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APC Past Events

January 16-17, 2012
InterContinental Buckhead
Atlanta, GA


Organization change and transformation, a topic selected by SIM Advanced Practices Council members for study in 2012, was addressed through several presentations and discussions at the January Advanced Practices Council meeting in Atlanta.

Jeanne Ross, director of MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research, described the fundamental shift she has observed from the IT unit’s focus on solutions to digitized platforms. She believes that an organization cannot survive without strong platforms, whether they are internal or on the cloud. The new value cycle (exploit, commit, build and run) must begin with exploit -- driving additional benefits from existing business and technology capabilities. The second phase, commit, involves articulating a company’s strategic vision in operational terms and then allocating business and IT resources to enact that vision.

Cliff Saunders presented several examples of game-changing transformation through the simulation of work environments and giving workers doing the simulation non-negotiable goals. He explained the breakthroughs as reprogramming the brain. After experiencing multiple failures to achieve the non-negotiable goals using methods in the simulation they use back on the job, the workers had a chance to sleep. According to neuroscience, the combination of failure (shame in not being able to solve the problem using old methods) and sleep allowed the workers to come up with game-changing solutions the next day. The group brainstormed possible applications in their own environments.

Michael Wade, professor at IMD in Switzerland, addressed organization transformation to leverage both centralization and, where appropriate, local autonomy. Starting with the tension between the benefits of global control vs. local autonomy, he presented examples of the journeys organizations have taken, often from high local autonomy to global control (in many cases with high local autonomy as well). On the path, they experience chaos before moving on to more desirable outcomes. Michael reminded us of Jay Galbraith’s star model (strategy, structure, processes, people, incentives) and illustrated the successful alignment of the elements in the model in moving through the stages.

We then explored the rolling 8-step process in The Heart of Change Field Guide, which was sent to APC members, which stresses the importance of not only analysis and thought, but feeling as a way to establish and maintain a sense of urgency for transformation. Then Bruce shared the steps he took during some of the phases in his Carestream transformation.

We ended with Rick Watson’s visualization challenge to members: submit noteworthy visualizations that transform data into pictures that inform decision making. We had five entries and two winners (determined by member vote). The general visualization winner was Gerard Salou at the International Monetary Fund and the IT unit visualization winner was Steve Heilenman at Computer Aid. Each will receive a bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 1998 Champagne (good stuff).

We invite you to join the APC as it continues its exploration of organizational change and transformation as well as other high-priority topics. The May 8-9 in Chicago will include:

  • Exploiting big data and predictive analytics (Lynda Applegate of Harvard Business School and executive guests)
  • Harvesting data from external sources (Gabriel Piccoli of University of Grenoble)
  • Social media strategy (Munir Mandviwalla of Temple University)
  • Cyber security (FBI)

Here’s a link to a recent brief video of several APC members describing the value they receive from the program:

Please contact Madeline Weiss, APC’s director, to express your interest (301.229.8062;

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