The Cyber-Effective Intelligent Organisation – continued

In January I published two blogs (1 & 2) about what I call the Cyber-Effective Intelligent Organisation. The distinguishing feature of Intelligent Organisation (3) is that it enables itself by its ability to capture, codify, curate and compile data into information which it uses to manage and adapt itself to remain viable in its environmental context. 

I was delighted to receive a thoughtful response to those ideas from Richard Corderoy, CEO of the Oakland Group (4) which I thought I should share with you.


interesting stuff that got me thinking and, unusually for me, committing some of that to paper!

I agree with your key point that there is a significant opportunity for nimbler (avoiding the agile word) organisations.  I would assert this is enabled by:

The ability to share and view information (i.e., have an accurate and insightful view out of the window) – a massive enabler;

The ability to communicate and make decisions at speed and at the right level (this may also involve better use of predictive tools);

The ability to actually implement change once the decisions are made.

I also strongly support your view that thinking about People, Processes, and Technology in isolation is bound to fail. It seems such an obvious point, but so many change programmes only focus on one aspect. Many ‘first generation’ data projects had disappointing outcomes because they were all about technology. They produced lots of headline-grabbing outputs that were never implemented in the business. Many ‘second-generation’ data clients are moving away from ‘silver bullet solutions’ and realise that the interplay between these three factors is complex. This approach also forces them to build out of the reality of where they are today (e.g. actual process and data) rather than where they would like to be.

So the conclusion is

That ‘traditional’ organisations need to change (esp. their governance structures) if they are to keep up

That there is a real opportunity for nimbler (and much more agile) businesses

This is a well-established tension – ‘Scale, resources and maturity (but stifling bureaucracy)’ vs ‘Small, Lean and Agile (but poorly resourced)’. In larger organisations, resistance to change often starts at the initial business case level. ‘We’ want to transform into a ‘data business’ or ‘treat data as an asset’, but only if the business case can be made on cost savings. Rarely do organisations approach the business case on ‘better decision making’ as this would require some acknowledgement that the current decision-makers could improve!

More progressive organisations are changing the investment rules, recognising that this is an ongoing journey – a necessary part of the fabric of the business. This allows proper investment in overall capability (technology, data, people and process), which builds more value over time. This also recognises that other internal boundaries (Business Operations vs Reporting vs IT) need considerable effort to overcome.

This approach is not a panacea. There are some hard questions:

How to keep control of the agile beast

The organisation must deliver its mission, and that requires some accountability (esp. as many of the financial/regulatory frameworks discourage innovation)

What does this mean for traditional best practice (e.g., ISO)

How do you develop a generation of leaders who are empowered to make this happen?


There are some really important questions raised in here:

How can we ensure we obtain value from investment in information (and the technologies that support it)?

How do we think ourselves to a place where we recognise evolution as the norm not the exception, where change is anticipated and pursued not resisted and inhibited?

How do we reconsider governance (at all levels) so that we can benefit from what people do rather than pretend to manage where they are?

How do we reconceive the idea of leadership for an adaptive, nimble, capable organisation which is continually reinventing itself and redefining its future?

Perhaps readers have some suggestions?



3: The Intelligent Organisation: Driving Systemic Change with Information, 2nd Edition, Routledge, UK