100 ways “platforms” change the game of business … transforming markets and delivering exponential growth

April 6, 2019

12 years ago a small group of companies began enjoying exceptional sales and profit growth, companies like Apple, Alibaba and Google to name just three. They didn’t just grow. Nor were they simply enjoying their best ever years. They grew exponentially, and they were still in their infancy.

These companies, to use the description of Nick Vitalari are “elastic enterprises”. They take a “platform” and “ecosystem” approach to business. The platform and ecosystem provides a new kind of elasticity. Enabled by the platform they have an ability to scale like no enterprise before them.

Platforms are typically online matchmakers or technology frameworks. By far the most common type are “transaction platforms”, also known as “digital matchmakers”. Examples of transaction platforms include Amazon and Alibaba, Uber and Baidu. A second type is the “innovation platform”, which provides a common technology framework upon which others can build, such as the many independent developers who work on Microsoft’s platform, app makers for Apple, technologists with Android, content creators on Youtube, and partners who work in ARM’s ecosystem.

The Elastic Enterprise: The New Manifesto for Business Revolution by Vitalari and his colleague Haydn Shaunessy and tells that story, the story of today’s extraordinary successes in an age of turbulence and change.

For over two hundred years enterprises worked off an operating model described by Adam Smith in the 18th century. It was based on the division of labor and the gradual elimination of individual creativity. Today’s high performing platforms have moved beyond Smith’s craft-inspired model of scale. They grow in new ways.

“While other companies were laying staff off, these platforms were hiring and creating opportunity for vast ecosystems of creative people. We noticed these companies were not just good for employment opportunities; they were creating new markets as well. We are talking here about real change, along many dimensions, baked into one coherent model for how business should be done,” observed Vitalari and  Shaunessy.

Here are some other recent articles, reports and toolkits on platforms:

Here are Vitalari’s 100 factors driving the “platform” revolution:

1. Elasticity is a strong success factor – the formula is highly scaled growth at low relative cost.
Elastic enterprises grow without incurring corresponding overhead costs. There are many reasons for that but the principle needs enshrining as a guiding principle for ambitious companies. Growth should be at low cost relative to the reward. Even in a low growth economy, we have to enshrine the principle of low cost, high scale.

2. High scale, low cost is a competitive mantra
The US will be at an extreme scale disadvantage to Chinese companies from here on in. That implies huge price disadvantage as Chinese companies amortize all business over hundreds of millions of more users. In the 1970s many Japanese companies used a base of just 130 million users to attack the American economy and claimed plenty of scalps in computer memory, TVs, white goods and more. China doesn’t need to do this. It will suppress opportunity for US and EU companies across the emerging market sphere – Africa, India, Latam, Asia.  Unless we can leverage all available assets, the geopolitics of scale will win. The elastic formula, high scale relative to cost, is a necessity.

3.  The secret is, in a low growth economy, elastic enterprises leverage third party assets to corner new opportunity.

Since Google began interacting with search engine marketers and content providers in the late 1990s, platforms have been designed around the reciprocal leveraging of assets between platform owner and ecosystem activists. Now , with overall economic growth in the west destined to be low as far ahead as we dare project, executives need to explore the question of which third party assets they can leverage.

4. Platforms allow all kinds of leverage, particularly intellectual asset leverage.
Platforms are at the heart of the new elasticity we wrote about in The Elastic Enterprise. They are the vehicle for leveraging other people’s assets. But the platform needs to offer assets, like a transaction engine, streamlined information services, friction reduction, global reach etc.

5. Elastic enterprises approach friction-free status.
Elastic enterprises do everything they can to remove business friction, from great UX design to, simple terms and conditions, to creating great logistics. The key is to be the engine that reduces friction for third parties.

6. Platforms are not two sided markets or network effects.
There are various shades of platform but their power is not captured by the idea of a two-sided market or by the idea of network effects. In many instances of platform success the main engine of growth is advocacy – many constituencies advocating the platform because of the gains it brings.

