As in “many noncooperative centers of gravity.” It’s what you want to turn your opponents into because it can, as Boyd suggested, pump up friction and entropy and “impede vigorous activity.”
Boyd’s primary critique of Clausewitz, for example, was that:
Clausewitz did not see that many non-cooperative, or conflicting, centers of gravity paralyze adversary by denying him the opportunity to operate in a directed fashion, hence they impede vigorous activity and magnify friction. (Patterns of Conflict, 42).
Think about a 3-D assortment of metal balls connected by springs. You try to get the contraption to move and you’ll find that most of your energy goes into the oscillations among the weights. Now translate that effect to organizations.
Nice example of this effect in yesterday’s Wall St. Journal in an article about Nokia, whose decline is spectacular, even by the standards of modern hi-tech. Here’s the critical conclusion:
“You were spending more time fighting politics than doing design,” said Alastair Curtis, Nokia’s chief designer from 2006 to 2009. The organizational structure was so convoluted, he added, that “it was hard for the team to drive through a coherent, consistent, beautiful experience.”
From: “Nokia’s Bad Call on Smartphones,” Wall St. J., July 19, 2012, p. A1 (subscription required)
If your organization has fallen prey to MNCCG, it doesn’t make any difference what your strategy is—because you won’t be able to execute it—or how potent your research and manufacturing operations are because they won’t be producing many products that customers want to buy. As the article shows, Nokia spent vastly more on R&D than any other company in its industry, nearly four times what Apple did, and had developed a modern smart phone, with touchscreen keyboard and a tablet with wireless connectivity some seven years before the iPhone. But today, they are struggling, to say the least, just to stay in the telecommunications business.