Corporate arson

yitch
yitch
Apr 22, 2018 · 4 min read

Deliberately setting fires to get people moving

TL;DR

  • Change is good for growth
  • People are lazy to change
  • Fires herd people

Had a fruitful 3 days at a Product Management Retreat in Bali. The following concepts was a result of the discussions on moving ideas from safe bubbles to the rest of the organization.

In general companies seek stability and processes to maintain the stability that brings in revenue, however with increasing cycles of disruption leaders from companies increasingly fear the startup mob at the gates.

During our discussion we sounded out common themes such as

  • Employee inertia, arising from
  • The frozen middle
  • Burned to death on a burning platform

Most people realise the need for change and acknowledge that change is necessary for a chance for growth. However too often, we may see smoke from far away and we tell ourselves :

“It’s ok it will never reach me, someone else will put out the flames”

We start to smell the smoke and we tell ourselves:

“It’s ok it will never reach me, someone else will put out the flames”

We start to feel the heat from the flames and we still tell ourselves:

“It’s ok it will never reach me, someone else will put out the flames”

Startups are setting flames along the borders of the corporate empire however the people within the comfort of the moat and walls of corporations do not realise it until it is too late.

That’s when we figured, why not set fires from within?😈


Our first MVP of the concept resulted in a simple linear idea:

  • (Prepare)
  • Start
  • Spread
  • Sustain

Preparation

  1. Scouting a location
  2. Finding the correct materials (burnable materials, accelerants etc)

Start

  1. Where to start the fire is important
  2. If there are not enough materials to sustain the fire it will die off. Like any good arsonists, this will take experience

Spread

  1. Fires that are too small may not be able to melt the frozen middle
  2. Multiple fires happening at once helps may help to overwhelm bureaucratic services out to stop the flames

Sustain

  1. When the fire is about to die adding more flammable materials or sometimes even adding accelerants may be necessary
  2. At the same time, how do you leave the crime scene without being detected 😏

Interestingly enough, there are multiple degrees of arson which is a useful guide for impact assessment:

  • First-degree arson — Burning an occupied structure such as a school
  • Second-degree arson — Burning an unoccupied building such as an empty barn
  • Third-degree arson — Burning an abandoned building or an abandoned area, such as a field

Personally I think there is a need for second to first degree corporate arson for employees to take action. At the same time, some of the legacy structures should be burned down to make way for something more suitable for the times.Historically, cities that have been burnt down have done pretty well for themselves (London, San Francisco etc)


We created a set of tactics that help start internal fires:

We further evolved the idea and focused on at two key axis to create a playbook for those seeking to pilot the concept. Two questions to ask:

  • Where are you in the hierarchy?
  • How large is your organization?
This is adopted from Adizes corporate lifecycle

This helps to determine the size of fires needed and possible tactics that are required to successfully start and escape the fire unscathed

A general guide is to have a bigger fire closer to death (You’re close to death anyways)

If you’re a little startup, you might want to have controlled fires to burn off unnecessary processes

What now?

This is where we hope to get your help. If you’re interested in starting fires with us drop me a note 😄 (yitch)


Credit to the team who made this possible

Product Team Tonic

This is series of ongoing conversations with #ProdMgmt community organisers from [ #ProductBeer #PMHuddle (Malaysia) #ProductTank (Singapore, Jakarta & Bangkok) #ProductPH (Philippines) #LTPConf (Australia)] + Product Gin & Tonic Retreat 2018 participants

yitch

Written by

yitch

Garden variety technologist

Product Team Tonic

This is series of ongoing conversations with #ProdMgmt community organisers from [ #ProductBeer #PMHuddle (Malaysia) #ProductTank (Singapore, Jakarta & Bangkok) #ProductPH (Philippines) #LTPConf (Australia)] + Product Gin & Tonic Retreat 2018 participants

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