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, August 27, 2006  

Reinvention Chef: Mixing the Right Talent Ingredients in Recipe for Growth

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

"On December 7, 2004, IBM announced that it was selling its whole Personal Computing Division to the Chinese computer company Lenovo.... Talk about horizontal value creation: this new Chinese-owned computer company headquartered in New York with factories in Raleigh and Beijing will have a Chinese chairman, an American CEO, an American CPO, and a Chinese CFO, and it will be listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Would you call this an American company? A Chinese company? To which country will Lenovo feel most attached? Or will it just see itself sort of floating above a flat earth?"

Thomas Friedman, “The World is Flat”

DOUBLE NICKEL RANCH. It’s one thing to force the “jump to a winning reinvention path” through a major restructuring of people, processes, technologies and organization rearrangement. It’s quite another to develop the competency in-house to do it over and over again as needed.

J2020F: You’d think that mature organizations want to prevent the total disruption restructuring brings by acting at an earlier time. Is it that the emotional commitment is not sufficient to overcome the resistance to change?

Explorer: Yes. Recognizing the external signals of impending decline and acting on them requires foresight. Mature organizations excel at hindsight. So recognition and execution usually only occur after it is too late to mobilize in time to avoid a decline.

J2020F: Why?

Explorer: Like a lot of things, we’re really talking about 5 percent analysis -- finding out what has to be done-- and 95 percent of time and effort creating a demand for and executing change.

J2020F: It seems logical that the more time a mature organization operates with the “Red Tape” mentality, the longer it takes them – years even -- to shed their old habits and acquire a different set of competencies?

Explorer: Think of it as a chef would in a gourmet contest. The recipe requires four parts Academic, two parts Associate, two parts Agent and part Athlete.

J2020F: But, the active ingredients that account for the winning flavor are four parts Academic? I find that hard to believe.

Explorer: No, they’ve lost their power at this stage to the unique blends of ingredients missing from their shelf. They have too much of a vested interest in mastery – slowly building an expertise of embodied knowledge.

J2020F: So they become highly resistive to change?

Explorer: Yes. To changes in demand for the systems they built and the organizational structures they maintain. They create unintended consequences by professionalizing every function, and then having every function optimize their own processes and procedures according to external professional standards.

J2020F: How so?

Explorer: The mature organization’s system of professional functions
– each competing for more budget and influence according to their profession’s standards sub-optimizes the enterprise’s capability to respond to dramatic shifts in their market, industry and customer base.

J2020F: To change metaphors, if you add an “i” to Chef, you get “Chief”. So, in reinvention stages what you’re telling me is a new talent tribe is required – something that most organizations don’t have in house, or if they do not in great supply?

Explorer: That’s right. To change metaphors again, what you need to “make or buy” is a Donnie and Marie combination of talent.

J2020F: Huh?

Explorer: You know, a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. A cross-talent team drawn from Agents, Athletes, Associates and Academics – but found closer to the center of the model where innovation and knowledge intersect – more adaptive and flexible than their counterparts on the outer ring. If you have time you can grow your own, if not you must recruit or acquire them.

J2020F: Not exactly disruptive innovators and against-all-odds marketing teams, but rather a mix of internal change agents and knowledge managers is what you’re after to reinvent the enterprise and breathe new life into old procedures and processes relevant as the newer proprietary best practices – right?

Explorer: You’ve got it! You need Agent-Associates (“R&D Laboratories”) producing breakthrough products; Athlete-Academics (“Operational Excellents”) to improve operations and outsource non-core competencies; Associate – Agents (“Internal Change Agents”) to create the demand for change and to execute strategies to minimize resistance; and finally that unique combination of Academic- Athletes (“Professional Practice”) to capture and embody proprietary best practices.

J2020F: Wait a minute. According to this model the combinations you just described lie along the path of highest resistance.

Explorer: Yes, that’s right. Usually those combinations represent polar opposites in identity and pace and that’s why no others can master the reinvention process in the inner circle.

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

5:45 PM

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