7. The platform is the main pillar of a vibrant new growth economy. 

Full stop. It used to be the factory, then the bureaucracy. The assembly line was a pillar of the economy for fifty years, then it switched to the supply chain. Today it is the platform.

8. The platform is about infinite scale.
All platforms seek scale but scale is now infinite, like Alibaba’s 120,000 transactions per second. The organisation of human economic activity now takes place a scale without precedent, scale the old enterprise could never have imagined. For that matter few of us could have imagined!

9. And infinite endpoint management.
Management used to back off propositions where the endpoint management was too vast. Or designed hierarchies to manage endpoints. At Paddy power in Ireland they manage 7 million price changes every Saturday afternoon.  Computing power and architecture coupled to mobile networks means we can price and manage any endpoint, anywhere. New endpoint management capability is the inspiration behind platform strategy.

10. The platform is often a random walk so embrace your risk takers.
To capture the benefits of an elastic economy executives need to be more opportunistic and embrace the people in their organisations who are willing to take career risk. The most iconic platforms – Google, Apple, Alibaba – relied on huge elements of chance but their leaders were adaptive, peer-like,able to read the movement of their markets, just-in-time and in tune enough with their workforce to know their calls would be implemented enthusiastically.

11.  On a random walk you need to embrace optionality
Leave behind the myth of the grand plan and create the conditions for optionality and just-in-time strategy.

12. The randomness of success requires a new learning model.
Your risk takers are the kinds of people who will always be willing to learn and always be hunting down the right information, hungry to establish a new learning model that you can grow out into the next layer of entrepreneurs in your business.

13. Think different.
So far so good – you have to trust to luck, be ready for it with options, embrace the risk takers, manoeuvre the organisation towards third party assets, learn to leverage and leverage fast in an economy where your endpoint management is infinite and your risk takers are designing a great new learning model. That’s different.

14. Disruption is not what you believe it is.
We have to rethink disruption. It is not new good enough products creating new markets that incumbents don’t see. It is many things, including bad decision making.

15. Disruption is geopolitical.
Disruption is the process whereby economic power has been gradually transferred from the US to Asia because we lack the right innovation models and in particular because we do not know how to learn fast enough. We are to blame.

16. Disruption is caused by deaf leadership.
Many successful startups come out of larger companies that just did not listen to the smart guys on the front line of the business.

17. The business community has to take responsibility for a history of bad decision making.
For as long as we perpetuate the myth that disruption starts with smart people and cheap goods, we perpetuate the myth that bad decisions, poor relationships and misguided thinking are not directly responsible for inferior corporate performance. Business is tough, competition will get more intense, and we can no longer afford excuses.

18.  The leader as peer lets interaction create change.
Change comes from interaction between peers. If you are the type of leader who closes herself off in an office with consultants you are breeding distrust among the people who will bring your future into view – the people you have hired. All change will emerge from their interaction.

19.  Change does not come from new rules.
Organisations try to make change happen by switching process models – waterfall to agile, agile to devops, NPV to real options theory. The real changes will be defined by the people who have to live with them, so let your best people design your processes.

20. The elastic enterprise is a new process model.
In the 1980s you knew if you were in manufacturing you had to grow a new supply chain. This before and after helped make change happen. Today you have to become elastic, creating growth at low unit cost using third party assets. That’s the before and after, from your current entrepreneurial bureaucracy to a platform and ecosystem, elastic model.

21. Business needs process model innovation.
Continuous improvement of what we do, as a typical way of working.

22. Embracing radical adjacency is the new management adventure.
Companies need the capability to move into new markets with new offers at speed. Often they don’t even know they are in new markets. These adjacencies are a radical departure from what went before and require a mindset shift. Epson, the printer maker, is now a leader in heads up displays, Honda is leading in airplane manufacture. Google is a leader in fibre networks. Your adjacencies are too timid if they are not radical.

23. Options options, options.
Companies have shrunk back their innovation capacity to concentrate on products with clear ROI. What they need are options but there is no way to account for an option in a firm. The accounting method that says if we don’t have options we could die is yet to be invented but dynamic CEOs will develop their optionality well ahead of market need.

