The afternoon session was devoted to innovation and change through organization design. Here are a few highlights from the afternoon session. (Any errors in attributions or interpretations are mine.)
Magnus Broundal, Velux
- One experiment is better than a 1000 expert beliefs.
- A problem for innovation: Too many internal organizational boundaries
Aseem Kaul, University of Minnesota
- Philosophy sometimes seems to be: “I love you. You’re perfect. Now change.”
- “If you wait ‘til it is broken, it’s going to be a lot harder to fix.”
- Companies less likely to attempt radical innovation from strengths but companies innovate better from their strengths.
Phanish Puranam, INSEAD
- Centralized vs. decentralized resource allocation.
- Information often at subordinate level, decentralized increases engagement.
Todd Zenger, Washington University
- Organization design should not be static even if strategy and environment are static.
- Argued there are advantages to organizational design changes even in absence of compelling reasons for change.
Mark LaScotia, OnTheMark
- Complex problems require puzzle solving, open feedback loops essential.
- A small concept change may be a major operational change.
- Organizations should spend one day a year reviewing if they are “fit for purpose.”
- “Design is implementation of strategy.”
Metin Sengul of Boston College also participated but I missed his talk.
My opinion: Organization design research is difficult. Many variables and usually longer timelines to get results. However, there is much we do know but as Nadler and Tushman (1997) have written, we could do a better job sharing what we do know with practitioners.
The Organization Design Community publishes the Journal of Organization Design, now in its third issue. The journal is intended for both academics and practitioners.
Nadler, D., & Tushman, D. A. Competing by design: The power of organizational architecture. New York: Oxford University Press.
"Philly" ©John Ballard, 2014.