Summary of Exponential Organizations

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Authors Salim Ismail and Yuri van Geest – part of the future-oriented Singularity University – along with technology writer Michael S. Malone consolidate changes, ideas and soon-to-come technologies they’ve used, seen and heard about into a how-to manual for changing the business world. Command-and-control, hierarchy-heavy enterprises will not endure. Every company is or will evolve into an information-based entity, in which costs fall to nearly zero, abundance replaces scarcity and only “Exponential Organizations” (ExOs) survive. Dinosaur firms must change rapidly or face extinction. The authors are perhaps a bit too evangelical in their fervor, but their extraordinary vision may inspire executives, entrepreneurs and investors.

About the Authors

Salim Ismail is the founder and executive director at Singularity University, where Yuri van Geest is managing director. Michael S. Malone is an award-winning technology journalist.



Everything Digital

The transformative effects of digitalization have upended entire industries – publishing, music, movies, retail, gaming, and others. Sensors, artificial intelligence, micropayments, driverless vehicles, and tools such as virtual reality and 3D printing will change every business. Leaders must move faster or face oblivion.

Traditional, linear companies arose in response to scarcity. Limited supplies of land, materials and other resources meant organizations succeeded by acquiring rare things and protecting them with hierarchies, rules and structure. Today, digital information-based “Exponential Organizations” (ExOs) use data – the most valuable resource – for free. For example, Waze turns shared vehicle traffic volume and speed into information for drivers. Google indexes free website data; Facebook packages personal information into valuable content.

Linear companies set up protective barriers and perceive opportunities through that lens. When leaders identify an exponential opportunity, company size and bureaucracy can prevent them from capitalizing on it. For example, Google took two years to develop and launch Google+. By then, faster...

More on this topic

Goliath’s Revenge
The Future Is Faster Than You Think
Driving Digital Transformation through Data and AI
The Exponential Era
Go Tech, or Go Extinct
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