Mowers, Pigs, Digital and Operating Models

by | Jun 15, 2020 | Change |

Grandma’s trail was created years ago. My mum was out mowing the grass and kept going. She mowed a trail through the trees and bush that covered the land behind the pond. From then on, the trees kept growing and we kept mowing the path. The grandkids called it Grandma’s trail and it’s story part of our family’s lore.

A couple months after moving into our new place. I kept mowing. And now in our meadow full of stinging nettles, we have our on Grandma Lonny’s trail. We walk on it everyday and one day we’ll put a signpost.

I created and maintained the trail with a push mower. It took me hours and hours. Then we bought a ride on mower. And now the trail is twice as wide and job is done in 30 minutes.

While the goal of clearing stinging nettles and creating a path remained the path, the operating model changed slightly. My time was viewed as more valuable than the cost of buying a ride on mower. Also there was the cost of losing exercise and switching from electric to petrol. However, the mode of cutting – using a lawnmower – remained the same.

Another option we have a switching to a pig, goats, or sheep. They are good at clearing land of plants. However, this would be a much bigger change in the operating model requiring different equipment, knowledge, and approach. The mindset shift would be enormous in comparison to the shift of going from one mower to another.

The mower change is more of an optimising change, while shifting to a pig would be a transformation.

When we think about a change we seek to bring about, it is helpful to know if we are optimising existing processes or transforming them. And it’s good to realise that both impact the entire organisation.

This is true when cutting the grass and true when shifting from in kind humanitarian assistance to cash and when shifting to digital.

Photo by brittany sawyer


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