Unless you’re self-employed, we’re all cogs in a larger machine. The problem can be, how do you track that machine’s anatomy? How do you know what a “restructuring” really looks like, beyond that your middle manager has a new face?
Justin Matejka wondered the same thing after his relatively small employer Alias was acquired by Autodesk, so he created this remarkable animated visualization called the OrgOrgChart (Organic Organization Chart), which tracks every employee, manager, and departmental shift in the company from May 2007 to April 2011. Each second represents a week of activity for a growing staff, which expands from 6,500 to 7,500 people over this time.
“When we joined this much larger company, it was difficult to understand where in the organization other people you met worked,” Matejka tells Co.Design. “So I started collecting the data initially to help us orient ourselves within our new company. After collecting the data on a daily basis for a little while, I figured it might be nice to look at the changes over time, and that is when the OrgOrgChart animation began.”
What he ultimately created is the clip you see here—an ornate cell of trees and nodes, mutating and rearranging so quickly that your brain can barely process the facts. Yet it’s completely sensical. In the center of the circle, you have upper management. Their departments project out like spokes, labeled by color. And whenever action happens in that department, like a new VP coming onboard, the meaningful areas light up like a game of Simon.
With this rubric in mind, you can appreciate the intricate ballet of corporate structuring. Acquisitions become blossoms of color, explosions of life. Occasionally, some really interesting restructurings occur—a team is ripped across the map, or, as I swear I spotted once but can’t find again to cite, a chunk of (yellow) management is uprooted from the center and tossed out the edge of the company.
“The most striking thing we learnt from this is just how much activity is happening on a daily basis,” Matejka says. “In your own little corner of the company, you typically aren’t aware that there are many changes going on, but when you step back and look at the entire organization, it is really striking to see that there is basically always some amount of activity occurring.”
[Hat tip: NOTCOT]