The Age of SURGE
Our upcoming book reveals a new human-centered approach to scaling agility and transforming companies for digital.
A new science backed framework for more rapidly scaling speed, agility, and digital innovation across the entire organization.
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“In Surge, Murphy and Mase show they are the dinosaur whisperers, trustworthy and brilliant guides for taking large companies threatened with extinction on a journey to perpetual adaptation and innovation. The book provides the necessary guidance to advance through digital disruption by exploiting an approach based on both qualitative neuroscience and the reinvention of modern management tools including OKRs. The coverage of OKRs 2.0 alone makes the read worthwhile. ”
Founder and managing partner of Jabbok River Group and Faculty at Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering
“While most authors of books on digital transformation focus on technology, Murphy and Mase center their discussion on the organizational side of digital. They thoughtfully explore essential topics including leadership, talent management, and communication – important enablers of digital transformation that make the technology part of the digital story look easy by comparison.”
“Anyone implementing OKRs at scale should read this book. This book breaks new ground. The topic of digital transformation and how to organize a modern business at scale seemed intractable. The authors reflect on real-world examples from recent digital transformations within large organizations to create pithy business maxims that you’ll be able to apply at work right away.”
OKRs.com founder and co-author of Objectives and Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment, and Engagement with OKR
“We’re in an era where emerging companies are disrupting every industry and incumbents in those industries are searching for ways to transform themselves in the face of this competition. Surge provides leaders with a clear approach to driving and managing the change necessary to truly transform their organizations. I’d recommend that anyone looking for a holistic framework for driving digital transformation in their organization read this book.”
CEO and Founder of Apprenda, Inc.
“Surge is a fantastic book showing readers how to deal with the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) of the world of digital business. It molds research backed inspiration into concrete, practical advice. If you're a leader faced with the challenge of pulling an organization into the 21st century, this book is sure to help.”
Author of Managing for Happiness, Management 3.0. and CEO of Agility Scales
“The digital tsunami is upon us. Organizations are facing wave after wave of disruption at a pace where it is no longer possible to 'ride out' the storm. With the right digital leadership that promotes creativity, autonomy and speed, executives will soon realize the full potential of the organization. Surge can be your navigation chart in these disruptive times and offers a framework to take the storm head on.”
Chief Digital Officer, Vertiv
“Surge is a must-read for any business leader who aspires to lead their company in the emerging age of exponential innovation. The authors use their vast experience in helping organizations transform to provide a revolutionary framework for successful, and continuous, digital transformation, by connecting the dots of personal ethos, leadership mindset, organizational systems, company culture, and digital technologies.”
Author of In our Own Image, and Digital Lead, Willis Towers Watson
“The hallmark of the modern enterprise is that every company is a software company. Surge presents fresh and clear thinking on how to manage the ongoing waves of technologies that shape and reshape businesses.”
Founder and CEO, Conteneo and Former Board Member, The Agile Alliance
“For leaders who see themselves as lynchpins of change, Surge is an essential companion and guide. It is the first book that I have read, that interweaves the personal, team, relational, organizational, as well as technical aspects of change into a rich tapestry with a powerful narrative.”
Chief Data Officer of CareCentrix
“In Surge: Navigating the Digital Tsunami the authors lay out the task facing companies for what it is: a combination of personal evolution with company transformation. In clear, do-able stages the book helps decision makers keep track of where they are on the journey to being more agile in a world that demands agility.”
Author of Decision Making for Dummies, blogger for the HuffPost Great Workplace Cultures
The global forces of digital are putting traditional companies at risk of irrelevance. In their place is an emerging, more complex organizational species, one built to thrive amidst volatility and uncertainty. These new digital native companies embrace complexity and ambiguity. What traditional companies see as impending disaster, digital native companies see as opportunities—and as a result, they are growing exponentially. In order to compete in this new world, traditional companies must transform their organizations, but this transformation is not just technical. In fact, the transformation that matters most now is human, cultural, and structural.
Surge offers a provocative alternative to those espousing shiny new tools, technology and cut-and-paste formulas borrowed from the digital elite. Built on the science surrounding the influence of social systems, neuroscience, and complexity, Surge provides a pragmatic framework for exploiting these social forces for rapid, profound, and continuous digital innovation and Enterprise transformation.
Foundations of Digital Transformation
Start Where You Are
Your organization isn’t broken—now is the time to disrupt it. Start where you are is the fundamental principle of your journey. Push your company to the edge of chaos. Find your new equilibrium.
The Digital Wave Journey
VUCA—Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity—is the paradigm for every digital wave journey. On this journey, your company will embark on a process of transformation that moves through waypoints of digital disruption. Built on experimentation, testing, and learning, the journey will alter both the human and technical spheres of your organization.
Coordination Without Bureaucracy
The Industrial Age principles of linearity and hierarchy no longer work. Only when organizations are viewed as complex ecosystems, rather than complicated machines, can they become living networks built for digital transformation.
Navigating the Digital Tsunami
The journey to your digital transformation will be unique—there are no standard pathways. But navigating this transformation will take you through some critical gateways: creating a vision, building senior leadership commitment, and engaging middle managers. The destination: a living organization, capable of continuous adaptation, that unleashes the passions of those who work in it.
The Journey of Digital Transformation
Social Memes—Activate the Collective
Storytelling—and the language we use to tell stories—build human communities, including companies. Purposeful storytelling and adaptive language, circulated through social memes, stitch together the world of the company and breathe life into its transformation.
Helix Cycles—Operationalize Continuous Transformation
True digital transformation requires rethinking every aspect of the organization while developing not just individual products but seamless customer experiences. How? Helix cycles provide a framework that works both on the company and in the market, simultaneously shaping and reshaping both the organization and the customer experience.
The Strive Framework—Advance Breakthrough Performance
Digital-native companies use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to mobilize organizational alignment without limiting agility. Strive builds on the original OKR framework to create a powerful organizational performance system that supercharges your digital transformation and creates a resilient, adaptive organizational ecosystem.
Intentional Networks—Engage the Middle
In a Wave 3 company, middle managers—traditionally vilified as obstacles to information flow—are a vital component of the critical middle network, which connects people across boundaries to break down silos and reinvigorate collaboration. Building intentional networks of middle managers powers horizontal alignment by connecting the people in your company who know how to get work done.
Leading Digital—Chart Your Course
Leaders can either hinder or energize a company’s digital transformation; the leader’s transformation is a cornerstone of the larger corporate transformation. Leading digital means championing the digital transformation, providing the supports needed to embed self-management, self-governance, and self-organization in the organization and creating environments that invite inclusion, encourage diversity, and nurture innovation.