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Introducing Loose


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Summary of thinking behind my latest book, Loose

Published in: Business, Technology
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Introducing Loose

  1. 1. Loose: The Future of Business is Letting Go Martin Thomas @crowdsurfing
  2. 2. The Future is Loose <ul><li>Loose thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Loose organisations </li></ul>
  3. 3. Loose Drivers <ul><li>Chaos, complexity & need for speed </li></ul><ul><li>New forms of collective behaviour  Emergence of new, informal organisational models </li></ul><ul><li>New generations emerging at top and bottom of corporate hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>New technology </li></ul><ul><li>Failure of tight </li></ul>
  4. 4. 1.Chaos, Complexity & Need for Speed <ul><li>Macro-economic meltdown </li></ul><ul><li>Socio political upheaval </li></ul><ul><li>New patterns of consumer behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>New expectations </li></ul><ul><li>New technology </li></ul>
  5. 5. 1.Chaos, Complexity & Need for Speed <ul><li>Defies rational analysis & neat, simple solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Simple Lie or the Complicated truth?” </li></ul></ul>“ The 21 st Century is not a place for tidy minds” Sir Martin Sorrell
  6. 6. 2. New forms of collective behaviour <ul><li>Capable of delivering political, social or commercial change … without structure or formal leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Underlines deficiencies of tight, bureaucratic structures that have to deal with them </li></ul> Emergence of new, informal organisational models Arab Spring Tea Party Movement Wikileaks Shared Grief in Wootton Bassett
  7. 7. 3. New Generations <ul><li>Emerging at top and bottom of corporate hierarchy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gen X in the Boardroom with a post-Boomer mindset </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gen Y entering the workplace with new expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Demanding new ways of working </li></ul>
  8. 8. 4. New Technology <ul><li>Social media is driving new behaviours & expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatizing institutions’ structural, operational & cultural weaknesses </li></ul>meets Connected Consumer Disconnected Corporation
  9. 9. Why Many Institutions Struggle <ul><li>Not configured to work in real time, in terms of speed or resources </li></ul>* Critical response time for responding to negative comments
  10. 10. 5. Failure of Tight <ul><li>Illusion of control </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of auditing, risk assessment, compliance, consulting, reporting, planning & forecasting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delusion of control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distortion of priorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Huge bureaucratic & cost burden </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inability to respond to real world </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Emergence of Looser Ways of Thinking <ul><li>Economists discover Behavioural Economics </li></ul><ul><li>Business Schools embrace critical & creative thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians talk of “a post bureaucratic age” & introduce Big Society </li></ul><ul><li>Conventional political parties challenged by informal movements e.g. The Tea Party </li></ul>
  12. 12. Thriving by Loosening Up <ul><li>Five simple operational & cultural traits of successful organisations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trusting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Tight Thinkers Need Not Apply <ul><li>Organisations & people that struggle with this new world </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bureaucratic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distrustful </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Trusting <ul><li>Bedrock of strong internal culture </li></ul><ul><li>Allows shared responsibility & real time decision making </li></ul><ul><li>The best company rulebook ever written? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Nordstrom Revisited “ Prescriptive rules have the effect of infantilising staff & make it harder for them to adapt to different situations. This goes as much for digital communications as for selling socks … Like the Nordstrom handbook we’re trusting staff to follow the spirit, not just the letter, of our guidelines” Meg Pickard, writing about The Guardian’s new social media guidelines, November 2010
  16. 16. Trust & Zappos <ul><li>Call centre operational that successfully breaks all rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No scripts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No time limits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Devolved decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… because it trusts people on the ground to make the right decisions </li></ul><ul><li>… because it places huge emphasis on recruitment, training & building the right culture </li></ul>
  17. 17. Open <ul><li>Transparency & honesty non negotiable </li></ul><ul><li>Capable of transforming reputations e.g. Asda & ‘Democratic consumerism’ = commitment to transparency & involving customers in decision-making </li></ul>
  18. 18. Agile <ul><li>Ability to improvise & operate in close to real time </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations of excessive faith in longer-term planning </li></ul><ul><li>Speed more important than absolute accuracy </li></ul>
  19. 19. Organisational Agility <ul><li>Reinvigorated innovation process: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Devolved decision making power from small group of senior execs to network of cross-functional councils & boards = “a distributed idea engine where leadership emerges organically, unfettered by a central command” Fast Company </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on agility & speed “all the windows of opportunities I’ve missed – areas that got ahead of us that we couldn’t get back into without doing big acquisitions or something – have been when I’ve moved too slow” Cisco Systems, CEO John Chambers </li></ul></ul> Business plans that used to take six months to develop and approve, can now be put together in a week
  20. 20. Informal <ul><li>NPD: Living life in Beta </li></ul><ul><li>Design: Messy vitality </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity: Authenticity more important than production values </li></ul>
  21. 21. Informality in the Workplace <ul><li>Emphasis on freedom & trust </li></ul><ul><li>Encouragement of creativity & individual responsibility </li></ul>“ We’re giving people the latitude to go off & do their own thing. We trust them to do their regular jobs & to experiment, innovate & have fun” Microsoft Snr Mgr, quoted in Business Strategy Review
  22. 22. Informality Drives Innovation <ul><li>Granted 2,000+ worldwide patents </li></ul><ul><li>“ The most innovative company in America” Fast Company </li></ul><ul><li>Consistently ranked as one of the best places to work </li></ul><ul><li>No job titles, formal hierarchy or organisational charts </li></ul><ul><li>Teams self organise around specific projects </li></ul>
  23. 23. Collaborative <ul><li>Tapping into spirit of collective self expression </li></ul>
  24. 24. Numbers are Compelling <ul><li>70% of companies regularly create value through use of web-based communities </li></ul><ul><li>Using customer communities to solve customer problems costs 10% of traditional call centres </li></ul>* McKinsey 2010
  25. 25. Lessons from Software Industry <ul><li>Cathedral = traditional, tightly controlled innovation model </li></ul><ul><li>Bazaar = loose, open source approach, harnessing the skills of the wider developer community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>N ot particularly effective at originating concepts, which still rely on the spark of individual genius to make them happen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very effective at testing & improving them </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Collaborative <ul><li>Opening up new business models </li></ul>
  27. 27. Community Commerce <ul><li>Self-sustaining creative community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members submit designs => 80,000+ submissions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity to pre test beta versions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community votes => 800+ designs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Designers receive $2,500 + marketing advice + retain IP </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No professional designers, no salesforce, no distribution, no market research, no advertising => $30m revenues … high margins </li></ul>
  28. 28. Community Commerce <ul><li>People-powered mobile network (from O2) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members receive points for recruiting new people, making suggestions & solving problems => converted into cash </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>20% actively involved </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aim that 25% of members will get half of cost of calls returned to them for contribution to community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plans to involve community in pricing & marketing decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not reliant on call centres, expensive marketing & product support </li></ul>
  29. 29. Formula for Collaborative Success <ul><li>Ensuring strategic focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publicity as bi-product not sole objective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Planning – who, what & how? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obama’s 100 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Devolving control to community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous feedback loops </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anticipating subversion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bieber in North Korea </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Managing IP rights </li></ul>
  30. 30. Thriving by Loosening Up <ul><ul><li>Trusting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul></ul>@crowdsurfing