Tuesday, January 27, 2009

From Tech to Disney to Obama: Theory on Leveraging the Organization

I am fascinated by the evolving interplay of entities, and how this interplay is enabling more productivity (often mirroring natural patterns). In this vein, I see parallels between the emerging methods of improving effectiveness of web-based software, Bob Iger's strategy that is driving recent successes at Disney, and Obama's "West Wing on steroids". Each is leveraging organizational structure in new and different ways in order to improve overall productivity.

Today web-based software must employ resources for others to build upon, enhance, tweak, and/or embed to allow the collective intelligence to grow the idea beyond what one person or one compay can do. I have written about this idea before.

In a story in the most recent Fortune (not yet online), Bob Iger's strategy at Disney to invest in brands that span across Disney's many businesses is chronicled. Take movies - family films under the Disney banner have a strong likelyhood of transferring from film to tv to merchandising and so on. However, even the larger hits fromDisney's Miramax and Touchstone production houses rarely grow revenue outside the division. Thus, he focuses on opportunities that can be amplified throughout the business. He is driving execution across the organization, greatly enhancing the profitability of single ideas / brands.

Obama seeks to enable strong leaders to manage issues that span across the various agencies of the Executive branch. "(P)roblems like global warming sprawl across several agencies, often requiring a sort of uber-Cabinet member – a czar – to confront them." Similar to Iger, he expects to tackle issues by attacking them head-on and across various agencies, holistically, instead of piece-by-piece.

Time will tell if Obama's efforts will be successful. But, given natural references, recent tech trends and Iger's success at Disney, the model has legs...

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