Designing a New Organization

re: What about Designing New Organizations?

Guidance for “designing a new organisation and not for analysis of an existing one?” (edited)

I would add Russell Ackoff to the top of the list of those to consult. Start with his book Re-Creating the Corporation and continue to quite a few of his other books. After Ackoff, I would look to Deming and Senge. Other interesting folks would be Dee Hock, Brian Joiner, Peter Scholtes, Robert Rodin…

Few truly think about designing a new organization. Most people are interested in how to improve their existing organization. Therefore, it follows most people interesting in having an effect in the real world have focused on how to help those who are looking to be helped. Ackoff has done a huge amount of work in idealized design and thinking about the big ideas that can drive dramatic change. His ideas are exceptional. He even offers a plan for modeling the idealized organization and then a plan for how to transform the organization based on practical ideas that are feasible in the real world.

Deming’s ideas are very difficult to fit into most existing organizations easily because they require so many changes in the traditional style of management. However in designing a new organization from scratch you can adopt many of the ideas from the beginning. Free, Perfect and Now, by Robert Rodin, is a great book showing the adoption of these ideas by a company. When the leader is convinced it is possible to transform an existing company.

For a manufacturing organization I would look to Lean ideas (Toyota and Womack). Lean thinking is, of course, valuable to any organization but especially so in manufacturing.

You can find more on the ideas of those I list above through the Curious Cat Management Improvement Library.

John Hunter

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  1. Pingback: Curious Cat Management Blog » Russell Ackoff: 1919 -2009

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