Across every industry, digital technologies are redefining the way companies compete, consumers engage and how organizations are designed.  Organization design theory, models, frameworks, and methods are shifting from traditional hierarchies to networks of technology-enabled platforms, flexible team based operating models, new executive team and leadership capabilities, and high-performance work designs.

As our world is changing, many of our current notions about organization design are no longer adaptive or competitive. Rather than focusing on an organization chart or fixed work processes, we need to anticipate that technology will continue to rock our world requiring leaders to adapt more quickly. Modular platform socio-technical organization designs that fail fast, learn fast, reconfigure, and scale quickly are emerging as the new building blocks of future-focused organizations. This is a major shift in how people work, executives lead, and in the methods and tools used by organization designers.

We will be sharing our latest thinking about socio-technical design in the digital age, based in part on our work over the past two years with ten leading-edge companies in the Socio-technical Action Research Lab (STARLab).

This two-and-a-half-day lab is specifically oriented for the practitioner who is responsible for designing organizations at the strategic and operating levels. The focus is to prepare you with digital social technical design concepts, frameworks, methodology and tools. Your learning experience will feature content presentations, case studies, simulations, small and large group discussions, and applications of methods and design tools.

In addition to workshop materials, you will receive a copy of the new book, Braided Organizations: Designing Human Centric Processes to Enhance Performance and Innovation by Bill Pasmore and others, which Bill will discuss in the lab.

Key Topics


Socio-technical Systems: Overview of history, concepts, methodology

  • Overview of first- and second-generation socio-technical systems (STS)
  • How high-performance work systems work
  • Third generation STS - Digital socio-technical design overview

Understanding the relationship between digital technology and organization design

  • How digital technology directly and indirectly impacts organization design
  • A digital technology topology will be presented to understand the landscape of digital technology impacting organizations today.
  • Emerging fifth stage/ dimension to organization design theory and design – digital technology

Overview of Research

  • Review of two-year STARLab action research project
  • Review of recent academic research and case studies
  • Summary of research

Three Levels of Design: Strategic, Ecosystem, and Operations

  • Strategic Org Design: Design of the top three layers of the organization, specifically the structure, role and processes of the executive team
  • Digital Platform Organization Design and Ecosystem Design
  • Operating Model Design

Networks, Agile Teams, and Adaptive Work System

  • Designing virtual networks utilizing digital platforms (braided organization design)
  • Designing networks as production systems
  • Adaptive work systems and agile teams

Ecosystem Design

  • The ecosystem as the new unit of analysis
  • Using digital socio-technical design to improve the customer experience and design ecosystem
  • Reevaluation the value chain: Crowdsourcing and open innovation

Digital Socio-Technical Design – Methodology

  • The role of the organization design practitioner: skills and capabilities
  • Detailed overview and practice of concepts, steps and tools
  • Case simulation implementation of digital socio-technical design

Practitioner on-going learning

  • Participants create a scaffold of networks, community of practice, and on-going learning opportunities




from 6.00pm

Tides Hotel

  • Reception


Day 1



  • Introduction
  • STS Overview
  • Digital Technology and Organization Design


  • STARLab Action Research
  • Joint Optimization/Augmentation
  • Three Levels of Design:
    Strategic, Ecosystem, and Operational

Day 2 



  • Networks, Agile Teams, and Adaptive Work Systems
  • Ecosystems


  • Networks, Agile Teams, and Adaptive Work Systems
  • Designing interactions – the new work design
  • Digital Socio-technical Design Methodology

6.00PM - 7.00PM

pebble beach

  • Wine and hors d'oeuvres event

Day 3 



  • Simulation
  • Organization Design Practitioner
  • Building Professional Networks
  • Closure


  • Lunch