Panopticons, Hierarchies and Human Brands with Eliot Frick


A panopticon is a building design that allows one person to watch all inmates in a prison. Obviously it’s impossible for one watchman to see everything all the time. However, it’s the thought of always being watched that deters bad behaviour.

Meanwhile, many organizations blindly chug along using old organizational design theory that drives us closer to machine like efficiency.  Over the last 100 years, these systems have served us well. They’ve brought prosperity to millions in the developed world. However, old design theories that drive efficiency also kills creativity and dehumanizes organizations.  Unfortunately all good things do not last.

In recent years, while under the watch of these systems, employee morale has plummeted and the lifespan of companies continues to shrink.


Panopticon - Photo By Friman

Panopticon – Photo By Friman


So what is a brand to do?


In this podcast with Eliot Frick, CEO of Big Wide Sky brand agency, we discuss some of the challenges facing companies today and explore solutions to building adaptive, human brands.


Total Running Time:  1 Hour 8 Minutes


Download the podcast or click play below.




  1. What is it about brands and business that you love?
  2. Is there something wrong with business, is it sick?
  3. Can you paint a picture of what the old world branding looks like?
  4. What are the challenges of shifting from old world branding models to a more human brand building system?
  5. Most companies agree that employees are their most valuable resource, then how do we make sense of the massive dis-engagement in the employee workforce?
  6. Are their companies who have transitioned the new brand building models?
  7. How do social networks and the associated tools shape our brands and businesses?
  8. Corporate longevity is linked to diversity and mutation.  But as a leader wanting to adapt how do we prevent diversity from becoming chaos?
  9. What is the Be Human movement and why is it important for brands?
  10. How can a leader act to building a human business?


About Eliot Frick and Be Human Project:


Eliot Frick is the Founder and CEO of Big Wide Sky brand agency.  His work to help organizations build remarkable brands led him to start the Be Human Project. This movement aims to expose the great things people do to make their businesses more human.  Eliot is available on Twitter @EliotFrick or Facebook .



Additional Resources:


Agency – Human agency is the capacity for human beings to make choices

Goose in a bottle – Eliot’s TEDx talk

Kuhnian Paradigm Shift – a change in the basic assumptions within the rules an existing theory

Panopticon – a building structure designed to keep

Reductionism – an idea that the value of a system is nothing more than the sum of its parts

Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies by Douglas Hofstadter

Social Capital  – the glue that binds people together

Holocracy - social technology for agile and purposeful organizations

Peter Principle – a person who advances based on their current performance instead of their skills for the intended role

Hucksterism – a person using pushy sales tactics

The Connected Company – by Dave Gray is the best business book I’ve ever read. Here is a link to an interview I did with Dave about his book.



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