Exponential Attributes: Algorithms

Algorithms is the third Attribute in the SCALE acronym. In Chapter 3 of Exponential Organizations you can read more about this and I suggest taking a look at the open source tool developed by the ExO Ecosystem.

The Wikipedia Article on Algorithms describes the following: An algorithm is an unambiguous specification of how to solve a class of problems. Algorithms can perform calculation, data processing and automated reasoning tasks. Essentially Algorithms are a way for an organisation to take data and turn it into valuable information. This process is now being augmented even further with machine learning and deep learning which is essentially giving algorithms the power to improve themselves.

programming-942487_1920.jpgThe wonderful thing about algorithms is that they take the data and make interpretations without any of the human bias and therefore have a great deal of power in improving efficiencies. remember that when starting out your algorithm may be in the form of a spreadsheet, but for maximum efficiency you want to automate as much as possible to avoid bias and error.

If you want to implement algorithms in your organisation you need to follow the following four steps:

  1. Gather Data: This can be from data sets, sensors, etc.
  2. Organise Data into a usable form. Often referred to as Extract, Transform and Load
  3. Apply the algorithm. There are online and open source tools to do this. Hadoop, Pivotal, DeepMind, Vicarious, SkyMind, etc.
  4. Expose the data: This is giving your data to potential partners to increase its usefulness.

If you want to run a truly exponential and scalable business then algorithms are another attribute that are pretty much a requirement to leverage sensors and devices, lower errors and provide an easy to upgrade system. Take some time to look at your organisation and the data that is produced or is available and how this data could be turned into valuable information and then make that happen.

Exponential Attributes: Staff on Demand

The first External attribute is the S of SCALE which stands for Staff on Demand. If you want to embrace this attribute I suggest taking a look at this great open source tool developed by the ExO Ecosystem and the Growth Institute. You can also read Chapter 3 of Exponential Organisations.

Staff on Demand (SoD) refers to people who work for you when required.  SoD is about leveraging the talent of people that do not work for you full time. This is not traditional outsourcing but rather leveraging talents that you do not require in house.  This allows your organisation to be flexible and to grow at pace with adaptability and agility.

No Matter Who You Are, Most Of The Smartest People Work For Someone Else

Bill Joy

Staff on demand can range from one off and specific job functions through to vital to the business model. AirBnB and Uber’s business models are build on SoD. You do not have to use SoD to this level in order to benefit from it.

There are a number of online tools and platforms that you can use to leverage skills outside of your organisation. I suggest that you go some googling for the skill that you require and you will find everything from Accounting to Coding and Design to maintenance. Some well known examples include Upwork, Top Coder, Kaggle, 99 Designs, Fiver, Task Rabbit,  Roamler, M4Jam. You can also use tools like craigslist or gumtree to find people.

Some important things to take into account when using SoD:

  • Be very specific with regards to the requirements of the task in order to receive the outcome that you want.
  • Ensure that you have an awesome MTP that will attract the best talent
  • Build your community and attract SoD from within your community
  • Ensure that you have “knowledge capture” built in to your SoD in order to not lose any insights. Having good interfaces can help with this!
  • Experiement first and then scale

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Exponential Attributes: MTP

A Massive Transformative Purpose is essential for an organisation that wants to exponential, in fact I believe that it is vital for an organisation to thrive in the 21st century. Am MTP is more than a vision or a mission it is an aspirational statement that captures the hearts and minds of the people inside the organisation as well as the community that surrounds the organisation. This can be seen as the higher purpose of the organisation. Remember it is transformational and not transactional.

MTP's

A powerful MTP has the Power of Pull, it creates a culture that people want to belong to and be a part of. A strong MTP is therefore beneficial when recruiting and retaining talent. In addition a powerful MTP results in an external impact focus rather than an internal politics focus and therefore results in a more productive organisation. A great MTP can have first mover advantage, as it is written in Exponential Organisations it is difficult for another company to come up against Google’s MTP and say well we are going to organise the worlds information just better.

The Purpose in MTP is vital and two why questions are described in the book as critical:

  • Why do this work?
  • Why does this organisation exist?

I highly recommend watching Simon Sinek’s Start with Why TED talk!

MTP Believe

Developing an MTP

Key questions to ask when creating an MTP (Founders):

  • What do we really care about? Why? Why do you exist?
  • What is our company’s purpose on this earth (and beyond)?
  • What is the biggest problem I could solve?
  • What does the world hunger for? Why?  
  • What would we do if I could never fail? Why?
  • What would we do if we received a billion dollars today?  Why?

