Virtual Event

Beyond Hierarchy:

How Business Ecosystems are Changing Corporate Design


Dec 14 2022

Beyond Hierarchy

For the last two centuries, the Hierarchy has been the dominant operating model for companies, governments, and organizations. But as the pace of change accelerates and new technologies mature, forward-looking organizations are exploring alternative, more agile and human-centered approaches

A new model of business is coming into focus.

New research shows strong correlations between elements of open business models and their impact on factors such as internal entrepreneurial activity, the ability to recruit and retain top talent, and financial performance. This new model of organization and its key components can be seen in a myriad of new approaches being tested in leading companies. A key focus of this virtual event will be on Haier Corporations  RenDanHeYi model, one of the most developed and popular of these growing models that offers much to learn from.

Join the Beyond Hierarchy event to…

Be a part of the release and findings of Outthinker’s latest research into Business Ecosystems.

Engage with leading management thinkers Rita McGrath of Columbia Business School, Tony O’Driscoll of Duke Fuqua, Kevin Nolan of GE Appliances, Martin Reeves of the BCG Henderson Institute and Chief Strategy Officers from across sectors in a series of discussions of the new model “beyond hierarchy” that is emerging.

 Discuss key questions CEOs, Chief Strategy Officers, CHROs, and business leaders should be asking:

  • Is the traditional organizational model reaching its limit? 
  • If so, why now? What are the drivers of this apparent change? 
  • Where and in what situations will hierarchy continue to be the best choice? Where will hierarchy be replaced? Where will companies need to adapt? 
  • What successful new organizational models can we learn from?  
  • What specific steps should organizations take now? 
  • What kinds of organizations are most likely to win if a new business model beyond hierarchy takes hold? 
  • What are the implications for leaders, managers, and business owners? 
  • What are the implications for strategy (e.g., how will sources of competitive advantage change) and organization? 

In this virtual summit, we will bring together strategy executives and thought-leaders to attempt to answer some of these questions and raise new ones. 

Join the event via LinkedIn Live streaming HERE

Event Speakers

Rita McGrath

Author, Speaker and Strategic Advisor. Professor at Columbia Business School.

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Tony O'Driscoll

Professor, Research Fellow and Academic Director at Duke University

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Kevin Nolan

President & CEO of GE Appliances, a Haier Company

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Martin Reeves

Chairman of BCG Henderson Institute

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Michelle Micone

VP Innovation & Strategic Initiatives, Boston Globe Media

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Adam Zalisk

Senior Vice President Strategy, Amplify

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Rich Haas

VP Business Model Innovation, Kyndryl (formerly IBM Global Technology Services)

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Kaihan Krippendorff

Founder of Outthinker, Strategy, Innovation, & Transformation Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host, Author

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Claudio Garcia

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How Business Ecosystems Are Changing Corporate Design

In this session, Kaihan Krippendorff—CEO and Founder of the Outthinker Strategy Network—discusses what a study on business ecosystems revealed about how a business’ org structure impacts its growth—particularly when it comes to innovation. The overarching theme revealed through this research is that companies with ecosystem-based characteristics tend to outperform others in two core areas: talent recruitment and retainment, and financial performance. Among key takeaways discussed are:

  • What innovation has traditionally meant—and how it has changed over time—including, the source of innovation
  • The typical profile of individuals responsible with 30 of the most transformative innovations in the last three decades
  • How the idea of work and jobs has changed over time, and the implications for organizations
  • The five ways in which organizational organize themselves, and how there has been a shift from traditional hierarchical structures
  • The four attributes of an emerging post-hierarchical model, and what it means for talent retention and financial performance

Download Deck

To view the presentation conducted by Outthinker on this topic, download deck presentation here.

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Interview with Kevin Nolan of GE Appliances

In this session, Kevin Nolan—President & CEO of GE Appliances—discusses GEA’s transformation and learnings they underwent as they adapted the Haier business model and practices. Among key takeaways discussed:

  • The four essential components GEA learned from the Haier model that transformed their business
  • How GEA went from leadership-first approach to a customer-centric one
  • What it means to co-create with your customers, and how that affects the way in which the organization works together
  • The ways in which the Haier microenterprise model enabled innovation and agility on a new level
  • How to know if your organization is ready to integrate practices from this new business model, and first steps to take in doing so
  • Barriers and resistance you might meet in implementing this new business model, and how to overcome them
  • The small changes you can make in your organizations core to create change
  • Key metrics that GEA implemented to track success, and how to know when to kill an idea that shows poor results

Download GEA Slides

To read and review Kevin Nolan's presentation of GE Appliances, download the slides here.

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Thought Leader Panel

In this session, Thought Leaders Martin Reeves, Rita McGrath, and Tony O’Driscoll discuss the parameters and implications to consider when it comes to ecosystems, and how they relate to hierarchies. As a shift from traditional org structure continues to gain traction, it’s important to consider various factors discussed in this session:

  • The benefits and opportunities in adapting an decentralized model vs. a hierarchical one
  • How integrating “microenterprises” enables customer-centricity and innovation
  • Why leaders need to adapt, be open and embrace change for transformation to be possible
  • The context in which org structure has minimal impact in light of other factors at play
  • How to integrate aspects of ecosystems vs. when hierarchical structures are actually more beneficial
  • Six ways in which strategy is changing due to technology
  • How traditional functions within an organization are affected by ecosystems
  • The type of culture—and benefits that come with it—that arises from an ecosystem approach
  • How to balance the duality of stability with structure, adaptability with efficiency and key other dualities that come with the ecosystem model
  • The first steps to take in experimenting with the ecosystem approach

Outthinker Strategy Network Practitioner Panel

In this session, three practitioners from the Outthinker Strategy Network with roles in Kyndryl (formerly IBM’s infrastructure services business), Amplify Education and Boston Globe Media, discuss their experiences in bringing innovation alive within their organizational models. Among key takeaways discussed are:

  • Where to begin in adopting practices from post-hierarchical models
  • Identifying potential barriers in transforming your organization and how to overcome them
  • How to give employees more autonomy to achieve “zero distance” from customers
  • How to help your organization adopt a new mindset with more agility and at scale
  • Best practices in connecting with shareholders to earn their buy-in

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