Organizations of the Future - Part 1 - Digital Darwinism and the Coefficient of Adaptability

Organizations of the Future - Part 1 - Digital Darwinism and the Coefficient of Adaptability

The following is the first part of a multi-part series covering organizations of the future, covering vision, strategy, organization design, operational model, and culture.

The latest digital buzz is Digital Transformation, defined as the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way.

The average lifespan of an S&P company dropped from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years today

75 percent of the S&P 500 firms will be replaced by new firms by 2027

Very scary thoughts for most enterprises. Some believe they’re safe because of their financial strength, strong asset base, but today that is not enough. We’ve seen it with Compaq, Eastern Airlines, Pan Am, General Foods Corp, DeLorean Motor Co, Circuit City, Lehman Brothers, MCI-WorldCom, Tower Records, Washington Mutual, Blockbuster - all out of business, and the list will keep growing. It is not the largest or strongest that will survive, but the ones most adaptable to change. Let us define Digital Darwinism as the phenomenon when technology and society evolve faster than an organization can adapt.

Organizations historically have focused on Change, today they’re focused on Transformation, but the ultimate goal should be Adaptability.

Change is define as to become different, and organizational change is process in which an organization changes its structure, strategies, operational methods, technologies, or organizational culture.

Transformation is a thorough or dramatic change, and organizational transformation is process of profound and radical change that orients an organization in a new direction. By definition, Transformation is hard, expensive, a one time event, and undoable.

If it takes your organization a few years to digitally transform, there is a high likelihood that by the time you’re done you will have to transform again.

Adaptability is ability of an entity or organism to alter itself or its responses to the changed circumstances or environment.

Said ability should be measured and benchmarked, and one of the top goals of any organization. Let us call this ability the organization’s coefficient of adaptability, or μa.

Over the next few articles we’ll explore the vision and purpose, strategy, organization design, operational model, and culture, and ultimately define the formula for μa.