24. Platforms organize what’s already there and then scale it.
In general platforms organize existing economic activity rather than creating or inventing it. They enable new entrants and scale existing economic activity. That’s why leverage is so important.

25. There are service platforms and product platforms – increasingly the customer plays a role in both.
The real breakthrough comes with the service platform. Prior to the service platform, “the platform” was an extended network of companies innovating together on a product, like a smartphone or like the WINTEL monopoly in desktop computing. Service platforms have arisen for a reason – the very poor performance of companies in the service economy.

26. The customer is the new disruption factor in platforms.
Particularly in China, customer fandom and engagement is driving huge velocity and scale in business. Whether it is drones, truck cargo or distributed manufacturing companies are responding on a weekly basis to what their customers want. The western attitude to customers as a target could be their undoing as the economy globalizes further.

27. The service platform is a highly scaled, unprecedented transaction engine.
The platform is built around a seamless transaction engine that enables all kinds of markets at scale. We’re talking of transaction engines that can complete (up to) hundreds of thousands of purchases per second.

28. The platform and ecosystem are the perfect match,  highly unequal and essential for society.
Creating good ecosystems is one of the most complex business tasks because people, third parties, other companies, have to risk their innovation energy on your platform, upfront for free. The platform is aligned with an ecosystem that is free flowing and independent in its decision making.

29. Ecosystem growth is the toughest task for platforms.
It is difficult because it can be accidental (Google’s SEO community), inadvertent (Apple’s iPhone developer ecosystem), or pure luck. The random element of ecosystem growth is the platform’s biggest challenge. But this is where independence, creativity, employment growth, revenue generation are possible.

30. The ecosystem is a shared information space not a network.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing ecosystems are full of sweetly interacting peers. They are tough places full of Darwinian competition but the upside is ecosystems create and share freely all the information necessary for a platform to flourish.

31. Ecosystems survive on terms and conditions not contracts.
The ecosystem is the twin pillar of the new economy, scaleable because there are no bilateral legal contracts. Members of ecosystems are often dependent on platform revenues, without being a bilateral partner holding a solid bankable contract. That makes it very different from innovation ecosystems where the partner model is central.

32. Ecosystems need educating.
No-one is educated to be part of an ecosystem. People learn on their feet, people make errors, errors they are told are good. Education is better.

33. The platform and ecosystem are indivisible.
The platform permits highly externalized business growth – huge scale at low unit cost, as the resources for expansion (ingenuity, innovation, product development) fall onto the ecosystem.

34. We are headed to the megaplatform
Platforms are becoming huge and broad constellations of businesses vastly more varied even than the old conglomerate. The businesses we are now breeding are so vast in reach that they are integral to whole systems. By design Alibaba is reconfiguring the way global trade is done. Platforms have to become champions of a culture’s role in this new economic system.

35. Mega-platforms require entirely new work relationships
Platforms like Alibaba reverse the power grip that IT has on organisational development. Business comes first with IT the Darwinian mass of talent where each participant is required to prove it has good solutions.

36. The West needs a new power relationship with the IT community
We are headed towards software enabled enterprises. Elastic enterprises are software enabled. But who is the conscience for how the enterprise serves our greater needs – not just wealth creation or even poverty alleviation but the well being of a society and the nurturing of its culture in the face of overwhelming economic competition.

37. Platforms broaden the social divide.
The platform is a polarizing force in society, aggregating huge amounts of wealth to the new utility and unprecedented power over resources in the ecosystem.

38. Platform disruption is horizontal.
Platform disruption collapses the walls of industry verticals and gives the platform owner scope to do business anywhere. Old ideas about vertical segments become irrelevant.

39. They force executives to dump core competency and the constraints of old theories of the firm.
For that reason the platform brings to an end the old notion of core competency. In the platform economy the most important executive skills is fluid core, an ability to continuously redefine the core, especially its underlying technology.

