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Catalytics

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A session by Ross Mayfield at the Office 2.0 Unconference, about how to be a catalyst for change in a large organization

A session by Ross Mayfield at the Office 2.0 Unconference, about how to be a catalyst for change in a large organization

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  • 1.
    • How to be an agent of change in a large organization
  • 2. Why Catalyze?
    • Larger competitive and technological forces threaten organizations that are institutionalized against change
    • Web 2.0 and social networks enable Catalysts to work against the Innovator’s Dilemma
    • Catalysts have a responsibility and role
    • This isn’t about adopting technology, but using it with increased energy towards a goal
  • 3. Case Study: ODDsters
    • Corporate activists within AT&T when the internet required change
      • www.strategos.com/articles/ODD_StrategyCreation.PDF
    • Ideally, the Opportunity Discovery Department (ODD) didn’t have to exist
    • 8 eclectics, a diverse group for change, shielded within Research, but worked across the organization
    • ODDster David Isenberg’s The Rise of the Stupid Network was leaked internal memo, brought change across the industry
  • 4. Case Study: ODDsters
    • Publishing, Events and Networks
    • GNOST: Grassroots Network of Strategic Thinkers within the organization
    • SIP: Strategic Inflection Points, targeted points of influence within the organization, human (empty suits) and paper-based
    • Tapped GBN as a professional network outside the organization
  • 5. Lexicon of ODDisms
    • canary n. a person who detects signs of dangerous strategy/behavior; a person who tests a situation for the safe entry of followers
    • confusooly n. a version of “management by regulated incompetence”; the modus operandi of telco incumbents
    • data bomb n. a statistic with disturbing implications
    • dead squirrel n. a strategy that has encountered the arrival of a freight train
    • empty suits n. pl. up-and-coming executives who need ideas to advance their careers
    • freight trains n. a trend that is going to flatten a company unless the company changes its strategy
    • GNOST abbrev. Grass-Roots Network of Strategic Thinkers; an informal community of support
    • humbitious adj. a state that combines the humility to recognize that one does not know everything with the ambition to be bold in fulfillment of one’s mission
    • ignorance map n. a map that charts the critical information of which a company is ignorant
    • jester n. a person who employs humor and self-ridicule to force executives to acknowledge difficult strategic issues
    • learning journey n. a journey of discovery to an unfamiliar area or context
    • magic feathers n pl. implicitly and intentionally indefinable concepts that companies believe are necessary for success e.g. middleware, platform [From Disney’s “Dumbo and the Magic Feather” in which Dumbo believes that he needs a magic feather to fly, whereas he already has all that he needs to fly—namely, his big ears]. Offering a “magic feather” as a solution stops all useful strategic discussion.
    • naked emperors n. pl. misguided executives with delicate egos whom no one is willing to confront
    • ODD abbrev. Opportunity Discovery Department; Opportunity Deficit Disorder; Organized Despair and
    • Disillusionment
    • ODDventure n. see learning journey
    • reboot camp n. a learning journey that is designed to “chock and fix” unsuspecting executives
    • stink tank n. a place such as ODD where dangerous, combustible ideas are generated
    • strategic infection point n. a suitable point in an organizational process at which one can introduce a new strategic perspective
    • strategic rubber chicken n. an indigestible attempt at strategy; usually served to lower level employees by upper management
    • stratlets n. pl. hallway or elevator strategies; small pieces of strategy with the potential to grow into something larger
    • substitute brain n. an external consultant
    • Trojan hearse n. a vehicle used to engineer the departure of a naked emperor
    • Unamailer n. a disgruntled knowledge worker who breaks the corporate code of silence concerning mismanagement and incompetence
  • 6. What ODDsters Could Have Done
    • • Avoided us vs. them—mentality that may have created some confrontation.
    • • Tuned down their slight intellectual snobbism—even if corporate strategists don’t have sufficient technological background, theymight have other qualities.
    • • Sought to create comfort zones where those illiterate in technology and telecommunications competition could have learnt without embarrassment (albeit some of this did happen through scenario planning for instance).
    • • Should not have aspired to take over the strategy function of AT&T (in a clandestine manner) but sought to add value nevertheless.
    • • Sought to address higher audiences in top management in a more systematic manner.
    • • Have developed a plan B and the Revision A for ODD ready to go in 1998 when ODD, as it was initially conceived, no longer was viable.
    • • Shared their transformational experience with more people—the fervor ODD created, must have scared those non-initiated within AT&T.
    • • Created a wider-based coalition to support their ideas (again, a lot of this did happen through the seminars, newsletters, networks).
  • 7. What’s New
    • MANOPs
    • Ability to Meet, camp and remote
    • Ability to Aggregate, inside and out
    • Ability to Network, inside and out
    • Ability to Organize, self and others
    • Ability to Publish, inside and out
  • 8. What’s Old
    • Heirarchy
    • Process
    • Budgeting
    • Mindsets
  • 9. MANOPs: Meet
    • Barcamp-style meetings
      • Shared experience
      • Agenda surfacing
      • Networking
    • Remote
      • Conference calls
      • Look how open source developers collaborate with IM, IRC (chat) and wiki; without actually meeting
    • Apply to your organization and participate in your professional network
  • 10. MANOPs: Aggregate
    • Leverage RSS Newsreaders to aggregate internal and external content on your issues
    • Share your subscription lists. Shared sources change minds over time.
    • Install Outlook plugins or bookmarks and don’t say its RSS
  • 11. MANOPs: Network
    • Who are your peers?
    • Your professional network is your best source of ideas for change
    • Your internal network is your best source of means for change
    • Consider catalytics like GNOST
  • 12. MANOPs: Organize
    • Insert wiki here
    • No such thing as collaboration without a goal
    • Which do you need, sanctioned budget or time?
    • Today, what can you accomplish without resources?
      • The cost of group forming is falling to zero
      • Intrapreneurship
      • IT: open source, SaaS and free tools
      • The value of prototypes
  • 13. MANOPs: Publish
    • Means, not an end
    • Getting your idea across is more important than credit
    • First develop a resource, not a manifesto
    • Publish with others
    • Tim Bray: public posts change more than private?
  • 14. Catalytics Conclusion
    • Don’t be a revolutionary, help your organization be evolutionary
    • Let’s discuss your issues with What’s Old and how to apply Catalytic MANOPs
  • 15.
    • Watch for SuitCamp
    • [email_address]
    • ross.typepad.com

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