Fractals, Innovation, Organizations


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  • [Wikipedia] Consigliere (Italianconsigliere "counselor", pronounced [konsiʎˈʎɛːre]) is a position in the American Mafia. The word was popularized by Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather (1969), and its film adaptation. In the novel, a consigliere is an adviser or counselor to a mafia boss, with the additional responsibility of representing the don in important meetings both within the don's crime family and with other crime families. The consigliere is a close, trusted friend and confidant, the mob's version of an elder statesman. He is devoid of ambition and dispenses disinterested advice. This passive image of the consigliere does not correspond with what little is known of real-life consiglieri.[1]A real-life Mafia consigliere is generally the number three person in a crime family, after don (boss) and underboss in most cases.[2] A crime family normally has only one consigliere at a time, but bosses have on occasion appointed more than one. The boss, underboss, and consigliere constitute a three-man ruling panel, or "Administration."[3]In the movies The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, the consigliere to Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), and later Don Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), is Tom Hagen (played by Robert Duvall). (In the novel, Tom's predecessor, GencoAbbandando, is briefly featured, dying in a hospital room on the day of Connie's wedding. This scene was filmed for the first movie, and has been included in some television showings.) Hagen is the adopted son of Don Vito Corleone, and a lawyer for the family. At the end of The Godfather, Don Vito's successor and son, Michael Corleone, temporarily demotes Hagen within the organization, moving him to Las Vegas, saying "things are going to get rough, and I need a wartime consiglieri." (In an earlier scene, Santino 'Sonny' Corleone, Michael's older brother and acting Don after Vito Corleone's attempted assassination, similarly criticizes Hagen.) Vito Corleone, Michael's father, replaces Hagen at Michael's side until his death. After killing the heads of the five families, Michael reinstatesTom.
  • [Wikipedia] Sympathy essentially implies a feeling of recognition of another's suffering while empathy is actually sharing another's suffering, if only briefly. Empathy is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes". It is possible to be empathetic and not sympathetic at the same time. For example: If a person gambles and loses all his money, you may feel empathetic and try to analyze the reason for doing so but you will not be sympathetic towards him as it is his fault entirely in losing the money. On the other hand, you can both empathize and sympathize at the same point. If someone looses a loved one, you will feel sympathy for them and, if you have ever lost a loved one yourself, you are likely to empathize with their position.
  • Fractals, Innovation, Organizations

    1. 1. Fractals, Innovation, and OrganizationsSteve GladstoneNovember 3, 2012
    2. 2. Agenda• Today, we’ll look at some seemingly disparate concepts, and draw them together: – Innovation and motivation – Detour I…The “Innovator’s Dilemma” – Detour II…The “Fractal” mindset to drive innovation in the context of the organization – Time-permitting, we’ll discuss fractals and artificial life as a potential model for organizations – “The Godfather” as a model for driving innovation and change – Lessons learned at the frontline: Culture and situational awareness – Project, product, and solution companies – Bringing it all together through “joined-up” thinking – Please feel free to interact as we go
    3. 3. So, You Want to Have an Impact?• Explore deeply and personally what “impact” means to you – Is it: Execute on established paths for change and innovation? – Is it: Define & shape change and innovation? – Is it: A seat of considered wisdom at the C-level table? – If not, what does impact mean to you?• Surprises in motivation… – Money? Yes…and no. • For creative tasks, higher rewards can lead to lower performance… – Impact – Mastery – Self-direction• Optionally: RSA Motivation Video
    4. 4. Intrapreneur Defined• In 1992, the American Heritage Dictionary acknowledged the popular use of a new word, intrapreneur, to mean: – “A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation” Source: Wikipedia But, why is change/innovation so difficult for many organizations?
    5. 5. Detour I…The Innovator’s Dilemma (ID)• Ground-breaking book by Clayton M. Christensen: – How “good” companies can do everything “right” and still lose market leadership, or disappear altogether! – Incremental vs. disruptive innovation: • Incumbents tend to pursue incremental (“listen to customer”) • New entrants pursue disruptive – Low-end disruptions eventually gain market share: • New entrant, inferior at first, crawls “up-market” • Later, incumbent loses market share, and often misses opportunity – Examples: • 5.25”  3.5” Disks • Minicomputers  PC’s • Desktop publishing
    6. 6. The Innovator’s Dilemma Visualized 10% Growth = $10M IncumbentFeatures, Value, etc. • Listens to the customer • Inferior product…at first • Incremental innovation • Mostly ignored by market and incumbent • Organization optimized for high price point • Pursue low-end features • But, add more over time… New Entrant 10% Growth = $100K $ (Cost, Price, etc.)
