Scaling Edges

Building momentum for transformation

To thrive in the Big Shift, companies must move from innovating at a product or service level to innovating across their entire institutions. Unfortunately, traditional large-scale change efforts that challenge the core of the business often fail. Change management is not rational—it is intensely political. The Scaling Edges methodology helps businesses focus on low investment, high-growth-potential opportunities—“edges”—with fundamentally different business practices that can ultimately transform the core of the organization.​

Scaling edges: A pragmatic pathway to broad internal change

Too often change agents think that big changes require big investments; they develop an exhaustive multi-year plan, make large Investments, and hope for a return down the line.

Instead, in a fast-moving world, playing on the edge is the best way to get an edge.

  • Focus on edges rather than the core to maximize upside potential by identifying projects that align with long-term trends
  • Leverage external resources to minimize investment and avoid organizational resistance
  • Accelerate learning through rapid iteration to compress lead times​
Scaling edges: A pragmatic pathway to broad internal change

​​Scaling edges key design principles

Explore the three key levers of the framework (Focus, Leverage and Accelerate) in greater detail. The framework is broken down into twelve key design principles to provide greater context and guidance on how to successfully achieve change through the pursuit of an edge.

Scaling Edges pocket guide

The Scaling edges pocket guide provides an overview to the rationale and methodology of Scaling Edges in an easily, accessible, and easily-sharable format. This pocket guide, along with the other two in the series, is available in hard copy format and can be useful as a tool for leadership meetings to prompt discussion and action.

​What is an Edge?

Edges are different from traditional growth or change initiatives because:

  • An Edge aligns with the long-term disruptive shifts in the market
  • In the short-term, Edges are platforms for high growth that have the potential to grow the pie and scale
  • In the long-term, Edges have the potential to transform the core and be a catalyst for change​


Edges in real life: SDN measures up for SAP

In 1996, Germany’s SAP AG had more than 9,000 of its enterprise software installations worldwide. As the number of applications grew, searching for information, and communicating across systems became more difficult so SAP developed an application called NetWeaver to enable the applications to “communicate” more easily.


When SAP began selling NetWeaver, it became apparent that its value depended on having a network of individuals engaged with it. SAP launched the SAP Developer Network (SDN) in 2005 to serve as a platform for forums, wikis, videos, and blogs to enable developers to share knowledge about platforms and SAP products.


Since the success of SDN was closely linked to the success of NetWeaver, it was imperative to choose the correct metrics for evaluating SDN’s impact. Leadership began looking at items such as collaboration activity, membership, forum posts, and average response time to questions on the forum. With an average response time of 17 minutes and 85% issue closure, SDN was having an impact.


While important to SDN leadership, these metrics did not easily translate to SAP’s core operations. To show the impact of SDN and NetWeaver on the core organization, SDN leaders tracked metrics additional metrics to show, for example, how it could improve SAP’s traditional customer service needs, decreasing the number of troubleshooting complaints to service centers.​ 


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