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The way that Al Qaeda organises itself into terrorist cells that work independently of each other under a common ideology was one of the models of organisation considered by participants in the CEO session on collaboration.

Tim Brown, president of the design firm Ideo, said Al Qaeda was a “biological model that has been very effective in a certain type of disruptive innovation.” It was hard to attack because, even if individual cells were destroyed, the movement found ways to survive.

Business people gathered into groups to come up with ideas for new businesses based on three types of business organisation. One was the Al Qaeda model of network enterprise, the second was the open source organisation and the last was the marketplace model.

One example of the marketplace model discussed by participants was Threadless.com, a business that sells T-shirts designed by its customers. They can create their own designs and vote on designs submitted by others. The company then creates and sells the most popular items.

Ideas for new businesses created by groups during the sessions included a company to market genetically-modified goods and a fashion business that used adopted ideas from carbon-trading schemes to benefit the environment.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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