Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Open Business - Principle 3: The Networked Organisation

 I've just published the third of our 10 Principles of Open Business over at 90:10 Group.

The third Principle is the one that defines the structure of an Open Business. It is that it should be a Networked Organisation.
Networked Organisation (or as McKinsey is labelling them, Networked Enterprises) will be familiar territory to anyone who has read this blog for a number of years. They go by the alternative name of Platform Organisations. An excerpt:

“The organisation functions as a platform connecting internal networks to external ones for a common Purpose.” (see Principle 1: Purpose).
This speaks to and supports our primary definition of an Open Business: One which uses its resources to bring people together to achieve a shared Purpose – designed from the outset to scale through participation making partners of customers.
You can read the full blogpost here.

I've been thinking and writing about the shift from traditional to networked (or platform) organisations since I began this blog. As more tech gets deployed, the clearer the requirement to connect inside and out reveals itself.
And, as I previously discussed, with the arrival of 3D printing the veil lifts on the true role of the organisation - suggesting a platform (or networked) approach has been the natural state to which organisations were always going to return when our view became clear:
When we talk about means of production, we often think about the machinery to produce. But that does not mean the device.
In a mass production world the connection between the machinery and the process is clearer. Traditionally a newspaper owner needed to own a printing press. They also needed to employ a team or writers, photographers, editors etc to produce the content. Which was the means of production? The printing press or the producers of the content? The two were so tightly connected it didn't matter.

On the web the owner of the means of production of content is the person who creates the content. In reality this was always so. In the past the owner of the means or production of content had no access to the printing press. Now they have (or at least to its equivalent in the form of the web - where of course everyone is a publisher).

The same is true of factories; where the production line is the equivalent of the printing press. In a world in which everyone has access to their own production line ( a home 3D printer) the real means of production is revealed as those coming up with the ideas, process and required designs.

What is clear is that 3D printing throws into sharp relief the need for organisations to think of themselves far less as the makers of, and far more the supporters of the makers of, 'their' products.
From 'The Challenge of 3D Printing to the role of the organisation'

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?