Because the team who wrote Exponential Organisations and the ExO Foundation want to migrate the world to abundance they and the community around us have developed a tool to help you develop your MTP, find it here.

Now take the steps to developing an MTP. If you need some help along the way then let me know!

Is an idea meritocracy the way to encourage experimentation in your organisation?

Firstly you may be asking yourself what is an idea meritocracy? This is an ideology and way of working that let’s the best idea win regardless of who the idea comes from. Successful companies such as Bridgewater associates and Pixar animation studios use such techniques to build a culture of radical transparency and this ensures that innovation continues to prosper.

A quick aside, I wrote this blog a few weeks ago sitting at the Amazing V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and then forgot to publish it. The picture below was taken on the day. ADVERT: Cape Town is an amazing place to start a business!

I first came across this idea from Ray Dalio’s book Principles and would highly recommend that you read this book. Bridgewater Associates which Dalio founded over 40 years ago runs on a radically transparent culture and is the number one hedge fund in the world. The stories in the book are amazing such as junior employees having the openness to tell Ray Dalio that his performance in a meeting was D- and that he was obviously unprepared. There are many organisations where this would be seen as insubordination but not at Bridgewater where honest feedback is valued and required.

This type of culture is not an easy one to follow as it is very different to what many of us know but I believe that it is a very good model to use to promote experimentation. Experimentation requires failure and honest feedback to improve. Where people are punished for failure experimentation is unlikely.

So what steps can you take to move to an idea meritocracy and a radically transparent company culture?

  1. Have an open mind
  2. Learn more about it by reading and studying other companies following this ideology
  3. Discuss this with your team
  4. Implement and know that you will make mistakes and have failures along the way. The important thing to remember is that as long as you are learning from these then you are moving forward

For more information check out this great article by Edward D. Hess that I used when writing this blog.

 

Attention African Startup Founders

Are you a Startup Founder or someone who wants to solve a problem in Africa? If this is you then I want to grab your attention. We are living in the 21st Century and therefore it is important that you take this into account when starting up your venture. Organisations in the 21st century need to use Exponential attributes to ensure success.

I have written about these attributes before and have included a diagram of the elements below for a refresher.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 10.40.05 AM.png
This image is supplied courtesy of ExO Works

It is vital that you have an MTP as this will ensure that you are working towards a purpose that moves you and is inspiring. If you want to determine what that purpose is you can use the Ikigai to help you.

I highly recommend that you follow these steps when creating a new business:

Step 1: Create an MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose)

Here is a tool to help you do this

Step 2: Create or Join a Community

Physical/Virtual, look at what is out there on Meetup / Eventbrite or others. Remember that you need to offer value before pushing your agenda. Read Jab Jab Jab Right Hook to understand this. BTW check out DIY Drones it is a great example of a community.

Step 3: Build a Team

Most successful startups are 3-4 people in the beginning. The team needs the Visionary/Dreamer; Finance/Business; Programmer/Engineer; User Experience/Design. What is vital is that you all agree on the MTP

Step 4: Create the Breakthrough Idea

Be bold, ask the community, make a difference

Step 5: Build a Business Model Canvas

Here is a tool to help you do this

Step 6: Find a Business Model

Read Kevin Kelly’s Article better than free 8 ways to make money when the base service is free to give you some ideas

Step 7: Build an MVP

Remember that your minimum viable product is just the basics that will solve the problem

Step 8: Validate Marketing and Sales

Use Design thinking and Agile Methodology

Step 9: Implement External Attributes

These are the SCALE Attributes

Step 10: Establish the Culture

It is important to do this when you are small. You can go with an Idea Meritocracy, Holocracy, or your own hybrid but create principles about how you want to run the organisation, this ensures implementation of IDEAS and SCALE.

Step 11: Ask Key Questions Periodically

This is to check you are following the Exponential Organisational method and building what you want to.

Step 12: Build and Maintain a Platform

This will allow for the best use of all the data you collect and build and use the network effect.

I will go into more detail with regards to these steps over time, I highly recommend that you read Exponential Organizations as well as Bold. These are two books that will ignite your mind to the many possibilities and the opportunities when solving massive problems and then how to go about doing that. The framework described here is straight out of Exponential Organizations.

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