Flevy Blog is an online business magazine covering Business Strategies, Business Theories, & Business Stories.

The Natural Evolution of Things (Part 5)

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Change Management Strategy (24-slide PowerPoint presentation). Seventy percent of change programs fail, according to the April 2001 Harvard Business Review article, "Cracking the Code of Change". According to Bain & Company, businesses that implement fast, focused, and simultaneous change programs can create enormous and long-lasting shareholder [read more]

Also, if you are interested in becoming an expert on Change Management, take a look at Flevy's Change Management Frameworks offering here. This is a curated collection of best practice frameworks based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. By learning and applying these concepts, you can you stay ahead of the curve. Full details here.

* * * *

Editor’s Note: The Natural Evolution of Things is an in-depth is a 5-part series that describes 13 the catalysts of Organizational Change and Competitiveness, based on the theme of Michael Porter’s Five Forces. To read the full series, take a look at the author’s profile page found here.

* * * *

Continued from part 4…

Technology Adoption and Adaptation; Technology Innovation; and Technology Optimization

For many years, senior management looked for the quick technological fix to problems and issues. Oh we need to become more efficient! Fine, let’s get rid of people and plug in a piece of technology which handles some of the customer contacts instead – never asking the customer, of course.

Well, you know and we know that we are a long way from this point. What we know is that technology should be something that adds value to the organization and the customer as well as other key stakeholders. If it doesn’t then stay away from it – you haven’t found the right technology. The challenge is to identify what, out of a myriad of new technologies, are the ‘right ones’ for your organization – for your customers and other key stakeholders and that will better enable you to achieve your key business objectives more effectively and efficiently or not. Therein lays the first challenge.

Once the right technology has been identified and understood, the question is how do we integrate it into our organization and its systems – IT and otherwise, to give us what we need? This is the second challenge.

It may in fact be that our CTO or Director of R&D or other technical staff may need to innovate further on this chosen technology to adapt it – or we look for some organization around the globe that has already made such modifications – such innovations on this technology which would make it easier for us to adapt.

The last point, optimization, is simply that there must always be a balance between ‘high-tech’ and ‘high-touch’ – that balance must be optimized to enhance the customer experience. Among other things as we will mention in a moment if you go too far one way a sterile, impersonal customer experience could be created which turns customers off and causes them to defect to a competitor. On the other hand, the balance could be too much the other way in which case the impact of having the technology integrated into the organization is so nominal that no one notices the difference – in fact, in some cases it may actually complicate the situation. No return on your investment!

Insights Paradigm believes that there are four (4) core uses of technology. Here they are:

  1. Technology needs to be viewed as an enabler to help employees do their jobs better and faster
  2. Technology needs to viewed as helping the organization perform its core business activities more effectively and efficiently
  3. Technology needs to ensure that it makes it easier and faster for the customer to do business with your organization – both economically and emotionally
  4. Technology needs to ensure it makes it easier and faster for your organization and its supply chain (value chain) organizations to interact and to exchange information and ideas on how to increase value to the end user or customer.

The Four Disruptive Forces Breaking all the Trends

The disruptive forces which we are going to identify below supersede much of what we have been discussing. They are macro-level disruptive forces. Some of these are already being experienced, others are coming, some are growing at almost an exponential rate. Bottom line?  They are going to disrupt your operating environment and force you to think differently and hopefully better about what these mean to your organization and how you are going to address the ones that apply.

  1. The Age of Urbanization
  1. Accelerating Technological Change
  1. Challenges of an Aging World
  1. Greater Global Connections

So which ones are on your radar screen? Which ones apply to your organization? What are you planning to do about it? More detail can be found on SlideShare. Look for ‘No Ordinary Disruption – The Four Forces Breaking all the Trends’

Relative ‘Agility’ of Your Organization Compared to the Competitors in Your Industry

It was Sun Tzu who said, and I paraphrase, never assume your enemy is sleeping. And so it is that while you may be preparing to make your organization more agile, the competition is doing the same and possibly some of them are, in fact, having greater success and achieving the goal faster than you! How would you know? How much of a difference could it make?

Well, Insights Paradigm defines ‘agility’ as the capability of an organization to identify, assess and act on opportunities or blunt threats better and faster than competition. What are the implications if you are at the back of the pack?

How long can you remain competitive?

Understanding Complexity and Big data; Advanced Analytics to Unlock the Information Value of Big Data; Techniques for Decomposing Complexity

While the sound volume regarding ‘complexity’ rose as a crescendo to a scary pinnacle, things seem to have become more quiet recently. Let’s face it life is more complex let alone business. It’s a fact of life and either adjust to the fact that we may have to make decisions based on incomplete information or take greater risks than we ever imagined we could. Plato may have said, ‘incomplete information is worth nothing’ but with all due respect we know that’s nonsense because normally all we have is incomplete information yet life goes on and so does business. If that had truly been the case most of today’s technological inventions propbably wouldn’t exist.

