Improve your firm in a flash

Comatch flash organisation

The use of so-called flash organisations could significantly increase your venture’s responsiveness to complex challenges, writes Christoph Hardt, co-founder and MD of Comatch

Christoph Hardt of Comatch

Christoph Hardt

The term “design by committee” has come to be used disparagingly to describe disjointed projects that lack a unified vision. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in business.

Thanks to groupthink and a silo mentality, companies can stagnate, producing flawed solutions to complex issues. Nothing is anyone’s responsibility and problems remain unsolved.

To break through these obstacles, new ideas and forms of work are required. This is where flash organisations come in.

Described in 2017 by a Stanford University research team led by Michael Bernstein and Melissa Valentine, a flash organisation uses matching technology and data to assemble a temporary team of world-leading experts to solve a problem. The tech enables the right people to be found and appointed quickly to defined roles. Once the team has solved the problem, it will disband.

Two hallmarks of flash organisations are the speed and accuracy with which they can assemble teams, but the main factor distinguishing them from traditional consultancy is the ease with which they can source the best experts. Previously, companies would have to know exactly whom to hire to solve a given problem. Today, they can search online marketplaces of experts to identify the most appropriate person in an instant.

With problems narrowing and expertise ever more niche, it will only become more important to find the right expert quickly. Firms will have to focus on their USPs and streamline their processes to be as efficient and competitive as possible. Every other crucial task beyond these key areas will have to be outsourced.

Flash factors

There are many reasons why dynamic organisations are opting for more project work. The costs of outsourcing have reduced significantly; repetitive tasks are increasingly automated; and new challenges involving digitalisation, globalisation and customer focus require international cross-functional teams.

Old departmental structures, in which employees with similar skills work in silos, no longer meet customers’ requirements. If the sales department is in Germany and the project development team is in China, for instance, they simply must work together, mediated by an expert.

Once the right people have been sourced, they can be assigned clear roles and reporting lines and then left to complete the project. Of course, this requires a stable company culture that can tolerate the stresses of independent, innovative work.

As a marketplace for independent consultants, Comatch helps to build flash organisations. Such teams are the key to tackling sophisticated projects in a complex global business environment. What’s more, the creation of flash organisations is becoming even easier, thanks to the falling costs of recruiting experts. In the future, the use of flash organisations will prove a competitive advantage for those companies that can master it.

Christoph Hardt is co-founder and MD of Comatch. For further information, call him on 020 3457 0891, email or visit

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Director commercial and sales

Director commercial and sales

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