40. Likewise new leadership values force platforms to strip out the fake esteem of traditional management.
Platforms call for wiser leadership – really wise leaders who can show their peers that they are first among equals. These are people who do not rely on traditional social esteem systems.

41. Peer leaders will not shirk away from the risk takers.
All significant change comes from your risk takers. In industry after industry failure has arisen from not listening to them. Peers will not fear the risk taker.  That’s why they are the most important leaders.

42. Random intersections and wild cards create the unknown unknowns.
Leaders have to be ready to fancy situations where change on different timescales suddenly collide and create new economic conditions It is bad leadership not to prepare for the unknown.

43. A new information layer exists and it takes on a new significance.
Platform success relies on taking control of the information layer, the shared information space, or the advocacy power, of an ecosystem. It is no longer enough to do PR or social media. It is not enough either just to be authentic. The ecosystem has to provide advocacy on top of traditional marketing. The information layer is all the information around a product and the platform owner cannot be the sole provider, influencer or demigod.

44. Platforms will challenge Governments.
Ultimately platforms are powerful opponents of the status quo and that can mean opponents of Government and regulation. Many already organise their tax affairs to take advantage of a boundless world or negotiate their reporting conditions directly with senior officials. As they strip revenues away from Government, Government’s inability to deliver democratic services will impact the whole of society.

45. Elastic enterprises are options building machines.
They allow owners to rove around different verticals looking to play out options but that requires them to know how to evaluate and implement new options portfolios at scale.

46. Elastic enterprises need continuous active strategy rather than planning.
The days of the three or five year plan are gone. Even the 12 month plan is a luxury. Platforms give executives the bandwidth to understand the evolution of their markets and of adjacent markets and to have options that they can deploy when market conditions are most advantageous.

47. Platforms strip away geographical constraints.
That’s not just to say they are just borderless. Some of the strongest platforms exist in China and Asia and give those countries the opportunity to be global, fast, challenging the G7/G8 regulatory regime.

48. Platforms hand economic advantage to emerging economies.
Platforms seem to be very well configured for growth economies. The concept of participation is embraced by emerging market consumers (particularly in China) and by an ideological cohort of entrepreneurs eager for the next opportunity. They are being used to accelerate economic innovation and growth as well as to provide wealth accumulation as distinct from wages. They will polarize populations and regions.

49. Because scale is so important America will be challenged like never before.
In the 1980s Europe feared the scale of the US market at 350 million people. China’s 1.2 billion is four times the size with a growing middle class and a captive market in Africa (1 billion+) and growing influence in India (1 billion +) and into the Middle East and its petrol dollars.

50. The US and EU have to mobilize unemployed human assets.
We have shrinking, aging populations but vastly underutilized human assets in ghettos and inner cities. In reality we could increase the working population by bringing people back into the active workforce. It is a necessity rather than just a desirable social goal.

51. In future everybody can be an asset on a platform.
Everybody has a skill or interest or insight that can be shared at value. There is no excuse for unemployment

52. The west’s new learning model is Asia’s traditional mode of innovation.
The west is only just catching onto the idea that products need continuous improvement. This has been the Asian mantra since time immemorial. We are at a disadvantage because we are satisfied with genius rather than incremental excellence.

53. Ecosystems make the distinction between product and service platform central to management.
Ecosystems vary. There are more types of ecosystem than there are types of business platform. Some are manageable, others are not. Product platforms rely on multi-party contracts and alignment. Service platforms are Darwinian agglomerations of people having a go.

54. The service platform requires attraction skills.
How do you make your company attractive to the Darwinian horde? Service platform ecosystems are often organic and unpredictable. Management’s biggest challenge is how you manage an entity that is organic, in effect an entity, a grouping or a swarm that is not yours to manage. The answers lie in reducing business friction, create visible, credible opportunity, and having the systems to reward participants transparently.

55. The product platform is controllable.
Product platforms are governed by multilateral contracts and traditional management expectations. The ties of mutual self interest are contractual.

