A framework for industry leadership based on collaboration

Last week I ran a half-day workshop at the annual offsite for executives of a major airline alliance, taking the group from a broad view of macro trends shaping the future, through to the generation of specific actionable ideas to create greater value across the alliance.

As part of the workshop we used a framework that I originally developed over a decade ago in the context of collaboration in the financial services industry, but I have used in the last year in industries as diverse as healthcare, airlines, and professional services.

The future of every industry lies in value creation across organizations. To achieve that we need explicit discussions and engagements among all industry participants on what it is that they’d like to collectively achieve, and how they can get there. This framework lays out the key components:

Framework_industry_leadership_500w
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SWITCH festival shows the power and potential of cross-industry collaboration

I first met Mark Zawacki when I did the opening keynote at the ANZA Technology Conference in Silicon Valley in 2004, and Mark was also a speaker at the event. Mark has since founded the highly-regarded corporate accelerator 650Labs, which helps leading global corporates to drive innovation.

More recently I have met Catherine Stace, CEO of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, who has brought inspiring and truly disruptive approaches to medical research philanthropy, by focusing on making research far more collaborative and effective rather than simply funding antiquated research models.

It is no surprise that collaboration between Mark and Catherine has created something exceptional: SWITCH Festival, to be held in Sydney 27-29 August.
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The virtual agent of the future: Real-time photo-realistic human faces that bridge the human/ machine divide

I recently gave a series of opening keynotes on The Future of Customer Experience as part of a roadshow for omnichannel customer experience platform provider Genesys, which is running a global series of events for their lead customers, which includes organizations such as News Limited, Vodafone, Western Union, and the Australian Taxation Office.

The central theme of my keynotes was the boundaries and relationship between humans and machines in customer experience.

Today, extraordinary insights from data and analytics enable us to address individual’s unique preferences to an unprecedented degree.

Yet the emotion, empathy and engagement of humans cannot be replaced – we all seek personal connection and a real sense of caring.
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Harnessing the power of innovation: networks are at the heart

Every organization understands they need to innovate, not just in bringing new offerings to market, but in continually becoming a new and better organization.

Networks are always at the heart of innovation. The new comes from combining the old in original ways.

Chemist Kary Mullis aptly described how he arrived at his innovations that won him the Nobel Prize in 1993:

“I put together elements that were already there, but that’s what inventors always do. You can’t make up new elements, usually. The new element, if any, it was the combination, the way they were used.”

Whether it is bringing together existing ideas to create new ideas, or connecting people in ways that generate new insights, organizations must design how they work to facilitate value-generating connections.
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A taxonomy of branded content and its role in the future of media

Immediately after my opening keynote on Creating the Future of News at INMA World Congress in New York last week was a very interesting plenary session from Neil Zuckerman of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on branded content in the future of media, drawing on a recent multi-country study they have done. I had already emphasized the importance of branded content in my keynote, so it was a great segue into his detailed analysis.

Zuckerman began by running through the severe challenges for the news industry, going on to highlight branded content as the next source of growth for the industry. Below are a few slides from his excellent presenatation.

BCG sees branded content growing at a 21% rate over the next 5 years. I believe it is likely to grow faster than this.
Branded_content_BCG_1_500Source: Boston Consulting Group
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Three critical domains of change driving the future of professional services

Yesterday professional services expert George Beaton and I ran the inaugural Clients and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney, bringing together around 100 senior leaders of professional services firms to look at the future of the industry.

It is just over 15 years ago now that my first book was released with the subtitle The Future of Professional Services (now out in its Second edition). While these days my work covers a far broader scope, over the years I have worked extensively with professional services firms to help them create successful futures.

There has been substantial change in the professions over the last decade, however there will unquestionably be far greater change in the years to come.

It was an absolutely fascinating day at the conference exploring the future of professional services. I will be sharing more from the conference over time, but today would just like to put down a few initial thoughts from the three themes of the day.
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Creating the future of professional services – Sydney 11 March

The subtitle of my first book, 15 years ago now, was ‘The future of professional services’. I still believe it’s an incredibly important topic, not just in the future of business, but also in the future of work and society.

As such I am delighted to be collaborating with one of the world’s leaders in professional services strategy, George Beaton, in organising the Clients and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney on 11 March.
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Study: Decentralized organizations will win, especially in challenging times

For decades management theorists have argued over whether and when organizations should be centralized or decentralized.

However the situation is now dramatically different than it was before, as we become richly connected and the world we live in becomes increasingly complex and interdependent.

A new paper reviewed by Stanford Graduate School of Business examines the relative success of firms through the recent global “Great Recession”, depending on their degree of centralization.

The authors, Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University, Philippe Aghion of Harvard University, Raffaella Sadun from Harvard Business School, and John Van Reenen from London School of Economics, reportedly found that:
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The focus of big data should be creating value FOR customers

Big Data is one of the hottest trends at the moment, as shown in this Google Trends chart below.

However much of the big data discussion is about how to market better to customers, gathering data ABOUT them so companies can sell more to them.

This seems to me to be the wrong way to think about it. Big data should be used to CREATE VALUE FOR CUSTOMERS. From that good things will flow to everyone, including of course attracting the most customers.
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Agencies must adapt to a marketing world based on open systems

John Winsor, CEO of crowdsourcing-based advertising agency Victors & Spoils and Chief Innovation Officer at global marketing conglomerate Havas, has long been an innovator and provocateur in agency world.

He gave the keynote at the Future of Crowdsourcing Summit I ran in San Francisco and Sydney in 2010, and his agency was featured as a case study of crowd business models in my book Getting Results From Crowds.

John has just published an excellent article on HBR Blogs titled The Future of Marketing, as Seen at Cannes Lions.
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