Chapter 5

Structure

How You Organize and Align Your Talent and Assets

Structure innovations are focused on organizing company assets—hard, human, or intangible—in unique ways that create value. They can include everything from superior talent management systems to ingenious configurations of heavy capital equipment. An enterprise’s fixed costs and corporate functions can also be improved through Structure innovations, including departments such as Human Resources, R&D, and IT. Ideally, such innovations also help attract talent to the organization by creating supremely productive working environments or fostering a level of performance that competitors can’t match.

Good examples of Structure innovations include building incentive systems to encourage employees to work toward a particular goal, standardizing assets to reduce operating costs and complexity, or even creating a corporate university to provide sophisticated, continuous training. Structure innovations can be particularly difficult for competitors to copy, because they typically entail significant organizational changes and/or capital investments—and so they often provide a foundation for success over many years.

Be careful not to confuse Structure innovations for Process innovations. These two types are often closely related, but Structure innovations refer to the nature of your talent and assets and how they are organized. If you find yourself thinking about how the assets are actually being used in practice, you’re ...

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