“Now with the publication this week of The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business, the death is official. The book is written by Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School in New York and one of the worldâ€™s leading experts on strategy.
Moreover, the burial is being conducted by Harvard Business Review Press, which as recently as 2008 republished Professor Michael Porterâ€™s â€œclassicâ€ 1979 article that launched the concept of sustainable competitive advantage and started a revolution in the strategy field.”
Strategy was all about finding a favorable position in a well-defined industry and then exploiting a long-term competitive advantage. Innovation was about creating new businesses and was seen as something separate from the businessâ€™s core set of activities.â€
In the Creative Economy, where the quest is to find the next opportunity, â€œcompanies are getting better at figuring out what people really need and will pay for, at designing better experiences, and at wresting new efficiencies from existing assets.â€
There are indeed examples of advantages that can be sustained, even today. Capitalizing on deep customer relationships, making highly complicated machines such as airplanes, running a mine, and selling daily necessities such as food are all situations in which some companies have been able to exploit an advantage for some time
Music, high technology, travel, communication, consumer electronics, the automobile business, and even education are facing situations in which advantages are copied quickly, technology changes, or customers seek other alternatives and things move on. â€œ
Think about it: the presumption of stability creates all the wrong reflexes. It allows for inertia and power to build up along the lines of an existing business model. I
Today, competition can come from anywhere. Itâ€™s not just cheap substitutes to their products, capturing low-end customers, and then gradually move upmarket to pick off higher-end customers. Now entire product linesâ€”whole marketsâ€”could be destroyed almost overnight as customers defect in droves by â€œbig bang disruption.
Chapter 5 of her book is about â€œBuilding an Innovation Proficiencyâ€. It suggests that in a world of temporary advantage, innovation needs to be a continuous, core, well-managed process rather than the episodic and tentative process it is in many companies.
innovation is driven, not by what managers or strategists think makes sense, but rather by direct feedback from customers in carefully designed A/B experiments.
“Increasingly, the best answer may be found within the Strategic Talent Acquisition function. The High Potentials, Innovators and Customer Service champions of the future are all within the grasp of the best Talent Acquisition Strategists. Through better, more consultative relationships with hiring managers, a strategic view of workforce planning and analytics that lead to business outcomes and mastery of a set of new relationship-building competencies and tools â€” Talent Acquisition professionals are poised to contribute answers on each of these fronts. First, however, they must move beyond the world of order taking and searching resumes for keywords.”
“Yet in the virtual world of social media, the software programs that try to identify sentiment frequently only think about the content. The content is negative or the content is positive as though the content had a mind of its own. Actually if we really think about it, its kind of absurd. Now I appreciate that incorporating social analytics into the equation is non-trivial, however itâ€™s hard to imagine us making any headway at all vis-a-vis social media engagement until we put social analytics (the people) up front and center. Some of the interesting challenges are:”
Historically organizations from the intelligence sector to the gaming industry have been using a variety of techniques, such as IBMâ€™s Identity Insights, to find patterns in data and use those patterns to disambiguate people, such as connecting aliases and the likes. Sound familiar?
Just because Joe happens to say something negative about X doesnâ€™t make him a detractor.
So how do we take the aggregate of sentiment signals a person leaves out in the socialsphere, and in combination with other features, such as affiliations, translate this into an opinion classification?
The social attributes, network of relationships, historical opinions, topics of interest, all combine to give you a Social Profile for an individual that has to be considered when thinking about sentiment and how to respond.
When monitoring / listening to a stream of social media for positive or negative mentions of your brand (filtering), you frequently end up with a really strange collection of incomplete and ambiguous conversation snippets
This means going back to the data source and grabbing all related conversations, perhaps even going so far as to grab all conversations of the associated network so that a complete picture can be determined. In this scenario, more is definitely better.
Content is simply a set of signals we are putting out into the socialsphere to confuse the heck out of the software programs 🙂