Case study: Thomson Reuters

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1. Purpose of this wiki page

This is a case study based on secondary data that examines the relation between Curiosity and the Adaptive Cycle. One of the most interesting issues in organizational change is curiosity. Curiosity is a natural trait of human beings. However, it does not drive organizational process by itself. It is important to find ways to organize it and use it purposefully to push the organization torward organizational change. The focus of this case study is a company that does not use the curiosity as a method but as a driving force. Since the case study examines the theory that at the core of the success is the transmission, the certainty becomes less desirable. The stability is replaced with nimble business strategies that allow the companies to step away from their comfort positions and embrace the “change” as an ongoing process, part of their culture.

2. Analysis of data

Figure 1: Position of Thomson Reuters in the Adaptive Cycle

In this graph, you can see the company in its "business as usual" position. Thomson Reuters product and services include :

  • Financial
  • Intellectual property
  • Science
  • Governance, risk and compliance
  • Legal
  • Tax & Accounting
  • Healthcare
  • Media

In September, 2010 Thomson Reuters launched their new product Eikon - a system aimed to support the company's financial products. Eikon was produced with over a billions dollars of development investments and was supposed to be an easy, open and flexible platform that offers tradings and news for market participants. Soon after the release of the product however, Eikon was not as successful as expected. The massive marketing campaigns and launching strategies convincing the users that they will be better off using the new integrated system – were not a guarantee of the success of the product. Issues concerning the product intergration, its stability and some technical aspects have been a serious obstacle to the widely expected use of Eikon . To use this product, most of the companies had to develop application programming interfaces as well as to invest money for retraining. The results were poor reviews and not very good sales of the product.

Figure 2: Position of Thomson Reuters in the Adaptive Cycle


In this graph, you can see a representation of the Edge of chaos practice application. What happens is that the company is moved away from its “business as usual” stability position into an area where it’s more exposed to risk. This happens due to introduction of the innovative product Eikon . The Company predicts the potential need of the market to use a different product and responds to it way in advance.

Figure 3: Position of Thomson Reuters in the Adaptive Cycle

After the unsuccessful release of Eikon , Thomson Reuters still intend to work on it. The company's goal is to develop an eco system around the product that will allow the users to customize their desktops. Apart from that, Thomson Reuters created their new financial research tool- Datastream Professional. Probably still in the process of recovery, the company makes another move that also could be seen as an attempt to provoke change. Linking this hypothesis to the adaptive cycle, we can see that Thomson Reuters are in the phase of "new combinations" by taking a step that could lead again either to a progress or into small crisis. These are events that can not be predicted.


3. Conclusion

Curiosity is an attitude that challenges us to explore other bodies of knowledge and practices. It is not just innovation. Curiosity begins in our tendency to go beyond the knowledge that we already have. In this case, the curiosity becomes the desire to change. However, sometimes to be curious is not enough. Even companies like Thomson Reuters, which rely on information as their main source of innovation, can not predict the future of their products or in our particular case- the unsuccess of their products. It is not only the product that matters, but the way you place in the market. It is not enough just to be curious but also to take in mind some other factors, such as to what extend the companies are willing to change. The significance of the moves made by Thomson Reuters could lead to the following conclusion. Being an innovative company, where the curiosity is considered a valuable quality, Thomson Reuters purposefully pushed itself into a situation of a small crisis even though the primary intension might had been a change that brings into presence transfomations but also potential risks. The conclusion is a hypothesis that curiosity can be seen as the driving force that provokes the companies to change not when the change is needed and required but to use the change with a continious manner, as an ongoing process.This could be used as a long-term guarantee that the company will be able to keep its efficiency, development and nimble nature in the constantly changing world.

For further information regarding the role of Curiosity in the Adaptive Cycle go back to Group 2 Student Lecture.

Additional information regarding the role of Innovation in the Adaptive Cycle can be obtained in Group 1 Student Lecture.
Datastream Professional