2015 Finds (Platforms, Org Design and Innovation)

Here are the items I came across via the web during 2015 related to Platforms, Organizational Design and Innovation.  This post provides a page for me to come back and view items that were applicable to my learnings over the past year.

Platform Business Models

Networks and the Nature of the FirmTim O’Reilly provides a great in-depth read on the power of platform business models.

“The Internet takes the networked firm to a new level. Google, the company that ended up as the prime gateway to the World Wide Web, provides access to a universe of content that it doesn’t own yet has become the largest media company in the world. 13–24 years olds already watch more video on YouTube, much of it user-contributed, than they watch on television. And Amazon just surpassed WalMart as the world’s most valuable retailer by offering virtually unlimited selection, including marketplace items from ordinary individuals and small businesses.

On-demand companies like Uber and Airbnb are only the latest development in an ongoing transformation of business by the Internet. In addition to discussing these latest entrants, we’ll take a look at what we learn from the evolution of Internet e-commerce and content marketplaces. Then we’ll try to tease out some best practices of Internet-era platforms and marketplaces.”

The Platform Manifesto – Sangeet Paul Choudary examines the 16 principles of digital transformation in this excellent SlideShare presentation.  If you want to better understand Platform Business Models, follow Sangeet, and buy his book Platform Scale.

Organizational Design

These links provides examples and thoughts of how to better design organizations to get the most out of people.

Reinventing Organizations – This book by Frederic Laloux  provides real-world case studies and interviews from organizations across numerous industries who have chosen to design their organizations differently, with great success.

How Light Holacracy Transformed Our Startup – Blinklist provides a terrific summary of how they changed their company structure via a modified version of Holacracy.  They provide a free e-book to help you experiment with the new management structure.

Spotify Engineering Culture – 2 part video blog series describing how Spotify structures their engineering teams.  A couple of good quotes; “agile at scale requires trust at scale” and “healthy culture heals broken process”.

The Damage of Lean Management – The author explains the four guiding principles of the Toyota management philosophy, and how modern management has bastardized the term “lean”.

Emergence and Self Organization – Esko Kilpi is an incredible management thinker and a great person to follow on Twitter.  I always learn something from his posts.

“We still don’t quite understand what emergence and self-organization mean. The problem is that we believe that the unit of work is the independent individual. Self-organization is then thought to mean that individuals organize themselves without the direction of others. People think that it is a form of empowerment, or a do-whatever-you-like environment, in which anybody can choose freely what to do. But connected people can never simply do what they like. Cooperating individuals are not, and cannot be, independent. People are interdependent.  Interdependence means that individuals constrain and enable each other all the time. What happens, happens always in interaction and as a result of interaction.”

Organizing Teams for Better Performance – FLOX provides a lightweight approach to transform how teams work via 2 habits and 4 rules – with plenty of resources to show you how.


How GE Radically Changed its Company Culture and Saved Millions – “It’s taken Janice Semper, who works in GE’s HR department, less than 18 months to significantly modernize the company’s processes. And now she’s evangelizing the radical shifts her innovation team has been able to implement at GE.

Her team’s revamped methodology, which GE coined FastWorks, proves that a customer-first ethos can drastically slash the bottom line and increase the competitive edge for the Fortune 500s out there. Moving to FastWorks helped GE get one product to the market two years ahead of the competition. It’s also reduced development costs in one division by 60% while cutting the cost of earning customer validation by 80%.”

Lean By DesignLionel Mohri, Director of Customer Insights and Design Strategy at Intuit, walks through Intuit’s approach to speeding the learning curve to drive innovation.

“At Intuit, we have spent a significant amount of energy building Design Thinking capabilities across the organization with Design for Delight, our interpretation of Design Thinking through three core principles — deep customer empathy, go broad to go narrow and rapid experiments with customers.

When combined, Design Thinking and the Lean Startup can provide a powerful one-two punch that helps organizations accelerate intentional learning and action. The following principles capture some of the learnings we’ve had at Intuit over the past few years of scaling these capabilities to an organization of 8,000 employees.”

4 Seeds for Planting Lean Startup and Continuous Innovation in the EnterpriseBrant Cooper, Founder Moves the Needle provide great resources and consulting services for Enterprises interested in incorporating Lean Startup techniques to drive innovation.


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