For start-ups, hybrid businesses, cooperatives, NGOs, virtual businesses — the old rules no longer apply. Large corporations, even public administration and areas of government…are all changing. The image of an organization as a machine with fixed structures and predictable processes is gone. Decision-making, hierarchy, market research, confidentiality, hiring, skills development… these and most other areas are unrecognizable. Now that the brakes are off, we see vast flows of data, information, and knowledge; flows of influence and innovation; flows of ideas and people.

But what are the rules in this new era? How can organizations guide this new force, cultivate valuable flows, nurture shared ideas into thriving businesses? Where are the concepts and language to help us approach this challenge?

Now there is a guidebook. Herman Wagter and Jean M Russell, both long active in this field, have sought out business pioneers and founders, researchers and practitioners, who understand how flows work and how to shape them.

In Cultivating Flows (not ‘Managing Flows’!) they pull together that experience, and their own, to explain how flows work and how best to work with them.

  • They take us through key stages of development like Reframing, Navigating, Operationalizing and Iterating.
  • They introduce us to key concepts like Emergent, Networked, Event-Driven (ENE) efforts; Social Technology, Social Protocols, and Social Organisms; Process Hierarchies; and Coherence.
  • They offer us a dozen, detailed Use-Cases of social flows in action.

And behind it all they’re building a unique resource of interviews, articles, case studies and experience in a website that supports this book.

For anyone seeking to start, join, reimagine, reshape, update or “run” an organization or a movement in this exciting new world, Cultivating Flows is a map and manual, an indispensable resource, and an inspiration.


Here, on the website, you can find a essays and interviews from the research for the book, a glossary of terms, and resources that complement the book. See also blog posts highlighting lessons learned, new interviews and essays as well as participant engagement. You can find articles by looking through contributors too.

We invite you in as an active participant in the evolving conversation on Cultivating Flows.