Founder and Managing Director
Step Two Designs and author Essential Intranets and Designing Intranets
"The book weaves a rich tapestry of ideas, coming from the disciplines of business management, KM, psychology and more. Quotes pepper the book, ranging from Captain Picard to Jack Welch and Sun Tzu. What’s most compelling about this book are the chapters devoted to making smarter organisations. These focus on mindsets, fast-flow communication and accelerated decision-making. There’s a lot of meat provided, fleshing out possible approaches beyond basic platitudes. My advice: get this book, read the first third in detail, decide that Gordon is smart, skim through the rest of the book, and then hire him to help make your organisation smarter."
Heidi K. Gardner, PhD.
Author of Smart Collaboration
Distinguished Scholar, Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession
"In this highly engaging book, Vala-Webb packages existing research with novel insights to produce a clear diagnosis of what ails today’s “zombie” organizations. This foundation produces some practical guidance for what leaders can realistically do to awaken their organization’s potential for adaptation and survival. Analogies abound and not only entertain, but truly provoke deeper thought (quiz: how is Blackberry like the person who drove her car into a lake?). But don’t be fooled: amidst the humor and catchy graphics, this book tackles some serious issues such as worker disengagement, unproductive and even dangerous biases, and the misuse of power in organizations. This impressive piece of work has the potential to unleash some fresh thinking and spark action where it’s needed."
Head of Open Innovation at GM.
Author of Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do
Dr. Evan Shellshear
Author of the bestselling Innovation Tools
"Gordon Vala-Webb has written an exceptionally well researched and informative book. It delves to the core of the plight affect the 21st century economies of the world – zombie organisations. These are organisations poorly adapted to the changes facing the world and ones with little chances of survival. In Building Smarter Organizations the reader will learn the path to avoiding become a stumbling, bloated organization paralyzed by attempts to emulate 20th century best practices which are little use for 21st century problems. Through deep and erudite one is able to walk away from this book well equipped to face the disruptive forces shaking global markets and keep their company alive for the next century – becoming a “smart” company.
Prof. David Snowden
Founder, Cognitive Edge and Director, The Cynefin Centre for Applied Complexity, Bangor University
A delightfully cynical takedown of management fads, Building Smarter Organizations pulls no punches, takes no prisoners and tears down the shibboleths of management consultants. It does all of that while being well researched and easy to read. It offers no magic formula for success, but read it for the good advice it provides on what needs to change and to learn how to start the change.
Academic Director, Columbia University Information and Knowledge Strategy Program
President and CEO, International Association of Innovation Professionals
"Gordon Vala-Webb has written a really fun, imaginative and informative book in Building Smarter Organizations: How to Lead Your Zombie Back to Life. The book has lessons to learn that will help your organization be less like a zombie and more like a living, modern organization. Many, like me, will read the entire book in one sitting because it is easy to read and will make you think of all sorts of ways your organization is rooted in rotting autopilot, devoid of all the processes necessary for a modern, dynamic, information driven organization."
Dr. Jonathan Reichental
Chief Information Officer, City of Palo Alto, California
Gordon Vala-Webb reminds us that what has worked for organizations in the past can no longer guarantee success in our connected-digital future. In fact, he makes the case that failure to change in our complex, networked, unpredictable global environment will result in significant organizational inefficiencies and detached employees, and in the worst case, the complete failure of the enterprise. Gordon offers alternative and pragmatic approaches to delivering the future of the organization."
Andrew Maxwell, PhD.
Chief Innovation Officer, Canadian Innovation Centre
"Building Smarter Organization offers business leaders a unique insight into how their existing processes and resources limit their ability to rapidly respond to competitive business threats and new market opportunities. Checklists and content in the early chapters help the reader recognize that their organization was designed to compete in a marketplace that no longer exists, and that changing this is tough when current management practices have been developed to ensure efficiency not innovation. Unfortunately, as the author notes, such practices (around how organizations make decisions, allocate resources or establish priorities) are of limited value when trying to change the business to address today's challenges. In fact, as Gordon Vala-Webb notes, they can constrain your ability to respond and remain competitive, or even to survive. If you recognize the need to innovate, but are struggling to become innovative I recommend that you read Building Smarter Organizations, which offers an innovation roadmap to help you identify where you are, the challenges you face and a way forward."
Net Strategy JMC and author of The Organization in the Digital Age
"Gordon has written a different kind of organizational handbook that is humorous, realistic and offers practical advice. You can dip in and out, enjoy the thoughtful quotations from sources over centuries, see a variety of conceptual, helpful diagrams and get insights into why so many organizations act like they do, and what you can do to try to make a difference."