In the community learning process of The Rocket Model ‘Creating leading thoughts’ is the first process, followed by innovation and branding. In this blog I would like to rethink that first process.

What about the impact of structure?

In my blog ‘Dealing wit Mental Barriers’ I wrote about the importance of creating a safe space to experiment, a container as some call it. I started wondering if structure should not be part of the Rocket model. Where better to start to answer that question than with the Fifth discipline, a book about learning organisations by Peter Senge; because the foundations of the Rocket Model are largely influenced by Senge.

Senge writes about structure, that it does influence behaviour. He takes a slightly different perspective but the conclusion confirms the one of David Wallin. Senge writes: different people in the same structure do the same things. He continues his line of reasoning ending with the –to some obvious but nevertheless important claim- that also the structure of our brain influences our behaviour in subtle ways. This reasoning I’ve recognised in past experiences. For example at a bank I worked with, where al individuals became bankers as soon as they were together.

Different sciences share the conclusion that structure matters. At Team Academy we put that into practice too: the office, the leadership team and the working hours, are all part of this structure. No surprise here.

Every organization needs a strategy

A strategy can be defined as is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. As each company has a why to live for, it also should have a ‘How’, a strategy, how to accomplish that vision or mission. Although strategy is not mentioned explicitly in the rocket model, I belief it implicitly is. Still strategy can not be ignored.

Structure and strategy are interrelated

In the 1920th Alfred Chandler stated that structure follows strategy. Hall and Saias inverted Chandler’s thesis, suggesting that Strategy Follows Structure. For example, they point out that a multidivisional structure biases a firm towards a conglomerate strategy. Henry Mintzberg offered a balanced view, arguing that the relationship between strategy and structure is reciprocal. “Structure follows strategy … as the left foot follows the right.” Then in 2009 by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne (The authors of blue ocean) wrote an article in HBR: ‘How Strategy Shapes Structure’ in which they claimed that both are possible and that to understand its effects is critical for implementing blue ocean strategies. At Team Academy ‘Blue Ocea’ is in the ‘Book of Books’, it is one of the more important books on innovation we use.

Based on the above I conclude that both structure and strategy could be part of the Rocket Model in an interrelated way.

Strategic architecture and learning are deeply related

According to Senge a strategic architecture consists of the following elements:

–        Guiding ideas (=Leading thoughts)

–        Innovations in infrastructure

–        Theory, tools and methods

Senge goes one step further, he relates the strategic architecture directly to the deep learning cycle of the organisation as well as to the results of the organisation, as the following picture shows:


Use Senge’s strategic architecture of which Leading Thoughts are part

Obviously Team Academy is about learning and results, at the Academy level as well as in the teams. Therefor I propose to replace the leading thoughts in the Rocket Model by the term Strategic Architecture, in order to explicitly take infrastructure, theory, tools  and methods into account when designing our processes.


This essay is meant to open a discussion on the subject of integrating the lean startup model into the Team Academy tools .

Looking forward for your input!








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