…and the feedback there was so positive that I have decided to ramp up my level of investigation.
As always, our Finnish friends struck me as pretty « aware » regarding the key role of rapid and responsive organizational design. Both the CEOs and other business leaders we met and the researchers (both at TSE & Abo Akademi) and consultants at the PBI.
So that I started (what Svetlana might call) a flash reading programme on the plane back.
Here is one extract from the wonderful Jay Galbraith’s recent article on « the multi dimensional and reconfigurable organization »…
“… many companies today are trying to pursue strategies that far exceed the capabilities of their organizations… …companies are pursuing third generation strategies using second generation organizations that are staffed with first generation human resources… We need to invest in and develop the capabilities of our people and organizations before we can master today’s complex global economy.”
Here, in this short video interview of Ilkka Paananen, CEO and co-founder of Supercell, which our friend Matti showed us last week, we hear about a nice example of flat, liberated, organizational design.
« The whole idea is that we’ve organized the company to be like ‘independent’ cells, or teams as other people would call them, and these are very independent units and really the goal is to have these like quite small teams – so teams from say 5 to maximum 15 people or so – and then to kind of give them the independence and responsibility to focus on developing the game. So, just as I said, to create the best possible environment for these guys to do so »
« …there is very little process. I mean that’s like one of the foundations the company has been built on. So we wanted to like remove as much of the process as possible and have as little rules as possible. As little management as possible. You know, trust people and trust their common sense and give them that responsibility. But, you know, so the very little process we have is very simple. So, we get a group of people together; we work on something for a few monthys and then we release what’s known as as the company playable and then what that means is that everybody at Supercell will have the chance to play that game. We gather feedback and depending on how the feedback goes we will continue with the development or just kill the game there and then…start to work on something new. »
51% of Supercell, which has about 100 employees, was sold in 2013 for around 2 billion $. Inceidentally, that same year, Nokia’s mobile phone business was sold to Microsoft for just over double that price.
Maybe with a whole lot of middle management (like Ian, Henry, John and I saw at the French games company Infogrames in Lyon, when we did the ITMP programme there in 2002) there would have been more employees at Supercell but also less value…