Lean Design = Efficiency + Innovation

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Efficiency and innovation are mutually inclusive. The higher the efficiency, the greater the innovation and leanness.

An increasing number of companies struggle on a daily basis trying to find “the right balance” between their short-term goals and long-term objectives. And given the increasing relevant uncertainties of our times, this may very well be the reason why the life expectancy of a Fortune 500 firm fifty years ago was over 75 years and now is less than 15.

These unprecedented relevant uncertainties should not put business executives in a catch 22. Rather, these challenges should force them into overdrive to avoid relying on a bimodal plan, e.g., trying to improve their existing products, while building capabilities to produce long-term growth.

If business executives focus on efficiency (i.e., zero waste) at every level, innovation will emerge naturally.

Business executives must understand that relevant uncertainties are a fact of life and will only continue to get even more relevant and numerous. Uncertainty is not the problem.

The problem, of course, is our inability to adequately deal with uncertainty.

And the reason why most business executives cannot adequately deal with uncertainty is because their organizational structure has not been designed for it.

Most organizational structures are still very restrictive and tropophobic (i.e., command and control) or, in Nassim Talen’s words, “Fragile.”

Although most managers and CEOs are aware of their company’s fragility, they have been unable to find a real and sustainable alternative e.g.,an expansive and tropophilic organizational structure.

Everyone knows by now that organizational culture eats strategy for breakfast . Yet, very few seem to know that organizational structure eats culture for lunch. Thus, the question now is: What are you having for dinner?

In other words, what feeds a truly efficient organizational structure? The lean, sound, and sustainable “dinner” is called Tropophilia and can be fed into your organizational structure through a two-stage process created and developed by Fred and Merrely Emery called The Search Conference & Participative Design Workshop.

The transformation process is sustainable and very powerful because its executed by those who have to live with the consequences of their actions and inactions. It produces immediate results at every level, especially in terms of efficiency, agility, transparency, accountability, employee engagement, innovation, trust, and integrity.

And, believe it or not, it can be accomplished in a single day!

Here’s to the Health of Your Lean & Efficient Organization!

JC Wandemberg Ph.D.

President & Founder

Sustainable Systems International

About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.

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