Designing Organisations

Distributed Organisations, Global Outsourcing, Strategy and Transformation

Outsourcing is ubiquitous. Outsourcing is the ur-strategy, the first organisational transformation that any business undergoes. It is inevitable yet invisible and often poorly understood. Outsourcing implies   'designing organisations' which in turn demand a clear-eyed understanding of business strategy and transformation. 

The Designing Organisations edition of Design Talk (dot IE) is concerned the outsourcing theme. We look at the strategies and structures of organisational transformation that tap into the potential of distributed teams and global organisations. The kinds of questions we ask range over: How do we (or should we) shape and re-shape our teams? How, practically, do we organise distributed work? How are organisational structures and behaviours impacted by technology, spatial, situation, time, timezone? How should we shape our shared working environments (spaces/places, both temporal and cultural)? 

This topic has evolved from long involvement in teaching and researching outsourcing. We look at the economic history of outsourcing, the realities of global sourcing, the economics and ethics of outsourcing, the impact of digitally mediated action/production and its impact on local and developing economies.

Outsourcing questions

  • What challenges do you face with distributed teams in CITY and COUNTRY, and other places?
  • Could you explain some of your own assumptions behind outsourcing as a strategy?
  • Do you think it is inevitable for a business, to outsource technology services? 
  • Does outsourcing also have a place in supplier organisations?
  • As a services supplier what is your own sourcing strategy? [In-sourcing, offshoring, remote workers…]
  • How do you take client/supplier partner relationships beyond the transactional or contactual arrangement? 
  • How do you make sense of it all? Tech systems as ecosystems, layers of different services, programming languages, infrastructural technology, various databases, operations environments, 3rd party services and providers, stakeholders, regulators, and customers.
General questions
  • What does a typical working day look like these days?
  • Can you talk about the challenges of managing distributed teams, for sharing knowledge in a mixed/remote environment?
  • Can you talk to the idea of strategy for the business?
  • What do you view as the key moments as the business has grown? 
  • How do you deal with skills development these days? 
  • Can you describe your technology ecosystem? 
Entrepreneurship questions
  • If a new line of business was proposed internally, how would you decide between new product/brand or spin-out?
  • How do the start-up environments in Dublin and CITY compare and contrast?
  • Can you talk about the opportunity for technology start-ups in CITY?
  • Can you talk about the entrepreneur’s journey, from idea to incubator to accelerator and beyond…
  • How interconnected is the global and local tech industry?
Agile and design thinking questions
  • Has Agile finally solved the project lifecycle problem or is there always “crunch” at the end?
  • Are you seeing a demand for “Design Thinking” from clients and partners? Is it a fad or a paradigm shift?
  • What does your ideal client organisation look like? [what capabilities would you recommend clients keep in-house]
  • How do you generate new business? Is word-of-mouth and personal reputation still as important as before or are social media platforms more effective for creating brand and business awareness?

Blockchain and related questions
  • What is a Blockchain lab?
  • What is it like to work in a Blockchain lab?
  • What application areas are suitable Blockchain technology?
  • Does Blockchain enable completely new application areas?
  • How radical is Blockchain, what change will we see in the long run?
  • Are Blockchains/DAO's producing new organisational forms?
  • Are Blockchains/DAO's producing new kinds of assets?
  • How does a DAO enable a joint enterprise without collocation?
  • What are the necessary conditions for globally distributed virtual entities to thrive?
  • How do you strike a balance between depicting Blockchain as a normal transformative technology versus a radical transformative technology?
  • What does a Blockchain supply chain look like? How different are they from the traditional idea of a supply chain?

    The Designing Organisations edition of design talk has its own blog