Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

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Sprint 1.3: The Design Principles of Adaptable Organizations

Sprint 1.3 is now complete. Read the synthesis of the design principles of adaptability here.

During Sprint 1.1 and Sprint 1.2 the hackathon team developed a comprehensive list of 120 enemies of adaptability, and provided input on those that were particularly pressing.  Based on this input, we’ve identified 12 critical enemies of adaptability, which are detailed in this blog post from Hackathon Guide Chris Grams.

During Sprint 1.3, which will end on June 5, we are going to identify the design rules, or principles, that characterize truly adaptable organizations.  These principles will provide important clues for generating ideas on how to “hack” HR, something we’ll turn to after this Sprint ends on June 5.

Here are your tasks for this sprint:


TASK 1:  Get oriented by reading the introductory blog post Embracing New Principles by Gary Hamel. 


TASK 2:  In the section below, we’ve seeded a list with several principles—you can think of these as the features that define truly adaptable organizations.  We’re looking for your input on…

  1. Which of these principles are most important—and why?  Let us know by “liking” and commenting on these (feel free to build off the ideas of others).
  2. Are there other principles you’d add to this list?  Please share your principle here.

Note: you must be logged in to submit a new principle or to comment on an existing principle.


This sprint ends on June 5.
angelle-bryan's picture

I know that some businesses have used the phrase 'Tsetse Fly' to mean disharmony in an organisation,but I would like to appropriate this term and turn it around, using an acronym which has a similar sound, but has a more positive and progressive meaning. Trust, Support and Space within an...

By Angelle Bryan on June 5, 2013
alberto-blanco's picture

Adaptable companies do the very hard work of discovering what their business is really about. The answer to that question is in most cases elusive or counterintuitive.

If you ask an average car-making company for instance, what its business is about, they will probably tell you: -“making and selling cars,...

By Alberto Blanco on June 5, 2013
alberto-blanco's picture

A community is a group of people, who deeply care about a common interest or purpose (achieving a resonating goal, belonging to something that matters, preserving something people love, sharing a particular worldview, or simply having fun). Some of its main characteristics are:

  • It emerges spontaneously (cannot be externally
  • ...
By Alberto Blanco on June 5, 2013
keith-gulliver's picture

I originally referenced this principle here ==> http://www.mixhackathon.org/hackathon/contribution/six-principles-adapta...

Set out below are a few more of my thoughts on this principle.

Adaptive organisations:

  • Have effective management information systems for rapid decision making

  • ...
By Keith Gulliver on June 5, 2013
keith-gulliver's picture

I originally referenced this principle here ==> http://www.mixhackathon.org/hackathon/contribution/six-principles-adapta...

Set out below are a few more of my thoughts on this principle.

Adaptive organisations are those where:

  • Individual differences...

    • ...are sought out, respected and

  • ...
By Keith Gulliver on June 5, 2013
keith-gulliver's picture

I originally referenced this principle here ==> http://www.mixhackathon.org/hackathon/contribution/six-principles-adapta...

Set out below are a few more of my thoughts on this principle.

In adaptive organisations:

  • People from around the world use collaborative technologies to work in virtual communities

  • ...
By Keith Gulliver on June 5, 2013
keith-gulliver's picture

I originally referenced this principle here ==> http://www.mixhackathon.org/hackathon/contribution/six-principles-adapta...

Set out below are a few more of my thoughts on this principle.

People in adaptive organisations:

  • Are empowered to make decisions at the point it matters most: customer interaction

  • ...
By Keith Gulliver on June 5, 2013
kate-frain's picture

To cut through the complexities of an organisation and identify what needs to happen to help it adapt to its environment; clarity is key.  At a macro level clarity of purpose at an organisational level and cascaded throughout will enable individuals to understand the moving parts, how they contribute to...

By Kate Frain on June 5, 2013
barry-walsh's picture

For an organisation to be adaptable, then the people working in the organisation must be adaptable. So organisations need to

1. adopt an adaptable strategy of identifying and recruiting adaptable people,

2. provide training, development and workshops in adaptability and other related competences as a regular offering available for everyone to...

By barry walsh on June 5, 2013
maria-padley's picture

If an unwillingness to delegate authority is one of the major barriers to adaptability, how can we break this down?  My suggestion absolutely draws on what other people have said about empowerment, but for this particular problem I believe the answer is a focus on the development of the second...

By Maria Padley on June 5, 2013

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