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unFIX: Organizational Design for Adaptability and Innovation

Miquel Rodríguez

Miquel Rodríguez

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Organizational design in complex environments

The ever-changing business landscape forces organizations to face the need to constantly adapt in order to survive and progress. In complex environments, changing the way we work and organize ourselves becomes an ongoing activity.

Organizational design is the discipline that allows us to shape the structure of an organization, defining roles, relationships, communications, processes, decision-making authority and ways of working, to help it execute its strategy and achieve its objectives.

In this context, unFIX is an organizational design model to drive adaptability and continuous innovation in companies. In this article, we will explore what unFIX is, why you should use it, and what roles in an organization can take advantage of this model.

What is unFIX?

The unFIX model is much more than a set of patterns; it is a philosophy that seeks to transform the way organizations are designed and operated. Unlike many agile scaling frameworks, unFIX focuses on two crucial aspects: continuous innovation and human expertise. It aims to facilitate incremental change, dynamic teams and internal leadership.

This innovative approach is based on the experience of numerous innovative companies, from small startups to multinational giants such as Haier and Tesla. In addition, unFIX draws inspiration from various agile scaling frameworks such as SAFe, LeSS, Scrum@Scale, Holacracy and Spotify, as well as books such as Team Topologies, Dynamic Reteaming and Organization Design. This makes it a model that combines the best of multiple approaches to create a versatile and effective solution.

organizational design
unFIX Model | Illustration by unfix.com

What is NOT aFIX?

Para entender qué es unFIX, nos puede ayudar mucho saber qué NO es unFIX. 

  • unFIX is NOT a framework. The definition of “framework” suggests an essential structure on which to base the way of working. But in unFIX there is nothing essential. Everything is optional. A more appropriate description would be a pattern library.
  • unFIX does NOT offer processes. The purpose of unFIX is to cover only possible organizational design patterns and organizational structure. It is easy to find recommendations for processes in many other sources (ITIL, Scrum, SAFe, …).
  • unFIX is NOT only for IT. Everything in the unFIX pattern library could be applied to different departments, divisions and companies, it is not exclusive to software development or technology areas.
  • unFIX is NOT top-down. Unlike other models and frameworks, the unFIX pattern library suggests a bottom-up approach. Grow from foundational elements. You must start small to build big.
  • unFIX is NOT a substitute for what already exists. There are many good things in other patterns and frameworks that should not be discarded. We just hope that, with unFIX, you can fix the bad parts and keep all the good parts.

Why should you use unFIX?

Organizational design is crucial in shaping the structure of an organization, defining roles, relationships, communications, processes, decision-making authority and ways of working. This is essential to help an organization execute its strategy and achieve its objectives. This is where aFIX comes into play and offers a number of key advantages:

organizational design

1. Adaptability: In a world where change is constant, organizations need to be adaptable. unFIX fosters adaptability by allowing organizations to gradually adjust to new circumstances without drastically changing their structure.

organizational design

2. Continuous Innovation: Innovation is essential to remain competitive. This model promotes a culture of constant innovation by empowering teams and fostering internal leadership.

organizational design

3. Collaborative Design: unFIX facilitates co-creation, which means that teams can influence their own structure and processes. This increases employee engagement and accountability.

organizational design

4. Flexibility: Unlike rigid frameworks that may not fully adapt to an organization, unFIX offers a toolkit that allows the exploration of new alternatives and case-specific solutions.

Who can benefit from unFIX?

unFIX is not only intended for a small group of people within an organization, but its application is useful for a wide variety of roles at all levels. Have you ever had questions like the following?

"Our team has grown a lot in a short time, we are now more than 40 people and I think we should structure ourselves differently."
"I need to delegate some tasks and decisions to my team, but I'm not clear on how to do it."
"There are only 8 people in the entire organization who are proficient in this technology, and I don't know how to organize the teams so they can collaborate optimally."
"I want to create a work environment where people are motivated, but I don't know if what motivates me is the same thing that motivates my team."

It is not necessary to be an organizational consultant, anyone involved in decision making regarding team structure, collaboration models, role assignment, delegation, goal setting, project planning… can benefit from using any of the tools that are part of the unFIX model.

The following are some of the roles and benefits that can be achieved by using unFIX:

1. Leaders and Managers

Leaders can use unFIX to design structures that foster collaboration and innovation within their teams, as well as empower employees to make decisions.

2. Human Resources Teams

Human resources professionals can use unFIX to design recruitment, development and talent management processes that adapt to the changing needs of the organization.

3. Innovation and Development Team

Teams in charge of innovation and product development can use unFIX to create environments conducive to creativity and experimentation.

4. Operations Team

The operations team can optimize the organization’s structure and processes to improve efficiency and responsiveness.

5. Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters

Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters can use unFIX to facilitate collaborative design processes, provide guidance in the transition to a more adaptive model, and promote an agile culture, whether at the team, area, department, business unit or organization-wide level.

6. Team leaders

Team leaders can lead more effectively and promote a more collaborative and adaptive work environment by benefiting from role and responsibility assignment patterns. By empowering their team members, they can achieve greater autonomy and local decision making.

7. Change Agents

Change agents can mobilize teams and leaders, raise awareness of the need for adaptability and innovation, and motivate people to use new ways of working.

In summary, the unFIX model is a set of valuable tools for designing organizations that are adaptive, innovative and focused on the human experience. Its unique approach makes it a powerful option for any organization seeking to thrive in a complex and constantly evolving business environment. By adopting unFIX, companies can embrace change and lead successfully into the future.

From Netmind we are helping our customers to improve their business agility using unFIX, either with training services or accompanying them in the implementation of the tools of this organizational design model. Do not hesitate to contact us if you want us to help you.

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About the Author

Miquel Rodríguez

Miquel Rodríguez

Miquel Rodríguez is an experienced trainer and consultant who has dedicated his career helping organizations get the most out of their IT projects and teams. As Consulting Director at Netmind, he works with large enterprises to lead organizational improvements and agile transformations. Miquel holds a degree in Computer Science from Universitat Autònoma de Catalunya, a Masters in IT Management, an Executive MBA from La Salle University, and a Design Thinking for Business Innovation program from Aalto University of Helsinky and ESADE Business School. He has trained thousands of Project Managers and Agile Practitioners for companies such as Telefonica, BBVA, ABERTIS, AIRBUS, Orange, Zurich, Nissan, Bacardi, T‐Systems and CaixaBank. Miquel has also taught at several Universities. Connect with Miquel on LinkedIn.

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