At the heart of emergence theory, prominent in such fields of study as artificial intelligence, climate modeling and smart grid energy distribution, lies the thought that complex behavior can emerge from the congregation of elements that are not found in the individual elements themselves – meaning any subtle change can bring about an unanticipated outcome from ghosts in the machine.
Rather, we should renovate only in order to strategically differentiate our enterprises from the competition. This distinction is an important one to make because it serves to inform the decisions about which types of changes and improvements we should pursue.
That’s why understanding the reason for business renovation is so important. For business renovation efforts aimed at simply becoming the least expensive provider or forming the most sophisticated product portfolio may be ill-advised. A more appropriate approach may be to aim business transformation efforts at initiatives that yield the right combination of product, price and service.
By making strategic differentiation the goal of all business renovation activities, organizations will begin to push for the right kinds of changes in the way work is performed and in the way the enterprise is run. In fact, when a business transformation program is designed with “of Choice” goals in mind, improvements in virtually all areas of an organization will result.
Indeed, incremental change is far more exposed to the effects of emergence theory than across-the-board redesign because wholesale redesign dashes what was there before and replaces it with a complete new system of operation. That’s not to say that the unexpected may result, but, if it does it is more likely to be due to faulty design or implementation than the emergence of behaviors ruminating from ghosts in the machine.
The Executive Checklist (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) is Jim’s fourth business strategy book. It demystifies all of the elements needed for flawless execution and presents them in the form of content-rich checklists that are easy to understand and use. The book is intended to be a comprehensive guide for setting direction and managing change.
Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling him at (860) 231-6635