Smarter Organisations


This is the first article in a series of posts inspired by setting up new-clarity in the BizDojo creative space. A great melting pot for explorative conversations with the wonderful collaborators who work in that space.

A few years ago I started exploring what it means to succinctly understand the context of a complex organisation. I’d worked in and around a number of complex Government, business and charitable organisations and found no way to easily compare them other than using intuition. My thinking was that a common contextual view was the key.

This bugged me. So much so that I started building a model based on observations and experiences. The approach to developing the model was based on the premise that “there is a succinct way to compare complex organisations”.

These posts and the resulting framework are the culmination of this work.

Smarter Organisations

Let’s imagine for a minute that nothing is connected. Humans don’t connect with each other, ants don’t build colonies and plants pollinate themselves. This type of world is hard to imagine because we would not exist if it did. Everything has some form of connection with something else. We’ll call this the ultimate organisation.

Now let’s imagine that there was no need to want for anything, everything was provided for. A state of nirvana. This is slightly easier to imagine as it’s a goal we all aspire to having. Unfortunately we are all faced with access to finite resources. This brings rise to the opportunity to create subsets of the ultimate organisation as a matter of survival. We can call them complex organisations.

Complex organisations will need to be interconnected with other complex organisations to survive within the ultimate organisation. Alongside this connectivity comes a requirement to compromise to protect the complex organisation’s independent identity.

We can demonstrate that the same behaviours above exist in Government, business and charitable organisations.

Taking the premise that “there is a succinct way to compare complex organisations” then the most logical way to do this is to understand the ability for each organisation to maximise being interconnected whilst maintaining its independent identity.

Both being interconnected and maintaining independent identity can be characterised by behavioural response. The interconnected behavioural response can be demonstrated by how well the organisation responds to challenges. The independent identity behavioural response can be demonstrated by how well the organisation operates.

Suppose being good at these behavioural responses is smart. Let’s use Smart because these responses are “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely”. We can then label the responses as Smart Challenges and Smart Operating. We are now in a position to describe and measure the behavioural responses as they are observable and can be captured using qualitative measures. Eureka, we’re on the path to improved certainty!

In the following posts we’ll explore Smart Challenges, Smart Operating, how they fit into a 360 degree framework along with the top 25 behaviours complex organisations can embrace…