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Operating Model Redesign (Consulting)

Reshaping a key service support function, aligning and processes, and a new way of collaborative working with zero impact on delivery

The Client

A ‘big 4’ global professional services organisation.

The Engagement

To make a key function of the organisation’s product marketing stream better able to re- spond to rapidly changing market conditions, and a ramp-up in demand, with existing re- sources and no interruption to delivery.

The Complexity

Increasing complexity in market was reflected in increasing complexity in the organisation. The business required bold solutions, but with- in the constraints of existing resources. The core product portfolio was evolving rapidly, but there were many legacy products that still required uninterrupted support. Our client was a global team, serving a global organisation, but with a need to retain local relevance in the territories. The challenge of creating and maintaining a high-performing team was increased by the imposition of a transcontinental travel ban on all non client-facing business.

Design and Delivery

Our iterative, collaborative analysis of the challenge in the weeks ahead of the DesignSession highlighted three fundamental issues to be addressed:

  • The internal stakeholder landscape: their relationship, their expectations, and the team’s ability to deliver against them.

  • The design and implementation of a framework that ensured the delivery of excellence where it was possible, and guidance and rationalisation where it wasn’t.

  • The formation of a single geographically disparate but consistently high-performing global team.

Whilst we will always advocate strongly for bringing all key stakeholders together physically for these sessions, in this case the most elegant solution was ‘collaboration in sequence at distance’; two linked DesignSessions - one in New York and one in London - with the relevant half of the team in each, and a group of core ‘Ambassadors’ who carried the outputs of the fist session to be iterated and completed in the second.

Our design approach encouraged parallel investigation through a number of lenses including both intrinsic (individual personal perspective on the definition of success) and extrinsic (inspiration drawn from learnings on cognitive behaviours, group systems dynamics, and teaming in high-stakes high-pressure contexts).

Prototyping and modelling were used to explore the architectures of potential solutions. These were then shared, tested, challenged and iterated. Ideas and new ways of thinking were nurtured by the integration of internal and external customer voices.

The seldom-heard testimony of stakeholders from other impacted parts of the organisation ensured that the design was not insular, and that the resulting solution was robust from a systemic point of view.

Throughout the journey, close facilitation of the collaborative processes meant that every voice was heard - including the handover of propositions from one session to the next - resulting in alignment behind, and robustness of the emerging solution. This modelled and embedded the team ways of working that the group needed to perform at distance.


Across two two-day DesignSessions, the global team co-designed...

  • A new framework for delivery, including operational models for ‘business as usual’ and ‘exceptional projects’.

  • The processes for business case definition, for filtering, selecting and rationalising projects, and for scheduling and governance.

  • A new organisation chart, RACI, and a set of rationalised sign-off processes.

  • A communications plan to support the transformation.

Because they had designed their own solution, the participants were aligned and engaged in delivering it.


  • A website containing all of the sessions’ in- puts, processes and outputs. This documented the design of the new framework and ways of working end-to-end, giving both accountability and ownership of the decisions taken, to accelerate their transformation from the Monday after the session.

  • The two sessions’ scribing, converted into a Rich Picture clearly articulating the vision and the transformation process required to reach it: a working storyboard for the organisation and their ‘elevator pitch’ to bring new stakeholders on board to engage with the plan.

  • An Executive Summary detailing the decisions taken and the implications of the transforma- tion process for immediate use within the wider organisation by the sponsor team.

We would not have achieved a fraction of our accomplishments through our traditional meeting approach. Innovation Arts is a game changer for us.”- Global Brand, Marketing and Communications Director


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