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Thought Work

An ongoing series of informational entries

Digital Trends and Changing Needs

October 15, 2018

Need for Flexibility, Personalization & Customization 

For many professions, work is no longer de-fined by the office location, nor by the hours of the day, nor by the specific tool used by the trade. Many employees have home-based offices and may perform their tasks before or after the actual workday. Flexible workdays, part time decisions would become common with employees determining work goals, work content and work methodologies depending upon the technological infrastructure available for effective performance. Obviously what flows from this would be greater the technology infrastructure the better is likely to be individual output and contribution. Career paths would not be linear, would turn grossly flexible, lateral and would make horizontal growth that are knowledge intensive, real and visibly supervising an intellectual mind. Career paths would create comparable performance yardstick, meaningful measures and performance evaluation would insist customized evaluation process and tailor made compensation reward program. 



September 15, 2018

Diversity - It is but a reality that workforces around the world are fast becoming more diverse across a number of unique and personalized dimensions (age, cultural preferences, ethnicity, Color, psychological profiles, learning abilities, sexual combinations, identity clarity, work glass ceiling, global experience acceptance, leadership – personal styles, employment choice, life preferences, personal attitudes, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.). Organizations are now strategically leveraging peoples’ differences to achieve competitive advantage/ better business results. There is a concerted effort to ensure that programs are established to attract and retain employees who bring in varying perspectives, point of view and perhaps contradictions, to enable them to deal with business exigencies and talent trends as they encounter. Many trend analysts from firms like EY, Deloitte, Accenture see the need to recognize the impact increased employee diversity could have on the organization. To be effective, they say, diversity strategies should to some extent reflect the customer base and geographies of the organization. Alignment with corporate strategy on diversity directions needs to be attained. Diversity’s Definition Has Changed, says Selena Rezvani in, "Five Trends Driving Workplace Diversity In 2015” Forbes issue, “In addition to creating a workplace inclusive of race, gender, and sexual orientation (to name a few), many organizations are seeking value in something even simpler, diversity of thought. In some industries that are known for being insular – think law or high-tech companies – seeking out talent with different thinking and problem solving backgrounds in critical. Deloitte research underscores that diverse thinkers help guard against groupthink, a dynamic observed firsthand last year with a large corporate client. Partnering with the company just after they had experienced a major product failure, the CEO lamented that the failure resulted from too much blind agreement internally – something Deloitte’s study calls “expert overconfidence.” Future-thinking companies see the danger in this lack of diversity and often question their own hiring and retention practices—and even their everyday operating norms. It’s Less About Being a Good Corporate Citizen: The business case for diversity has never been more front and center than it is now…and why not? Basic economic theory suggests that consumers will correct for a company’s lack of diversity by simply not spending money there—making slow-to-change organizations extinct. The same can be said of employees, who are constantly balancing the costs of working somewhere against the personal benefits they derive, including a match in values. Gains in employee engagement, effort and retention alone make for a compelling diversity proposition. Add to that customers who evangelize your diversity philosophy and products—and feel you have insight into who they actually are, and the diversity ROI is hard to ignore. These companies also achieved a proper balance between formal and informal forms of communication. A few common methods of communication adopted by these companies included small meetings, face to face interaction, one-on-one discussion, breakfast gatherings, all staff meetings, video conferencing and informal employee dialogue sessions, use of newsletters, videos, telephone hotlines, fax, memoranda, e-mail and bulletin boards; and brochures and guides to educate employees about the downsizing process, employee rights and tips for surviving the situation. Many organizations encouraged employees to voice their ideas, concerns or suggestions regarding the diversity in digitization process. According to many best practice organizations, employee inputs contributed considerably to the success of their change activities as they frequently gave valuable ideas regarding the restructuring, increase in production, and assistance required by employees during this large scale diversity driven change program.

