Our world, society and businesses are facing major, fast and intense change that requires them to transform and question themselves. Moving from a well-known, mastered and reassuring model, even if totally dysfunctional, is not an easy thing, even more when the replacement model has two weaknesses.
The first one is that the model is still imperfect, under construction. We try to progress, experiment, grope around but there’s still a long way ahead. It’s not easy to start a journey when you know the direction but not the destination.
The second is that even poorly defined, the new model is the exact opposite of the old one. Radical revolution, need to unlearn, the leave many basics and assumptions behind.
But are we really sure ?
We love binary choices. They’re clear and leave no room to subtlety. It’s 0 or 1, black or white, A or B. And even more when it comes digital transformation : the digital world does not tolerate halve-measures and loves to announce every morning that an industry or a company are dead and praise something new to be the next big thing…before the new trend itself becomes pilloried. Not only this world venerates novelties but it can’t imagine novelty without the destruction of what existed before. Such an approach is probably wrong.
What did we learn these last years ?
That the old vertical word had not been replaced by an horizontal one. Each has its advantages and weaknesses. What works is to have both at the same time, not one or the other.
That networks and hierarchies are not opposed but complementary. Any approached fully based on one or the other is doomed to fail. “wirearchy” is the solution.
That e-commerce did not kill physical commerce except when the latter did everything possible to die and refused to adapt to a fast changing word. But in such cases digital kills nothing, it’s rather old businesses committing suicide. In most cases both live together, feed each other, complement one another. Long live click and mortar.
That conversations and digital channels did not replace documents and processes. They improve, complete and enrich them. The social and collaborative wave did not killed the former world but helps to close loops.
That computer and mobile devices’ screens did not kill TV. On the contrary, second screens bring users back to their first screen where they find the stimuli that make them use the second one.
That collective intelligence can be mobilized in may forms , at any scale, for any purpose but that, in the end, one person will make a decision. Because accountability is needed but a group or a community is never accountable, a person is.
We can already announce that big data and its inductive approach won’t kill the deductive one we used to rely one. Each one works in a given field and replacing one with the other is nothing but replacing a lack by another.
Services did not kill manufacturing industry. On the contrary, a servicization model is the way to give old industries a new breath and explore new fields of value.
The list is long. I let you add your own experiences…
So there’s actually an ongoing revolution, a new management philosophy, a new approach to business that will have to be adopted and is a major disruption. It’s about thinking in terms of “AND” instead of “OR”. It requires us to go beyond the traditional replacement approach to make ideas and concepts work together even if they look opposite. It requires more thinking and subtle actions than brute force. It needs us to stop being wasted children who love to throw things away to adopt any shiny idea when it comes.
And this challenge is not the easiest to deal with.