4 minute read 15 Sep 2019
Two Brown Argus butterflies sitting ear grass

How to chart the right course for your transformation

4 minute read 15 Sep 2019

By answering just 10 questions, the Transformative Index can determine where your company stands—and help it get to the next level.

We are at a pivotal moment. Disruptions are creating opportunities with unprecedented speed, from those close at hand — super consumers, behavioral design, health reimagined and the future of work — to those on the horizon, such as human augmentation, engaged aging, superfluid markets and quantum computing. Yet while the possibilities seem endless, so do the challenges.

Can purpose inspire new ways of working and thinking? Can constant reinvention lead to continued relevance? How do you make customers co-creators? And how do you leverage the value of intangibles that are more valuable than assets?

To help leaders navigate an age that could unlock both value and human potential, we have developed the Transformative Index — a 10-question survey to determine where their companies stand in their transformation journey, the challenges they face and what they should do next. The intent is to use the index and its recommendations as the basis for fostering a transformative organizational mindset that engages and inspires innovation among a wide range of stakeholders, from customers to co-workers to society at large. It should also spur leading through future-back innovation: driving priorities and immediate action by looking at what’s beyond the horizon.

The Transformative Index

The Transformative Index stems from a recent multi-part research study undertaken by EYQ, the global think tank generating future-looking insights with diverse perspectives. The study explored the dynamics of disruptive challenge and transformation, with more than 100 CEOs from the world’s 5,000 largest companies revealing how ready they believed their organizations were to seize the upside of emerging opportunities. Our research uncovered important distinctions in terms of disruption awareness, sense of urgency and transformation.

Using the most pressing themes related to disruption readiness — leadership, culture and innovation — a Transformative Index score out of 100 ranks organizations as either a caterpillar, chrysalis or butterfly. Caterpillar companies focus on exploiting existing success without taking transformative steps. Becoming leaders requires these companies to consider how to become skilled at both initiating and responding to disruption. Chrysalis companies are aware of the impact the forces of disruption have on their business and are taking steps toward creating a strong culture of innovation as they begin to undergo their transformation. Butterfly companies are the most innovative. Their next step to reach full potential is to maintain a transformative mindset across the extended enterprise and successfully execute.

The results of the Transformative Index and the corresponding maturity level of organizations helps determine potential actions companies can consider in moving to the next stage of transformation. Here are examples for companies in the caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly stages.

Close up caterpillar climbing leaf image

Maturity level: Caterpillar

Companies that focus on exploiting existing success without taking transformative steps

Now: Drive a cross-organization discussion on responding to disruption, working to instil a sense of urgency to overcome inertia.

Next: Align the C-suite and board of directors to a shared ambition to guide the needed investment, culture change, governance, link to purpose and message to shareholders. Companies can also set a leadership example of experimentation and risk-taking — that is, “walk the talk.”

Beyond: Engage with key investors to discuss disruption and assess appetite and attitude toward investing in innovation.

Rice Paper butterfly chrysalis image

Maturity level: Chrysalis

Companies that are aware of the impact the forces of disruption have on their business and are taking steps toward creating a strong culture of innovation
  • Now: Identify key gaps. It’s also important to recognize your approach to disruption readiness isn’t merely a project, but an organizational transformation touching fundamental aspects of culture, purpose, operations and your current business model.
  • Next: Consider aligning rewards, metrics and governance to support innovation objectives. Also make sure the CEO owns the disruption agenda and the board pays frequent attention to determining what’s really threatening or disruptive.
  • Beyond: Find the change champions within your company, bringing them together to set them free to drive transformation, whether as dedicated teams or embedded in key functions. Think about using talent transformation to drive culture change, recruiting for diversity of thinking and disruptive mindsets.
Butterfly Red spider lily image

Maturity level: Butterfly

Companies that are the most inovative and maintain a transformative mindset across the extended enterprise to successfully execute

Now: Plan for now, next and beyond. As a leader, you can take the opportunity to harness digital by embedding it across the entire value chain, from strategy and design, through to execution and risk management.

Next: Work to develop ecosystems, networks and innovative formats for collaboration, not only within the organization, but from the outside in. You’ll want to consider identifying their exponential opportunities and how you can scale fast to seize them.

Beyond: Ask yourself: What part of my business is already dead? Act on the answer to free up resources for fresh innovation. You’ll also want to “re-strategize” — frequently revisit your plan, redesign the future and repilot concepts.

Companies face a choice in today’s dynamic environment: activate disruption readiness first as chrysalises, then as butterflies, or remain caterpillars, putting both market leadership and market capitalization at risk. Understanding how mature an organization is in its ability to meet the disruptive challenges now, next and beyond allows leaders to confidently chart a course that takes them to the next level in their transformation journey and seizes competitive advantage in the Transformative Age.


The Transformative Index allows companies to assess where they are on their transformation journey, to help them chart the right course of action to succeed in the Transformative Age.

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Transformative Index

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