    7. 7. The Innovator’s Dilemma Visualized Incumbent • Inertia, too slow to change • Perceived as legitimate in mid-market • Loss of Market ShareFeatures, Value, etc. • Converts some customers from incumbent…others notice and may follow • Eventually begins to threaten incumbency New Entrant $ (Cost, Price, etc.)
    8. 8. Another View of the ID End State Typical Incumbent Strategy: - Sustain Market Share - Sustain Customer Satisfaction ID Impact: - Lose Market Share - Decrease Customer Satisfaction - Struggle to Recover Organizational Scale (Typically, Time)
    9. 9. Detour II: Fractals…First, some math…Kidding – only an elementary math background needed today
    10. 10. Fractals and Artificial Life: Describing Companies? What’s a Fractal (for our purposes)?  A simple concept or structure that is repeatedly applied  Amazing, beautiful, “self-similar”, complexity emerges  Example: The Mandelbrot Set  Optionally: PBS Video on Fractals What’s Artificial Life (for our purposes)?  The simulation of a complex living structure and its functions  Based upon atomic, simple rules, sometimes neural networks  Complex behaviors “emerge”  Example: Conway’s Life Simulation and Predators and Prey
    11. 11. The Game of Artificial Life: Emergent Complexity From Repeated, Simple Rules Life is played on a grid of square cells--like a chess board but extending infinitely in every direction. A cell can be live or dead. A live cell is shown by putting a marker on its square. A dead cell is shown by leaving the square empty. Each cell in the grid has a neighborhood consisting of the eight cells in every direction including diagonals. To apply one step of the rules, we count the number of live neighbors for each cell. What happens next depends on this number.  A dead cell with exactly three live neighbors becomes a live cell (birth).  A live cell with two or three live neighbors stays alive (survival).  In all other cases, a cell dies or remains dead (overcrowding or loneliness).
    12. 12. Detour II…Fractals: Emergent Complexity from Recursive Simplicity The Koch Snowflake & Coastlines “Self-similarity”
    13. 13. Fractal Examples In Nature
    14. 14. Fractal Examples In Practice Social Networks Programming/Project Methodologies Digital Image CompressionCell Phone Antenna
    15. 15. Fractals: Not Always What You Might ExpectFractal geometry will make you see everything differently. There is a danger in reading further. Yourisk the loss of your childhood vision ofclouds, forests, flowers, galaxies, leaves, feathers, rocks, mountains, torrents ofwater, carpet, bricks, and much else besides. Never again will your interpretation of these things bequite the same.— Michael F. BarnsleyFractals Everywhere (2000)
    16. 16. Fractal Behaviors of an Organization Drive Emergent Results and Culture Executive Sponsorship vs. Sleepership  Emergent project results (Good or Bad) Information/Knowledge Silos  In retrospect, can observe small factors that Roles and Responsibilities compounded to the final result (Good or Bad) Responsibilities and Authority  Can observe self-similar behaviors at differing scales Commitment and Accountability  Company “culture” is emergent Performance Metrics Etc. Elementary Organizational Emergent Behaviors Structure Outcomes
    17. 17. Question: Do Fractal (Self-Similar) Organizations Make More Sense? Replace With? To Get
    18. 18. Question: Can We Apply This Thinking to Organizations?• Optionally: Video on the Surprising Math of Cities and Corporations• The same way we can reduce a digital image to it’s fractal equivalent, can we do the same to an organization? – Build up a model of the organization using artificial life – Then, use aspects of the “Collage Theorem” to self-discover thee root causal factors of the outcomes Fractally Represent Image Fractally Represent Organization • Emergent Outcomes • Root Causes• If so, the possible outcomes are: – The elementary fractal organizational “drivers” and pathologic behaviors would be apparent – The life of the organization and probable evolution could be visualized (in a monte carlo sense) – Possible IT/HR tools to diagnose, measure, and materially cope with the fractal drivers – Similar implications in social networks, family dynamics, and many other fields
    19. 19. OK, so you want to be an Agent of Change• Regularly evidence deep understanding to Execs/C-levels – What it takes to execute an idea in a company/industry context – Know thy personal and company culture – Create a shared “sense of urgency” through communications – Gain awareness of “fractal” behaviors and weigh against desired project outcomes – Only “joined up” thinking makes it happen• Generate results…tangible and intangible – Projects, products, and solutions execute with highest success probability – Company and deliverables are crisply branded – Build resilient trust with Execs/C-levels – Executive sponsorship vs. “sleepership”• “The Godfather” consigliere as a model
