< Back to Articles & Features

Organic growth and health of your organization

When you begin to think about innovation you might begin to wonder "How this new effort is going to affect the rest of the organization?" You would be right to ponder this question. Sometimes thinking about this question keeps some of you from moving ahead. The possible disruption and change are too frightening to contemplate, but I would suggest to you that doing nothing is far more expensive and risky than continuing as you are today. So the initial question still stands, "How is the innovation effort going to change our organization?" Let's look at a few ideas that have been put forward by some recognized leaders in modern organization and growth theory. 

Gartner often refers to the Bi-modal growth model and McKinsey is often quoted about their Three Horizons growth model. I think the reality for most businesses is something different from either of these. There has been one idea floated that an extension of the McKinsey model is a four-horizon model that includes a new Horizon Zero which is the internal support organization that crosses many different business lines. Examples like centralized HR or Enterprise inventory are good examples of Horizon Zero efforts. These resources often get left out of the dialog around Horizon Two and Three growth until it is time to implement the delivery of products. By this time it is often too late to make effective changes to new models based on ingrained and established processes inside the Horizon Zero support organization when even a small change could have very positive outcomes. Often some of the most damaging waste and inefficiencies are hiding in the support infrastructures of established organizations. 

4 Horizon Model Model

In the Gartner growth model, you are either working inside the existing framework or exploring outside the known world. Once again in this model, it does not allow for the early transition models that would allow for the organic change of the internal modality or how to effect change from the external discovery mode to a new integration of the existing modality.

I would propose that there is something closer to a multi-modal system that is flexible in its implementation and may have as few as two and as many as four or five levels of a framework, depending on the complexity of a business model, its maturity, and management expertise. Those with greater expertise and maturity could manage a greater number of framework levels than a very young organization just starting out and feeling its way along a growth curve. I know from experience that having more modes of business operations will be more difficult to manage. The important point is to recognize what is going on and find ways to work with your assets. Make no mistake, each mode is an asset to be used. But none of them should be allowed to exist longer than they are needed. 

As you think about how to implement innovation, be open to a flexible framework that leverages your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses. Certainly, a one-size-fits-all solution isn't going to always fit. In fact, I would suggest, that it never fits. I've found more often than not you have to modify your implementation ideas to fit a framework. Why not modify the framework to fit your organization? In today's marketplace, flexibility and change are the greatest assets you have at your disposal. How you manage them will tell the tale of your success or failure.

Until next time. Live well and remember you were made to succeed, so live like it. 

On to  the [Innovation Maturity Model]