It’s 2011, and it’s no surprise that the major shift in the marketplace is the tectonic transformation we’ve been watching for more than five years: the Internet as a channel for reaching consumers, creating a new ecosystem in the marketplace for communicating in a real-time innovation economy.
There is an overwhelming “innovation juggernaut” of new technology exploding onto the scene that is redefining the fundamental relationships between customers, organizations, channels, vendors, hirers, and the market, and it’s making traditional marketing obsolete. Leading companies are shifting advertising away from usual channels like TV and print ads to communications like Twitter and Facebook. Technology will go beyond social networking and become a true on-demand innovation economy through cloud/mobile computing.
And nobody is ready for this. It’s the end of business as usual, and many organizations are not geared up for how fast the innovation is emerging. Sadly, most are operating as they did in the twentieth century – with some functions still stuck in the nineteenth! Most are still dealing with old legacy systems, HR-based writing, and theories of learning that are a hundred years old. Even R&D groups are hierarchal and paper-driven. Companies will have to re-examine their reason for being – literally what they do and what value they bring that people will pay for – and then transform themselves. That transformation will be tested in 2011.
For the past 25 years, I’ve told leaders that they need a new agility that is more predictive and anticipatory. They must be more like futurists – more attuned to online, cloud-based services that enable skill development and the ability to empower people. This is critically important for organizations because the key driver of success is not just innovation – it’s talent. Currently, most people don’t have the right kind of skills and capabilities to meet the challenges of the aggressive shift to a global, connected economy. We’ve all been concerned about the sustainability and viability of our organizations rather than being predictive.
Traditionally, an organization’s focus on training is for leadership, team building and communication skills, business effectiveness, and such. I’m not saying that we should discard these, but instead that we recast them in light of the new paradigm and focus them on managing complex systems. We are currently not doing a good job of managing complexity. We need people who understand how to manage complexity at a high level, given the transformation in business and the dynamic global economy. If an organization is to be successful, its leaders must understand the fundamental explosion that is happening in organizations in terms of globalization, complexity, and innovation. The chief concern is the forecast that 25% of most organizations will not have the culture of readiness, or “future readiness,” to respond to this challenge and may not be agile enough to survive.
Within organizations, we need to create knowledge banks in cloud computing. Our key trends, every application, program, training, capability, storage, virtualization, and modules should all be up in the cloud. Cloud-based knowledge management will be very important. This is a big transformation. Some organizations are future-ready for this; some think they’re still moving paper. Cloud-based knowledge management related to training is very important.
My challenge is for people on every level of your company to be on the leading edge. Don’t wait for your competitors, investors, or customers to wake you up to this! You be the ones to lead.