IBM: Leadership as ‘guided serendipity’

Adam CutlerAs the pace of business life accelerates, so we expect managers to shift from focusing on control (which becomes impossible) to facilitation: to switch from focusing on outcomes to focusing on the processes that create those outcomes.

We’d expect those shifts to appear first in the parts of the business that face directly on to the outside world, namely design, marketing, and sales.

This short article by Adam Cutler, design studio director at IBM, describes the steps he is taking to revitalise that company’s design approach.

He talks about optimising “for possibilities rather than outcomes.”

He designs a circulatory flow “to create a self-sustaining culture of curiosity and collaboration that feeds itself by mobilising thoughts, ideas and possibilities… The recursive effect through the studio helps spread ideas that, in turn, influence the quality of everyone’s work.”

The Escher Cycle is all about focusing on the fundamental processes that create the key outcomes for any business. The process Adam describes is very much in line with the AUDIO cycle, described in Chapter 6.

You can read more about his story here.

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