OpenExO Blog

Discover what the community has to say in their own words

Written by Craig Terblanche
on November 22, 2019

Many organizations are in limbo, either because their leadership is in denial or marking time. The trouble is you think you have time! While researching disruption in Financial Services recently I found this research from Ark Invest.

video inspiracionalYou don’t have time. You may be tired of hearing about 4IR and disruption but this estimation of the impact of “Innovation Platforms” on economic activity is a rather graphic representation of the combined impact of multiple technologies reaching price-performance maturity simultaneously. It’s interesting to note how the curves drop below the X-axis before they climb exponentially. This is because disruptive technologies are deceptive in the early stage of their development.

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This deception perpetuates the denial and perception that we are just in another hype cycle. Another consideration is how the nexus of technologies across industries is bringing disruption from unexpected quarters. Banking is being disrupted by Telcos and Telcos, in turn, are being disrupted by the many companies (Google, Space X, Amazon, Starlink) driving low orbit wireless technologies to provide free internet access. This is one example of demonetisation but a particularly moving example is InnovAfrica. Sivan Ya'ari has already transformed a million lives in Africa by drilling boreholes in villages where they had no water and were walking tens of kilometers per day to collect water. In many cases, water is found within 20 meters underground. InnovAfrica then install a water tank and power the pumps with solar. Of course the solar can drive more than pumps so logically add wifi and suddenly the village is transformed into an entrepreneurial hub. Technology is transforming the lives of the poorest of the poor but, more importantly, anyone can now build a digital business that can and will disrupt your traditional business.

Many organisations have embarked upon innovation programmes in an attempt to address legacy inertia and improve customer engagement and service. These programmes invariably yield limited returns as the immune system of the organisation creates inertia, hurdles and even conflict fueled by politics. In our experience with technology modernisation programmes the change impact is inhibited by culture and politics. Invariably this culture emanates from the leadership of the organisation resisting change and rewarding predictable consistency. Unfortunately, disruption is no longer predictable or apparent until it’s too late. But now there is a way for organisations who are open to change to start at the top and employ the necessary business transformation and embark on a path to exponential growth.

We’ve seen organisations approach transformation as a technology initiative or implement agile as a practice, primarily for technologists to transform their delivery. These initiatives seldom achieve business agility and true transformation. Technology alone or tech for tech-sake is not the answer. A holistic business approach is essential to deal with disruption and transform any organisation to achieve exponential growth. Fundamentally this requires the right mindset centered around purpose. In addition to a vision and a mission and in order to adapt your organization to the current environment, you must define your purpose. If your organization already has a global market or aims to have one, you will need to define a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP). 

The Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) reflects an organization's aspiration—the core purpose of its existence. It describes the change in the world that you want to achieve while recognizing that it will not be accomplished in the short term. An MTP is something that inspires action, expresses your passions, and creates an emotional connection that drives you and others toward meaningful, positive change. 

The ExO Sprint is a ten-week process of coaching organizations on how to apply exponential thinking and the practices that generate accelerated growth. The sprint goal is to take an organization two years ahead in only ten weeks.

The ExO Sprint demonstrates to organizations that the path to exponential growth includes the adoption of disruptive technologies, entrepreneurship and an abundance mindset with the MTP as the “north star”.


The ExO Sprint consists of three main phases: Planning, Execution, and Follow-up

Planning: Planning ensures that all the elements are in place to create transformational change and measure it. It is essential to know where you are and where you want to be on the path to exponentiality. This can start with your exponential quotient: ExQ. This provides some insight to the missed opportunity for exponentiality. 

Then the first meeting with the executive management team across all functions outlines the most important trends and technologies disrupting industry. The goal is to ensure that stakeholders understand why it’s so important to transform the enterprise. Everyone involved should comprehend how disruption is affecting the industry, the difference between linear and exponential thinking, the tremendous opportunities exponential technologies present and how to apply exponential practices. This session is called Awake!

Execution: The Execution phase has four components: Discovery, Disruption, Build and Launch.

  • Discovery: A group of ten influencers and young leaders in the organization are divided into two streams. The Core stream is focused on innovation, researching the latest technology trends and start-up ideas that can be leveraged to develop the organization without changing the business model. The Edge stream is focused on disruption, on creating the next generation of organizations that will radically transform the industry.
  • Disruption: The Mid-term workshop is dedicated to collecting and responding to feedback, course correction, and selection of ideas to be developed further. 
  • Build: In the Build phase, teams build prototypes to test the ideas approved in the previous sessions.
  • Launch: In the last session of the execution phase, teams present the results to executive management to secure investment.

Follow up: The chosen ExO Initiatives are implemented in the organization or at the edge, as “self-disruption”. At this point, the team has gone through a period of substantial personal change by adopting an exponential mindset, so it's important to ensure continuity of the transformation process.

If you are a leading organization aiming to both reinvent an industry and transform for industry disruption, the outcome of the ExO Sprint has been a set of ExO Edge Initiatives and a set of ExO Core Initiatives. While the ExO Edge Initiatives should result in next-generation organizations structured to lead your industry (and perhaps even others), the ExO Core Initiatives will help your organization adapt to external industry disruption—including the disruption posed by the new ExO Edge Initiatives.

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For a full run-down on how the ExO Sprint works, request a customized proposal for how we would accelerate your organizational culture ahead 3 years in 10 weeks!

OpenExO is the global transformation ecosystem with more than 2,500 coaches, investors, consultants and innovation specialists helping organizations, institutions and people unlock abundance to change the world.  We are transforming the world for a better future.

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