Disruption is the new normal. Across industries, established firms are working to develop new businesses that can position them as leaders. This takes more than ‘acting like a start-up.’ Generating ideas and launching experiments is vital work, but without converting it into revenue it has marginal value.
Our approach goes all the way from Ideation to Incubation and on to Scaling. We enable firms to build new businesses inside existing organizations using a proven “three-tier” methodology:
We help clients identify and generate potential areas of growth beyond their immediate Core businesses, leveraging proven creative and analytical techniques.
We help clients explore new ideas with a test-and-learn approach. We run business experiments to help firms learn about the viability of new innovations. This means identifying and testing the assumptions of a new business proposal with live customer data. The outcome is more robust and helps narrow the risk of investing.
We help clients convert validated business experiments into growing businesses with the capability, organization, and resources required to succeed. We help clients define their resource allocations, leadership structure, and organizational decisions to scale their new business while leveraging decades of research and analytical skill to help advise clients on the right governance and corporate structures to deploy.
Managing for stability is different from managing for disruption. You need to commit resources to promising, but unproven innovations. This puts pressure on a firm’s strategic decision-making approach. We advise on how to manage this tension and make good choices.
As markets change, you need fresh insights that challenge a firm’s long-held assumptions. We bring a variety of techniques that bring the ‘Outside-In.’ These include Customer Journey Mapping, Scenario Planning, and Eco-system mapping.
Committing to the Three Disciplines of Innovation requires a portfolio approach to strategy. The core business remains vital to performance, with investment needed to renew and extend the life of existing franchises. Leaders need to balance this with investments in disruptive opportunities. We bring a range of tools for portfolio mapping and management that make this easier.
Having the right portfolio tools is only one part of the equation. Senior teams also need to agree how to commit resources against unknown, unproven businesses. We work with senior teams to manage this uncertainty and overcome the ambiguity involved. Our skill is in our ability to navigate both the business and human complexities in the senior team.
We deliver a robust methodology for accelerating execution of an innovation strategy. This helps to overcome organizational and cultural barriers to growth. We guide leaders through steps for aligning people, process, structure, and behaviors, to the needs of the new strategy.
We start by helping our clients articulate the disruption challenge and the shared ambition of the senior team to transform. Many firms have detailed strategies and vague visions. Our approach to change starts with a clear, statement of intent, that forms an anchor for the transformation effort. It always ends with the 4 to 6 key, measurable challenges or gaps that the organization needs to overcome.
Developed by our founders with IBM, we use a Strategy Execution Method to engage groups of up to 100 managers with the transformation effort. The manifesto states the challenge and defines the problems that they as a team need to solve. Our method helps them to do this in a collaborative, open Forum.
These Forums are often turning points—spoken about for many years to come. Forums have a tangible business impact, but just as importantly, an intangible one—unifying a large group of leaders around a common purpose with a plan for execution.
Outputs from great workshops, like our strategy execution forums, have a half-life; they quickly degrade. We have borrowed a method from the technology industry to accelerate change using Sprints.
We introduce a language and set of proprietary tools to implement changes designed at a Forum through 90-day Sprints. The Sprint discipline breaks through the usual pace of decision-making within an organization, enabling rapid progress in the face of rigid, cross-organizational challenges.
We have refined a set of capabilities that underpin a firm’s ability to Ideate, Incubate and Scale new businesses.
We assess the maturity of a firm’s practices against a series of scales that quickly identify the ‘hot spots’ that require attention.
This model is based on Professor Tushman and Professor O’Reilly’s decades of research into Organizational Ambidexterity.
The assessment process involves an online survey, interviews with executives and managers, and a workshop, often with the innovation and strategy teams.
The outcomes help support the firm’s decision-making about the next phase of transformation.
We do our best work when we are partners, working side-by-side with clients to help them gather and interpret data, develop insights, and make decisions. We are not traditional management consultants. We do not bring ‘the answer’ or generate monolithic PowerPoint documents. We bring tools, methods and disciplines to the forefront for solving innovation, strategy, and change problems.
Our “self-help ethos” means we usually deploy small consulting teams to support larger client teams. This improves implementation and helps clients to re-use the tools and methods for other projects in the future. This work includes:
We apply the Three Disciplines of Innovation approach to help our clients build new businesses in established organizations. We support our clients with strategic decision-making, helping to develop insights and analyses that support investments in new business initiatives.
We act as the client project manager, linking the digital strategy to technology implementation. We define requirements for technology vendors and help put in place the mechanisms to manage execution.
We design and manage transformation programs. This goes from the overarching transformation strategy into specific areas of implementation, such as culture change and organization redesign.
Leading disruption requires leaders to commit to a new, often risky, strategic path. Much of our skill comes in helping people reach agreement and move to action on tough, strategic questions.
Change Logicians are more provocateurs than traditional consultants or facilitators. A provocateur is a critical friend, engaging our clients with challenging insights. We learn our client’s business and use our knowledge and experience to push their thinking forward in a fact-based, supportive, non-judgmental way.
Senior leadership teams
Senior leaders are often at the heart of how a firm becomes ambidextrous. Managing Core and Explore silos within the same team can ignite tensions and rivalries, even between well-intentioned leaders. We have a well-honed approach to working with these challenges and enabling team members to move forward.
Our work invariably involves helping to shift, and sometimes, lift the culture of an organization—sometimes implicitly, other times explicitly. Disruptive innovations often challenge the core assumptions or unwritten rules of an organization; who has power, who does not, what skills are valued, and how work gets done.
This data helps us to define the gap between Current and Needed culture. We then develop culture transformation programs—often involving our Forum and Sprint methods—inspiring managers to lead the change effort themselves.
The greatest capacity any organization has its ability to learn. If you can learn from successes and errors, then there is a higher probability of repeating what went well and avoiding what didn’t. In our experience, learning rests on having a high quality of talk. We use dialogue methods to enable leaders to listen, reflect, and learn more successfully.