Transformational Times Call for Transformational Change

2010-2020 The Decade of Volatility.   Business gurus are referring to it as the ‘decade of fear’ ‘decade of hell’ ‘decade of destruction’…..the  Harvard Business Review conservatively estimates that at least half of all companies in the Fortune 500 will be replace (bought out or die out) by the end of the decade.  Macro drivers like Globalisation, digitisation, climate change and pressure on finite natural resourcesare forcing this transformation – One thing is for certain, the pace of change is increasing and we are witnessing an unprecedented level of volatility in the economy, environment and global society.  Transformational times call for transformation change.

No longer is being good at one-off change management acceptable, no longer is being efficient and effective, at what you do or in how your organisation operates, good enough – this is about dynamic change, no let up, change after change after change – flexibility and adaptability on top of efficiency and effectiveness.

And so we enter a period of unprecedented change…. a time that will see organisations either flourish – seeking out opportunities in these unchartered choppy waters, or perish – struggling to hold on to the wrecks of a dying business model unfit for purpose.  The slogan for the Decade, put simply, is ADAPT or DIE, simple….As Dawn Vance, Global Head of Supply Chain from Nike succinctly puts it, organisations have 3 options 1.  HIT THE WALL 2. OPTIMISE AND DELAY HITTING THE WALL 3. REDESIGN FOR RESILIENCE

It is our belief that in redesigning for resilience, in order to adapt, the businesses that evolve to survive shall become more attuned to the world around them – in fact, we find the answers to these pressing problems all around us, in nature.  3.8bn years of dynamic transformative change has meant that nature’s wisdom is second to none in teaching us about how to flourish and thrive in these volatile times.

The Firm of The Future is quite different from the Firm of The Past – take a look at these characteristics which help show the difference – the evolution required for survival:

The Firm of the Past – shaped by conventional thinking The Firm of The Future – shaped by ecological thinking
Independent Synergistic
Competitive Collaborative
Contr0lled, top down Collective intelligence
Closed-source Open-source
Stable, resists change Dynamic, encourages diversity
Maximizing, minimizing Optimizing
Linear Networked, systems thinking
Short-term Long-term
Function fits form Form fits function
Proactive, planned Responsive, emergent
Conventional thinking Systems thinking
Ownership Flexible/innovative business structures
All costs are bad Some costs are good
Follow convention Challenge the norm – pursue the bespoke
Parasitic behaviour (extraction of value for profit) Mutualism (generation of value for the whole)
Self-interest Ecosystem interest
Influence via domination Influence via inspiration
Crowded into the same operating space Create new space to operate
Disturbance causes dislocation and cost Leverage disturbance as an opportunity

The old hierarchical monothlic, inflexible, top-down, KPI obsessed covential-thinking business model is already cracking under the strain of change, and a new adaptive flexible vibrant model able to thrive in diversity is starting to emerge… The Firm of Future is Inspired By Nature, and is one that is busy redesigning for resilience, not fearfully clinging to the ways of yesterday.

Fundamental to this transformation is unlocking the creative potential of the people in the organisation and the people touched by the organisation (suppliers, partners, investors and customers, the like).  Where people are allowed and encouraged to embrace the new whilst letting go of the old, using new ways of working and information systems to encourage this – digitisation is upon us and working anytime, any place, anywhere is the ‘new norm’.

Organisations radically transforming through ecological thinking using biomimicry and nature’s wisdom.    This is the future, and the future is upon us NOW!

This is how we shall survive and turn the Decade of Fear into the Decade of Courage…