Want To Be a Game Changer?

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Everyone is searching for a game changer. In a dorm, a basement, a bedroom, a lab, a hip co-working office space or a tiny start-up, someone, somewhere is just beginning to really give shape to an idea they’ve had for a while. 

It could be a product, a platform, a service, an experience, or a new category of thing-ness that we have not yet envisioned. It could help us do something, learn something, say something, feel something, or otherwise achieve and experience something in a new or better way. What it is and what it will do are not important here. What is important is that once fully formed and let out into the world, it will disrupt, delight, surprise, shock, entice, and engage us all in a way that nothing has before.

This is good news for humanity, but it’s bad news for Fortune 1000s, most of which are running on outdated operating systems, decades old infrastructures, and strategic theories that never should have been activated in the first place. Currently playing in the incremental “me too” innovation zone, many will find themselves a part of the past as they give up game changing opportunity after opportunity to startups.

Corporations are at a crossroads. They are being reconstructed, from within and without, by the digital industrial revolution that is already in progress. The strategies and business models that underpin them face deep challenges. Their values, and the values associated with work and the workplace, are increasingly being questioned. Their model of resource use, of “use it and throw it out,” is increasingly running up against constraints of supply costs. New ways of designing and managing businesses, and new business models, are inevitable.

We are at the end of the easy growth era when the global economy has expanded by 3.5% annually since the 80s, and historically is around 2% during the industrial era. As for labor costs, we are seeing the end of cheap China, and we can no longer reap big profits from labor arbitrage and new jobs require unique skills that are in shortages. In the West, one third of our workers will be reaching their retirement age in the next 5-10 years, furthering the global war for talent. And robotics are replacing not just blue collar work but also white collar. There are also increasing fears about the impact of AI technology on employment. When computers are capable of advanced-pattern recognition and run our businesses, when cars drive themselves, drones handles our deliveries, and robots perform intricate tasks, how will that impact the demand for blue collar labor? If automation eliminates even higher-level jobs (yes, a big if) we need to rethink our economic system and how benefits of technological advance won’t depend on a handful of companies or individual.

CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies are well aware of the challenges. They’ve digested Harvard Business Review, attended executive forums, spoken with consultants. And they get that the game has changed: the industrial is the technological; the personal is the social; the innovation is the experience; the market is global; the consumer segments don’t really exist; and the business no longer has to be tied to a single category. Industry boundaries are collapsing.

Whether it’s a more succinct articulation of goals, a quest for a new business model, an acknowledgement that digital strategy is the transformation of the core or a route to new global markets, so begins the journey towards designing and implementing a strategy suited for today. And that could well be the biggest mistake possible. Why? Because strategy doesn’t mean anything if you can’t execute on it, and few – if any – large organizations are culturally equipped to even start thinking about game changing. Big or small, slow or fast, but always from the CEO down, most need to begin with an organizational transformation, the kind of epistemological, structural, economic, and cultural shift that defines a new purpose, celebrates the power of internal creativity, opens new wellsprings of organizational energy, and is never satisfied with the status quo. And this is the theme of the latest edition of my MISC magazine – The Game Changer Issue. We gather insights from our day-to-day experiences and bundled them into this issue. They are not theories, they are what we practice at Idea Couture.

Original Post: http://idr.is/want-to-be-a-game-changer/