4 Takeaways from CMI’s “4-Dimensional Genome” Video

My overall impression that the DNA is basically hardware with some inbuilt software is reinforced by this video. We still don’t know the programming language and the intelligence required for DNA to function as we have been observing it. Do you think it’s important for us to know about things like this and draw parallels relating to your organizations? For one, do you have the pulse of your people?

First Takeaway: DNA is very compact and the degree of compression is extremely high. Vast amounts of information are stored within just one strand of DNA.

Are you aware that the same can be said of your business, your organization? Are you reaping the full benefits of all the information stored within the people who work with you and perhaps for you? That includes suppliers and customers, too!

Second Takeaway: Different sets of genes interact with other sets of genes, and they are not next to each other if we think in terms of a one-dimensional framework.

How aware are you of similar interactions between different parts of your organization? Would you be able to draw a two-dimensional chart depicting interactions between, say, your supply chain people and human capital development people? Your customers and the legal people? If you have such a chart, what’s it used for?

Third Takeaway: As you might expect, this has to do with 3D. As a young child, I was introduced to “conformal isomers” of certain molecules, meaning basically that they might have the same chemical composition but display different characteristics depending on how they are shaped. This is also seen in enantiomers, which are called either “left-handed” or “right-handed” depending again on how they are shaped. The DNA is folded in three-dimensional space, and the genes which are required for any cellular function, say, determining amount of melanin, are often found on different chromosomes. These genes interact with each other when they are brought in close proximity in 3D. This was something I guessed but of course did not have the expertise or resources to investigate.

Are you treating your 3D organization like a 2D one? How aware are you of the importance of treating your organization, not as a monolith, but more as an organism?

Fourth Takeaway: The DNA changes over time. You don’t need the same sets of genes when you are an adult as the ones you had as a child. You don’t need certain sets of genes when you’re sick. In other words, the genome consistently re-programs itself, and is a living example of what IT-related people would love to be able to do in “machine learning”. Did the genes of Dolly the sheep, which was “cloned” some time ago, reprogram themselves to be “younger” genes? I don’t think so.

It has been said that your organization grows stronger and more mature with time. What’s your experience with that? It seems that more people are increasingly being disenchanted with “Knowledge Management” in organizations. Do you think you need to pay more attention to this aspect of your business? Thomas Sowell asserts that whether any people group, organization, nation, and so forth, succeeds or otherwise is mainly due to its “Human Capital”. That’s regardless of the abundance or otherwise of natural resources, including oil, water, navigable rivers and so forth. Nations with no discernible amount of natural resources, like Singapore, thrive while others have a hard time surviving. How’s your organization growing? How’s your business coming along? Do you have something akin to an “Operational Master Plan” or a “Growth Plan”? Perhaps it’s time to think aong those lines if you haven’t!

To close this post, the CMI video has reaffirmed my assertion that we shouldn’t think of our organizations and businesses as “complicated” because then that’s what they will be. Think of them as being “complex” instead. Complicatedness is the manifestation of poor design or the lack of it. Complexity is a product of intricate design. Enjoy the video, and do look into the posts on the CMI website as well!


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