A Company is like a Sphere

Where do these great analogy ideas come from? Full credit – I got this one from a speaker at the SAP Research Center in Palo Alto, last spring.

A company is like a sphere.

As it grows, volume increases much faster than surface area, and the large a company gets, way more people get embedded and hidden from the end customer than are on the fringe, in customer-facing roles.

As a general rule, this is a bad thing. Well, maybe a less-than-optimal thing – what percentage of your corporate attention span is customer-focused?

Our Challenge is to poke some pockets into the surface, and get more surface area exposed to the outside air.

  • Will this help a company go farther? It seems to work for golf balls
  • Will this make the company more human? Perhaps, in a self-fulfilling / reverse fractal kind of way …
  • Will rough edges generate incremental profit? Some counterintuitive friction

Previously …

Where do these great analogy ideas come from? Full credit – I got this one from a speaker at the SAP Research Center in Palo Alto, last spring.

A company is like a sphere.

As it grows, volume increases much faster than surface area, and the large a company gets, way more people get embedded and hidden from the end customer than are on the fringe, in customer-facing roles.

As a general rule, this is a bad thing. Well, maybe a less-than-optimal thing – what percentage of your corporate attention span is customer-focused?

Our Challenge is to poke some pockets into the surface, and get more surface area exposed to the outside air.

  • Will this help a company go farther? It seems to work for golf balls
  • Will this make the company more human? Perhaps, in a self-fulfilling / reverse fractal kind of way …
  • Will rough edges generate incremental profit? Some counterintuitive friction

Previously …

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Jim MacLennan
Jim MacLennan is Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at IDEX Corporation, a Fortune 1000 manufacturer that sells highly engineered products in a variety of markets worldwide. MacLennan has responsibility for Corporate IT services for all IDEX business units, and also drives innovation through initiatives that leverage Information and Technology as growth drivers for the industrial manufacturing space. He regularly publishes his observations and insights on the intersection of business and technology - check out his work at www.cazh1.com.