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Creating the conditions for a successful transformation

By Damian Schurtenberger

Hi Steven. You’re going to be a speaker at the Business Agility Day on the 23rd of October with the topic of the «Cambrian explosion». Tell me more about it. What is it?

The Cambrian explosion was probably the most important event in the evolution of our planet. Around 542 million years ago, most of the complex animal body plants emerged that still exist today, and that changed the biosphere forever.

But that sounds like biology. You’re a speaker at the Business Agility Day. Where does it overlap?

When you look at the Cambrian explosion, certain conditions needed to be in place for it to happen; rise of oxygen levels, specific temperature conditions. When you today look at the general-purpose technology like artificial intelligence, that technology also has the potential to really change the world we live in forever. And in order to leverage that as a company, as an organization, I believe that certain boundary conditions need to be in place for that to happen.

So, it’s basically working on those preconditions to make it happen.

Exactly. I mean the technology is there. Everyone more or less could use it. But only very few organizations are actually capable of leveraging these opportunities today in the marketplace.

Ok so how I understand it, it’s about leadership and how we manage or lead to make it happen in the organization.

Yes. I think it’s a combination of two things. On the one hand you need to have the leadership conditions to provide autonomy, to provide freedom to take decisions at very low levels in the organization to pick up speed. And at the same time, you need to provide the boundary conditions with regards to infrastructure and capabilities. So, for example you need to have proper data capabilities in place, for example unified customer profiles. And then also the capabilities within marketing, within data, within product to leverage the data and make something with it.

What I hear is that you are responsible for creating the environment itself. So that people can thrive in that environment. But we need to also give the ingredients into it like autonomy, the purpose itself so that they can grow.

Yes exactly. When you look at the old command & control organisations where mostly very few people or even one person at the top would take the decisions or set the strategies. That’s no longer working in our fast-paced world. That was working in a world where we had steady environments and you could take six months or twelve months to take a decision. Today you need to take decisions very, very fast. Because the technology evolves not in one-year or two-year cycles, but maybe in three-month cycles.

I see. Oh, that’s great. So, I’m looking forward to hear your speech in October.

Thank you very much. I’m really looking forward to it.