An Organization Structure Designed for Knowledge Workers

organization structure
CAN was started to provide great jobs to innovative and creative professionals.  Our organization structure is designed to help people focus on what they are good at and enjoy. Each aspect of our organization structure helps us attract people that a results driven (as opposed to ego driven), multi-discipline, and creative.  The following some of the ways that we accomplished this:
1. We separate management and technical roles to allow technicians/managers to focus becoming better technicians/manager instead of having to switch gears and learn new skills.  This creates an environment in which the next step for a good technician is not to become a manager, but instead to become a better technician, and the same from managers.  In addition to keeping people focused on their skills, it also helps to screen out people with egos driven by title instead of accomplishment or skill level.
2. We carefully curate layers, and only adding what we need.  We currently only have 3 levels of technicians and only 2 levels of management.  Limiting the number of layers encourages collaboration because people are able to talk across different departments and with people of different experiences and skill levels.  The number of levels and departments will need to expand as we grow, but our goal is to rigorously question if a new position, department or level of management needs to be created.
3. Each month everyone including managers are encouraged to produce at least one new or improved piece of intellectual property related to CAN and present it to the team.  This provides a way for people to be creative with a purpose, requires respect and trust of peers opinions, and provide a learning opportunity for each person on the team.
4. We encourage our employees to expose themselves to the best ideas available.  We encourage continual learning, exposure to multiple disciplines, and discussions about interesting topics.  Innovation and creativity at CAN come from the synthesis of ideas from multiple disciplines and sources.  For example, the first thing that we train analysts is design principals instead of more mathematics.  This helps them organize their work, and communicate their results for effectively.
CAN’s Three Way Test of Organization Structure:

Our models provide the foundation of our client’s business, and so we work hard to make sure that our models reflect reality so that they generate reasonable predictions.  One of the best ways that we do this is the CAN Three-way test.  The CAN Three-way test requires that each model we produce can be backed up with theory, data and math.
  1. The Theory: Without a sound theory, you have to rely on randomness, and that decreases the long-term usefulness of the model.  CAN relies on the expertise of our clients executives, managers and employees to build the theories around our models.
  2. The Data: CAN makes sure to fully understand your data, because data is the raw materials used to build predictive models.  CAN will examine patterns in your data to determine which equations to use to model your data, and also determine the quality of your data.  CAN is able work with imperfect data, we just make sure that we understand the flaws and limitations of your data, such as potential bias etc.
  3. The Math: CAN’s analysts go through hundreds of different models to select the right one that fits the data as well as the theory.  This doesn’t mean that we always select the equation that has the best line fit, but instead the equation that fits both the data and the theory.

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