A Shift to Purpose and Well-Being

Singularity University has been talking about purpose for some time now. They describe a focus that is audaciously big and aspirational, causing significant transformation to an Industry, community, or the planet. There is a clear “why” behind the work being done, something that unites and inspires action. They call this a Massive Transformative Purpose.

A focus on purpose has a motivating effect with the potential to trigger incredible outcomes. A proven approach in high-growth organizations according to Singularity University, with a focus on purpose in common across the 100 fastest growing organizations. In an era that challenges much of our belief system, an aspirational quality of purpose is a mechanism that helps us think differently. Shared passion within communities and shifting generational views of mission-driven work can fuel the fires of purpose. An organizational focus on purpose is a vehicle for attracting and retaining top qualified talent. A purpose that is aspirational and focused on creating a different future is what ignites passion in individuals and groups; it’s what engages people’s hearts and minds to work together to realize their goal. Breakthroughs in science and technology can be linked to the deeply unifying and motivating ability of purpose. Setting out to solve big problems brings purpose and meaning to work. The more we organize around purpose, the better the outcomes and the more fulfilled we will be with our work.

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IoT: Unleashing the Mother of all Infrastructures

On a January 26th Game Changers Radio show, a panel of Futurists will focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and its world changing implications. Here are some of my thoughts in advance of that discussion. I’ll start with a quote from Carl Bildt, Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe:

“Very soon the Internet of Things will become the Infrastructure on which all other infrastructures are based.”

That bold statement supports thinking in some circles that a General Purpose Technology Platform (GPT)  is emerging, the foundation of which is The Internet of Things. This emerging GPT likely alters our world more dramatically than the GPTs of the first and second Industrial Revolutions:


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Future Structures

Some time ago, I did a series on the enablers required to propel organizations into tViabilityhe future. With the passage of time, and after considerable dialog, the time has come to update that point of view. In continuing with this future of business series, the next several posts will provide an updated list and perspective on these enablers. Leaders must effectively manage the exponential forces that drive them on a path to viability. In the absence of a burning platform, the growing gap between these exponential forces and the linear constructs of our day should spur leadership action. Continue reading

Re-Ranking the Fortune 100

In a recent post, I discussed a book on exponential organizations co-authored by Salim Ismail, Global Ambassador for Singularity University. In a Video from this week’s Exponential Finance conference, Mr. Ismail showcased their work on an Exponential Quotient that scores companies on organizational factors that determine how well they are positioned to succeed in an exponential world. This exponential quotient results from a diagnostic survey that asks 21 questions (each graded 1-4) about how companies have structured their products, services, and internal framework. At the end of the diagnostic, an Exponential Quotient score is determined.

The folks at Singularity University used this quotient to create The ExO Fortune 100 – a re-ranking of the current Fortune 100. The scoring was ratified by academic researchers at Hult Business School. I’ve re-printed a list from their site that shows some of the elements of the survey and the key attributes of ExOs that are being tested.

External facing questions

  • Does it have a Massive, Transformative Purpose, (or MTP)?
  • How externalized are business functions?
  • How much are on-demand staff and on-demand assets utilized?
  • How well are Community and Crowd leveraged?
  • Are algorithms a core part of the organization?
  • How information based are its products and services?

Internal facing questions

  • How well are interfaces created to manage external scalability?
  • Are OKRs and Lean Metrics used to track performance?
  • How well does the organization encourage risk-taking and experimentation?
  • Does the organization operate top-down, command and control hierarchies, or flat, autonomous, collaborative team structures?
  • How well are social technologies integrated into the organization?

Here is a snapshot of the re-ranked Fortune 100:

ExO Ranking

As I said in my post on exponential organizations, there remains a single constant: it will take a different type of organization – different than the ones most of us grew up with – to survive the coming shift. The attributes or characteristics that create this different type of organization are getting clearer. It’s up to us to create it.

For a full list of the Fortune 100 and their associated ExO rank, please download this Spreadsheet

Exponential Organizations

Starting in 2011, I focused on the notion of a digital enterprise – a metaphor for the type of organization that is required to survive the massive paradigm shift that lies ahead. In 2013, the focus expanded to analyze disruptive scenarios and the emerging ecosystems and platforms that would give life to those scenarios. There remains a single constant through this work and the many leadership discussions that ensued: it will take a different type of organization – different than the ones most of us grew up with – to survive the shift. We as humans – and the organizations that we created – think and act linearly. The world and technology however is moving exponentially. How then do people and organizations move from linear thinking to exponential thinking? Continue reading