Exponential Organizations

Authors: Salim Ismail; Michael S. Malone; Yuri Van Geest

Humanity has been busy with productivity since time immemorial. Production provided people with scarce resources that were / are worth a lot due to their scarcity. In the last decade, the Internet has come to the forefront, including the concept of “Creative Destruction” and “disruptive technology”. The big companies usually thought about the Internet 15 years ago as “something that is a phenomenon of time”. Nowadays, after an explanation about exponential organizations, they realize that the internet is a phenomenon that is the beginning of everything.

But what are they, those “Exponential organizations”?

It is usually small organizations that make use of the latest technology to come up with new solutions for market demands, for which solutions sometimes already exist. Through the new application they conquer the market in a very short time, in an exponential way. Examples include smartphones and tablets, which have given the photography and the paper newspaper world a problem.

The “nice thing” about this phenomenon is that because technology has become common good, an adolescent in a garage can do an invention that can turn the world of a gigantic company with thousands of employees upside down in a very short time.

That is why it is important that all organizations transform themselves into exponential organizations and tackle themselves disruptively. Because if they do not do it themselves, someone else will. Hence disruption as a means to do risk management and business continuity.

In the book, which is the result of a study by SU (Singularity University), the authors give a number of points of interest. These are given by the mnemonics MTP, SCALE and IDEAS.

Very important is that in contrast to large monoliths the small ExOs are very Lean and Mean organized. The book does not go very deep on this, but large monoliths can also benefit from their advantages by collaborating with existing ExOs or by creating ExOs at the borders of their organization.

Business Continuity And The Pandemic Threat

Author: Robert A. Clark

With this book the author, Robert A. Clark, draws attention to an important issue that is on the border between BCM and Risk Management, but what is traditionally attributed to BCM, namely the pandemic threat. This threat is relevant because statistically it has manifested itself every 30 years on average over the last 300 years.

The book is divided into two parts: ‘Part I: Understanding the Threat’ and ‘Part II: Preparing for the Inevitable’

Part I talks extensively about micro-organisms, what a pandemic really is, dangers of germs in the hands of criminals and terrorists, a brief history of the most important known pandemics, and the danger of hospital bacteria (anti microbial resistance of AMR). In two separate chapters, he elaborates on the cases of SARS and the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919, which continue throughout the book as the classic examples. He concludes part I with a comparison between the two cases that are still extremes: the Spanish flu with 50,000,000 deaths and SARS with a good 1000 deaths and ‘only’ 8,000 infections worldwide.

Part II deals with the approach to pandemics. He starts from two positions: preparation and response. He talks about what can be done on a world, national, organizational and individual level. What is important in Part II is, in my opinion, the attention he gives to the important points for a pandemic plan. He does this however, without giving a concrete pandemic plan or template. This, however, he makes good by referring in the appendices to a website where a template can be found: www.bcm-consultancy.com/pandemicthreat. But it does not stay there. He also describes what to do with it if there is no pandemic: practice and validate. He gives an overview of a number of types of exercises, ranging from very simple to very complex and extensive.

A limited part of the attention for the characteristics of a pandemic plan go to supply chain.

Meanwhile it was noted that the template is no longer available on the website. An example of a pandemic plan (in Dutch) can be found on this website: ‘http://www.emannuel.eu/uncategorized/pandemieplan/’