Exponential Attributes: Social

Social is the fifth and final Internal Attribute in the IDEAS acronym. In Chapter 4 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. Also take a look at Exponential Transformation where you can learn about implementing Exponential Attributes in your current organisation.

As business environments become more and more digitized it is more important than ever to ensure that social technologies are in use in order to create the water cooler effect as well as to create transparency.  Trust and transparency are very important components of modern companies and are required for a fast paced Exponential Organisation.

JP Rangaswami, Ex-Chief Data Officer of Deutsche Bank and Chief Scientist at Salesforce, lists the following three objectives of social technologies:

  1. Reduce the distance between obtaining(and processing) information and decision making
  2. Migrate from having to look up information to having it flow through your perception
  3. Leverage community to build out ideas

Exponential Organizations indicates 7 Key elements of Social technologies that can be implemented within your organisation:

  1. Social Objects
  2. Activity Streams
  3. Task Management
  4. File Sharing
  5. Telepresence
  6. Virtual Worlds
  7. Emotional Sensing

If you want to ensure that you are implementing Social Technologies within your organisation you need to ensure that your MTP is compelling and that the members of your team and community believe in it. As I have mentioned many times before this is vital for successful implementation of most attributes. Once you have ticked this off it is important to understand your current environment and then implement tools starting with the most senior people within your organisation. Use tools actively and to the best of their capability. Implement what is intuitive first and simple for people to implement. It is important to create quick feedback loops to ensure that you are learning from your experiences and improving the use of social technologies.

This is the last of the attributes and therefore you should have a firm understanding of what is required in order to run an exponential organisation. If you are looking to implement these then be on the lookout for future blogs in which I will give you some techniques.

 

Exponential Attributes: Autonomy

Autonomy is the forth Internal Attribute in the IDEAS acronym. In Chapter 4 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. Also take a look at Exponential Transformation where you can learn about implementing Exponential Attributes in your current organisation.

The definition of autonomy is the right or condition of self-government. An organisation that practices autonomy is one that is self-organised with teams operating with a decentralized authority. In order to run an organisation with autonomy at the centre required a great deal of trust in the team and a very clear purpose. If you want to to have rapid innovation then autonomy is important in giving teams the authority to work and make decisions in the best interests of the organisation. In order to implement successfully you need to ensure that the organisation:

  1. has an MTP that is compelling and inspirational
  2. choses team members that are self starters who are passionate about the MTP
  3. has frameworks and tools in place that gives teams a clear understanding of the level of autonomy and how to operate and exercise accountability
  4. communicates effectively in a lateral and honest way.
  5. has transparent and data driven dashboards to insure everyone understands what is happening and how to improve.

Organisations can take on a number of different styles of “management” that work with autonomy and each of these topics can constitute separate blog entries: Agile, OKRs, Meritocracy, Holacracy, Black Ops/Edge Teams. For examples of organisations with a high level of autonomy check out Valve, MIT Media Lab, Pixar, Medium, Zappos, Morning Star Company, FAVI, share more in the comments.

In the rapidly changing environments that we find ourselves in, it is more important than ever to have autonomous teams of multidisciplinary people who are passionate about what they are doing and perform well with minimal supervision. It is a very different mode to what many large organisations are used but making the change is more important than ever. It needs to be performed with care to get it right but is vital… are you ready?

Exponential Attributes: Experimentation

Experimentation is the third Internal Attribute in the IDEAS acronym. In Chapter 4 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. Also take a look at Exponential Transformation where you can learn about implementing Exponential Attributes in your current organisation.

Building a culture of experimentation is something that all companies should be striving towards. We have all heard the credo fail fast, fail forward. Silicon Valley was built on good failure and many business leaders have indicated that the ability to experiment and learn from failure is vital to their success. As John Seely Brown indicated in a commencement speech given at Singapore Management University, corporate architecture is setup to withstand risk and change and to scale efficiently and predictably, meaning that they create rather static environments. This is a very dangerous environment as it is prone to disruption from smaller more agile organisations that are using experimentation through the Lean approach together with Design Thinking.