56. Ecosystems are increasingly the driver of the service platform.
Right from the start of the service platform the ecosystem was a dynamic force in change. At the launch of the iPhone, Apple refused to access to a third party developer ecosystem. It had to give in to pressure from the ecosystem. From the start of Google’s search monetization it had to factor in the needs of the search engine marketing community. Alibaba has always tried to service its merchant and buyer communities. Each is a lesson in how the ecosystem drives the design and progress of the platform.

57. Ecosystems are a phase change in the global economy.
A phase change happens when a substance shifts from being a solid to a fluid to a gas. It’s the same basic element but it exists in totally different forms. Ecosystems represent such a change, from passive consumers and suppliers to participants and partners of the platform, shaping and driving change, innovating freely.

58. Platforms and ecosystems drive economies of scope.
It is now possible to provide consumers and customers with endless scope because of the platform model. The best example if Alibaba’s 8 million merchants providing Chinese consumers with endless choice. Companies using the platform and ecosystem model have to aim for scope.

59. They also permit a new kind of differentiation.
Because ecosystems are participatory, they allow platform owners to greatly diversify  the final configuration of a product. At the extreme a device like the iPhone is really a collection of endless permutations of apps. We call this mass differentiation as opposed to mass customization. Customers don’t have to wait to customize a core product; they are provided with infinite choice upfront.

60. The ecosystem is now forcing change on the structure and purpose of the platform.
We see in China a new phase in the development of platforms as hardware companies open up participation in production applications through SDKs. It goes hand-in-hand with consumers seeking a bigger role in the definition of physical goods. This is a hybrid of the product and service platform and it will challenge western companies to shift away from their current linear model of design, source, sell to participate and share.

61. Ecosystems will become a force for political change.
Against that background, participation, ecosystems will become important political movements, sometimes taking aim at Government policy, where ecosystem members can play a much bigger role, sometimes taking aim at the productive environment where they are no active participants.

62. The ecosystem will change the capitalist model of production.
Capitalism is based on a design, source, organize, sell model of wealth creation leading from supply chains to distribution channels. That model is inefficient. An ecosystem model is evolving based on participation where eventually the buyer will take control.

63. The revolution of the ecosystem has yet to arrive but it is coming.
Infinite endpoint management allows the customer to become the focal point of the economy. Intermediaries like retailers have always supported the sell side of the economy, the manufacturers who want to sell.  Increasingly the technology allows for the organisation and support of the buy side, the customer. Digital, zero marginal cost economics makes it even more manageable. Already a small number of retailers are thinking how in future they may become buy-side platforms.

64. The buy-side platform and customer ecosystem will reshape profit.
The growth of the ecosystem is strongest in China, a country with a complex approach to profitability and growth. It is also embedded in collaborative economy thinking in Europe and the USA. As customers take on a more significant role, the idea of profit as the sole reward of the owner will have to change. In the case of companies like Apple, with $250 billion in its bank accounts, the platform leaks resources away from economic expansion.

65. Embrace shadow innovation and draw it into the options portfolio.
Companies are full of shadow innovation, shadow IT, workarounds, things that people do to make their work lives interesting, daring and inventive. Identify not just the risk takers but the shadow initiatives that could be drawn into an options portfolio, will open executive minds to how their businesses should function.

66. Bring back bench time.
It used to be the case that engineers in good companies had plenty of bench-time to try out new thinking,m assimilate new information, push the boundaries of what they were doing That’s why great scientists and technologists ran their own labs within corporate walls. Companies need to re-legitimate doing bench time. There’s nothing fancy or Google-like about this. Firms prosper from strong intellectual experimentation.

67. Options portfolios are the experimental reservoir of the company.
The idea of the options portfolio gives the elastic enterprise a way to account for bench-time and bench-time expenditure. The missing ingredient is the executive mind set that says working through options, whether devising marginal new ways of doing stuff or seeking the big breakthroughs, is the right way to work. The options portfolio is good legitimacy.

68. Lean and mean won’t cut it.
Where are the billion dollar business lines that began as fail fast and fail cheap projects? There is a missing ingredient in the lean movement too. Getting scaled projects is about having sufficient foresight about the stuff customers don’t know they need and nobody yet came up with a method for that other than to reduce price dramatically (usually down to zero) or create something of intrinsic beauty.

