopher Allen (co-author of the SSL standard and someone who is incredibly thoughtful about collaboration) sat down today and took a crack at making Elinor Ostrom’s nobel prize winning work a bit easier to grok.

Chris and I chatted on the phone earlier today.  Then he did this.  I had a fun afternoon, but I could only wish it had been as productive as his.

I know Chris has been thinking about these things for years, but I’m certain his taking a crack at this distillation was inspired by a session at the Future of Work conference that I helped organize last week.

That session was focused on Bootstrapping Adaptive Organizations and was led by Noah Thorp from Citizen Code. In the session, Noah made use of Ostrom’s work to try to accomplish a related, but slightly more “do” oriented goal: creating a one-page document that teams can make use of for coming into alignment about how they are going to work together and how they are going to make adjustments over time to their structure 1) as they gain more experience and 2) as circumstances change.  It was an incredibly interesting session and I’m looking forward to the seeing the seed that Noah has planted, grow into mature sets of structures that end up being well suited to different contexts.  This could evolve into almost a GitHub (or for those of you that are less geeky – an app store where you can edit the apps) for organizational structure and governance.

Learn more about Noah here:

Christopher’s swipe at making Ostrom’s work understandable is here:

Here is an updated version of Christopher’s effort:

For more good stuff from Christopher, check out his posts on Altruistic Punishment, Privacy and Dunbar’s Number.