Philip Sheldrake

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Tag: responsiveness

An open letter to Paul Polman, Unilever – from Enterprise 2.0 Summit, London

Enterprise 2 Summit - British Academy London

I'm at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit at the British Academy in London today, courtesy of Kongress Media and Agile Elephant. In conversation with Lee Bryant, Matt Partovi, David Terrar, Damian CorbetCéline Schillinger, Johan Lange, Janet Parkinson and Anne McCrossan, a common theme is emerging – we need such events as this, and the deep and wide potential of Enterprise 2.0, to extend beyond the inevitable echo chamber of today's eager community.

With this in mind, I have penned an open letter to Paul Polman and everyone with an interest in Unilever's success, if only because I love the company's vision, believe it is important in our world, and feel that the stuff we champion in the e2.0 / socbiz / futureofwork communities will be critical in its pursuit.

The letter is embedded below and it's also available as a PDF: Open letter to Paul Polman, Unilever.

[Photo credit: British Academy Facebook page.]

The efficiency fallacy in the #responsiveorg context

responsive v efficiency
I'm at the #responsiveorg unconference in London today, and I'm on the hunt for dissensus rather than the echoic chamber of the converted preaching to the converted, as warm and lovely as that feels. So with that in mind, let me kick the tyres of one of the primary assumptions underpinning the #responsive org manifesto.

From Efficiency to Responsiveness – Historically, competitive advantages came from optimizing for efficiency and labor productivity of standardized product, with companies such as Walmart and Ford being common examples. As the flow of information increases, the competitive advantage is held by the organization that can react the fastest to new information. Companies achieve increased responsiveness by reducing the friction of information flow, increasing their iteration rate, decreasing their cost of failure, and optimizing their structures for adaptability.

This I like. I don't however agree that this means we should face-off efficiency and responsive (the main image heading this post is taken from the current #responsiveorg slideshare, embedded below fyi). The following table, which coincidentally featured in my very last post (Doing the triple loop – profound leadership), expains why: Read more