Organisational Development & Design

Objective: To enable better, more sustainable organisations using applied systems thinking techniques to get below the symptoms and to design systemic, whole changes that really do work.

How: Working with executive leaders, RiskIQ uses a range to tools and mechanisms to explore how internal and external systems interact. This begins by ensuring that the organisation’s purpose (why it exists) is well understand.  Systems interfaces (and their owners) are defined in the context of internal systems.

Key Points to Understand


  1. What a ‘system is – we use the term ‘organisational business system’.

  2. It is the intangible, invisible elements that are the most powerful in determining outcomes and behaviours of organisational business systems.

  3. By designing these systems, it is possible to create the environment for breakthrough performance

An organisational business system - what do they look like?

We can use the McKinsey 7S model to grasp the idea that it is a combination of structure, strategy, style, shared values, skills and process rules. In the diagram below, we have adapted that to include culture and behaviour (individual and collective) to create outcomes. We have further adapted it to show that all organisations exist on the context of other ‘business systems’ such as competitors, politics and so on. It is useful to define a business system as:

“the interacting policies, strategies, processes, roles, skills, knowledge and required behaviours that together are intended to ensure that a specified business purpose is achieved in a given business context.”

So, how does design work on these business systems? Hint: we don’t work with organisation charts.

In this context the purpose of business systems design work is:
to define the integrated set of business system processes, structures, skills, knowledge, behaviours and constraints required for the specified system purpose and associated scope to be achieved, within the context of the constrains and other guidance also provided.

The problem is that when we get to visualise this, it looks a little vague and even messy.

Naturally enough, we have a model (and 16 design principles which we won’t bore you with here) to deal with this. We call this the ‘System of Systems Design Framework’.

From this, we derive a Conceptual business systems implementation model

And finally a framework.

To find out more about systems design and how it links to breakthrough performance, email Dr Richard Barber or call him on  0411 207 411.




Richard Barber

+61 411 207 411

Jeremy Kidner

+61 404 420 655

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