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Making the Invisible Visible: Redesigning Business Practices for Exponential Operations - Agenda

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

8:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.            Session I. Performance by and within the 21st Century Organization
The Roundtable begins with a review of the broad technological, economic and socio-political shifts affecting organizations today.  What do stakeholders want from the organization?  How does the organization define performance in the current and future world of continual change, rapid fluctuations, global competition, and increased use of hard and soft machines?  This session, then, will define the problems that organizations face in terms of true productivity and performance. In the course of the discussion, participants will address what is the most appropriate organizing principle for a firm’s effective performance in the future: to achieve scalable efficiency, scalable learning, or some other aim?

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.          Session II.  Learning and Performance 
As organizational leaders look to assure and increase performance, what exactly should they be looking for?  That is, what does a well performing organization look like, and how does one measure for those characteristics?  If the aim is scalable learning, what kind of learning is important, and what are the formal programs or activities that capture tacit knowledge?  What are ways that a firm can engender effective learning throughout the organization and increase productivity at the same time? 

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.               Session III.  New Principles for Business Practice Redesign
Given the conclusions of the morning sessions, participants will turn to new ways of thinking about business practice redesign, with the aim of becoming more adaptive and increasing performance of the firm.  Some examples suggested in the readings are to:

  • Focus on practices to handle exceptions
  • Use matching algorithms to bring the right people together in teams
  • Modularize activities
  • Pursue a minimum viable approach
  • Iterate rapidly and reflect deeply
  • Focus on the trajectory of performance improvements

Participants will consider these, and others brought up during the session, with the aim of putting together a comprehensive picture of business practice designs for the firm of tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

8:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.           Session IV.  Refining Business Practice Redesign: Delving into the Modular
One of the principles proposed above would involve creating more loosely coupled, modular approaches to organizational activities. The firm would create standardized interfaces for modules of business activity – clearly defining what will come into the module and what the output of the module will be.  Participants within the module could then experiment, tinker and improvise their business practices in ways that improve business performance and accelerate learning. In new business initiatives, furthermore, “dynamic compound real option portfolio approaches” could offer significant potential by creating a series of modular options that can be exercised or not depending on the outcome and learning from prior options.  Participants will explore, critique, and refine this approach.

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.          Session V. Leading the New Organization
To conclude, Roundtable participants will address leadership issues as organizations deal with redesigning their business practices.  What can the leader do to make the right decisions now to prepare the organization and its talent for the days ahead?