• Annika Wetzko

Cyber tribes and the location-less organisation

(Originally published Jan 5, 2018 on medium.)

In 2004, Blizzard Entertainment [1] released one of the most influencing role-play games of all times so far — World of Warcraft (WoW). A multi-player role-play game I got introduced to by my brother. Thank you. :)

Why I found it interesting? Well, I am not a gamer myself (a serious-gamer maybe ;) ), but digital concepts of teamwork interest me. You maybe know and use some in your daily work already — familiar with gilds and huddles and maybe tribes even?

Concepts which are older than WoW of course, but got another digital dimension through it.

Have a look into the AR-world with its new possibilities coming up like Magic Leap’s revolutionary approaches (see [2]) or into the robotic world coming closer as we now live in the socalled industrial revolution 4.0 [3].

The future of teamwork and organisations will unimaginably look different.

How? Let’s try and think different.

So, what if we take the concept of cybertribes we now know from gaming and adapt it to our collaboration? Do we really need to physically see each other to work together? Do we even need a physical location to work together? Are hybrid-forms of tribes the future of distributed collaboration even?

I would like to shape my idea by telling a little story.

A retrospective.

I remember one moment at my parents house, my brother was gaming WoW with his headset on. While controlling his avatar he was chatting with his team members. I heard something like “How was your day today?” and “Just made me some spaghetti for dinner. Back in 15.” or “Man, the sunrise is awesome.” Very personal teamwork stuff. My brother then described that his team is a group of six from all over the world like Finnland, Australia, Canada etc. And that they meet daily and at a certain time they agreed to.

What a brilliant concept, I thought!

Back then tools like video-conferencing, cloud-computing, AR, social media and others were just starting and often expensive. But know they are grown up, affordable and already used daily. They already make our work-life easier and leaner, but we could use them to help making a real big step. A step to more personal freedom.

Digital normad workplace taken from [5]

Lean thinking [4] says that traveling to work is waste, because it is no optimal use of employee’s time and energy. Assume there was no need to “go” to work, but only “log-in” to work. Meet your work tasks and team members online-only. Some of us use this concept of working together already — free from which place you work from or from what timezone you work from. Digital normad it’s called [5]. This is used more in the freelance and startup community at the moment, but why not adapt it to the corporate world as well?

Let me shape that too.

A futurespective.

In 2030, I find myself being a freelance kinda person — no titles attached — and after having a breakfast in the morning, my personal AR-agent (an AR-SAS-program I subscribed to) tells me what my team members voted for on the different corporate platforms I subscribed to.

I log-in to my AR-team room and check our team backlog. Me and my cyber-team colleagues only pull work and vote for work fitting our team vision. We want to contribute to the society. Thus, our team-vision-crawler subscribes my team to platforms offering those jobs — corporate and non-corporate open source platforms. Those platforms monitor the whole process itself. We and other teams in the cloud vote for what is measured to be most valuable to the society. Which means that we are both — developers and customers.

The community manages itself.

The platforms themselves

  • deliver the jobs

  • facilitate the process

  • facilitate monitoring and data and

  • are supported by diverse bots for testing purpose.

If there must some products be manufactured, the platform helps to send and implement the robot programs to some manufacturing farms.

I get paid for every step of job I accomplish like

  • submitting some content which got approved by the community or

  • some 1:1 video coaching etc.

The payment is done via cryptopayments. Feedback and social credits need to be accomplished in order to receive payments and to rank platforms in order to their contribution to the world. I also can donate some payment to other initiatives too. And so on. In the end, I decide when and on what to work, I subscribe to a cybertribe and we decide which work we pull from which platform.


My statement is that those kind of scenarios are possible.

Organisations do not have physical locations anymore, but are digital platforms. They do not need to have a location, they do not need to employ people. Costs will only be needed for expanding the infrastructure. Does money play a role? I do not know. Do we exchange value for value? Maybe. People who are doing the work might meet online by e.g. using AR. Organisation might be initiated and generated by the community and might create visions and missions for the community to accomplish. Open source will be a crucial concept as well as process transparency, automatisation, robotic and so others.

A lot to think about, but fact is: concepts like we are used to right now will change crucially.


[1] https://worldofwarcraft.com/en-us/

[2] www.magicleap.com

[3] https://www.gtai.de/GTAI/Content/EN/Invest/_SharedDocs/Downloads/GTAI/Brochures/Industries/industrie4.0-smart-manufacturing-for-the-future-en.pdf

[4] John Bicheno & Matthias Holweg, The Lean Toolbox, Fourth Edition, Picsie Books, 2009

[5] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/milena-miliaeeviae-/urban-people-and-places-2_b_10804248.html

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