69. Adaptive leaders make the difference in an experimental business.
Here’s a story. A company makes a great new product in the payments processing place, allowing end-users to pool cash as if they had a kitty in front of them. The market reacts strangely – users like it, but ticketing companies like it more. They want to buy the software. Suddenly the company is a software producer and vendor but leaders say, we don’t know how to market software. That’s not the business we are in. This is core competency thinking acting like a roadblock. Executives are typically ill-adapted to decisions of this sort. It is not the enterprise weakness but leadership weakness that has to be overcome.

70. Create adaptive leaders and adaptive organisations will follow.
Everybody should be able to work with an adaptive leader rather than a roadblock leader. If you want options create adaptive leaders. Adaptive leaders should know how to construct portfolio choices.

71. Without portfolio choice you have no choice.
Here’s an example. A company producing automated water dosing equipment for urban green spaces looks like it has a limited set of choices. Sell direct to facilities managers or sell via hardware stores or both. But the choices are much broader: create an open platform for developers to add value to the watering system; create a marketplace where urban space owners can attract people to participate in keeping the space fresh and clean and watered; create an open hardware platform that can attract new devices into the watering supply chain; retro-design the software to fit into domestic home management systems; create apps for customer self service, and so on. Choice is abundant because anything can be managed.

72. Platforms are soft power and we need to debate it, fast.
We can already see Alibaba acting as a soft power instrument for China’s relationship with India. We know Facebook’s entry to these markets is a political necessity for the US. The fact is our political environment is increasingly platform-centric. So let’s open the debate.

73. The platform for employment.
Why don’t Governments create platforms for employment? Platforms for skills development, for reputation enhancement for the unemployed. We must integrate platform thinking into policy.

74. Where are you going to and where have you been?
Few companies ask where they are really headed to. It might be they talk of digitization or growth but it is time to change the operating model of most firms. To do that you have to ask where am I coming from and where am I headed to. In the 1980s if you were in manufacturing this was simple. You were a factory or assembler and you had to become a supply chain organizer instead. Thousands of companies made this transition because they knew where they were headed.

75. Be the platform
If you are not going to be the platform where else can you go? What, concretely, can you become?

76. Vertical industry barriers are disappearing so be ready for horizontal business.
The next source of profit will be a new franchise in a new industry. Be ready to roll radical adjacency into portfolio planning as your business vertical disintegrates.

77. Disruption needs to be in the crosshairs because it arises from intersections of economic activity.
The firms that study disruption are few and far between because they think they have it nailed down but disruption comes often begins where industry barriers break down and horizontal economic activity  floods onto a horizontal plain. Do you do good disruption analysis?

78. What limits do you put on your colleague’s ability to question your corporate assumptions?
Leaders typically inhibit the process of exploring and debunking assumptions. Few are brave enough to permit real questioning.

79. Whose problem are you really trying to solve?
Companies react to crisis by cost-cutting in other words by trying to solve their own problem. What’s the biggest most fundamental problem you can solve outside the organisation. In the next 20 years we will see 2 billion more people on a resource scarce planet, most of whom will be incentivized to migrate in a world increasingly made turbulent by resource wars, increasingly stretched by aging populations and with too little resource for retirement. There are many problems to solve.

80. In this incredible new world what can you leverage?
How will your platform allow other people to solve critical problems?

81. Are you dreaming big enough.
There is no shortage of scale opportunities as we  move towards 9 billion people in a connected world. We have to get used to dreaming of infinite solution capability.

82. Managing an older company means managing three worlds.
Change is tough because many companies have their legacy attitudes and club-like behavior, the transitional period struggles that arose when the service economy kicked in and life became more digital and connected, and their end-goal, the new type  of firm or platform they are headed towards. But managing three worlds is mandatory.

83. In the battle to manage three worlds give up old esteem systems.
Most executives fear a loss of esteem. It is easier than the loss of a company. Fight to be a peer.

