The Producers: How Companies Like BTG Are Powering Pop-Up Projects

July 13, 2017 Leah Hoffmann

NYTimes flash teams article: group of people assembled together to look like puzzle pieces creating temporary teams in flash organizations

Hollywood producers have decades of experience assembling temporary teams, or flash teams, to execute complex, multi-million-dollar projects. According to Stanford professors Melissa Valentine and Michael Bernstein, that model has become increasingly viable for large corporations.

The New York Times took a look at the pair’s research on “flash organizations”—teams that come together to tackle specific and often complex problems, then disband. Until recently, economists have argued it would be prohibitively expensive to hire, train, and monitor workers separately for each project that a large company might undertake.

Now, thanks to advances in technology, and companies like Business Talent Group (BTG) who can act as the project’s producers, it’s easier than ever for big companies to find and engage effective temporary teams, or flash teams, thus creating a flash organization. The New York Times spoke with BTG CEO Jody Miller to learn more:

There is some evidence that the corporate world, which has spent decades outsourcing work to contractors and consulting firms, is embracing temporary organizations. In 2007, Jody Miller, a former media executive and venture capitalist, was a co-founder of the Business Talent Group, which sets up temporary teams of freelancers for corporations.

‘We’re the producers,’ Ms. Miller said. ‘We understand how to evaluate talent, pick the team.’

Some of Ms. Miller’s biggest clients are in the pharmaceutical industry, whose economics are not unlike Hollywood’s in that it is heavily project-based and a small handful of blockbusters drive most of the profit. Business Talent Group teams frequently work on the kickoff of a new drug—devising the strategy for reaching out to patient groups, journalists, doctors and insurers—and help pry open new markets for existing drugs.

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About the Author

Leah Hoffmann

Leah Hoffmann is a former journalist who has worked for and The Economist. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.

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