SCALE: The Five Key Attributes Every Corporation Needs to Survive The Pandemic

“Companies have been dying out over the last 12 months as a result of Covid-19. The effect, similar to an asteroid impacting the planet, has caused a rapid change in environments. “Covid-19 was like an asteroid hitting the planet,” argues Peter Diamandis, describing ExO organizations.

Lisa Pereira
Lisa Pereira

“Covid-19 was like an asteroid hitting the planet,” argues Peter Diamandis, describing ExO organizations.

“Companies have been dying out over the last 12 months as a result of Covid-19. The effect, similar to an asteroid impacting the planet, has caused a rapid change in environments. “Covid-19 was like an asteroid hitting the planet,” argues Peter Diamandis, describing ExO organizations.

“Companies have been dying out over the last 12 months as a result of Covid-19. The effect, similar to an asteroid impacting the planet, has caused a rapid change in environments. Retail, health, education, and other industries have had to pivot to a new way of doing things. And we’ve seen a birth of a brand new generation of companies that didn't exist a year ago.”

All these companies have several key attributes that they have in common.  These are known as the SCALE framework and are one-half of the ExO framework created by Salim Ismail and his team in 2015.  The other being the IDEAS framework.

The attributes were introduced in the best-selling book, Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (and what to Do About It).

SCALE: Framework still relevant to ExOs

One thing to point out before diving into the conversation on SCALE is that the updated edition of the book is being developed in an open format with over 90 OpenExO community members. In addition, the OpenExO Community has added new content and case studies to the SCALE attributes. Exponential Organizations 2.0 is coming out later this year. You can purchase your copy here.

Salim Ismail and Peter Diamandis on SCALE Attributes

In the ExO model, we begin with the meaning and purpose of the Massive Transformative Purpose and then move to the five external characteristics that define an Exponential Organization. We use the acronym SCALE: Staff on Demand, Community and Crowd, Algorithms, Leveraged Assets, and Engagement. Thus, SCALE represents the externalities that ExO’s leverage.

How relevant are these attributes compared to six years ago? We now have data and more anecdotes. Salim Ismail and Peter Diamandis share their insights in multiple dialogues for the updated edition of Exponential Organizations.

A Cambrian explosion in organizations

“Most big companies are like dinosaurs... we are seeing a Cambrian explosion of little new organizational forms that are evolving very rapidly.” Salim continues with a quote from Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, that he came across in an annual GE report in 2000. He paraphrases the quote, “the minute the metabolism of bigger companies is lower than the outside world, you're dead. The only question is when.” Salim then points out that the metabolism of most big companies is slower than the outside world. Peter comments on how during the pandemic, “we saw a peak in global GDP and … people were investing, but they were investing in things that were exponential.”

Salim and Peter then discuss the premise for the book, ExO’s model, MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose), and Peter’s six Ds of Exponentials: digitization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization, and democratization as keyframing.  The conversation dives into the SCALE Attributes.  

Diagram of the brain where we have scale attributes on the outside and ideas on the inside. The SCALE attributes allow one to keep a tiny resource footprint.

S = STAFF ON DEMAND

Hire temporary staff and outsource as needed, instead of hiring full-time staff

C = COMMUNITY AND CROWD

A compelling MTP (massively transformative purpose) draws people to the cause.

The company should actively and authentically nurture the community.

A = ALGORITHMS

Data science can help gain insights and identify trends that may not be obvious.

L = LEVERAGED ASSETS

Rent or share assets instead of owning them allows companies to scale faster and be more flexible.

E = ENGAGEMENT

Gamification (using games to engage people), incentive competitions, and rewards can motivate employees and the crowd.

You can watch the discussion here.

[Preview]


Max Pixel. (n.d.). Asteroid Prehistoric Times Star Extinction Dinosaur. In CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Max Pixel. https://www.maxpixel.net/Asteroid-Prehistoric-Times-Star-Extinction-Dinosaur-4500889


The OpenExo Community is often asked, which of the scale attributes has had the most significant impact over the last six years? Is it Staff on Demand, Community and Crowd, Algorithms, Leveraged Assets, or Engagement?

Stay tuned and catch the updated version of Exponential Organizations, including a deeper dive and chapter on each of the SCALE attributes. Executives can then decide for themselves which one has had the most significant impact. Pre-order a copy for your organization here. To catch this dialogue, you can watch it here. More event discussions on each of the SCALE attributes Staff on Demand, Community and Crowd, Algorithms, Leveraged Assets, and Engagement, along with more recordings from the live book events here.

SCALEExponential OrganizationsAttributes

Lisa Pereira

Lisa’s MTP is leveraging innovation for equity so all voices are heard. At OpenExO, she's working on Exponential Organizations 2.0. Worked at SU & Stanford. ASNE Reynolds Fellow.