Deloitte’s Center for the Edge has released a new report on how to achieve broad internal change. In a nutshell they argue we need to focus on the edges rather than the core, emphasize passion over skill, run lean on resources, seek funding externally and learn in fast iterative cycles.
Edges are not a place but a condition. They include any group/idea that is linked to fundamental shifts that are happening in the marketplace, take little initial investment, can generate new revenue (does not cannibalize) and has the long-run potential for transforming the core. For example, think about cloud computing for an IT services company.
While edges may seem a bit radical to some readers, keep in mind we need some new ways of achieving organizational learning and change. As the report points out:
“Large companies that attempt to enact major change fail more often than not; in fact, only an estimated one-third of major change efforts accomplish the goal they originally set out to achieve.”
One reason edges work is that they have good cognitive design. Focusing on passion, rapid learning and a non-threatening external orientation definitely moves hearts and accelerates minds. In many ways, edges put the psychological needs of innovators first without entering into conflict with established projects, practices and revenue priorities.