I have taken the Lean Startup and Design Thinking approaches and combined them to create a model for experimentation to be built into an organisation culture. The Lean Startup Principles are:

  1. Entrepreneurs are Everywhere
  2. Entrepreneurship is Management
  3. Validated Learning
  4. Innovation Accounting
  5. Build-measure-learn Process

The Design Thinking Principles are:

  1. Human Centered
  2. Mindful of Process
  3. Culture of Prototyping
  4. Bias Toward Action
  5. Show Don’t Tell
  6. Radical Collaboration

So if you want to build a culture of experimentation in your organisation you need to understand these principles and implement them, the diagram below has taken the two frameworks and combined them into one. (The Lean Framework is here and the Design Thinking framework here)

DESIGN THINKING + LEAN

Exponential Transformation outlines six steps to implement experimentation:

  1. Educate your team and align incentives
  2. Define your hypothesis and value proposition
  3. Build and execute experiments to evaluate your hypothesis
  4. Gather and analyse data from the results of the experiments
  5. Learn from the data
  6. Iterate your Approach

These six steps are essentially outlined in the above diagram. It is vital that the approach is data driven and scientific in nature rather than through intuition. It is time to start experimenting. If you start with ensuring that people understand the experimental culture and start with small things you will be able to get on the road to building a culture where experimentation is acceptable and therefore you can become the disruptor rather than being disrupted.

Exponential Attributes: Dashboards

Dashboards is the second Internal Attribute in the IDEAS acronym. In Chapter 4 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. Also take a look at Exponential Transformation where you can learn about implementing Exponential Attributes in your current organisation.

analytics-business-charts-34177.jpg

Dashboards are an essential tool for ExO’s to measure and manage the organisation. With the vast amount of data that is created on a daily basis, dashboards are a great way to visually represent the important data in order to make real time metrics available to the entire organisation.  Thanks to the internet, sensors, the cloud, etc. it is possible to have very valuable metrics in real time. It is important that dashboards are developed that are easy to understand and meaningful. This gives people the ability to make smart decisions timeously in order to manage organisations better!

When putting together a dashboard it is vitally important to ensure that the metrics that are tracked are real value metrics as opposed to vanity metrics. Real value metrics allow you to make meaningful decisions and improve the organisation. Vanity metrics only make you feel better. An example is tracking total users vs active users. Total users of your product is a vanity metric as thousands of people can sign up but unless they are actively using your service you will not make revenue and grow. It is therefore important to build dashboards that provide the most meaningful information computed into a visual that is easy to understand.

In order to Implement Dashboards you need to:

  1. Identify the value metrics
  2. Identify the audiences that need dashboards
  3. Track, gather and analyse date in real time
  4. Use a framework to display metrics in most efficient and usable way
  5. Make the Metrics accessible and transparent
  6. Improve the dashboards when required

Make sure that you keep the metrics valuable but simple. A complicated dashboard will most likely result in less adoption and therefore reduce its effectiveness.

A good example of a framework to use for team dashboards is the OKR framework. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results and answers two simple questions:

  1. Where do I go? (Objectives)
  2. How will I know I am getting there? (Key Results)

To Learn more about OKRs you can check out OKR Examples.

ExO’s require tight control frameworks in order to ensure that with hyper growth the small team can manage the organisation. For this reason it is vital to have dashboards that provide the team and community with information to make great decisions. Keep it simple at the beginning and get dashboards up and running.

 

Exponential Attributes: Interfaces

ExO AttributesThe first of the internal exponential attributes is Interfaces. In Chapter 4 of Exponential Organizations you can read more about this.

Interfaces bridge the external and internal attributes, they take all the data created by the SCALE attributes and make sense of this internally. Interfaces ensure maximum efficiency and give stakeholders the ability to automate processes.  It is for this reason that interfaces are mission critical for ExO’s to scale.

A good example of an effective interface as described in Exponential Organisations is that of the Apple App Store. The App Store allows the nine million strong developer network to develop apps and submit these automatically to the App Store, these are ranked and categorised automatically and this has allowed Apple to scale the App Store to where it is now. From January to June 2018 Revenue generated by App developers was over $100 Billion.

Interfaces are required to manage abundance, mainly to filter and match. The thinking that is required is quite different to the business processes that are put in place to manage scarcity and efficiency.

Exponential Transformation indicates 6 steps to implement Interfaces within your business:

  1. Identify the sources of abundance you are Accessing
  2. Humanise the interaction to define the right UX or automate the interaction to define the right API
  3. Create standardised processes
  4. Apply algorithms to automate processes
  5. Test interfaces with pilot populations
  6. Update interfaces regularly

Some questions that you can ask to ensure that your interfaces will be successful are:

  1. Will the interface allow the business to Scale
  2. Do the interfaces create value?
  3. Can all of the SCALE attributes be enables with interfaces?
  4. Is the effectiveness of algorithms and automated workflows being measured?
  5. Are interfaces engaging users?

The interfaces that you create for your ExO are most likely going to be specific for your company. You need to look at what can be automated and how the abundance of information needs to be filtered and matched best to optimise your business process. Look at the interfaces of Google Adwords, Airbnb, Uber, etc. to get a better understanding and get going on creating interfaces that optimise the abundance outside of your organisation allowing you to scale.

If you find this helpful then comment and share this with people in your network. If more organisations can tap into abundance we can ensure that we improve the planet for all!