Bioteams 101: Introduction to Bioteams Principles

A Bioteam is a team which has a life of its own and requires an alternative model to traditional command and control. The Bioteam concept is introduced in The Bioteaming Manifesto, described in depth in Ken Thompson's book "Bioteams" and discussed daily in The Bioteams Blog.


There are 5 Bioteams "Zones". The Zones are listed in the broad sequence they should be addressed (starting with 1, then 2 etc) and each zone is broken down into a number of "Beliefs" or "Rules".

1. Beliefs Zone
2. Leadership Zone
3. Connectivity Zone
4. Execution Zone
5. Organization Zone

Beliefs Zone: Team beliefs about Co-operation, Consequences and Confidence

Belief 1. Clear and Public Accountability
Belief 2. Trusted Competency
Belief 3. Give and Take
Belief 4. Total Transparency
Belief 5. Shared Glory
Belief 6. Meaningful Mission Value
Belief 7. Outcome Optimism

Leadership zone: Treat every team member as a leader

Rule 1: Stop Controlling
Communicate information not orders

Rule 2: Team Intelligence
Mobilize everyone to look for and manage team threats and opportunities

Rule 3: Permission Granted
Achieve accountability through transparency not permission

Connectivity zone. Connect team members, partners and networks synergistically

Rule 4: Always-On
Provide 24*7 instant "in-situ" message hotlines for all team members

Rule 5: Symbiosis
Treat external partners as fully trusted team members

Rule 6. Cluster
Nurture the team's internal and external networks and connections

Execution zone. Experiment, cooperate and learn

Rule 7: Swarm!
Develop consistent autonomous team member behaviors

Rule 8: Tit-for-Tat
Team members must learn effective biological and interpersonal cooperation strategies

Rule 9: Genetic Algorithms
Learn through experimentation, mutation and team review

Organization zone. Establish sustainable self-organization

Rule 10: Self-Organizing Networks
Define the team in terms of "network transformations" - not outputs

Rule 11: Porous Membranes
Develop team boundaries that are open to energy but closed to waste

Rule 12. Emerge
Scale naturally through nature's universal growth and decay cycles

Useful Bioteams Links

Three common types of Bioteam: Business networks, Fan Communities and Mobile teams

The Networked Enterprise (TNE) Book
A Networked Enterprise is a Bioteam of independent collaborating businesses

*** Free Bioteams Tools ***

Bioteams Instant Need Assessment Tool

Bioteams Instant Operational Review Tool

About Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson is an expert practitioner, author and speaker on collaboration and game-based learning.

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Bioteams Books Reviews

When not to collaborate

When not to collaborate

A team of one is sometimes best. It might sound like heresy but sometimes the most effective way to produce something is not through collaboration. Collaboration is best for tasks which cannot be fully achieved by a single person – if a job can be completed best by one person then to collaborate to do it will only make it worse.

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