Turning real understanding into innovation outcomes


CBC - Website Article 24032020

In my earlier article’ Understanding Why’ I talked about why having goals and aspirations is not enough unless underpinned by understanding. This article takes the process to the next stage, exploring why we need to be more intelligent and then why more collaborative and then why more adaptable to become an exponential organisation.

Let’s start by taking a quick look at the typical characteristics of an exponential organisation, particularly as identified in the book of the same name. [1] Exponential organisations are described as those whose output is disproportionally large because of some organisational characteristics that leverage information technologies.

It might be easy to point to businesses arising from Silicon Valley as those with the potential to be exponential organisations, but in truth, every organisation can adopt exponential characteristics to enable them to drive growth. These include real-time performance metrics, self-organising teams, rapid prototyping and collaborative tools that stimulate transparency and connectedness. [2] In essence, they align with the characteristics of Next Generation Organisations which I outlined in the bestselling book ‘Building a Culture of Innovation.’ [3]

How we deliver those characteristics is a matter for another time. Right now, I’m going to focus on the ‘why’ of those characteristics, starting with intelligence. So why do we need to be more intelligent? Inevitably the rise of big data means that we are swimming in an ocean of facts and figures? The danger is that knowing lots of stuff gives us a false sense of security. It’s not what we know that’s important; what makes the difference is making sure that we know the right things and then use that knowledge to target change actively.

And that change isn’t going to come if we carry on working with a closed, siloed, mentality. I might know stuff, and you might know things, but individually we are working blind. By combining our knowledge, insight and talents, we may be able to make a real difference. Exponential organisations understand this as they look to collaborate not just internally but also externally, drawing on the expertise of organisations, researchers and the wider public.

That leads us on towards greater adaptability. Why do we need more adaptable? The tried and tested methods of yesteryear still apply. After all, they got us to where we are today! But this isn’t the world of yesterday. We’ve got fantastic access to all sorts of information, and we can collaborate with people and organisations across the globe. If we don’t use the tools that are available to us, then we are doing our organisations and our customers a great disservice.

In my earlier article, I asked you to take a fresh look at your goals and then ask yourself why. Now I am asking you to look afresh at the why of intelligence, collaboration and adaptability. Only then are you ready to start delivering real change in your organisation.

[1] https://www.openexo.com/exponential-organizations-book
[2] https://www.thnk.org/insights/exponential-organizations/?utm_source
[3] https://crisbeswick.com/building-a-culture-of-innovation/

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