What is it?

Mlearn is an Organizational Innovation methodology that gives guidance for improving and innovating the governance model, the organizational architecture and the business strategy clarification and deployment.

The approach is based on the modelling of the organization in terms of self-directed and organized teams, adopting a systemic and services oriented perspective. It guides the building of the unique and shared reference model for the whole organization fostering, effective consensus.

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The purpose

The Methodology intends to contribute for Business Transformation in a Digital Economy

Most of the organizations face some challenges:

•Low performance
•Significant operational risk
•Lack of agility
•Lack of collaboration
•Insufficient innovation culture
•“Silo thinking”
•Insufficient business strategy alignment of the whole organization, inclusive IT department
•Redundancy and little integration
•Little motivation
•No equilibrium between responsibility and contribution for business strategy
•Overlap or omission of responsibilities
•Lack of commitment

The main objectives of the approach are:

•To design an unique organizational reference model, based on self-directed teams, through a system and service oriented organizational architecture.

•To clarify the business strategy in terms of the definition of the strategic objectives and their deployment through that architecture, independently of the chart.

•To adapt the chart and to eliminate shared objectives, empowering the self-directed teams.

The results are felt in the whole organization, namely greater:

•Probability to make the business strategy happen.
•People accountability and motivation
•Reduction of operational risk
•Solution for the silo thinking issue
•Top down generation of the project portfolio, being more effective the calculation of project payback
•Preparation for digital business transformation

Some questions that the Mlearn methodology helps to solve:

Strategic Alignment

•How to know the impact of each task in the business strategy?
•How to ensure the strategic alignment of Information Systems, Quality systems, people assessment, management control and of the whole organization?
•When is there an objective/goal deviation, how to know, further its explanation, where the strategy failed and what to do?
•How to ensure that the project portfolio is adequate and enough to implement the business strategy?
•How to define the projects priority in terms of their contribution to the business strategy and not only based on the cost/benefit analysis?


•How to ensure that the designed business processes are the same for quality, for information systems, for activity based costing and for people assessment, reducing redundancy, entropy and costs?
•How to ensure that there is a unique management system that responds to all good practice frameworks, instead of having several systems, even if they are integrated?


•How to ensure that the changes in the people management or in the chart of the organization do not impact the Organizational Architecture and the structure of the objectives and indicators, just according to will of the ones in charge?

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Why is it different?

•The methodology offers a holistic approach to the organizations, based on a management approach supported by an organizational engineering one, providing a reference model as a unique and shared vision of the organization.

•It provides three independent dimensions view of the organization: organizational architecture (systemic modelling), operational business processes and the chart.

•It guides the definition of a governance system independently of the chart.

•It is applied through workshops, without paper neither interviews support, giving results every day.

•It gives an effective guidance to ensure the strategic alignment of the whole organization like people, business processes and information systems.

•It gives a solution for the Silo Thinking issue, transforming the Organizational Units into effective collaborative teams.

•It provides techniques for the building of an organizational architecture, further than the common sense, in an organizational engineering approach.

•The organizational architecture represents a set of self-directed and self-organized teams.

•The objectives are defined for the organizational competences or self-directed teams of the organizational architecture and not for people or organizational units. Then the goals are negotiated with the people in charge.

•It is an organizational innovation approach that creates the conditions to foster a successful innovation culture.

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Top down | Middle down | Diagnostic tool | Training

The methodology guides the management of an organizational innovation project.

According to the organization’s nature, the methodology guides the preparation of an approach appropriated to its complexity, culture and priorities.

It can be adopted through a top down or middle down approach. Alternatively, it can be used as a diagnostic framework or to support a training program.

The approach is implemented through interactive workshops without organizing interviews or using paper.

Top down

In case of following a top down approach, the project can be structured according the workshops that fit the objectives of the organization.

Typically, the standard workshops are represented in the following pictures.

The first one illustrates the first workshops that guide the strategy clarification and the chart adjustment, including the design of the first level of the organizational architecture (the self-directed teams), with the design of the second level and the objectives definition of each organizational competence of the first level.

This takes about 3 days for the definition of the strategic and tactical objectives and their indicators and the modelling of the first level of the organizational architecture. The mission, vision and values are validated. The priorities for improvement and for guidance of the portfolio project are also set. During the three days, all the board members and senior directors should be involved to assure a strong consensus and get the collaboration of all that can contribute for the strategy clarification. The three days are typically split into half days to fit with individual agendas.

If the organization decides to progress to deploy the strategy, then the following workshops are the ones represented on the next picture.

Workshops Planning and Strategy control(more...)

After defining the objectives and indicators for the board (strategic and tactical objectives) and for the senior directors (1st level operational objectives corresponding to the objectives of the 1st level organizational competences or 1s level self-directed teams) it is necessary to negotiate goals, to implement decision support systems to ensure the calculation of the indicators and to create organizational routines. Resuming, it is mandatory to define and implement a management and control system, particularly the report system for the senior directors.

