Human brains constantly change their function and structure, and the term for this is neuroplasticity. Modern enterprises faced with constant challenges exercise a similar form of “plasticity” to adapt to a continuum of new changes. It was not always so, of course.

Thirty years ago, companies relied on people to get business done. They were organized in hierarchies complemented by narrowly scoped, localized systems of record. Change management programs restructured org charts, companies reeducated people, and eventually people were hired and fired. There was some change enforced on the existing system of records, but lack of agility (or lack of plasticity) was never a mission-critical impediment to success in business.