Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Sunday, September 03, 2006  

Custom Reinvention Process: Develop, Link, Modularize and Renew

Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

"Economists often compare China's and India's entry into the global economy to the moment when the railroad lines crossing America finally connected New Mexico to California, with its much larger population.... (A)ll the people in New Mexico say those people -- Californians -- will wipe out all our factories .... Sure, there is fear, and that fear is good because that stimulates a willingness to change and explore and find more things to do better."

Thomas Friedman, “The World is Flat”

DOUBLE NICKEL RANCH: Any enterprise has a choice when it comes to setting a price for what it produces. It can choose to have the market set the price. Doing so forces the company to face stiff competition based solely on the lowest price. But, there is a better way.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: What if you can’t compete with the flat earth Wal-Mart of offshore, outsourced producers?

Explorer: Then you have to rethink and reinvent your pricing strategy in terms of your relevance to your customers’ needs and the degree of differentiation you can demonstrate. The future belongs to those who can personalize experiences to transform their customers.

J2020F: Even today, you have to provide the highest perceived value versus your competitors to increase your margins and profits, right?

Explorer: Yes. The ability to charge premium prices and thus enjoy higher profits is a result of providing a product or service that is highly differentiated and is the most relevant to the needs of your customers. But, you have to begin with where you are in the customization – commoditization food chain.

J2020F: What about for a product manufacturer?

Explorer: You need a talent team that can manage four variables.

J2020F: How does it work?

Explorer: We've covered the themes already, in our discussion of the four talent scenarios and how they meet the challenges of each successive stage of growth.

J2020F: But now for a little more detail.

Explorer: We identified how a company moves between divergent and convergent stages.

J2020F: A period that is more dynamic and one that is more stable or more in control?

Explorer: Yes. Well in this model we have a slightly different four-box model defined by a change in the product – its feature or function, or a change in the process – how it is made and improved.

J2020F: O.K. I’m with you.

Explorer: And, we can have either a dynamic or a stable state for both product change and process change.

J2020F: Maybe it will become clearer as you continue.

Explorer: In the box where we have both a dynamic product and dynamic process change something is invented or reinvented. That’s why the upper left square has a red background signifying its Agent influence.

J2020F: In other models an Agent does the inventing in the start-up phase of an organization’s growth or reinvention in the later stages, right?

Explorer: Yes. In the start-up invention begins with the Breakpoint Inventors and Commercial Innovators. In the decline-prevention stage reinvention begins with the Thought Leaders and the R& D Laboratories who discover new product niches and breakthrough products.

J2020F: Gotcha. What’s next?

Explorer: And, just as we followed the path from Agent to Athlete as the product proved its worth and became mass-produced with help from Associates in the Growth Phase, a similar path occurs in this model.

J2020F: What is it?

Explorer: The dynamic (organic, experimental) invention evolves to both a stable product and stable process change when it is developed and mass-produced.

J2020F: On, yes. I see it. We start in the upper left hand corner and move to the lower left hand corner – the square with the green background.

Explorer: During the reinvention stage, we’re following a similar counter clockwise rotation, but on the inner circle -- involving the Operationally Excellents to outsource non-core competencies.

J2020F: Then, what?

Explorer: The product can’t stay unchanged and the process used to make it can’t stay in a stable state forever. A growing customer base won’t allow it.

J2020F: This is after the Athletes have figured out how to apply all the emerging knowledge they’ve gained and the Associates begin improving on it, since they’re the ones charged with sustaining the innovation, right?

Explorer: Right. Once in the market place, whether from a start-up or from a reinvention beginning, the stable product moves again to a dynamic incremental configuration in the manufacturing process.

J2020F: And then what happens?

Explorer: Once again the dynamic process, yet stable manufacturing product moves to a dynamic product, but stable process.

J2020F: So the path is from lower left to lower right, and now to upper right on the chart – to the “Professionals,” the more commercial Academics, whose task it is to finish modularizing it by capturing and circulating the new proprietary best practices.

Explorer: That occurs when the Associates conspire with the Academics to figure out how to modularize and mass customize product changes. On the inner circle of the reinvention path, Internal Change Agents – having collaborated with Operationally Excellents -- modularize the product in preparation for mass customization.

J2020F: And what is the advantage in all of this?

Explorer: Customers can choose any one of several options, but while each option seems like it has been customized for them, in reality the product is not totally personalized or customized to their needs.

J2020F: So it allows the enterprise to increase their price without a major disruption – moving from making goods to delivering services?

Explorer: That’s right. They get to step up to the next level of value while they increase their margins and force their competition to drop theirs until they’re customers follow suit.

J2020F: Which accounts for the last arrow – Renew. I can see how the product reinvention process must become a core process itself. Otherwise a mature organization will face decline again. Right?

Explorer. True. But wait, there’s more!

Got Knowledge?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

7:30 AM

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