‘Gap-Filling Organizations’: Competing at Speed in a Fast-Moving World


MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Steven J. Spear, D.B.A., M.S., M.S., Senior Lecturer, Engineering Systems Division and Sloan School of Management, MIT

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Date: March 24, 2014

About the Presentation

Steven J. Spear

Determining, documenting, and addressing the gaps between an organization’s business requirements for products and services and the systems and capabilities available to achieve them is a challenge common to all industries. Many companies address this issue by deploying internal functions that reactively fill these gaps. Although these efforts may differ by sector and context, those that are successful share several common characteristics in a systems-based approach that Dr. Steven J. Spear describes as the creation of “gap-filling organizations.”

In this webinar, Spear will highlight some of the factors that make gap-filling organizations so useful:

  • Speed—Responding faster and with shorter lead times than the larger anticipatory organizations that they support
  • Super-focus—Diving deep into specific problems to drive custom-tailored solutions
  • Network multipliers—Maintaining a relatively small organizational core and involving subject matter experts as necessary

Spear will also discuss the importance of a degree of institutional independence for gap-filling organizations and how it can be achieved. This presentation will give examples of gap-filling organizations in a variety of settings, identify the capabilities that make them effective and unique, and provide first steps in creating similar capabilities within your organizations.

A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

We invite you to join us.

About the Speaker

Steven J. Spear, D.B.A., M.S., M.S., is a senior lecturer in the Engineering Systems Division and the Sloan School of Management at MIT as well as a senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He is the author of The High Velocity Edge and several articles published in managerial and medical journals.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.