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Agility and Organisational Change


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A talk delivered as part of the Google Squared programme on the subject of digital culture, agility and organisational change

Published in: Business

Agility and Organisational Change

  2. 2. CEOs consider technology the single most important external force shaping their organizations IBM CEO Survey 2013
  3. 3. “If the late 20th Century was the age of the multinational company, the early 21st will be the age of the micro multinational: small companies that operate globally” Hal Varian, Google Chief Economist
  4. 4. “A large organisation is almost nothing but a massive knot of pre-existing relationships.” Matt Edgar Sticky Organisations
  5. 5. “Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships, that is why good ideas are always initially resisted.” Hugh MacLeod
  6. 6. Source: MIT Sloan Management/Capgmini, “Embracing Digital Technology”, 2013 Culture is one of the most significant barriers to digital transformation
  7. 7. Toxic Assumptions
  8. 8. "Chess, like business, is a balance between the mundane and the unthinkable. Each move has game changing consequences, sometimes you must win by doing the right thing each time….but at Grandmaster level we all think 25 moves ahead and are familiar with every nuance of the game. The only way to win at that level is to do the unthinkable, something that explodes the game and upends my opponents thinking.” Gary Kasporov HT Scott Gallacher, The Aston Group
  9. 9. Taking the Long View Key tension - requirement for longer-term strategy and investment vs constant need to hit short-term targets “We are willing to think long-term. We start with the customer and work backwards. And, very importantly, we are willing to be misunderstood for very long periods of time. I believe if you don‟t have that set of things in your corporate culture, then you can‟t do large-scale invention.”
  10. 10. Jim Collins: Empirical Creativity
  11. 11. "An effective test is an exercise in humility; it’s only useful in a culture where desirability is not confused with likelihood. For a test to change things, everyone has to understand that their opinion, and their boss’s opinion, matters less than what actually works and what doesn’t”
  13. 13. Concept Detailed Design Detailed Design Build Build Detailed Design Detailed Design Build Build SPRINT REVIEW SPRINT REVIEW SPRINT REVIEW SPRINT REVIEW Ford Motor/Razorfish agile principles A broad based opportunity: Innovation, efficiencies, customer experience Impacts processes, structures, ways of working
  14. 14. Progression of agility through an organisation, agile philosophy and culture
  15. 15. Spotify – Tribes, Chapters, Squads
  16. 16. “I wisely started with a map” J.R.R. Tolkien
  17. 17. “The notion of ideas as this singular thing is a fundamental flaw. There are so many ideas that what you need is that group behaving creatively. And the person with the vision I think is unique, there are very few people who have that vision.. but if they are not drawing the best out of people then they will fail.” Ed Catmull, President of Pixar
  18. 18. 1. Commercially minded 2. Customer-centric 3. Open and transparent (data) 4. Collaborative (cross-function, tools) 5. Non-hierarchical 6. Growth hacker 7. Empowered (fail fast, ideas from anywhere) 8. Data driven (test and learn, evidence based) 9. Passion (hungry to learn, curious) 10. Innovative and agile (embrace change, process) What is digital culture? Image:
  19. 19. "We aggressively stood on the shoulders of giants like Amazon, and used technology that was built by other people. We had a pretty good culture of using not-invented-here technologies. And we weren't scared about it."
  20. 20. “Government should only do what only government can do. If someone else is doing it — link to it. If we can provide resources (like APIs) that will help other people build things — do that. We should concentrate on the irreducible core.”
  21. 21. • Policy as the starting point = overly detailed input • Digital versions of existing practices • Lengthy and complex procurement • Inflexible solutions • Driven by user need • Alpha of the service in 12 weeks • Rapid reaction to user feedback from multiple sources • First 10 days after release over 100 changes at negligible cost. • In many cases, delivery of services has come before final strategy work is completed "In an analogue world policy dictates to delivery, but in a digital world delivery informs policy".
