Scaling without sacrificing agility

How Living Systems enabled a fast growing technology business to design and deploy a new operating model fit for scale by developing their capacity for Collective Intelligence and adopting a whole-ecosystem approach to system design.

The Challenge

A fast-growing, agile business in the technology sector had been scaling rapidly. Its global technology function was struggling to adapt through this period of growth and tasked Living System with helping them to develop and deploy a new operating model more suitable for this phase of scaling and beyond.

The Solution

Living Systems recognised two distinct adaptive challenges. Firstly, the organisation required a new people management framework capable of operating at scale without compromising the effectiveness of its agile product development teams. Secondly, it needed to develop the leadership and collaboration skills for teams to be successful within the new operating model.

As a first step, we introduced the executive team to whole ecosystem approaches to transformation, while also developing their capacity for Collective Intelligence. These frameworks enabled the team to begin thinking, feeling and acting as an effective whole in decision making. This new-found cohesion provided the foundations needed for them to lead change, as well as to shift from a top-down directive approach, to a whole system approach to involve a broader cross-section of the organisation earlier on in the change process. 

Working in partnership with the leadership team, we identified and recruited the key influencers, from among the various groups and levels that would be responsible for implementing the change, to form a whole ecosystem transformation group. We then provided this group with a range of developmental frameworks and approaches that developed their capacity for Collective Intelligence. As a result, this newly formed group was able to bridge differences in perspectives and arrive at an improved solution very quickly – and from here, to collectively design a change programme to be rolled out across the organisation.

The Outcome

Adopting this whole ecosystem approach to solution design and roll-out ensured from the outset that the programme had the support of key influencers at all levels of the business.

By developing the capacity for Collective Intelligence at the same time as rolling out the new people model, we were able to help the organisation to accomplish business transformation, culture change and capacity development in one go. As a result, the transformation programme was viewed as a huge success at all levels of the organisation, meeting minimum resistance. As a result of this success Living Systems was then invited to roll this approach out across the whole organisation.

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