Introduction

Why ‘Disrupt’?

As a result of running ‘Disrupt’ activities, we have helped clients build greater capability and confidence when answering the following kinds of questions:

  • “We’ve embarked on an ambitious transformation journey, but we’re not where we need to be. What are the best options for us to regain momentum?”

  • “We’ve grown rapidly, and now we’re too complicated. How do we best simplify our organisational design to go to the next level?”

  • “Having exhausted growth in our market, we want to diversify, but how?”

  • “Everyone is telling me that my business is about to be disrupted. Is this true, and if so, what can I do about it?”

  • “It has been impossible to make change stick. What are we doing wrong?”

Our purpose is to help clients make better decisions in a disrupted world.

What is ‘Disrupt’?

  • The traditional way of starting a project using an Inception assumes that the client has a clear idea of the problem they want solved, and our job is to understand their understanding and create a delivery plan and backlog. A Discovery responds to the clients’ questions by exploring and determining the purpose of a specific product or service before moving onto Inception to map out the next steps (as appropriate). ‘Disrupt’ activities are more effective than Inceptions and Discoveries when there is no foreknowledge, and the unknowns are persistent. The team responds to the clients’ questions by exploring all assumptions in pursuit of understanding the problem space before making recommendations that may well challenge the client’s thinking

  • The activity is typically focused over four weeks and aims to define the best and quickest path to value.

  • ‘Disrupts’ are pragmatic, not formulaic – our recommendations are bespoke, created using our proprietary tools to illuminate the client’s unique situation.

  • Our tried and tested PEACE process (purpose, environment, approach, command, evaluation) is designed to create strategies that deliver meaningful and measurable value at least every quarter. Making well-planned interventions and measuring their impacts is the key to delivering sustainable change, not just thinking or talking about it

How is ‘Disrupt’ different from our other offerings?

Our ‘Disrupt’ offering provides answers to important strategic questions in under four weeks. The team guides the client through the unknown, no matter what factors are driving the need to change or the kind of transformation required.

Through design sprints, our “Create” offering helps turn ideas into actions. The team helps the client build the confidence and capability to create and manage a product portfolio in eight weeks.

Our “Accelerate” offering finds sources of significant friction in an organisation and uses specialist knowledge (such as Data, Enterprise Mobility, and Security) to make significant improvements. Using the 3-6-12 model, the “Accelerate” offering builds a prototype in three weeks, launches a pilot in six weeks, and goes live in 12 weeks.

Our “Build” offering is the lifeblood of EE—iterative and agile software delivery at scale, done by experts with the client on-site.

What outcomes should you expect from “Disrupt”?

Strategic priorities affirmed with the client, ensuring that their goals do not contradict one another

The work of individuals and teams have meaning as a result of visualising how colleagues’ efforts contribute to the progress towards the achievement of the organisation’s objectives

There is a greater sense of purpose, and more effective use of resources, while misaligned activities are placed in the backlog

Comprehensive mapping of the business landscape, highlighting competitor movements, risks, and opportunities

A portfolio of prioritised bets to help the client decide where to go next with confidence

A specific, time-bound plan, with evidence of impact measured and shared regularly

Stopping strategy anti-patterns

  • Although this playbook includes a range of tools and techniques and has proved effective in surfacing the right information on which to base strategic decisions, there is no set path – these models and ideas can be used in any combination to suit the unique needs of the client.

  • The aim is not to produce a beautiful, glossy final report that takes theoretical positions on the optimal approach and then goes into a drawer and is forgotten. This is about making evidence-based recommendations on the best and most practical steps to value, with a range of hypotheses that the client can pursue, and prove right or wrong, within the quarter.

  • The ‘Disrupt’ activity is valuable in and of itself – its success is not defined by whether or not it leads to software delivery at scale. Many of the challenges faced by organisations trying to transform have root causes far beyond technology.

Disrupt – the practicalities

  • In terms of lead time to prepare, two weeks is sufficient – some research (such as a Company Snapshot) can be performed prior to landing on-site, but a huge amount is typically unnecessary

  • It is highly recommended that the Equal Experts team get together two days before landing on-site to prepare certain materials (such as interview guidelines), and at least three days are ring-fenced at the end of the engagement to compile the final presentation

  • Disrupt tends to last no more than four weeks (from the first day to final presentation to the Exec).

  • Depending on the nature of the problem being addressed, colleagues from relevant disciplines should be included, e.g., UI/UX, UR, Data, Tech/Developer, etc.

  • We can either co-locate in the client’s office, or run the offering remotely

Disrupt – the prerequisites

Equal Experts’ ability to optimally perform a Disrupt activity in a timely manner and deliver the expected results depends upon the following:

  • The client’s help in ensuring that the right decision-makers and participants are available, and can commit time to the relevant parts of the activity (in particular, the OKR session at the start of the process, one-to-one interviews throughout, and the final playback at the end).

  • The client will provide a room for the EE team for the duration of the engagement, WiFi and network access, and any related materials, such as business cases, accounts, architectural diagrams, etc.

Whilst participation of stakeholders and participation does not prevent our ability to deliver to the timelines proposed, it may impact the quality of the outcome – specifically its ability to meet stakeholder expectations, which may impact adoption by the target audience.

FAQs

The client is asking how they might best describe ‘Disrupt’ to their colleagues. What should I say?

Start by sharing the “Disrupt’ offering slide deck, which is a brief but comprehensive overview of what ‘Disrupt’ is, how long it takes, what topics it covers, and what outcomes can be expected. Beyond that, the approach is pragmatic and bespoke to the needs of each client; as such, its specific meaning in each context is created through dialogue – so those on the EE side should expect to provide reassurance and context where necessary in response to questions up to and including the commencement of the engagement.

What outcomes should the client ultimately expect?

The clients should expect innovative answers to their most challenging strategic questions within four weeks. In terms of specific artefacts, we will

  • Create a Roadmap Radar based on the results of the OKR session and help the client to visualise a balanced approach to achieving strategic priorities

  • Create Current and Future Reality Trees which show cause and effect throughout the organisation and distinguish between intermediate effects and root causes

  • Position the client on our unique business landscape map, which shows adjacent opportunities and indicates both the current positions and directions of travel of major competitors

  • Compile a range of evidence-based recommendations and related actions with leading measures to demonstrate progress within the quarter.

What if the problem requires answers to specific questions beyond the toolkit, e.g., a cost/benefit analysis or a target operating model?

The ultimate shape and structure of the engagement should be decided in response to the question(s) the team is trying to answer. If we agree that a particular activity or approach is required to address a specific concern, then it will be included in the plan.

Who needs to be involved?

On the client side, we want to meet with the executives and their direct reports during the course of the engagement. Beyond that, we will meet with individuals and teams across the business, plus any relevant external stakeholders, according to the question to which we’re seeking an answer and/or the problem being solved.

Complimentary sessions

The Strategic Advisory practice offers a range of complimentary sessions, designed to provide an introduction to some of the tools, techniques and approaches included in this Playbook. There are two paths available: Pivot with Purpose and Portfolio Optimisation.

Our Pivot with Purpose workshop gives you insight into potential changes, and the tools and techniques to rapidly reorient your activities and resources to the new strategic direction.

Our Portfolio Optimisation workshop is designed to give you stability of purpose, by providing a greater focus on what matters most. Looking at your strategic direction and current initiatives, it introduces the best way to regroup and optimise your portfolio.

If you're interested, you can learn more here.