Huge, slow-moving organizations are no longer the dominant force in business. Today, new companies are agile and achieving growth rates believed impossible in previous generations.

Today’s exponential organizations like Uber and AirBnB are defining the shape of tomorrow’s companies.

An exponential organization, or ExO, describes an organization that because of its ability to leverage new technologies can claim production, output or overall impact that is at least ten times larger than a regular organization in the same field.

In short, an ExO can do more, produce more and dominate its market niche with less people or resources when compared to a non-ExO company. Exponential growth as a concept is often not completely understood.

Take the Human Genome Project, the goal of which was to sequence the human genome. In the project’s first seven years, researchers were able to only sequence one percent of our genome; yet in the following seven years, researchers were able to complete the remaining 99 percent!

This sort of rapid progress is what sets ExOs apart — companies like Uber, AirBnB and Google are just some examples of successful ExO firms.

The CEO of an exponential organization plays a vital role, as she needs to be constantly on alert for new competitive pressures or disruptive start-ups. Staying abreast of information is crucial; yet determining what data is important and what can be ignored is never easy.

In Buenos Aires, for example, market researchers couldn’t figure out why people had dramatically stopped using car washes. It was eventually discovered that as weather forecasts had become more accurate in predicting rain, people knew better when they could forgo a wash. An interesting lesson: sometimes explanatory data is available, but you just don’t know where to look.

Traditional organizations are like dinosaurs; they’re going to go extinct if they don’t adapt. Traditional companies like Coca-Cola and GE are still at the top of their industries. Yet if they don’t change, however, their reign will soon come to an end.

While it’s possible to change an existing organization into an ExO, it requires a lot more work.

Bigger, traditional companies often rely too much on their own internal processes for innovation.


Within a few months of their launch, mobile app-based car-hailing services Careem and Uber have become the preferred mode of intracity travel for thousands of urban Pakistanis, especially women.

While Dubai-based Careem directly made inroads into markets in Karachi, Lahore and later Islamabad in October last year, its San Francisco-based rival, Uber, has been operating in Lahore alone since its launch four months ago gaining success and leaving Metro Cab far behind.


Exponential organizations are the future of business. If your company is to survive, you must adapt ExO thinking and practices. So whether you’re founding a start-up or transforming an existing organization, outline a clear massive transformative purpose, get a flexible team and don’t rely on linear planning. Expect the unexpected and always rely on your creativity!nentional

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