Flow with the Go: Real-time Continuous Improvisation in Digital Business Ecosystems

Pernille Rydén, Omar El Sawy

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    This chapter explores the concept of Real-time Continuous Improvisation, suggesting that real-time and improvisation are interrelated concepts and representative of organizing performance processes in the fast-paced conditions of digital business ecosystems. We contend that the proliferation of digital platform ecosystems and the real-time interactions and speedy exchanges that they are creating, is pushing us from exceptional improvisation towards continuous improvisation. Improvising continuously in such real-time environments will require new ways of smoothing that process into organizational learning. That is what we have called “Flow with the Go.”

    To be able to survive and thrive under these conditions, the capacity to continuously navigate reflectively in such turbulent and complex settings -- while being able to react fast in synch with digital technologies and stakeholders -- is vital for operating successfully. Equally important is the capacity to constantly learn and innovate, which often happens in combinations of sudden moments of problem-solving when faced with new or unexpected challenges and flow experiences. Though these practices are being anecdotally reported, they are less acknowledged, articulated, explored, and understood as a real-time phenomenon. Our approach here is to better understand the coordination between the fast pulsing of real-time digital data flows and processes with the inner (and often slower) physical and human processes to improve our real-time continuous improvisation processes. Central to this is exploring how individuals--especially managers--can improvise continuously in a comfortable manner by synthesizing outer and inner forms of real-time management.

    The chapter first characterizes these new conditions and the factors that are accelerating the tempo in digital platform ecosystems, leading to the need for, and practice of, real-time continuous improvisation. We show that when the tempo of data generation, data exchange, and data use go very fast, then digital, human, organizational, and environmental effects interweave in a constantly interconnected pulsing fabric. We then set the stage for conceptualizing the dimensions of real-time continuous improvisation by taking advantage of the Fast & Flow real-time management approach. The Fast & Flow approach helps describe how to apply the dual nature of real-time information in managing fast responses to sudden events as well as managing continuous actions. We then further show how real-time continuous improvisation differs from previously defined dynamic capabilities and improvisational capabilities. “Flow with the Go” coins the improvisation needed to synchronize the human and digital pacing that leads to better performance in digital ecosystems. We propose an explanatory pulsing framework and managerial mindset that acknowledges the situated and temporal contexts that aligns fast and flow temporal logics, and that appreciates human-digital pacing. The chapter concludes by drawing implications for scholars and managers reflecting on what theories and practices that contribute to our understanding of real-time continuous improvisation as organizing processes and how “Flow with the Go” can affect learning and business performance in digital ecosystems.
    TitelThe Routledge Companion to Improvisation In Organizations
    RedaktørerMiguel Pina E Cunha, Dusya Vera, António Abrantes, Anne Miner
    Antal sider29
    UdgivelsesstedLondon/New York
    Publikationsdato1 sep. 2023
    ISBN (Trykt)978-0-367-77112-6
    ISBN (Elektronisk)978-1-003-17176-8
    StatusUdgivet - 1 sep. 2023
    NavnRoutledge Companions


    • Real time
    • continuous improvisation
    • organising
    • Fast & Flow
    • flow with the go
    • digital business ecosystem
    • digital platforms


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