While Nicolay Worren explains that his new book is intended for MBA students and executives, one can’t escape the thought that much of the learning it offers could be useful to a much larger audience. In fact, it might even be inspiring to those confronted by the complex dynamics and ambiguity in modern business design, and hoping for tools to manage that growing complexity. After all, the book’s stated purpose is to promote approaches to organization design that are focused, current, rigorous and pragmatic. In other words, its aim is to bring science to a business where it has been lacking. Organisation Design: Re-defining Complex Systems achieves that, especially with its bold introduction of Axiomatic Design.
Using a system-of-systems approach to build a smarter planet
IBM is urging government and corporate organizations to adopt a systemic innovation approach to solve wicked problems of waste. The starting point for the company’s report, The world’s 4 trillion dollar challenge, are a number of horrific statistics. These statistics point to waste that could be cleaned up if organizations collaborated for the greater good — and their own profit — instead of working in isolated silos.
So many problems evolve from businesses being designed with one goal - making money - for one stakeholder group - investors. Any other beneficiaries, like vendors, communities, government and employees, are incidental and targets of cost reduction. This sets up an antagonistic relationship between stakeholders, which too often leads to counter-productive predation and belligerence.
Businesses designed collaboratively to anticipate the salient needs of all stakeholders will provide clear motivation for all participants to cooperate for joint success. Yes, it can be extremely complicated but today's communication tools and design methodologies, especially Axiomatic Design, can make it all manageable.
Hames is the author of Five Literacies of Global Leadership. The disciplines are very much aligned with the Integral vision for holistic personal development:
- Networked Intelligence (the ability to connect with others & express the complexity of the ecosystem)
- Futuring (the ability to visualize & imagine future possibilities)
- Strategic Navigation (the ability to learn to adapt as fast as change itself)
- Deep Design (the ability to create wisdom through dialogue)
- Brand Resonance (the ability to create attention that awakens your unique value in others)
Mobile Process Services as planned in great detail by Brian Keedwell includes most of the elements required for holistic business transformation as envisioned by Hames and Wilber (and others). It integrates continuous learning. It embraces complexity. It depends on networked intelligence and empowered team players to respond to change with extreme agility. It is holistic and exemplifies systems thinking. And it is so radically bold in its approach, it creates a natural affinity for everyone sick and tired of business as usual.
Part of the Unfinished Lecture Series at Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto February 11, 2010
From the OCAD web site: "Our world becomes increasingly more interconnected and the frequency of change continues to accelerate. What roles can designers play in this evolving cultural context? How can we shift the perspective of our craft and practice to make broad and meaningful impact with our work? In this talk, Henry will explore the different trajectories of design, design thinking, and the interface between design and other professions."
Henry Hong-Yiu Cheung is Practice Lead for Systems at Scale at IDEO
At the highest level, Cheung's lecture reinforced a couple of ideas that many designers already know but that are still percolating into more public awareness. His ideas are both bold and generous.
The first idea stems from Cheung's specialty - Systems of Scale, Essentially, this is about rolling out design thinking for greater effect in each application. To do this, designers need to embrace "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for life."
The second idea is a wakeup call for anyone who still thinks design is about effete 2D artists creating pretty pictures or sci-fi style cars. In fact, much of the talk revolved around the business design of processes - how designers are helping people do their job.