The shape of firms to come: how existing inventions are likely to change the way we organize work in teams, business models, and our careers. How firms adapt to the rich spectrum of new inventions in their business models and how they organize themselves. I finally got this overview published in February of 2018: The Shape of Firms to Come: Key Values and Architectural Philosophy
|This blog post summarizes what started out as our September 2017 newsletter and ended up our February 2018 newsletter.
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Fundamental changes that have occurred in the infrastructure for business over the last 25 years now mandate changes in key values necessary for long term survival.
The Shape of Firms to Come: Overview
Fundamental changes that have occurred in the infrastructure for business over the last 25 years now mandate changes in key values necessary for long term survival. Historically firms were rewarded for scale (and therefore growth), centralized command and control, lower costs, and a focus on short term profit. Now as they face competitors who are decentralized networks focused on longer term impact and resilient operations, the historically successful are finding it increasing difficult to survive, much less prosper.
These new competitors have many of the key attributes of open source projects and global supply chains: they are incessant, so deeply interconnected with suppliers and customers as to be transparent, and global. I think they represent a phase change in business model that requires an embrace of new values and a new architectural philosophy.
I think Robert Kahn was prescient 16 years ago in calling for new Internet based ideas:
“The Internet is an architectural philosophy, rather than a technology. The evolution of the Internet is similar to that of electricity. First, technologies emerged that replaced old products and services then new concepts were introduced. It’s time for the new Internet based ideas to come forth.”
Robert Kahn (2002)
Here are the 8 key values:
- Intelligence Amplification/Augmentation not Artificial Intelligence (IA not AI)
- Human Touch at Scale: Enable Customer Intimacy not an Instrumentality
- Tap Expertise Like Electricity: Rely on Recon Pull Over Centralized Command
- Focus on Learning and Teaching: View Customer Requests as Opportunities Not Costs
- Play a Long Game: Focus on Longer Term Possibilities Over Short Term Gains
- Play a Fast Game: Act on Good Enough Now Don’t Wait for Perfection or Certainty
- Embrace the Possibility of Failure to Prevent it, the Reality of Failure to Learn from It
- Act Entrepreneurially and Foster Ecosystems to Create More Value Than You Capture
These same 8 principles can be applied by startups to find their niche in a crowded market or to scale up successfully against larger and more established competitors. You are welcome to sign up for a no cost no obligation office hours session if you would like to walk around how to apply these to your situation.