Origins of S&R as a Business Concept
The term Sense and Respond as a business concept first appeared in a 1992 Management Review article by Stephan H. Haeckel. Originally a label describing a desirable type of organizational behavior, it evolved over the next six years into a post-industrial managerial paradigm, incorporating a set of concepts, principles, prescriptions and tools for creating and managing an adaptive enterprise. Developed by Haeckel at IBM’s Advanced Business Institute — with important contributions by many colleagues, especially Alan Hohne at Westpac Bank, Reg Munro at Old Mutual Insurance, Glen Salow at Aetna, Vince Barabba and Michael Kusnic at General Motors, and David Ing, Douglas McDavid, Dan Forno and Joe Arteaga at IBM – it is now a comprehensive, scaleable and internally consistent recasting of industrial age strategy, structure and governance to cope with the post-industrial environment of unpredictable change.
Sense and respond, adaptive enterprise , and, to a lesser extent, managing by wire and customer-back are now in the business vernacular. But an increasingly large proportion of those who use the term sense and respond are unaware of its original (in a business context) meaning. It is too often used as a generic synonym for “agile,” “lean,” “flexible,” “resilient,” “near real time,” etc.; or to characterize adaptive technologies (e.g. agent based modeling, autonomic computing); or to name tools and methods that support human adaptability (e.g. dashboards). But without a managerial model to leverage and exploit such capabilities systematically and coherently, the impact of these tools and methods will be limited and operational, rather than transformational and strategic.
In the interest of maintaining the integrity of Sense and Respond as a managerial innovation, senseandrespond.com will be the repository of intellectual capital on the topic. It provides executives an introduction to the concept; access to readings, workshops and expertise; and summary descriptions of supporting methods and tools that are explicitly related to — and consistent with – the Sense and Respond managerial framework.
Adaptive Business Designs
Adaptive Business Designs (ABD) is an executive education and coaching firm dedicated to helping executives understand and implement Sense and Respond. It is the primary source of expertise about Sense and Respond as a managerial framework for creating and leading highly adaptive organizations.Through classes, readings, workshops and ongoing coaching, executives can learn and apply the concepts, principles, methods and tools required to transform their organizations into adaptive enterprises.
Stephan H. Haeckel
Steve Haeckel conceived and developed Sense and Respond as Director of Strategic Studies at IBM’s Advanced Business Institute. He is currently President of Adaptive Business Designs (ABD).