How large
companies can act more like startups.

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This global tech visionary shares the book’s premise and aspirational message of continuous evolution and learning – technology-enabled, yet focused in human terms.

Nandan Nilekani

Infosys co-founder and chairman of the board

" This visionary shares the book’s premise and aspirational message of continuous evolution and learning – technology-enabled, yet focused in human terms."

About the book

Digital technology has moved from
sci-fi margin to societal mainstream,
offering leaders hope for exponential
progress, yet also real dystopian concerns.

For many years, large incumbent companies have tried to be more like startups... and failed, despite embracing leading business fads. Technology has disrupted traditional business, creating new champions while discarding digital laggards. How can large complex enterprises behave like startups, while maintaining resilience at scale?

To provide a better model, Jeff Kavanaugh and Rafee Tarafdar wrote The Live Enterprise. Live Enterprise transforms legacy systems into agile, digital ecosystems, and evolves with changing market needs and scales to any size. Live Enterprise takes its name from the metaphor of a living organism and shares practical examples from nature that apply to business as well. To be resilient, companies need to continuously evolve and learn, much like nature.

The Live Enterprise delivers four outcomes:

  1. Quantum Organization
  2. Perceptive Experiences
  1. Responsive Value Chains
  2. Intuitive Decisions

These outcomes are made possible through four ingredients:

  1. Hybrid Talent
  2. Design to Evolve
  1. Digital Runway
  2. Micro is the New Mega

Drawing on their own experience at Infosys, hundreds of clients, and years of research, the authors detail how leaders can prepare and respond to disruptive forces. Long after the current crisis fades, The Live Enterprise will continue to be a critical guide to operate with agility and evolve to win.


Establishes the Live Enterprise operating model, defining a strategic framework and logical flow for succeeding chapters. Its micro-release cadence moves with the market, made possible through shared digital infrastructure

How to achieve agility at global scale, the true competitive operational edge over time. Use organizational structure to drive agile culture. Evolve ways of working in distributed interconnected teams.

Why employee experience is the next frontier of corporate performance, and codifying employee emotional state of mind as well as actual behavior. Experience design as a computational science.

Resilience through systems design. Making offerings more valuable to customers. Nurturing the flexibility to repurpose people productivity into reimagined processes through sentient principles.

How to build intuitive decision-making capabilities, from knowledge graphs to digital brains. The real value of automating routine, deterministic decisions and responses.

Capitalize on the rapid shift from full-time employees to employees + machines + gig economy. As humans focus on problem-finding and highly empathic, ambiguous challenges, use talent management as competitive lever. Continuous, lifelong learning.

Live Enterprise reference architecture. The three dimensions of connectedness and collaboration. APIs as agents of change. Architecture success characteristics.

Shared digital infrastructure. The nine principles of platform architecture by design. Platforms that interact with people based on motivations and predispositions. Achieve performance through unbundled capabilities and architecture fitness.

Making it happen, through micro-change management. Measuring change at scale. Adoption through choice architecture and plus-one nudges.

Stakeholder capitalism and the next phase of corporate evolution. From sideline to C-Suite: developing a new triple bottom line of people, planet, and prosperity as three connected strands of enterprise DNA. The practical side of Green Swans and B Corps.

Epilogue - Live Enterprise lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, from the Infosys response for its customers and 240,000 employees, and the work of its foundations in multiple countries around the world. The road ahead: Pale Blue Dot or Brave New World?

Interested in multiple copies for your team or organization?

Advance praise

About the authors

Jeff Kavanaugh is vice president and global head of the Infosys Knowledge Institute, the research and thought leadership arm of tech services leader Infosys. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. In 2018, he launched the Knowledge Institute, an award-winning team of producers, editors, journalists, and analysts that publishes over 100 thought leadership works per year. Jeff is the author of the book, Consulting Essentials: The Art & Science of People, Facts, and Frameworks, and has been published in Harvard Business Review and other leading periodicals. Jeff has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the United Nations, and is a regular speaker and chair at conferences in the US and Europe. He also serves as an advisor to the United Nations, universities, and early stage companies. He lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.


Connect with Jeff Kavanaugh

Rafee Tarafdar is a senior vice president and chief technology officer of the Strategic Technology Group at Infosys. Rafee leads the company’s unit of technology strategists who define and drive large transformational programs and platforms; power programmers who work as full stack developers on complex engineering projects for clients; and expert trackers who bring in deep technical expertise in emerging technology areas while building platforms and solutions for Infosys. With over twenty years of IT experience, from coding and developing products for the manufacturing and banking industries, to consulting on transformational solutions for retail, consumer goods and logistics clients. Currently he builds deep architecture, technology and programming capabilities, develops new go-to market solutions, and builds platforms for Infosys and their clients. He is based in Bangalore, India.


Connect with Rafee Tarafdar

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