Yes, the fact is we are faced with big data. But who is to blame? In most cases in organizations, as we stated above, the mantras in operation are: (1) if it moves measure it; (2) if a little data is good then a lot of data must be better. So here we are stuck with mountains of data. The thing about data is that in reality, aside from the fact that 98%+ of data collected in an organization is irrelevant to any given decision as stated above, data is like sand. If someone gave you a handful of sand, what could you do? Well, let’s face it – your choices are somewhat limited. You could fill a hole. You could put it in your child’s sandbox so he or she could play a bit better with their cars and trucks. You could throw it in the face of some would be attacker. Beyond that, what else? Who knows, but probably not too much. On the other hand if you heated that sand intensely and possibly added a few other select ingredients, you could possibly create a drinking glass – which has value. In other words, through this process of applying intense heat you were able to unlock the true value inherent in the sand – to transform it into something of value.

It’s the same with data. The only way you are going to unlock the true actionable information value of the data is through use of the best analytic techniques. Yet few organizations even as of this late date, have anyone (let alone a whole department) dedicated to understanding and applying these techniques in the ways needed most by senior management and others in the organization – to give them the ad hoc reports they need when they need them or the most appropriate dashboards. Instead management receives reports which are tables of numbers which they then have to take time to review and try to understand creating great frustration and little understanding.

Even if you are still bothered by complexity, Insights Paradigm in their Hyper-Decision Making Process have ways to decompose complexity to make it manageable – to literally break it into logical pieces, complete analysis and then re-integrate it to form the needed insights required for optimal and fast decision making.

The 5 Forces of Organizational Competitiveness

In closing this article, we would remiss if we did not provide Insights Paradigm’s view of the 5 Forces of organizational competitiveness.

These 5 elements are found in more detail in Dr. Ted Marra’s book, ‘The Wisdom Chronicles: Competing to Win.’


The Forces identified in the above diagramme have been discussed at some point in the previous pages so there is no need to go into detail regarding each one again. More information can be found in Dr. Marra’s book, ‘The Wisdom Chronicles: Competing to Win.’

135-slide PowerPoint presentation
If you have already downloaded my Comprehensive Guide to Change Management or my Comprehensive Guide to Change Management and ERP Implementations then most of what is in these slides is already covered in them. If you are one of the now nearly 1000 people who have downloaded my FREE Practical [read more]

Want to Achieve Excellence in Change Management?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Change Management. Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. Click here for full details.

"The only constant in life is change." – Heraclitus

Such is true for life, as it is for business. The entire ecosystem our organization operates in—our customers, competitors, suppliers, partners, the company itself, etc.—is constantly changing and evolving. Change can be driven by emerging technology, regulation, leadership change, crisis, changing consumer behavior, new business entrants, M&A activity, organizational restructuring, and so forth.

Thus, the understanding of, dealing with, and mastery of the Change Management process is one of the most critical capabilities for our organization to develop. Excellence in Change Management should be viewed as a source of Competitive Advantage.

Learn about our Change Management Best Practice Frameworks here.

Readers of This Article Are Interested in These Resources

586-slide PowerPoint presentation
This "new and improved" A Comprehensive Guide to Change Management,, which replaces my previous "best seller" of the same name, contains everything (well nearly everything) you would ever want to know about Change Management. This slide-deck now contains over 580 slides [read more]

73-slide PowerPoint presentation
110-slide PowerPoint presentation

About Dr. Ted Marra

Dr. Ted Marra is a strategic facilitator, organizational mentor and writer. He has lectured in MBA/EMBA programmes at universities in Boston, Detroit, the UK, Switzerland and Croatia. He is now a Member of the Board of MAX/Knowledge Now, a global learning organisation. He is also Sr. Partner for Insights Paradigm, a strategic advisory organization in Dubai, UAE. You can find Ted on LinkedIn here.

, , ,

Complimentary Business Training Guides

Many companies develop robust strategies, but struggle with operationalizing their strategies into implementable steps. This presentation from flevy introduces 12 powerful business frameworks spanning both Strategy Development and Strategy Execution. [Learn more]

  This 48-page whitepaper, authored by consultancy Envisioning, provides the frameworks, tools, and insights needed to manage serious Change—under the backdrop of the business lifecycle. These lifecycle stages are each marked by distinct attributes, challenges, and behaviors. [Learn more]

We've developed a very comprehensive collection of Strategy & Transformation PowerPoint templates for you to use in your own business presentations, spanning topics from Growth Strategy to Brand Development to Innovation to Customer Experience to Strategic Management. [Learn more]

  We have compiled a collection of 10 Lean Six Sigma templates (Excel) and Operational Excellence guides (PowerPoint) by a multitude of LSS experts. These tools cover topics including 8 Disciplines (8D), 5 Why's, 7 Wastes, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), and DMAIC. [Learn more]
Recent Articles by Corporate Function






The Flevy Business Blog (https://flevy.com/blog) is a leading source of information on business strategies, business theories, and business stories. Most of our articles are authored by management consultants and industry executives with over 20 years of experience.

Flevy (https://flevy.com) is the marketplace for business best practices, such as management frameworks, presentation templates, and financial models. Our best practice documents are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier consulting firms (like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte) and used by Fortune 100 organizations. Learn more about Flevy here.

Connect with Flevy:


About Flevy.com   /   Terms   /   Privacy Policy
© . Flevy LLC. All Rights Reserved.