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10 08 18

Salim, ExO Sprint, Featured

Why Run an ExO Sprint? Letter from Salim Ismail

Written By

Salim Ismail

2 min read

Innovator, best-selling author, and ExO Works Co-Founder, Salim Ismail, discusses why companies looking to ensure their place in the world of today and tomorrow need to embrace disruptive processes like the ExO Sprint.

ExOBlog-Why-Run-an-ExO-Sprint
Technology is disrupting the world. The biggest market cap companies today are all technology companies, and as I write this, both Apple and Amazon have recently crossed the $1 trillion threshold.

The real impact of technology is not the disruption—we’ve been dealing with that for centuries. It’s the pace, density and unpredictability that disruption brings. In the 15th century, the Gutenberg printing press changed the world. Today, thanks to computational advances, we have upwards of 20 such disruptions hitting us all at the same time, including solar, blockchain, AI, biotech, autonomous cars, drones, and more. That so many are happening at once is unique in human history.

Salim Ismail headshot

For our legacy organizations, it means that the metabolism of the external world now far exceeds the speed at which we can move. In the past, a company had years to figure out how to place its bets for slow-moving markets. Today, that time frame is down to months, as a new breed of startups drive new business models and disruption. As an example, witness the pace at which Elon Musk has disrupted cars, space and energy.

The problem in our organizations, though, is not a lack of disruptive ideas—we have lots of those. The real problem is that if you attempt disruptive innovation inside a traditional organization (or institution), the corporate immune system will attack, and you’ll spend all your time fighting the antibodies.

Today’s executives must do two things simultaneously:

  1. Suppress the immune system response of their organizations.

  2. Find new ideas that can grow a company 10x. Think that’s not possible? Consider that in 2012, 80% of Apple’s revenues came from products less than 4 years old.

The ExO Sprint aims to achieve these goals, and our experience indicates that in just 10 weeks it can launch your leadership, culture and management thinking three years ahead.

After iterating and improving the methodology over three years with some of the world’s biggest companies, we are now open-sourcing the ExO Sprint and making it widely available.

We strongly believe that every Global 5000 company will have to go through this process. So, too, will any small or mid-sized organization. Waiting for months or years for your C-suite or board to wake up and smell the roses is an existential threat.

But don’t just take my word. Here are testimonials from companies that have adopted these groundbreaking ideas:

“It’s been a fabulous journey, not just in terms of coming up with new ideas, but infecting the broader organization so that you can actually run your operations differently. When you’re a large enterprise, success isn’t all about what a small group of people is doing in isolation; success is about the transformation you bring back into the core.”
“We were in the perfect place to be disrupted but didn’t know where to begin. The ExO Sprint was the answer. It completely transformed our culture, breaking down boundaries and opening a whole new world of innovation.”

Good luck on your journey!

Salim Ismail

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