Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Build on what the network can't touch

Often I argue that pretty much any process, any value chain you can think of, is awaiting disruption.
The moment the network touches it, that value chain shifts from being a chain to a web. New ways of doing business are demanded.

It shifts from being a series of links with mediation between them into something the nodes within the web can reconfigure to go around.

It's big, scarey and amorphous. But I'm wondering if it might also prove a useful tool for businesses to use to uncover the real contribution they bring to the process of creation of value in an increasingly networked world.

Ask yourself which element of your business can NOT be disrupted as the network touches it.

Which element cannot be made more efficient, done more cheaply - done better when integrated with and disrupted by the network?

If you can find part - a kernel - a piece that is truly yours and which you truly believe in, congratulations, that is something of great valuable, which others will find value in and join you in building on. (image courtesy cayusa)

That is your contribution to the new creation webs which will emerge as communities of purpose become the business units of the 21st century.

Frankly, it is this which gives you a right to stay in the game at all.
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  1. Interesting post, and one which I definitely agree with to some extent - except it's very hard to think of something which the network can't disrupt. Even in the production of goods, for example.

    I think the real key is in the line: 'done better when integrated with and disrupted by the network?'

    It's not so much finding something that can't be improved - it's finding something where any disruption and improvement is built into what you're doing and not anyone else.

  2. Oh I agree integrating with the network is essential for the improvement of almost processes.
    And I have ideas about how that can be deployed throughout any business to increase efficiency and fit with the fitness landscape of the networked world.
    But, if using the network is all you have. perhaps you don't have a business. Discovering the non-disruptable bit is hard. I suspect it is to be found very close to an organisation's purpose.

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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?