    20. 20. Execution and Communication in Context• Understand – Industry trends and causal relationships – Competitive, revenue, profitability, and growth impacts• Get into stakeholder’s heads – The CEO’s – The customer’s – Others (internal and external)• Navigate any dual/mixed C-level roles – CIO reports to CFO – Dual CTO/CEO role• Who really drives change/innovation? – Engineering vs. product management (projects vs. products)• Be forward thinking, but balance tactics and strategy – If you only listen to customers, then you will only be as smart as them – For disruptive innovation, paradigm shifts must be “on the table”
    21. 21. Know Thy Personal and Company Culture• Alignment is essential in any organization – Clear definitions of roles and responsibilities • Project administrators vs. project managers • Useful process vs. worship of process • “Centers of excellence” delivery and metrics – Commensurate responsibilities and authority • Misalignment can lead to overly political environments – Join commitment and accountability • The union builds on what we know about motivation• Is it a Project, Product, or Solution based company? – Core to understanding what/how change and innovation can/will occur
    22. 22. Organizational Maturity Model: Projects, Products, or Solutions?• Recognize that everyone says they want a solution• Projects – Customer says “Jump!”, and company says “How high?” – Company brand centered in capability to execute• Products – Company willing to gently say “no” to customers – Typically “market” driven• Solutions – Company says, “We are all things to all people.” – Bring together People, Process, Technology – Professional services consumes/customizes company products – Typically viewed as “end-to-end” by customer• So, which type is your personal sweet-spot? Is it aligned with the company’s? Note: Projects and products do not play well together if they share execution resources.
    23. 23. Project, Product, Solution Visualized Typical Incumbent Strategy: Leadership Changes - Sustain Market Share Typically Required - Sustain Customer Satisfaction “Solution” • Core engineering builds product • Professional services handles customization • Business scales in products and services “Product” ID Impact: - Lose Market Share • Build what the “market” wants - Decrease Customer Satisfaction • OK. We need a “platform” and API gate-keeper - Struggle to Recover “Project” • • Truly, have a “product” Still, can we service mass customization? • Build whatever customer specifies • “Recreate the wheel” several times • Eventually, claim a “product” • Suffer code fragmentation Organizational Scale (Typically, Time) • How do we contend with NRE-based business scaling issues?
    24. 24. Bringing it All Together – “Joined Up” Thinking• Understand current company projects, products, and solutions Projects• Leverage knowledge of present “organizational maturity” – In company cultural context, is the change/innovation realistic? – Is it worth the professional risk? Solutions Products• Truly “partner” with people/teams/organizations to bring it about – Think like a developer, project manager, CEO, etc.• Politics of change: Create buy-in – No buy-in = No change – Assert with passion and create excitement – Be proactive, not reactive – Take reasonable risks, but mitigate – Change is hard: Empathize, but don’t fully sympathize – Appeal to the “arrogance” of others (by making it their idea!) – Ultimately, “Developers own the code”
    25. 25. Communications: Create a “Shared Sense of Urgency”• Facilitate joined up organizational thinking/execution• Partner with Marketing for communications – Internal communications • Be crisp and clear about why it is urgent (“an offer they can’t refuse…”) • Does everyone share the vision, or just versions of it? • Authorized internal communications can serve as a lock-in • Care and feed the messaging, don’t abandon it – External communications • Media and trade shows must reflect the change/innovation • Align or revise branding strategy, as required
    26. 26. Finally, Claim Your Seat at the Table• Significant change/innovation rollouts typically have material impact on company• The stakes can be high – Successful change agent championing is usually career-making – Failure to execute (for any reason) can create a stigma for those that championed• While execution of an idea is almost everything, its not the only thing – Don’t burn too many bridges, as you will need them to come along next time – And, contrary to “The Godfather”, a carefully placed horse head won’t quite do it…
    27. 27. Today, We Covered…• Some seemingly disparate concepts, and drew them together: – Innovation and motivation – The “Innovator’s Dilemma” – The “Fractal” Mindset to drive innovation in the context of the organization – “The Godfather” as a potential model for driving innovation and change – Lessons learned at the frontline: Culture and situational awareness – Project, product, and solution companies – Bringing it all together through “joined-up” thinking
    28. 28. Thank You for Participating Today!• Questions & Answers• Steve Gladstone, – Your comments & suggestions are welcomed