Monday, March 20, 2006

GIO 2.0-The future of the enterprise

(Via Sadagopan) IBM’s Global Innovation Outlook brings together a diverse set of contributors from many disciplines and areas of influence to examine each of the focus areas. For 2005 & 2006, 248 thought leaders from nearly three dozen countries and regions, representing 178 organizations, gathered on four continents for 15 “deep dive” sessions to discuss three focus areas and the emerging trends, challenges and opportunities that affect business and society.

A very interesting report to read (available here). The focus areas were:
  • The Future of the Enterprise

  • Transportation, and

  • The Environment

Some startling patterns emerged. For instance, for the future of the enterprise:
  1. Enterprise-free as against free enterprise. Activities driven by a common set of interests, goals or values will glue together the involved entities, with the traditional organization playing the role of facilitator.

  2. Job fluidity is here to stay. In the 21st Century, the workforce will be much more comfortable with changing jobs frequently. As a consequence, an increasingly “specialized enterprise will emerge.

  3. Smaller is better. Large businesses will learn to inculcate the flexibility and adaptability of smaller businesses, becoming in effect, an aggregation of small specialized enterprises.

  4. Leaders will need to be very different in the new business world. Maybe some pointers can be gained from the very popular MMOGs. They will have to deal with a high level of complexity, uncertainity, and will have to make rapid-fire decisions.

  5. Innovation will have to be ingrained into every fiber of the new enterprise.

Social Networks, collaborative innovation, are themes that pervade the report.

IMHO: Though it might seem paradoxical, the focus is shifting from the enterprise back to the individual, just as we saw in marketing some time back (a shift from mass- to one-on-one marketing). Social networks are predicated on the individual, and the new-age enterprise will have to find something beyond the traditional ESOPs, bonuses etc. to bind together its workforce. Traditionally, Indian firms have been slack at this, and it shows in the high rates of flux in the workforce. They have to tighten up in this area, and guard there intellectual capital zealously, otherwise with the demand side competition increasing, attrition will only go northward.

A summary of the report is also available here.


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