84. What do you represent?
We know movement is important, to be a movement to start one, to be part of one, to enroll or encourage. But what do you represent in a world that will change more in the next 20 years than it ever has? The question could equally have been who do you represent? As we witness business scaling to an unprecedented degree what aspect of change and continuity are you going to stand up for?

85. Do you lead what you represent?
Time to stop being afraid of leading radical causes. The change coming our way needs you to lead.

86. Your thought leadership is the signal of what you are leading.
Too many leaders make their voice heard without leading the word anywhere. Your thought leadership has to actually lead people to a new and better destination.

86. What unites many people is now bigger than what divides them.
We are moving towards truly global markets. The Chinese millennial generation has more in common with its European and US counterparts than it has with previous generations of Chinese. In a 2016 study we found millennials in China on the cusp of abandoning conventional organisations like banks in favor of tech platforms.

87. Global trade will never be the same again. What are you going to do about it?
For that reason alone global trade is changing dramatically. Millennial attitudes are empowering platforms to take on a global trade role. Within 10 years 20% of global trade will be direct from maker to consumer, with all the rest disintermediated. What will be your role?

88. Anticipate the big wave.
With a global audience of much the same mindset expect change, when it happens, to come in waves that will prove very difficult to ride and require adroitness and adaptability so far unseen in the leadership of major organisations.

89. Options planning should be global.
The wave will be. All the options have to be.

90. Get a founder onto your board and learn how to chase change.
Because of the profound merging of cultures it is imperative to have on your board people with recent founder experience, the ones who have gone out and failed and come back stronger and more profoundly insightful.

91. Build diversity to shape the transition.
For the same reasons you need Asian, age and gender diversity at board level. In the Elastic Innovation Index we found senior executive diversity a key predictor of good stock price performance.

92. Change the franchise before it sinks you.
Break down the established relationships that will have you making bad decisions on behalf of partners that were relevant historically but who could now block the change because of outdated obligations.

93. Assess platform readiness.
Here is a tool for that.

94. Where are you in the three world’s migration?
Enterprise’s need to be in constant forward motion towards the World III position in the Three World’s model. Contact us for the model.

95. Model the disruption.
Here’s a tool for that too. Contact us if you cannot download it.

96. You, me and society too need to be elastic, in other words super adaptive.
Collectively we need to grow off a resource base that is bound to be small relative to the scale and scope of the threat and, as usual, the opportunity of a new superpower in the making. It will be years before China matches American military prowess. Economic prowess is a different matter. That moment already arrived. It sets new ground rules for scale. We are witnessing incredible scope in the advance of Chinese business, based on participatory platforms and incredible desire to improve. It sets up the challenge for a new generation of leaders to do much more with a lot less, to turn the stale left overs of crisis into and ambitious new project that will transform American and European society.

97. The new era works for small too.
Perhaps for the first time ever you do not have to be a corporate giant to straddle the world. Small companies have gone global and small companies are where the dynamics of growth are strongest. Platforms play to small company strengths.

98. Small leaders can be giants.
Leaders in smaller enterprises can tell us more about how to be adaptive, to be global, to be responsiveness. We need to create information spaces for their voices to be heard.

99. We need luck on the random walk.
Successful, hardworking and confident people make their own luck. Sometimes they distort reality in pursuit of luck. Facing up to a competitor with a market size that will grown to 5 to 6 times that of the US, while the US middle class is in decline, calls for a miracle but there are good places to start, like vowing to use all of society’s resources and not leave people behind.

100. This is a societal challenge.
The imbalances in western society will undo politics, democracy and prosperity if we don’t rise to the challenge of adaptation, principally the challenge of creating scale at ultra low cost. But don’t underestimate this challenge. There are few solutions that the competition cannot copy, and quickly. The search for luck, though, can begin with one mindset shift, moving from the idea that there are exceptional people out there who can save the day, who can make the difference, to the belief that there is an exceptional number of people who aspire to make life better in the West and who can pull in a enough points for the team.

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