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Emergence over Authority

Some organizational structures encourage this kind of creativity more than others. Authoritarian systems only allow for incremental changes, whereas nonlinear innovation emerges from decentralized networks with a low barrier to entry. As Stephen Johnson describes in Foldaway Tote Didi Rocks On the Go by VIDA VIDA vLijW
, when you plug more minds into the system, “isolated hunches and private obsessions coalesce into a new way of looking at the world, shared by thousands of individuals.”

Stephen Johnson

Synthetic biology best exemplifies the type of new field that can arise from emergence. Not to be confused with genetic engineering, which modifies existing organisms, synthetic biology aims to create entirely new forms of life.

Having emerged in the era of open-source software, synthetic biology is becoming an exercise in radical collaboration between students, professors, and a legion of citizen scientists who call themselves biohackers. Emergence has made its way into the lab.

As a result, the cost of sequencing DNA is plummeting at six times the rate of perforated laceup sneakers Grey Leather Crown bJru4SXOLx
, and a large Registry of Standard Biological Parts, or BioBricks, now offers genetic components that perform well-understood functions in whatever organism is being created, like a block of Lego.

There is still a place for leaders in an organization that fosters emergence, but the role may feel unfamiliar to a manager from a traditional hierarchy. The new leader spends less time leading and more time “gardening”—pruning the hedges, watering the flowers, and otherwise getting out of the way. (As biologist Lewis Thomas puts it, a great leader must get the air right .)

Pull over Push “Push” strategies involve directing resources from a central source to sites where, in the leader’s estimation, they are likely to be needed or useful. In contrast, projects that use “pull” strategies attract intellectual, financial and physical resources to themselves just as they are needed, rather than stockpiling them.

Pull over Push

Ito is a proponent of the sharing economy, through which a startup might tap into the global community of freelancers and volunteers for a custom-made task force instead of hiring permanent teams of designers, programmers or engineers.

Here’s a great example:

When the Fukushima nuclear meltdown happened, Ito was living just outside of Tokyo. The Japanese government took a command-and-control (“push”) approach to the disaster, in which information would slowly climb up the hierarchy, and decisions would then be passed down stepwise to the ground-level workers.

It soon became clear that the government was not equipped to assess or communicate the radioactivity levels of each neighborhood, so Ito and his friends took the problem into their own hands. Pulling in expertise and money from far-flung scientists and entrepreneurs, they formed a citizen science group called Safecast , which built its own GPS-equipped Geiger counters and strapped them to cars for faster monitoring. They launched a website that continues to share data – more than 50 million data points so far – about local environments.

The auto-updating process is a great feature for many users, as they can save a lot of time and work. But even if it looks like Gimme A Kiss Sunglasses Shourouk 2cfEs4
, we should ask ourselves if it is always a good idea to enable all of them.

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Occasionally, we could experience incompatibility issues on themes and plugins that could interrupt some functionalities or even break down the website. If the website depends on a good number of plugins, it could be safer to perform manual updates, at least for plugins. The one-by-one process allows us to quickly detect issues that automation would make hard to find.

Moreover, if you’re a developer, you should be careful on the names you choose for your themes and plugins even if you’re not planning to distribute them. When running updates, WordPress looks in the Plugin Directory for new versions of your plugins and overwrites your files if a plugin with the same name is found. So, if you think to enable background updates for themes and plugins, be sure to set unique names to your scripts.

Yeah, that’s a lot of good stuff for developers. But how can a non-developer user manage auto-updates?

If you’re not a developer, you can control WordPress automatic updates using a plugin.

Easy Updates Manager allows admin users to control WordPress updates on both single site and multisite installations. The plugin allows to manage all typologies of WordPress updates, and Themes and plugins can be individually selected for auto-updates. Additional features relate to notification emails, user blocking and logging plugin updates.

Easy Updates Manager

In case of incompatibility, it could be necessary to quickly revert to a previous version of a theme or plugin. Modal Scarf Blue Bark by VIDA VIDA dKHeMegBGu
allows you to restore a previous version of any installed themes and plugins from Plugins Screen. Just click on the Rollback link and the plugin will show you a list of all available versions. Unfortunately, WP Rollback won’t be of help if your website goes down, so don’t forget to back-up and to read carefully the online documentation.

WP Rollback

Finally, if you need a compatibility test on auto-updates in your WordPress installation, Background Update Tester will provide the information you need.

As a developer of premium WordPress plugins or themes, it’s your duty to integrate an automatic updates mechanism into your products to offer the same seamless update experience users have come to expect with products. This has become today’s market standard (for a good reason). You can host the premium products yourself and develop an updates mechanism, or leverage platforms like Modal Scarf YELLOW AUDREY I POP ART by VIDA VIDA 4NcjuQT
, Kernl , or WP Updates , which offer a secure repository and automatic updates as a service, out-of-the-box.


I wish to thank Michael Legutke and Leo van Lier for their support and cooperation in the project "CMC in Foreign Language Teaching" (a project between the Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen, Germany, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, CA). In addition, I would like to thank Julie Belz and anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback on an earlier version of this paper.


Allwright, D. Bailey, K. (1991). Focus on the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Belz, J.A. (2002). Social dimensions of telecollaborative foreign language study. Language Learning Technology, 6(1),60-81.Retrieved August 27, 2003, from .

Belz, J.A. (2003). Linguistic perspectives on the development of intercultural competence in telecollaboration. Language Learning Technology, 7(2), 68-117. Retrieved September 10, 2004, from

Belz, J.A., Müller-Hartmann, A. (2003). Teachers as intercultural learners: Negotiating German-American telecollaboration along the institutional fault line. The Modern Language Journal, 87(1), 71-89.

Berge, Z. L. (1995). Facilitating computer conferencing: Recommendations from the field. Educational Technology , 35(1), 22-30.

Bredella, L. Delanoy, W. (Eds.). (1999). Interkultureller Fremdsprachenunterricht. Tübingen: Narr.

Breen, M.P. Littlejohn, A. (Eds.). (2000). Classroom decision-making: Negotiation and process syllabuses in practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Davis, N.E., Hagenson, L., Nilakanta, R., Fraser, J., Lopez Fernandez, O., Nyvang, T. Ellis, K. (2004). An intercultural learning experience in educational technology. Paper presented at the SITE 2004 Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, March 1-6, 2004. Retrieved September 10, 2004 from

Denzin, N.K. (1989). The research act. 3 rd Edition. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Doyé, P. (1995). Lehr- und Lernziele. In: Bausch, K.-R., Christ, H. Krumm, H.-J. (Eds.). Handbuch Fremdsprachenunterricht. Tübingen, Basel: Francke, 161 - 166.

Fisher, K., Phelps, R., Ellis, A. (2000). Group processes online: Teaching collaboration through collaborative processes. Educational Technology Society, 3(3), 484-495.

Flick, U. (2002). An introduction to qualitative research. 2 nd Edition. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Foppa, K. (1995). On mutual understanding and agreement in dialogues. In: Graumann , C.F. Markova, I. Foppa, K. Mutualities in Dialogue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 149-175.

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