Designing Innovative Businesses with Holacracy


 

At this year’s Nachtschicht, “Berlin Design Night”, we will share with you a case study of how we have implemented the vision of Holacracy in our company. Join us for a night of talks and design inspirations. We'll be welcoming you with delicious snacks, cold beer, great music, and insights about working in a holacratic company.

There is a need for a new organizational management system

Sensing the necessity for a change is crucial for organizations to adapt to external forces. It is a key competitive activity, which every firm has to embrace. This is something every business leader will agree with. However, failing to grasp business opportunities is still a common reality that can be observed in all markets, among all kind of companies.

Steven Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak, has invented the digital still camera technology in the 1970s. The same company, which was defining the photography industry for years, has filed for bankruptcy just three decades after his invention. Afraid of loosing its dominant position in the photographic film production, the management did not see the potential of this technology.

In today’s competitive environment rapid constant change is a mode of business operation that is here to stay. Nevertheless, many companies still employ decision structures from the old industrial age. An omniscient CEO establishes layers of management to approve and monitor every single employee. Decisions are constantly delegated from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy, which takes time and energy. Often great customer focused inventions are diluted through many layers of middle management, who is preserving the status-quo. Eventually, the CEO has to deal with a flood of delegated day-to-day decisions, while at the same time sensing competitive opportunities and aligning the rigid hierarchical structures accordingly.

We will never again live in a world that is moving and changing as slow as today
— Brian Robertson @h1brian

Managing creative teams for innovation

At Service Innovation Labs we are constantly working on ways to uncover innovation potentials and bring novel services to market. Our approach does not end with the creation and validation of new ideas, furthermore it includes the design of sustainable innovative businesses. We have studied how constant innovation and opportunity sensing can be managed and have come to one conclusion: there is a need for new forms of organizational structures, where the empowerment of skills and the possibility to take quick action are decentralized. This enables sensing new opportunities and fast reaction to increasingly accelerating markets. Therefore, the organization of Service Innovation Labs has always lived on the foundation of flat hierarchies and empowerment of the makers.

To establish this vision in an organizational form we went one step further and have adopted holacracy to our organization. This well documented system takes powers, traditionally reserved for executives, and spreads them across all employees in a very transparent logic.

Through Holacracy we give everybody a Ferrari and tell them: go faster!
— Brian Robertson @h1brian
Distributing authority throughout the team and ensuring quick actions on relevant opportunities. 

Distributing authority throughout the team and ensuring quick actions on relevant opportunities. 

Implementing an entrepreneurial mindset into the whole organization by letting people run their own ideas. 

Implementing an entrepreneurial mindset into the whole organization by letting people run their own ideas. 

Empowering team members with tools and processes for executing challenges and dealing with them autonomously.  

Empowering team members with tools and processes for executing challenges and dealing with them autonomously.  

Developing the ability to sense how things could be better and grasping the opportunity to improve them.

Developing the ability to sense how things could be better and grasping the opportunity to improve them.

Implementing Holacracy in our organization

During the Nachtschicht event we will share with you how we have implemented the vision of a holacratic company to our daily practice. Besides introducing you to the basics of the system, we will show you how we adapted it to our needs. We are also very interested in learning about your experience of aligning businesses to be more agile and innovative! Make sure to sign up for the event.

 

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