What is organizational intelligence?

Towards Organizational Intelligence

An intelligent organization is characterized by the following collective abilities: • • • • an ability to make sense of complex situations and act effectively an ability to interpret and act upon relevant events and signals in the environment an ability to develop, share and use knowledge relevant to its business purpose. an ability to reflect and learn from experience

Any new way of looking at your organization may produce new insights about strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Organizational intelligence is a new “lens” for understanding and improving the way your organization uses information and intelligence for strategic advantage, business improvement and survival.

Next Practice Research Initiative

Is your organization achieving its potential?
Are you able to anticipate the future demands of your customers and other stakeholders? Are you developing the collective intelligence you will need to compete effectively in increasingly turbulent conditions? Does this development utilize the talents and energies of everyone in the organization? Does everyone have the opportunity to contribute to the collective intelligence of their unit or the whole organization?

Do you recognize any of these symptoms in your organization?
Choke Denial Inability to access capability when it is needed. "The problem doesn't exist, and anyway it isn't a problem for us, and anyway we're already dealing with it." Acting in the dark. Tinkering and management interference without real understanding. Confused and bewildered by many overlapping and conflicting narratives. Taken by surprise, responding in haste. Finding data to support or justify an existing decision or state, while ignoring any data that might contradict. Repeating the same mistakes without learning. Narrow focus on short-term goals, inability to consider broader or longer-term vision.

Guesswork Meddle Muddle Panic Policy-based evidence Repetition / Oscillation Short-Sighted / Tunnel Vision

Is there a people fix?
An organization can be packed with brainy people, but if they don’t communicate and collaborate effectively, the intelligence of the organization as a whole will be impaired. The management literature is full of strange and wonderful ideas for transforming organizational structure and culture. • • • • Asymmetric Leadership Edge Organization Fractal Self-Organization Theory Y, Theory Z

Is there a technology fix?
People and technology have complementary forms of intelligence, and an intelligent organization these abilities are coordinated and mobilized to best advantage. Perhaps you expect some innovative software technology platform to boost your organization’s ability to collaborate, innovate and share learning? • • • • • Business Intelligence & Analytics Collaboration and Communication Enterprise 2.0 & Social Networking Knowledge Management Process Management & Job Training

These radical changes may help to improve organizational intelligence over the longer term. They cannot be achieved by quick fix solutions – whether technical or top-down management. However, our approach can support a broader organizational change initiative, as well as enabling incremental improvements within your existing organization. If radical change is necessary, we will work with partner organizations to help you with integrating this kind of change.

Each of these technologies can help if implemented wisely, properly integrated with each other as well as with working practices and organizational culture. However, many organizations have expended large amounts of time and money on fancy solutions, often with muddled objectives and poor planning, and therefore no prospect of any genuine return on investment. In fact, poor deployment of technology may just make things worse. The more enlightened software vendors will advise their customers how to align their systems and services with business objectives and organization culture, and we are happy to collaborate with such vendors, while maintaining an independent perspective.

Balancing the Elements of Intelligence
Sense -Making

Where to start?
To achieve and enhance organizational intelligence typically requires both organizational change and technological change. • assessment - what is the overall strengths and weaknesses of your organization, what are the process and structural and technological roadblocks to organizational intelligence opportunity planning - what are the priorities for improving organizational intelligence, and how can these best be implemented, what is the business case to support any necessary investment organizational development – what working practices are needed, how can the organization use the available tools and platforms more coherently and effectively

Perception / Monitoring

Reasoning / Action

WIGO (what is going on)

The assessment is carried out in three stages. A quick review of each capability separately, to assess whether it is 1 broadly fit-for-purpose.

Knowledge / Memory

Learning / Development

Modelling how the capabilities are joined up (integrated) across the 2 enterprise. Evaluating the actual and potential contribution of well-balanced 3 intelligence to the performance and viability of the organization as a whole.


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