ANTIGENcy

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Inoculating companies against inaction, irrelevance, inflexibility and instability.

New Perspectives :: A Biologist Joins ANTIGENcy Thinking

How do each of the dimensions of business fit with a biological paradigm? Jotting down some thoughts here…

1. Strategic

Organisms evolve. Organizations evolve. How can you understand your organization within the context of the business ecosystem? By understanding the competitive landscape, adaptive peaks, the role of mutability and how to exploit niches.

2. Leadership

In animal behavior, hierarchical properties within a population determine the nature of leadership. What aspects of leadership determine success or failure? The ability to work within the tribe, dominance behavior, the propensity to take risks.

3. Culture

Culture is an emergent property of complex biological processes, not restricted to humans. How is culture defined within a species or society, and what is its role and importance? Culture is comprise of information that passes on through generations. A unit of cultural inheritance is a meme (from Dawkins’ original definition). Defining and understanding memes can provide insight into prevailing cultural trends and their potential impact on an organization.

4. Extemal

Homeostasis is the physiological feedback loop that enables organisms to maintain constant internal environments despite external variations. What processes enable organisms to buffer physiological processes against external changes? Feedback loops within dynamic systems enable information to be transferred to allow adjustment of systemic processes to adapt (locally) and so return to a desired state.

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Filed under: 1, About ANTIGENcy, General, management consulting

Affinity

In immunology, affinity is the attraction of an antibody to an antigen. In the corporate sense, affinity is the attraction of a solution to a problem. Simple huh? Not really.

Yesterday I was “attacked” by an immunologist in the RTP who thought my metaphor was preposterous and worse, lame. He claimed that it was again, opportunistic marketing looking for a new trend. He went on to politely discard my idea as moronic and told me that I didn’t know enough about science to draw from it. Probably. But fuck him.  By that logic we all must stop saying “Rocket Science” or “Rocket Surgery.”

I heard what he was saying. I even agreed with him on a base level. Beyond that, what an idiot! He claimed that I ought to know what I was talking about before I ventured into the pristine science of immunology.

Here is what I want and what I am doing:

I believe we are all heading into an evolved state of business. A state that is now capable of moving, changing, replicating, infecting, killing other businesses. It has always happened, it is now just happening faster. And in the future it will move yet faster. We will learn to adapt to it. But how will we learn? What is the most effective way to set ourselves up to the task of seeing, accepting and adapting to business change?

I am arguing that by borrowing from biology, we can create new frameworks to see, accept/reject, create, adapt and inoculate in ways that create advantage. I want to help change perspective. To create a new environment to see things through a metaphor that extends one’s perceptions.

I am mapping out what I believe are to be generally accepted hierarchies of problems (antigens) that are or will affect a company’s well being (body). There are a lot of them.  I am creating parallels between management consulting and immunology to help me frame methods for dealing with these problems by using creative/unconventional solutions like design thinking (antibodies).

What is most interesting so far is how well the science of immunology and the art of enterprise transformation correspond to one another. It makes me wonder why I wasn’t thinking about this while working on my last big digital transformation consultation last year.

Filed under: General, , , , , , ,

Gary Hamel asks a Great Question

Gary Hamel’s terrific question: What’s the one thing your company could do to lessen the gravitational pull of the past?


Filed under: General, ,

What is my definition of “Management Consulting?”

If this Antigency concept, at its most root level, is a mash-up of management consulting and vaccine science, I want to be clear as possible and define what I think the principal elements are. I have been asked a lot about this as I had suspected would happen.

I know vaccine science to be just that. Its the science of designing, creating, testing and delivering vaccines. Let’s agree that is vaccine science or part of Epidemiology, Immunology and Biology. Am I right? I am sure there is plenty of debate…but for the sake of simplicity…

Now Management Consulting, on the other hand, is more squishy and ambiguous and has been molested by so many for so long. You can go out tomorrow and claim that you are management consultant. I certainly have. And for that, I have had my ass handed to me enough times to finally get it right and understand my place in it. So here it is; my open-sourced definition of management consulting. Management Consulting is:

  • about the application of consulting methods to address business performance issues within companies and organizations
  • it is used to help companies identify, address and improve key business performance issues across a number of industries
  • typically delivered on an issue-by-issue basis over a set amount of time using a set process
  • identifies and prioritizing issues, creates feasible interventions to address root-causes, tries to measure impact of interventions based on key performance issues
  • seeks opportunities to sell specialized services to other businesses and organizations
  • typically an analytical, left-brain exercise

So there you have it. I would love to flesh this out and gain a broader perspective in the mean time. What do you think?

Filed under: About ANTIGENcy, management consulting, , , ,

The Epidemiologic Triad

The term ‘epidemiologic triad’ is used to describe the intersection of HostAgent, and Environment in analyzing an outbreak.

Relevant to our work in that we help organizations (the host) bolster their defenses against corporate antigens (agents) within their environments.

Filed under: Properties of Antigens