Every now and then I, like many of us, like to take a step back, slow down, and have a good old think about what’s really going on. Preferably on a summer evening with some good company and a glass of something cold – but I’m digressing.
It never ceases to amaze me how new ways of working emerge when information and services, from many different sources, are available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
What’s really fascinating is that these new ways of working aren’t the preserve of the corporate strategists – communities of people, both as employees and as individuals, are often generating them. In fact, the IT we use as an individual is often more sophisticated than the IT we use at work.
The world is exponentially more connected and each connection fuels more connections. This level of (increasing) connectedness is unprecedented. At the same time, we are witnessing an unprecedented level of ‘business-technology fusion.’ People and machines, business and IT, are becoming fundamentally fused (even without the science-fiction, recall the last time you left your phone at home and for most it feels like a part of you is missing!)
How might we view our changing world? Here are some concepts I’ve collated from the great and good over the past months. Whether one agrees with the specific definitions or not, what each of them describes in spirit is an undeniable reality and the onward march of each is inevitable:
• Co-value creation (I use this quite a bit)
• Exponential globalisation
• Collaborative innovation
• Prosumerism (a personal favourite!)
• The long tail
• Connected everything
• No frontiers automation
• New business model innovation
• Information centricity
• Interaction centricity
• Mashed up corporations
• World 2.0
• Supply to demand chain, and
• Unbundled everything

While these are all useful strategic concepts they are more of an effect than a cause. And so for the balanced view we should peek into the cause too.
How might we describe the cause? I like to use the phrase ‘Information & communications technology society’ to describe the shift in the macro-environment and to my mind there are three causal trends:
#1 Everything and everyone becoming connected
#2 People and machines becoming fused
#3 Product-based to service-based economy

The intriguing aspect is that each of these is opposite to the culture baked into many business models in use by mature organisations today.
I’d actually go further and say successful 21st century business and government is based on a business model which has all of the 3 trends considered foundationally, and which understands that people are people:
This picture emerged from a stimulating conversation I had recently with Ken Olisa, and I’d love to hear your views.