Simultaneously this decision support system has also the power to control the execution of the business strategy.

Two integrated control systems:

  • Strategy control system (explains where the execution of the strategy failed)
  • Management control systems (explains the deviations of the indicators)

To complement this system, it is also important to prepare the business plan and budget (see the respective section).

In each organizational competence, there an internal governance system managed by a 2nd level organizational competence dedicated to management control. This is a key element in the management control system.

It is urgent that the board make the new dashboards and report system mandatory. Keeping the old one is feeding the resistance to change.

Then it is needed to extend the system following the development of the organizational architecture until the task level.

Workshops continuous improvement model (more...)

The organizational architecture needs to be completed, decomposing the organizational competences (OC) until the task level.

For each element of the architecture it is needed to model the external model, the internal model, the attributes, the objectives and indicators and the service level agreements.

The organization should nominate a team to learn and become autonomous in the adoption of the methodology. This team should be able to coach all the people in the organization.

It is important to develop the continuous improvement system based in a support organizational competence and a 2nd level one in each 1st level organizational competence dedicated to continuous improvement. It is important to nominate the person in charge of all them.

The OCs should be able to organize themselves, applying the approach in its team.

The compliance to all the quality norms should be ensured by these OCs.

Workshop People management (more...)

There are several activities to do related to people.

In the first workshops a new chart was defined or at least the actual one was adjusted. It necessary to confirm the people in charge in the new chart or designate others,

Following the development of the organizational architecture, the new tasks should be regrouped to create or adjust the roles.

For each role, the individual competences should now be revised, Considering the new chart, some people may need to exchange collaborators. These need to be trained in the new roles.

The assessment system should be adjusted to integrated the new management system.

A new plan of training needs should be produced.

Workshop innovation model (more...)

This project of organizational innovation should be maintained by the team in charge of the support OC dedicated to Innovation.

The innovation system should be developed by this OC, with the purpose to create the best conditions for a culture environment. In each 1st level OC there is one 2nd level OC dedicated to innovation.

The definition and implementation of the innovation system and the training of the people in charge in each OC is important to keep the progress of the new thinking.

The last series of workshops may be realized or not, according to the size and skills of the organization and its priorities.

The next picture illustrates the workshops that are available.

Workshops Information system management (more...)

The information systems should be managed strategically and operationally.

The first workshops discussing the clarification of the business strategy guide the identification of the strategic role that IT can play in the innovation of the business.

The two first layers of the organizational architecture guide the workshops to identify the information systems requirements to complete the strategic information system planning and the contents of a RFP to select IT systems.

The systemic, service oriented and business strategic aligned architecture ensure the best conditions to a successful demand management of IT services.

Solving the silo thinking issue, ensures that the demand of IT services is consistent and aligned, making easier the management of IT.

Workshops Knowledge management (more...)

The modelling of the organization into systems enable not only to identify the organizational competences but also the cell of knowledge that they represent.

There is always one organizational competence in charge of managing the information resources that plays the role of the organizational memory that manages the contents of the organization.

All the organizational competences generate knowledge that should be organized according to the global orientation for knowledge management, in order to assure the transference of the knowledge from the people to the organization.

The governance model based on auto-directed teams and on workshops foster the externalization of the implicit knowledge, enriching the organization memory.

Workshops Relationship management (more...)

The new ISO 44001 norm guides the organizations with the best practices to select and collaborate with partners, ensuring win-win sustainable relationships.

But to create the necessary ability to be successful in implementing those practices, the organizations need to ensure internally the adequate conditions.

The development of the governance model in terms of auto-directed teams and following a collaborative model amongst them, contributes decisively for those conditions.

Workshops of operational risk (more...)

The relationships amongst the several components of the organizational architecture, based on clear boundaries, enables the identification of new operational risk points and the improvement of this system, as now it is easier to identify the mitigate actions and assure the alignment with the business strategy.

Middle down

In case of the board be not available to contribute for the discussion of the clarification of the business strategy, we can apply the methodology in a middle down way.

This means that we begin with a director that is interested to run an organizational innovation project, involving only some discussions with other directors when needed.

The project starts with the systematization and discussion of the information referred to the strategic and tactical objectives, followed by a board’s validation.

Then the project progress as indicated for the top down approach.

Diagnostic tool

Sometimes there are no conditions to run a change project in the organizations.

The use of the methodology as a diagnostic framework is very effective as quickly we can identify very important and effective improvements to the organization.

In these cases, we gather the information needed, discuss it in the project team and deliver the results to the organization.

The scope and objectives determine the selection of the workshops more appropriate.


All the approaches involve the transfer of knowledge and competences to the team of the organization.

However, the organization can organize a training course customized to their needs, to prepare an expert team able to be more effective during the organizational innovation project and accelerate the process of be more autonomous in the coaching of the organization.

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