John Kotter’s dual operating system may bridge the seemingly unbridgeable gap between evolutionary and revolutionary innovation. At its core, his new book XLR8 (Accelerate) describes how the left, hierarchical side and a new right, networked side of large organizations can work together to nurture and accelerate important changes.
Essentially the left, hierarchical side continues to manage the base business and grow it steadily with safe, evolutionary innovation. At the same time, the second network of opportunity-driven volunteers who won’t take no for an answer are freed up to experiment and try completely new things and new ways of taking them to market.
The bottom line is that this is not an either/or choice. If all you do is manage the hierarchy, you have no hope of seeing revolutionary innovations. If all you do is focus on the network, your revolutionary innovations will never see the light of day. Do both – with a dual operating system.