The first unit created was also perhaps the most extraordinary. When this company was founded, the intention was to create a company truly for the post dotcom and post nine-eleven era. To do this it very soon became clear that it had to have a level of integration between strategy, organisation, identity, products and marketing totally unheard of before. The only tool available, that could achieve this level of integration, was the methods and language of art. Therefore the first unit was created to explore business as an expression of art:
rasmus unit 108 – BUSINESS-AS-ART STUDIO
The unit was later numbered one-hundred and eight because it was such a nice number. And so far it has only created one piece of art, and that is the company rasmus. The creation was made by writing a manifesto expressing the higher meaning of the company existence, and stating that the company itself was a synthetic piece of art. The creation is then fulfilled by a constant stream of related acts of business. rasmus is indeed a very living piece of art.
In retrospect, stating that the company was a piece of art and then treating it as such, has made much more business sense than we had expected. For instance, since the company actually achieves a high level of innovation and unique artistic expression in areas like organisational structure, marketing and business models, all these are protected rights belonging to the original creator. And these rights are likely to be protected, in some countries, up to seventy years after the original creators death. That is a very long time of protection and we will most certainly be prepared to protect these rights in court.
Also, we would never have dared to try the concept of fluid business units, unless the company was a work of art. To have far more business units than people employed does feel insane. In the beginning, this was just a thing we did for fun. Because it made sense if the company was a piece of art. But after a while we realised that these business units made it much easier to use the expertise and knowledge available, in the team and from partners. The concept of fluid business units are probably the most efficient way to organise a knowledge based company ever devised. When we better understand why this is more efficient, we intend to create a method license, so others can also implement the concept.