Adaptive Enterprise: Creating and Leading Sense-And-Respond Organizations

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9780875848747: Adaptive Enterprise: Creating and Leading Sense-And-Respond Organizations

Can large, complex organizations possibly adapt in a systematic way to the unpredictable demands of rapid, relentless change? Yes, says Stephan Haeckel -- if the organization is designed and managed as an adaptive system. In fact, the only kind of strategy that makes sense in the face of change is a strategy to become adaptive. In "Adaptive Enterprise," Haeckel outlines the new sense-and-respond business model that helps companies anticipate, adapt, and respond to continually changing customer needs. He maps out a step-by-step plan that firms can use to transform themselves into a new type of organization, one where change is not a problem to be solved, but rather a source of energy, growth, and value.

"Adaptive Enterprise" is both a new way of thinking about business and a prescription for leadership of post-industrial organizations. It is, as Adrian Slywotzky says in his foreword, "a book that will influence the influencers of business thought."

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Review:

In today's fast-changing marketplace, a business can't expect to thrive by just making products and selling them, argues Stephan H. Haeckel in Adaptive Enterprise. "It does not matter how good you are at making widgets if the market for widgets disappears or if your competitors offer dramatically new and improved widgets faster than you can," writes Haeckel, director of strategic studies at IBM's Advanced Business Institute. Instead, for a company to succeed nowadays, says Haeckel, it needs to know how to adapt to customers--even before they themselves know what they want. Haeckel lays out a strategy to create such a "sense-and-respond" approach that will allow companies to move quickly amid change. Among the key steps: companies must use innovative ways to gather information about customer needs. For instance, car manufacturers used video cameras in airport parking lots to discover that people often struggle to lift heavy suitcases over the high lower edges of trunks. In mall parking areas, the cameras revealed that shoppers had nowhere to put soft drinks they just bought. Now, low trunk edges and cupholders are standard features in almost every car. Because "sense-and-respond" is a relatively new business model formulated by Haeckel, the book is heavy on theory and slim on concrete examples. Nevertheless, Adaptive Enterprise has some good ideas for business leaders looking for an edge in a world where rapid change is the norm. --Dan Ring

From the Author:

This is a soft-cover version of a book that has sold over 20,000 hard-cover copies to date. There is now a companion "Adaptive Enterprise: The Workbook," available on amazon.com that captures the lessons learned by--- and tools created for--- managers who have adopted and applied the prescriptions in this book since its publication.

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