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Project context and scope
The launch of the Marketing Led Organisation (MLO) in Syngenta Seeds in 2010 marked, in effect, the start of an adoption and diffusion process with the purpose to spread the MLO throughout the Vegetables EAME organisation. The way to diffuse the MLO was using a dedicated group of carefully selected employees, called Multipliers, who would receive training and act as change agents to implement the new ways of working required by the MLO throughout the organisation.
The project sought to answer the question: How effective was the diffusion process of the MLO and the utilisation of Multipliers for that intent, and how can that process be improved? For Syngenta the project served as a formal evaluation of both the MLO and the Multiplier program. The assessment used adoption and diffusion theory. Adoption refers to the decision any individual or organisation to take up, use or incorporate a product, idea or innovation, while diffusion relates to the spreading of the innovation in the market, organisation or social system and the amount of users (Rogers, 1995).
Results from analysis
The set-up was among the most successful parts of the diffusion process and facilitated the other phases. The structure set-up was effective for a diffusion process because it took advantage of the interpersonal network to aid the diffusion. By nominating Multipliers at different hierarchical levels and having them locally anchored, the changes could be adapted to fit the business needs and wording. Furthermore, with the setting up of the Multipliers, an organisational infrastructure was put in place that was capable of continuously diffusing new elements of the MLO.
The diffusion to the Multipliers and their subsequent adoption was vital since the diffusion of the MLO was to be cascaded through the organisation through them. The Multipliers’ adoption was successfully facilitated by the launch of the MLO. Especially the close co-operation between management and the Multipliers was key in the success of the launch and in the Multipliers’ adoption.
The fourth and last phase was the most challenging phase. The diffusion of the MLO was slowed down by the announcement of a large re-organisation within Syngenta. Even before this, difficulties in sustaining the diffusion process had emerged that were related to the lack of a suitable roadmap, that an intended transition of initiative did not occur, and that the Multiplier did not become a true community.
Proposal: Initiate a Virtual Community of Practice
For the coordinator, the small number of VCoPs in Syngenta implies that any coordinator with the necessary skills in marketing to function as a coordinator would most likely not have any experience in coordinating a VCoP. A way to offset this lack of experience was to provide the coordinator with guidelines on how to set-up, launch, cultivate and sustain a VCoP within the new organisation of Syngenta. The guidelines were developed by compiling literature, results from the analysis and existing internal tools and best practices in a way that fitted with the new organisational context.