Research and Insights Archive

Research and Insights from the Center for Effective Organizations

Looking Beyond the Novelty to the Future of Work

Looking Beyond the Novelty to the Future of Work

Navigating the Paradox with Four Questions The current paradox requires effectively managing the crisis, AND looking beyond today’s accomplishments to take actions now, that will sustain the vital lessons for the future.  These four questions help guide the journey through the paradox, to create the most pivotal value for the future of work: What are […]

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Designing a Digitally Enabled Prototype—Jointly-optimized Social and Technical Work System

A core concern of the STARLab work has been the “technological lead, social lag” problem. Technological advance is hurtling forward; our social technologies have not kept up. New work systems are being configured around a network of digital platforms into which are built algorithms and routines for coordination, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and advanced analytic capabilities. They provide much integration and guide decision making, as well as enable efficient execution. Organizations are proceeding with the adoption of these systems because the technology exists and because they fear that not doing so will disadvantage them competitively. There is inadequate concern for creating the optimal combination of social/human and technological factors.

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Designing a Digitally Enabled Prototype— The “Changing Face” of Innovation Design

Digitalization both demands and provides a medium for different kinds of innovation. An innovation capability will no longer be an option in the future, and it will likely look very different. The “changing face of innovation” will be driven by new technologies that enable orchestrated approaches, often among an ecosystem of partners, to develop process and product innovation, organizational/managerial innovation, and business model/ecosystem innovation. An innovation capability needs to address incremental product and service extensions, changes in the business (i.e., how value is created and delivered) and revenue model, work system innovations to support new business models, and enable greater connectivity, learning and resource efficiency across boundaries.

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Efficiency-Innovation Tools

This challenge has to do with using digital technology to enhance organizational ambidexterity
Companies reported that designing and balancing efficiency and digital innovation is hard and fraught with tensions and conflicts. The two types of work produce radically different structures, designs and cultures, which are often contradictory in purpose and management.
These tools are intended to help raise awareness of the challenge and to provide useful guides to actions

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Scaling Tools

This challenge has to do with spreading worthwhile digital innovations across the enterprise
Organizations are struggling to conduct four types of scaling activity: (1) rolling out optimized processes to the larger organization; (2) growing a start-up business to a full standalone P&L; (3) scaling agile units; and, (4) pushing a capability out to the value chain
These tools are intended to help raise awareness of the challenge and to provide useful guides to actions you can take to scale innovations

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STARLab Digital Transformation Challenge Toolkit

This toolkit was created for your use in helping your organization through digital transformation
It is based on the work of the STARLab, which brought companies together to discuss common challenges in digital transformation and prototype solutions, including organization redesign
The toolkit was created by members of the STARLab team based on the thinking of the participants and their own experience with digital transformation and digital sociotechnical redesign

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Integration-Coordination Tools

This challenge has to do with aligning parts and units of the organization around a common digital transformation roadmap that addresses local and global digital investments
Leaders need to provide clear direction regarding what should be decided globally and what should be decided locally
These tools are intended to help raise awareness of the challenge and to provide useful guides to actions you can take to design a more coordinated approach to digital transformation

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Hierarchy-Network Tools

This challenge has to do with designing organizational networks that enable agility and connect ecosystem capabilities in place of or as a complement to traditional hierarchical structures
Silos and hierarchies must give way to networks in order to enable rapid adoption of new digital ways of working. Definitions of control, coordination, direction setting, resource allocation, trust, and strategizing in a network have to be redefined and made primary. Ecosystem networks are key.
These tools are intended to help raise awareness of the challenge and to provide useful guides to actions you can take to design a network-based organization

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Front-Back Tools

This challenge has to do with using digital technology to enhance customer-focus and responsiveness
The success of delighting customers through the application of digital technology depends on the ability of the rest of the business to adapt to the new demands of digital customer service.
These tools are intended to help raise awareness of the challenge and to provide useful guides to actions you can take to design a more customer-focused organization

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Digital Talent Tools

This challenge has to do with developing a strategy to upgrade the digital capabilities of talent companies were challenged by the need to recruit and retrain digital talent on the one hand and diffuse digital knowledge on the other.
These tools are intended to help raise awareness of the challenge and to provide useful guides to actions you can take to shift your talent to be more digital

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Digital Leadership Tools

This challenge has to do with getting leaders up to speed on what they need to know and do to support digital transformation
Companies reported that designing and balancing efficiency and digital innovation is hard and fraught with tensions and conflicts. The two types of work produce radically different structures, designs and cultures, which are often contradictory in purpose and management.
These tools are intended to help raise awareness of the challenge and to provide useful guides to actions you

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