Self-organization is a process whereby global order arises from interactions between local parts. The following are common examples.
PhysicsSelf-organization is a common process in the universe. For example, the growth of snowflakes that exhibit complex global structures without any central organization. This is the result of a seemingly chaotic process of supercooled water droplets colliding and freezing as they fall from the sky.
Molecular Self AssemblyA chemical process whereby molecules self-organize into a predictable structure without outside control. There is interest in using this process to manufacturer nanotechnology and nanomaterials.
BiologyBiological systems commonly self-organize. It is also common for species to exhibit social behavior whereby individuals coordinate at a local level to achieve a common goal. This can be seen in a flock of birds, school of fish and the ability of ants to organize work.
Self-organization is a common technique for implementing software. For example, self-organizing local networks such as a mobile game system that can automatically network with nearby game systems to implement a multiplayer experience.Self-organization is the basis for swarm robotics, a technique that involves small robots that cooperate to complete work as opposed to being centrally controlled.
Leadership is a human process of self-organization whereby an isolated group of people will typically develop leaders who will coordinate efforts and influence people to follow a unified path.
SocialPeople commonly self-organize without a leader. For example, in many cultures people will naturally form a line to implement a system of fairness when waiting for something.
Open-ended teamwork in education. For example, a group science fair project where the topic is decided by the team.An organizational structure often divides work into small cells or teams that are given a set of objectives but mostly allowed to self-organize. Central control exerted on such teams may decrease creativity, productivity and engagement.
ProjectsSelf-organization is a basis for agile projects whereby teams aren't structured into strictly separated and controlled roles.
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