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Strategy and Scale in a Complex World
Strategy requires making bets on an uncertain future. This includes the business betting on behaviors it may be able to influence but will never be able to control. Independent decisions from customers, competitors, and regulators can all make strategic choices harder, and all the more impactful.
Strategy is a set of interrelated choices that positions the organization to win. Winning entails uniquely positioning the business to create sustainable advantage and superior value relative to the competition. Strategy is choice—we choose, deliberately or not, what to do and what not to do.
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As organizations grow, they begin to prioritize process over product. That impedes real innovation. When organizations realize this, they typically respond in three ways: By hiring consultants to do a reorg (that’s “organizational theater”), adopt new processes such as hackathons to spur innovation (that’s “innovation theater”), or take steps to try to reform their bureaucratic behaviors (that’s “process theater”). Instead, what organizations need is an Innovation Doctrine that addresses culture, mindset, and process and guides the organization’s efforts to achieve real innovations.
By 2027, some 88 million people around the world are likely to be working in project management, and the value of project-oriented economic activity will have reached $20 trillion. But research shows that only 35% of the projects undertaken worldwide are successful—which means we’re wasting an extravagant amount of time, money, and opportunity. To take advantage of the new project economy, companies need a new approach to project management: They must adopt a project-driven organizational structure, ensure that executives have the capabilities to effectively sponsor projects, and train managers in modern project management.
Executives who spot signs of big market shifts face a quandary: They need good data to convince stakeholders that their companies have to change. But by the time data about disruptive trends is public, opportunities have shrunk or disappeared, and their firms may be on burning platforms. How can leaders build the conviction to act before evidence is abundantly clear? First, they can gather “private data” (from their employees, customers, and proprietary systems) that illuminates the risks firms face. Second, they can map their firms’ position on the information-action paradox model and use it and other disruption frameworks to inform discussions that lower the threshold of proof.
A first-pass look at our future. In earlier Legal Evolution posts, I've shared reflections upon my career journey (080), professional evolution (143), and
Organizations present special challenges to innovation, particularly in the legal industry. Diffusion theory offers solutions. Part 1 of three-part series.
In organizations, size is strongly correlated with innovativeness. But there is a lot more to the story. This is part 2 of a three-part series.
This is Part III of a three-part series on innovations in organizations with a special emphasis on the legal industry. This post emphasizes examples.
Selling innovation is hard, particularly into the legal market. How do legal entrepreneurs cross the chasm? How do legal buyers separate hype from reality?
Part II (025) applies Moore's chasm framework to realistic legal industry example and discusses some of the special challenges facing legal entrepreneurs.
This is the surprising story of the origins of Geoffrey Moore's Crossing the Chasm framework, with useful lessons for both academics and practitioners.
Innovative products and services feel magical to the user. To create that feeling, however, innovation teams must grind through lots (and lots) of work. Fortunately, we have a playbook.
Change agents and opinion leaders play a crucial role in the diffusion of innovations. The post applies these concepts to the legal industry circa 2017.
Is it a waste of time or the next frontier? I am an accidental T-Shaped lawyer. See Post 043 (the intelligent design of future skilled legal
Preliminary thoughts on our next paradigm. In Post 231, I presented a crowded and chaotic market map as evidence that the legal industry is the early days
How can we keep up with exponential increases in demand and complexity? Invert the pyramid. Bill Henderson once advised me not to use the term
We're on the ground floor of digital services. I didn’t like Alexa at first. If she were my assistant, she would have likely ended up on a performance
This is worksheet to help innovators avoid failure. It is grounded in science. Basic theory and worksheet instructions included.
As the legal market remains flat for law firms, the focus naturally turns to clients. How they think. What they care about. How they spend their budgets.
Fast ideas are not necessarily better than slow ideas. An innovation's rate of adoption can be increased by focusing on several key factors
Legal innovation has a commercialization problem. We should respond by building a more structured understanding of legal markets.
Legal education and the legal profession are now facing profound challenges. Do we have the leadership skills to make difficult and timely choices? For us and broader society, the stakes are high.
This post presents the Difficult Problem Framework. It is based on my experience teaching leadership at Indiana Law and focuses on organizational change now affecting the legal industry. Part II of II.
Working notes from my new role at Microsoft I might have the most fun job in the legal profession. I help Microsoft’s legal department build the future of
Innovation hype is alienating too many practicing lawyers. This is because we forgot that lawyers innovate in the realm of substantive law. It's time to fix that.