We began as human factors engineers in the Space Systems Division of Lockheed in 1979 doing socio-technical design on the space shuttle and telescope programs. Our experiences grew, as did the development of the Silicon Valley where we lived, to include new plant start-ups, national labor –management cooperation efforts to improve US productivity, and factory of the future initiatives. We moved upstream from manufacturing to product development and innovation. We were some of the first to define the strategic innovation field including white space opportunity identification and discontinuous organizational change.
During the last decade we have focused on strategic organization design with senior leaders spanning multiple industry sectors and design projects, mostly in healthcare and technology sectors. Through action research with our partner clients, new models of organization have emerged, representing the next generation of organization design.
In an environment where opportunities come and go at lightning speed, organizations must have the ability to quickly reconfigure capabilities and infrastructure. Unfortunately, rapid realignment of skills and assets in many organizations is severely hampered by rigid structures, functional silos and political fiefdoms. To become more adaptable, companies must "disorganize" into smaller units and create more fluid team structures. Rather than considering periodic major restructurings, companies must develop the ability to reconfigure more frequently and quickly.
Organizational leaders are now learning to break down rigid hierarchies in favor of models in which units are smaller, more independent, and collaborative. At the same time, network technology has developed at accelerating speed. These social and technological trends have powered each other to form radically new platforms of organizational effectiveness. These platforms are driven by network structures, which require leaders to establish organizational systems that constantly adapt and change form. Networks, organizations, and technology evolve on a daily basis, while their services and products continually deliver a robust customer experience.
Many of today's most successful business models rely on value creating networks and forms of social production that transcend organizational boundaries. We believe that winning in a world of open innovation and virtual collaboration will require the development of new approaches to mobilizing and coordinating human effort.
SPRING refers to the season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth. SPRING is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life (both plant and animal) being born. The term is also used more generally as a metaphor for the start of better times. We feel we're in the SPRING of organizational transformation and change.