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Looking Out of a Skyscaper

Not too long ago, companies like Google, Airbnb, Uber, and Facebook started out with a few developers scrapping together code from their garage-turned-office. Now they’re defining the way we live our lives. It seems a new business-building model — one some are deeming a Fourth Industrial Revolution — has risen, characterized by intense technological innovation and whirlwind growth. This has prompted many businesses to ask the question: “How are these new companies growing exponentially when we aren’t?”

In 2014 and after several years of research, Salim Ismail (Chairman of OpenExO) described the model of this new breed of business that are successfully leveraging the new technology revolution in his bestseller “Exponential Organizations. Why new organizations are ten times better, faster and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)”. An Exponential Organization (ExO) is a purpose-driven entity that leverages new exponential technologies and a set of common organizational attributes that allow them to tap into and manage abundance to scale exponentially as technology does.

The research conducted by the author and his colleagues (Michael S. Malone and Yuri van Geest) identified the major characteristics of Exponential Organizations. Based on their research (which included the top one hundred fastest growing startups worldwide over the last six years) they identified common traits across all exponential organizations.

What is Common?



An MTP is not a mission statement but rather an aspirational statement of what an organization hopes to accomplish. An effective MTP can attract customers and employees and help create a community around a company. It can also shift the focus of teams from a company’s internal politics to its external impact.

Watch below the video by Peter Diamandis giving an introduction to MTP:



  • What do we really care about? And why?

  • What is our companies’ purpose on this earth?

  • What does the world hunger for? And why?

  • What would we do if we could never fail? Why?

The ExO framework consists of the

Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) as a foundation upon which the remaining 10 attributes stand on. 


These 10 attributes are further divided into five external characteristics and five internal mechanisms, for which the acronyms SCALE and IDEAS are used respectively.

The ExO Formula

The internal mechanisms of an ExO organization, IDEAS, stands for:

  • Interfaces

  • Dashboards

  • Experimentation

  • Autonomy

  • Social Technologies

External attributes of an ExO organization, SCALE, stands for:

  • Staff on Demand

  • Community & Crowd

  • Algorithms

  • Leveraged Assets

  • Engagement

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