The Face of our Future: The Lean System Institute

‘Exponential technologies are disrupting entire industries and invalidating our most basic assumptions about work. What are exponential technologies? Microprocessors, the engines of so much technology today, have been getting twice as fast every eighteen months for many years. The Internet has also grown exponentially, and with it companies like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Digitization, automation, machine learning, the Maker Movement and other technology-fuelled phenomena are reshaping industries everywhere.’


How can leaders manage limitless change? It’s a question that few want to ask, and even fewer can answer. We know that the tides of demographic and technological change are sweeping the world, and the effects will be profound. Governments and businesses alike are reluctantly and lethargically confronting the necessity of robustly reimagining jobs, organisations and innovation.


But, argues Frode Odegard of the Lean Systems Institute (LSI), most responses go nowhere near far enough. We have reached a technological tipping point. Within the next few decades, human brains will be able to directly access information and competing resources anywhere on the Internet; gene editing, self-driving cars are realities; entire industries have been reinvented in a matter of months. Our very experience of what it is to be human will change more in the next 35 years than in all of our previous history combined.


The LSI argues persuasively that technological progress is now exponential – and disruption to industries and societies will be radical. Yet conventional management thinking still assumes that tomorrow’s world will be only slightly different from today’s. Business wisdom continues to focus on people development, but as many as half of the jobs people do now may be lost to automation within the next decade or two and employee tenures are shrinking. In Silicon Valley startups, it is now 10.8 months. We have assumed that long-lasting organisations are desirable, but organisational lifespans will likely continue to shrink. Technology makes it feasible to set up micro-organisations in minutes, and dissolve them almost as quickly.


In order to stay ahead, we must rewrite our most basic assumptions about social and industrial evolution. Traditional thinking and values won’t help. Protectionism and regulation won’t either. Change is unavoidable and it will be deeply disruptive worldwide. The work of the LSI is about equipping leaders to do this, and their events in Silicon Valley and Scandinavia have already made waves.


Frode, a thought leader in disruptive innovation and organisational design with over 25 years’ experience advising hi-tech firms, first established himself with the reinvention of Lean methodologies for 21st Century knowledge work, resulting in the Lean Systems Framework. Now, having observed the exponential technologies rapidly reshaping the world of work – making redundant many of the most important assumptions of Lean Thinking, and essentially moving us beyond the traditional parameters of ‘industry’ as we know it – Frode, with the LSI, has developed Post-Lean thinking: management science for the post-industrial age. The LSI delivers much-needed fresh thinking on policy, strategy, management and innovation in this new reality, clarifying the changes humanity is experiencing and how we can prosper from them.


On October 20th, The LSI will be delivering a half-day workshop on Post-Lean Thinking, where I will be joining as a panellist to consider the societal impact of these changes in the UK and beyond. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the LSI’s fascinating work and get ahead of the changes coming our way. Spaces are limited, and distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis.


Click here to sign up.


Click here for a complimentary download of LSI’s whitepaper Higher-Order Organizations and the Post-Lean Future.


Click here for a complimentary e-book Value Creation in the Post-Lean Future: How exponential technologies are changing the game for mature firms


Click here to watch Frode deliver a keynote on Post-Lean and Higher Order Organisations: Building the Future