Building the 21st Century Organization
CSC’s Leading Edge Forum proposes a six-part framework to focus the process of updating business models.
by Dave Aron
In some ways, business has sleepwalked into the 21st century with 20th century models. What’s needed is a radical, courageous look at parts and processes that continue to hold back organizations.
CSC’s Leading Edge Forum (LEF) proposes this six-part framework as a lens to focus the process.
Proactive, haptic sensing
Enterprises need to devote significantly more effort to growing their understanding of the world around them, and research and development activity should be spread throughout the enterprise. This type of “sensing” should be proactive and haptic (e.g., experimenting and making, rather than just reading and thinking), and include a wide worldview of economics, social/cultural trends and legal/regulatory frameworks.
Digital identity and strategy
Businesses should develop an identity and strategy that makes sense in an increasingly digital world, one that inspires customers, citizens, staff members, partners and other stakeholders. Tools such as LEF’s Wardley Mapping help leaders think through where their industry is, where it is going and what place their business should want and have in the new landscape.
Outside-in approach to assets and capabilities
An outside-in approach to assets and capabilities, one that appreciates contributions from outside the enterprise, can enhance the digital ecosystem. This approach prioritizes attracting and unleashing talent, and it recognizes information, employees and customers as assets and sources of value and insight, not just way stations on a production line.
360-degree, digitally optimized product and service portfolio
Opportunities abound to exploit digital channels, embed digital capabilities in physical products and augment products with digital services. A business today can create digital-only offerings and make digital extensions into the market, even creating new markets. But to do so, the company needs a full, 360-degree view of the product and service portfolio.
Organizations must become truly adaptive in business, operations and investments. This means using agile methodologies, such as Scrum and DevOps, and embracing a fluid organizational structure and proactive approach to transparency, collaboration and relationships.
Value-centric leadership in an uncertain world
Today’s leaders need to make value-based decisions in a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). This includes stepping up the basics, but it’s also about mastering the advanced techniques needed in a VUCA world, such as platform economics, in which value is created outside the firm (as in Apple’s App Store) and real-options valuation, which allows more flexibility in investment decisions.
The Leading Edge Forum now uses this model to structure our thinking, organize and focus our research, and advise our clients. Let’s take some courageous steps together to reinvent and win in the 21st century.
DAVE ARON is global research director for the Leading Edge Forum.