Disruptive technologies have impacted virtually every industry and businesses that are unable to keep up will soon find themselves falling behind.
However, there is one kind of organization primed with the right attributes to harvest these accelerating technologies and they are known as Exponential Organizations or ExOs.
So, what exactly happens inside an ExO that equips them to create disruptive innovations, scale exponentially, and become leaders of their industry?
To find out, I reached out to Simone Ravaioli, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Digitary — a technology firm with the vision to support student mobility in a global world that’s increasingly becoming nomadic in lifestyle.
Here’s what I discovered from our conversation so you can get an inside perspective of an ExO.
The Serendipitous Birth of an Exponential Mindset
Digitary makes it possible for anyone to share their verified academic achievements online securely, quickly, and easily. Their innovative technology also streamlines the procedures of issuing and verifying academic records for administrative offices of universities.
When they entered the market in 2005, it was the very early stages of digital signature technology. They struggled to get top education institutes on board, especially since universities tend to want to uphold their traditions and are too slow to adapt and innovate their models.
After years of hard work and continuous improvement, Digitary’s breakthrough came when they were appointed as the official platform to issue digital academic records for all public universities across Australia and New Zealand. This catapulted them from being an SME to achieving ten-fold growth in the last five years.
But it wasn’t just a “lucky break” that allowed them to experience this success. Behind the scenes of this rapid growth was an exponential approach led by the company’s leadership team.
“My journey started when I read the book, ‘The Singularity is Near’,” Simone told me. “That was probably the toughest read I’ve ever done, but it was my opening into this new way of thinking about digital transformation. I then engaged in an exponential leadership program at Singularity University, and that’s how I came across Salim Ismail’s book, ‘Exponential Organizations’.”
Reading Salim’s book planted the seed of exponential thinking for Simone, but it was a serendipitous encounter with Salim Ismail in Los Angeles that thrusted Simone deeper into the world of ExOs.
After meeting Salim, Simone decided to join the Exponential Organization Master Business Course at Growth Institute. “I felt I was in the flow and followed those signs as they happened, unexpectedly,” Simone elaborates. “Meeting Salim felt like one of the signals that show you the way when you are looking for your path. I had no doubt. So I decided to click and register for Salim’s Exponential Organization Master Business Course.”
Taking Digitary into Exponential Ground
Having read Salim’s book earlier, Simone had already been seeding conversations about exponential growth with his colleagues. The conversations were striking the right chords with the people at Digitary. “I really felt like Digitary was at an inflection point to go exponential,” Simone reflected.
“But it was also an inflection point for my own mindset, so the timing was perfect,” he continued. “Taking Salim’s course really opened up the way I interpreted the exponential framework of organizations, particularly the concept of being distributed, not just as an operational aspect, but also as a cultural shift that maps into strategic technological choices at Digitary.”
Since taking the course, Simone has been able to enrich Digitary’s business development and technology innovation to further transform the tertiary education industry.
“I've been able to bring into the conversations of our leadership meetings on the company’s growth strategy selected elements of the Exponential Framework” explains Simone.
“This has helped us ensure our execution is always aligned with our bigger vision. By creating this synergy between execution and strategy, we have streamlined our operations to reap more value from our resources and make room for faster growth. Having the exponential framework also gives me the leverage to make a compelling argument for the points that I want to drive forward. But more importantly, it has also helped me to empower my colleagues to think exponentially at the strategic level.”
Leaning on Exceptional Education & Support
Today, Digitary has a global footprint reaching 125 counties and serving 1.5 million students across Europe and AsiaPac region — from Australia and New Zealand to the United Kingdom and Ireland. This makes Simone conscious of the opportunity to share the benefits of this growth with its clients and users.
“We're not a startup that needs to sell the future to its first customer. When we decide to make a new move, we generate immediate impact that scales to our global installed customer base. And so we need to be considerate of that as well,” he says.
Indeed, Simone needs to consider many things when it comes to developing business for Digitary while keeping up with new disruptive technologies. This is where the priceless value of the learning opportunity and Masterminds from the Exponential Organization Master Business Course really comes in to help him.
“The classes were always very practical, very simple, and very compelling. Just being able to absorb the real-world examples was extremely mind-opening and provided a lot of new perspectives on our business.”
“The Mastermind was also an incredible resource in terms of content and support. Having that support really helped me stay accountable to be working these tools and strategies in my business.”
Simone also valued how the online structure of the course allowed him to continue his exponential education without needing to step out of his daily responsibilities at Digitary. “I can watch a video while waiting for a flight at an airport. And if I need extra help, I can just reach out to the Mastermind and get the support and insightful feedback I need to move forward. I really found the whole process very engaging and easy to fit into my busy schedule.”
Moving into Future Growth
Simone knows that disruptive technology will only continue to accelerate, and thus he must continuously advance his personal learning and growth to keep up with the changes.
“Some of the new technology coming our way are disrupting our sectors. So you need to disrupt yourself because out there, this thing is not going to stop,” affirms Simone.
That’s why Simone joined the Open EXO community after completing the Exponential Organization Master Business Course. He is also currently pursuing certification to become an EXO consultant.
“We have hit a time right now in the market where some exponential technologies like blockchain are really impacting the sector,” explains Simone with regards to why he is continuing his ExO education. “I want to make sure we are ready for it. Because if we can leverage this technology, we will certainly create our next level of growth as leaders that transform the industry.”
“The approach we have toward blockchain is considerate and mature rather than driven by FOMO, as often the case with emerging tech. There is a case for blockchain in education and it is an exciting one that goes beyond the apparent, over-hyped notarization of an academic credential on a blockchain. The EdTech community is coming together to solve for interoperability and we are enthusiastically contributing to it.”
“We are uniquely positioned to bring exponential adoption to an emerging exponential technology — it is a great responsibility that drives our own internal exponential transformation”.
Simone’s vision to harness the power of exponential technology is not just for blockchain. He wants to make sure Digitary is equipped to deliberately harness the next emerging tech disrupting the sector, and he is confident that keeping an exponential approach is the key to make that happen.
“In the future, this exponential mindset will influence how we continue to evolve our architecture and approach to the market,” Simone said. “The exponential transformation needs to happen at cultural and organizational levels to effectively shape the evolution of our technology.
Final Words of Advice
The advance of technology is not stopping and it’s impacting every sector. Simone parts with these final words of advice for those interested in scaling up in this evolving business environment.
“If you find yourself in a situation where you need to add the levers to steer things in a certain direction, the Exponential Organization Master Business Course will give you the superpowers you need. It's like the turbo boost you can click on. It’s especially made for people who hold leadership roles in an organization, and who need to steer strategic conversations that will impact both the culture and organization’s future success.”
In summary, systems and structures move organizations forward but it is the mindset of its leaders that will steer it in the right direction.
Simone’s commitment to continuous education in ExO principles has helped him to align Digitary to a trajectory of exponential growth; thus influencing the transformation of Digitary into the global leader in the digital credentialing space.
Transform Your Business into an Exponential Organization
The Exponential Organization Master Business Course provides you with professional feedback, peer support, accountability and external perspective (we all know how it is hard sometimes to think “outside of the box”) so you can apply the ExO methodology successfully in your organization.
Within the program, you’ll be getting the highly-qualified guidance and support from Salim Ismail, Kent Langley, and ExO Coaches, plus an extremely dynamic and valuable network of leaders from all over the world.