Redefine management in the Quantum Era

A framework for improving efficiency in a market full of complexity and uncertainty

Continuous acceleration

The current business environment is characterized by a complex and interconnected global landscape that undergoes rapid and unpredictable changes.

Several key factors contribute to this environment, including globalization, political instability, regulatory changes, and technological evolution. Looking closely at the latter, we have witnessed how the rapid development of technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things has transformed industries and business models, adding complexity to the marketplace.
Well-established companies are experiencing disruption from young tech startups at an unprecedented rate, leading to rapid shifts in market dynamics and competitive landscapes.

We live in a state of constant acceleration, a concept Ray Kurzweil theorized as “the law of accelerating returns”. According to Kurzweil, the rate of progress is not linear but exponential. As technology advances, the rate of progress itself accelerates. Technologies become more advanced and widespread, their costs fall rapidly, and different fields converge to create newer and more powerful transformative technologies. 

Management at the edge of chaos

The continuous acceleration in the marketplace is generating significant changes. We are in the midst of a massive paradigm shift. Complexity, uncertainty, rapid change, and global interconnectedness are forcing organizations to redefine their structures. 

According to Danah Zohar, physicist, philosopher, and bestselling author, we live at the “edge of chaos. We’re in a state between order and chaos, a scenario of maximum instability, where challenges and opportunities are at their greatest
In her book “Zero Distance: Management in the Quantum Age“, Zohar proposes redefining the structure and operation of management, introducing a new approach called “Quantum Management”.

What is Quantum Management?

Quantum Management is a management theory that embraces complexity, uncertainty, and rapid change. Traditional management methods, which are often linear and deterministic, are not sufficient to address today’s business environment. Instead of applying a hierarchical structure, Quantum Management is inspired by living systems, also known as Complex Adaptive Systems or CADs.

CADs are holistic, constantly evolving and redefining themselves through a co-creative dialogue between internal elements and the external environment.

The core principles of Quantum Management are:

  • Self-organizing: Quantum companies operate as self-organizing systems, free from top-down control and bureaucratic directives. CADs have maximum autonomy about decisions and operations;
  • Adaptable: Quantum companies are open to change and do not lock themselves into rigid strategies and structures. CADs have flexible infrastructures, enabling them to adapt to new challenges; 
  • Holistic: Quantum companies are holistic. In CAD’s structures, everything is connected to everything;
  • Diversity: Quantum companies celebrate diversity, operating with multiple skills and always considering many points of view;
  • Relationships: Quantum Companies are defined by their relationships, their success depends on the number and quality of their relationships;
  • Sense of purpose and direction: Quantum companies have a clear vision and all components of CADs share a common purpose and values. 

Haier Case Study

Haier, a global leader in the home appliance market, was the first company to implement Quantum Management. In the Haier model CADs are called micro-enterprises (MEs), and the entire company is composed of three types of MEs:  

  1. Market-facing MEs: They deal directly with users and work to transform their products according to changing customer needs and newly available technologies; 
  2. Incubating MEs: They constantly explore new business opportunities such as gaming, healthcare, and biotech; 
  3. Nodal MEs: They provide components, parts, or services to market-facing MEs, such as marketing and human resources.

Haier’s model, also called RenDanHeyi, is designed to thrive in chaos, uncertainty, and rapid change. This model has allowed Haier to become the largest home appliance manufacturer in the world.

How to improve Design and Development Processes?

In the last 10 years of working in software design and development, I have tried to apply several management models, but I have struggled to find something that allows for better collaboration and better solutions. Quantum Management and the RenDanHeyi models helped me redefine some aspects of operations and governance. 
After several attempts, I theorized a model consisting of the following elements:

  • Structure and relationships
  • Core methodologies
  • Reporting lines
  • Continuous learning

Structure and relationship

The principles of Quantum Management theory helped me rethink the smallest unit of a team and its characteristics. Still, the hard part was defining the best way to ensure relationships within and outside the team.

Establishing shared tools such as documentation, libraries, and knowledge bases played a key role in helping designers and developers achieve the best results with higher quality. These tools maximize relationships within a team, improving how team members share ideas and get feedback from different perspectives. However, tools alone were not enough. Selecting the appropriate software packages and solutions became crucial in defining best practices and internal procedures to minimize time wastage. In this scenario, individuals such as project managers and scrum masters serve as orchestrators, facilitating relationships and ensuring governance. 

I described the hybrid roles and facilitation process in greater detail in my article: “Design engineering: hybrid roles for a fast-changing world” (link).

Core methodologies

Drawing from the Zero-Distance approach proposed in the RenDanHeyi model, I formulated a strategy to minimize the gap between teams and users.
Design Thinking and Agile are the primary methodologies I employed to foster collaboration between design and development teams.
Agile methodologies have redefined the way software projects are planned and managed. Embracing flexibility, collaboration, and continuous improvement, Agile enables organizations to adapt to evolving requirements and deliver valuable products more efficiently. On the other hand, Design Thinking, with its focus on understanding user needs and crafting innovative solutions, has gained recognition as a powerful approach to problem-solving and innovation.

Reporting lines

Instead of a single top-down reporting line, I defined a structure with two different reporting ways: a capability line and a value-creation line. This structure allows team members to increase productivity while staying focused on project goals. A dual reporting line ensured a balance between discovering new ideas and delivering great quality. Read my article “Merging Optimization and Innovation” for more details (link).

Continuous learning

I defined some guidelines to facilitate continuous learning, empowering individuals to enhance their understanding of projects, markets, best practices, and innovation trends daily. I tried to create a learning ecosystem where team members could improve their knowledge and, most importantly, acquire new skills. The power of technological evolution will dramatically accelerate the need for new knowledge, and companies must integrate new skills into their current workforce. For a deeper dive into this topic, refer to my article “The Era of Re-skilling” (link).

A new way of thinking at scale

In summary, Quantum Management offers a fresh and innovative approach to management that can help organizations navigate the complexities and uncertainties of today’s business environment more effectively. 

The combination of Quantum Management, design thinking, and agile methodologies brings together the best practices from the design and development worlds, enabling organizations to create customer-centric products and services that meet user needs and deliver value.

This shift in governance isn’t easy. It’s a lengthy process with no fixed rules, and it’s full of trial and error. Adopting a new model raises more questions about culture than about operations and management.

Culture is at the heart of any change. We need to be open to a different way of thinking because solving complex challenges in an ever-accelerating marketplace requires new thinking at scale.


  • “The law of accelerating returns” – Ray Kurzweil – link
  • Zero Distance: Management in the Quantum Age – Donah Zohar – link
  • Shattering the status quo: A conversation with Haier’s Zhang Ruimin – McKinsey – link
  • The Haier Model: Reinventing a multinational giant in the new network era – Cao Yangfeng – link
  • RenDanHeYi website – link