  22. 22. 1. They are obsessed with the quality of the product/experience. 2. They are obsessed with talent. 3. They can explain the vision for the company in a few clear words. 4. They generate revenue very early on in their lives 5. They are tough and calm 6. They keep expenses low 7. They make something a small number of users really love 8. They grow organically 9. They are focused on growth 10. They balance a focus on growth with strategic thinking about the future 11. They do things that don't scale 12. They have a whatever-it-takes attitude 13. They prioritize well 14. The founders are nice 15. They don't get excited about pretending to run a startup 16. They get stuff done 17. They move fast. What Makes a ‘Super-Successful’ Company?
  23. 23. Budget split Life stage Objective KPIs Team 70% Core/oldest products Small growth Maintain profit ‘Rowing team’ 20% Young/mid Increase share and profit Profitable growth ‘White water rafters’ 10% New Prove leap of faith Solving user problems ‘Diving for sunken treasure’
  24. 24. So how do we make change easier?
  25. 25. Image: “The most innovative companies innovate in the broadest possible ways.” The Ten Types of Innovation
  26. 26. “Looking outside your own industry for inspiration is as useful as it‟s ever been, but you need people who can think laterally enough to apply an unfamiliar idea to their own situation.” The Importance of Fresh Perspectives Getting patients from surgery to ICU in Gt Ormond St…
  27. 27. Chance favours the connected mind • The eureka myth • Ideas take a long time to mature • Collision of „half ideas‟ • Connectivity drives collisions Ideas From Anywhere
  28. 28. • Connected employees bring new thinking into the organisation • Allows for innovation at the edges – non-core thinking • Companies less reliant on „stocks‟ of knowledge, and more connected to „flows‟ of knowledge Porous Enterprise
  29. 29. “…fully networked enterprises are not only more likely to be market leaders or to be gaining market share but also use management practices that lead to margins higher than those of companies using the Web in more limited ways.” The Networked Enterprise
  30. 30. Test and Learn It took Rovio 51 attempts and six years to come up with Angry Birds. It took over 5,000 prototypes and 15 years of perseverance for James Dyson to launch the Dyson DC01 vacuum cleaner under his own name “Prototype an idea as soon as possible, be transparent and have a fact based organisation – endeavour to constantly remove guesswork.” Developing a culture of experimentation
  31. 31. Inspiration, Insight Idea Generation Idea Selection Incubation, Implementation Deployment, Scalability The Innovation Value Chain
  33. 33.
  34. 34. Bottom-up, Top Down change
  35. 35. Technical change: change that addresses tangible products, procedures or processes Adaptive change: less tangible human aspects - attitudes, thinking, beliefs, values, behavioural change Technical and Adaptive Change – Embracing Uncertainty
  36. 36. Knoster T, Villa R, & Thousand J. (2000). A Framework for Thinking about Systems Change. In R. Villa & J. Thousand
  37. 37. “You can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.” Changing Organisational Habits
  38. 38. “When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.” You Are Who You Choose to Spend Time With
  39. 39. "If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal." Systems Trump Goals
  40. 40. "If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal." “The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn. The systems people are feeling good every time they apply their system." Systems Trump Goals
  41. 41. "I was moving from a place with low odds (being an out-of-practice writer) to a place of good odds (a well-practiced writer with higher visibility)." A Bit Like Blogging…
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  43. 43.
  44. 44. The Technology Hype Cycle
  45. 45. Idea Trigger Trough of Disappointment Peak of Inflated Excitement Slope of hope Highland of headway The Idea Hype Cycle
  46. 46. What does this mean for me? Be the change you wish to see But remember change is a process, not an event Don’t just think creativity – think empirical creativity Ask the awkward questions Focus on behaviours, not technology Always be learning Humility wins. Surround yourself with people who inspire you Connect with the great thinking that is given away freely in this industry Don’t fight the old, build the new!
  47. 47. @neilperkin Thank you!