Core 10: The Change Makers' Manual


Strategy & Organisational Change



n its early decades from the 1960s onwards, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s business model was traditional, insular, and hierarchical. There was no dedicated space-venturing expertise available in the commercial sector. The agency worked closely with selected

inter-organisational co-ordination capabilities as it worked with other national space agencies to design, build, and operate the International Space Station that was launched in 1998. Over the following two decades, as space-related services (the low-Earth orbit economy) began to take off, the commercial sector stepped up to design and launch nano-satellites and rockets, offer earth and climate observation services, and provide supply chain logistics support, broadband, and other related offerings. By 2020, space economy revenues rose to US$447 billion. Only US$90 billion – or one fifth of the total – was accounted for by national space agencies; the lion’s share was accounted for by the commercial sector, and this proportion will only rise as the space economy expands. After the inter-organisational phase that gave rise to the International Space Station,

1. During its early decades, NASA was insular and hierarchical. It embedded its own staff at selected partners who produced hardware to exact specifications. 2. The agency now works more openly with the growing commercial space industry, allowing different companies to tender for projects and set the precise specifications for the technology required – provided they meet the overall objective. 3. Any organisation that only draws upon internal ideas, without harnessing the genius

external suppliers who provided hardware to exact specifications and helped to develop the technologies the agency needed. NASA shared detailed technical requirements of what was needed, and embedded its engineers in its supplier organisations in order to ensure control and precise technical outcomes. NASA owned the intellectual property of the inventions and its suppliers could not use them for any other purpose. Over time, the business model became more collaborative. The agency developed partnering and

of the market and other stakeholders, will be at a

competitive disadvantage. The ability to invite, evaluate, and employ inputs from different sources is likely to be vital to future success.

by Loizos Heracleous , Christina Wawarta & Sotirios Paroutis

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