What is an ExO Sprint?
We live in a world of exponential technologies, which accelerate our capacity to innovate. However, all our management thinking and organizational dynamics are set up for a linear, predictable age. As investor David Rose has said, “Any company designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st”.
We have found that it takes two to three years for the average management team to recognise and adapt to this new age, with enormous friction and lost opportunity costs.
An ExO Sprint is designed so that an organization can bridge that 2-year transition in just 10 weeks. The Sprint facilitates many contributors from the global OpenExO community, client Sprint teams teams and others through a structured process to reorient their company for an exponential age.
The Sprint teams follow the ExO Sprint methodology described in the book Exponential Transformation, which is highly recommended reading for any disruptor.
As part of this process, the customer’s executives participating in the sprint (typically) split in 3-6 different teams to ideate and design initiatives following an ExO (Exponential Organization) approach.
These teams are focusing each of their initiatives on one of the following streams: ExO Edge -that are launching new ExOs on the edge of the current organization based on new technologies and startups or ExO Core -that is about implementing the ExO model within the current organization.
What is the role of an ExO Disruptor?
You have been invited by someone representing an ExO Sprint to be one of the ExO Disruptors, which is a temporary role delivered solely during the half- or full day Disrupt Workshop in an ExO Sprint. You have been selected for this role in an ExO Sprint due to your knowledge about the current industry of the organization doing the Sprint or adjacent industries of relevance to the presented Sprint initiatives and you likely have insights on where the future can potentially be taking these industries/markets.
What do ExO Disruptors have to do at the Disruption Workshop?
The main thing you will have to do is to give feedback about the projects that will be presented in the Disruption Workshop. After the teams present, the ExO Disruptors will have (typically) 3-10 minutes each to provide disruptive feedback to the team presenting the project.
See below for more guidance on the type of feedback you can contribute to the teams.
You will be given specific guidance on the agenda and the timing for the workshop as both agenda and timing depend on the number of presenting teams as well as other factors.
You may be given a document where you are expected to enter your written feedback in addition to the feedback you give the teams during the session.
The main thing you will have to do is to give feedback about the projects that will be presented in the Disruption Workshop. After these presentations, the ExO Disruptors will normally have 3-10 minutes each to provide feedback to the team presenting the project.
Some guidelines in order to provide the right type of feedback to the projects:
All the feedback should be aligned with the ExO model. Please review the book 'Exponential Organizations' or watch the video presentation of Salim Ismail below. Ideally do both to come prepared with a basic understanding of the frameworks the Sprint teams use to access and manage a world of abundance -and break out of linear, scarcity problems in the current business.
Mention the positive points of the project, but don’t spend too much time on this.
The main feedback: How the project can be disrupted or why this project may not work in the way that it’s defined. Most of your feedback should be about those things that the project needs to improve or to change due to technologies, existing competitors or market/industry changes that will threaten or disrupt the project.
Every organization (hopefully) has a “secret sauce”, unique assets or knowledge or some other unfair advantage (USP’s). Is the ExO initiative taking advantage of that unfair advantage? Let the Sprint teams know!
Make sure to help the Sprint team clarify the “Crucial Questions” and Hypothesis that are critical to get validated and make happen for the project to succeed. “What has to happen for this to succeed vs. will the project fail if this does not happen”
Feedback should be about how the project should follow the ExO Model and why it’s not following it. For example: “the project’s MTP is not a real MTP and it looks more like an old-school mission statement”. Another example would be that “some of the ExO Attributes defined for the project are not properly defined”. Or comments about the process: “They should run some experiments to evaluate their business model hypotheses.”
Core initiatives are assessed on their ability to make the mother organization more adaptable to the disruption happening in the industry. Viability ie. can the initiative be implemented without too much complexity and too much cost is the second major factor to be considered when assessing Core initiatives.
Edge initiatives are assessed on three factors, their level of disruptiveness to the current industry, their global scalability (exponentiality) and their viability (what will it take to actually implement the initiative. If there are technologies or other required success criteria that do not yet exist, the moonshot can still be selected but rated at a lower level of viability.
Additional feedback, that is always much appreciated by the Sprint teams are references to Startups or others working in the same space on similar projects.
Make sure to end your feedback with a one- or two-sentence summary of your feedback with the few pieces of advice that you find are most important for the Sprint team(s) to implement!
Each Disruptor may be asked to fill in an online collaborative Document (called Disruption Dashboard for ExO Initiatives), that will be shared with you by the Head Coach or Sprint Delivery Manager prior to the Disrupt Workshop. All your feedback and scoring on the parameters mentioned above shall be entered into this document, that will be made available to the Sprint teams after the Disrupt Workshop
The Learning Objective
The clear, unbiased and constructive feedback provided by ExO Disruptors is an integral part of the learning process for the client Sprint teams. It provides teams with actionable direction, information and challenge to inspire them to further elevate their ideas.
The initiatives they have presented may continue on to be further developed or may be used as learning and input for different, improved initiatives.
Most Sprint participants have never presented to their CEO/CFO before and may be intimidated by it. Often the working culture does not appreciate taking risk and making moonshots (which is why they now run the ExO Sprint) so any “negative” feedback is often perceived as criticism while the intention is really to help them. Please be mindful about this yet direct when you provide your feedback.
We do our best to set these expectations with the Sprint participants as well before the Disrupt Workshop so everyone feels they are in a “safe house”, where they can honestly say what they feel like saying.
Type of Initiative
Type of Impact
Unfair Advantages & Uniqueness
Traction so far
ExO Attributes Applied for 10x Impact
Checklist for Disruptors
You may find this checklist helpful for quick note making during the pitching by the presenting teams.
New to ExO? Get an introduction here -by Salim Ismail
Salim Ismail, lead author of the book 'Exponential Organizations' introduces why ExO's are the new breed of organizations that thrive in the 21st century