How the “exponential mindset” is shaping the companies of tomorrow – interview

Lance Peppler is a certified ExO consultant and the founder of Idea Storm, a consultancy helping organizations to attain exponential growth. Prior to this, he spent 14 years at Oracle as a cloud infrastructure sales specialist. He is the author of two business books and the creators of the Exponential Organisations podcast.

We talked to him about the main challenges today’s organizations are facing, and his experience helping them achieve a 10x growth via the ExO framework. The latter stands for “exponential organizations” and offers businesses a framework for sustainable growth in an increasingly competitive and disruptive future.

Q: Can you talk about “exponential thinking” and “exponential organisations?” What do these terms mean, and why are they important today?

A: Exponential thinking at its heart is applying new business models to harness new exponential technologies. Exponential technology allows organizations to generate 10x more revenue while becoming 10x more efficient. Every organization, in every industry, either embraces this and thrives or ignores this and suffers.  

An example is the retail apocalypse that is taking place at the moment. More than 9,300 physical stores were closed in the US during 2019, while at the same time, Amazon’s revenue grew by 33%.

Q: What are the main challenges businesses are facing in terms of planning, growth etc.?

A: There are two main challenges:

1. Companies don’t know what to do. Research shows that companies invested 25% more in innovation in 2018 but too often stuck with their current business model which resulted in the failure of 70% of digital transformation projects. In order to succeed in digital transformation, the entire business model of an organization needs to change.

2. The corporate immune system kills transformation projects. Put simply, this means that companies and people will protect their profit and bonuses against efforts that challenge this. Successful digital transformation needs to be done outside of the core organization process. It needs to be driven by mavericks that will not only think differently but be unconnected from the parent company.

Q: Can you briefly describe the ExO model? How does it help businesses? What kind of companies can benefit? What are the risks they’re facing that ExO is addressing?

A: The ExO model consists of 11 attributes:

– Purpose: A company needs to have a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) that gives it and its employees focus and energy.
– Ideas: Five attributes that will assist an organization to creatively grow.
– Scale: Five attributes that will guide a company during the growth.

Q: What is Idea Storm’s main value proposition? How do you distinguish yourself in the industry?

A: Idea Storm has three value propositions:

– Understand exponential technology: this can be done using so-called “Awake sessions” to educate and amaze leaders and inspire them to action.
– Exponential business strategy: three main offerings here are Massive Transformative Purpose workshops – one day, ExO workshops – one to two days and the 10-week ExO Sprint.
– Exponential Organisations podcast: this is a weekly show that features leading experts around the world talking about purpose, coaching, exponential technology and other subjects.

Q: Can you talk about specific examples of organizations that have applied the ExO model and how they came out on the other side? Any new ideas that we born thanks to that?

A: There are thousands of organizations, particularly startups, that have adopted the ExO model. Venture capital companies are starting to make adoption of the ExO model as a requirement for funding.

ExO Works, one of our partners, has now done over 20 premium ExO Sprints with customers like P&G, HP, Accenture, Visa and Vodacom. ExO Works can provide case studies of the results of these ExO Sprints upon request.

Q: What do you see changing this decade, and what are you most excited about in terms of technology and the way it’s impacting our world at the beginning of the 2020s?

A: I study exponential technology and produce a weekly exponential technology report, and this enables me to be slightly more up-to-date than the next person. Yet, I don’t know what the future will look like in the next five to 10 years.  

There is a good quote from Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s new book titled The Future Is Faster Than You Think:

Technology is accelerating far more quickly than anyone could have imagined. During the next decade, we will experience more upheaval and create more wealth than we have in the past hundred years.