Digital Business Models

August 15, 2018

Digital Business Model - Companies create value, and incur risk, by assembling unique combinations of assets. It is this portfolio that is called the business model, and it determines a company’s economic success. Capital takes different forms. A firm’s assets are known as its capital, which may include fixed capital (machinery, buildings, and so on) and working capital (stocks of raw materials and part-finished products, as well as money, that are used up quickly in the production process). Financial capital includes money, bonds and shares. Human capital is the economic wealth or potential contained in a person, some of it endowed at birth, the rest the product of training and education, if only in the university of life and Intellectual Capital includes intangible, goodwill, human capital and so on. And Capital is something owned which provides ongoing services. In the national accounts, or to firms, capital is made up of durable investment goods, normally summed in units of money. Broadly: land plus physical structures plus equipment.

“A World-class Restaurant At One-third The Price”, writes, Sean Silverthorne In HBSWK 2013, “Ristorante D'O, a high-end gourmand eatery located near Milan, Italy, has a unique business model among Michelin starred restaurants. It sells meals at prices almost a third less than competitors—and has an 18-month waiting list. Its secret?” Think about how you visualize your organization. Do you picture groups of neatly lined-up boxes with solid lines, reporting structures, and audit trails? Do you think the New World of work will look nothing like this? (This is creating a hybrid that is specific to assets derived from knowledge:

Intellectual or Knowledge-based Asset: Anything valued without physical dimensions that is embedded in people or derived from the processes, systems, and culture associated with an organization -brands, individual knowledge, intellectual property, licenses, and forms of organizational knowledge (e.g., databases, process know-how, relationships). The organization is probably already silently morphing into more of a hybrid organization. The upper ranks of your company may still operate in a traditional hierarchical fashion, but natural dynamic teams are forming as midlevel managers tackle the dynamics of the New Economy. Going forward, the new virtual organization will consist of a series of interconnected hub-and-spoke combinations that represent leaders, departments, internal divisions, external customer bases, and business partners “A series of smart, waste-reducing choices regarding menu, meal design, service process, layout, and reservation process. "The deeper issue in the case," write authors Gary P. Pisano, Alessandro Di Fiore, Elena Corsi, and Elisa Farri, "concerns how businesses based on the creative talent of an individual (like Chef Oldani) can grow, without losing what makes them special." Purchase the case, "Chef Davide Oldani and Ristorante D’O."

Business economics

July 14, 2018

Digital Business Economies - Just as a military organization constantly assesses the availability of trained manpower, equipment, ammunition, intelligence, and logistics relative to requirements as a measure of mission readiness, organizations must assess the status of the digital assets and their interaction with other knowledge economic value, as their indicators of strategic readiness. Raphael and Zott, “To achieve economies of scale with digital business models requires the development and reuse of digitized platforms across the enterprise. Without such shared platforms, the IT units in companies implement a new solution in response to every business need, creating a spaghetti-like arrangement of systems that do meet specific customer needs but are expensive and fragile — and don’t scale enterprise-wide. Worse still, the customer experience suffers as the customer gets a fragmented product-based experience rather than a unified multi product experience. In MIT SMR 2013 issue, “Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner in “Optimizing Your Digital Business Model” asks, “What does it take to create the strongest possible online presence? They ask (Additional Business Model Questions have also been added):

•How have the basic principles towards building a business model changed?

•What characteristics appear to determine value realization in a business model?

•Which of the business models have survived multiple cycles of recession or economic upturns and downturns?

•What intellectual capital factors (Social, Structural, Financial, Intellectual, Human) resources/factors/strategic priorities appear to have dominated in each of the successful or not so successful business models?

•What are our business models today, and how have they changed over the last 10 years?

•How do our business models compare with those of our traditional and nontraditional competitors?

•What appears to key factors that are pushing digital companies seeking to alter their business models?

•How can we adjust our overall business model to include more revenue from the models that are most highly valued today (such as IP landlord and innovative manufacturer)?

•What options exist with these business models to manage optimization for realizing shareholder value?

•How unique is your business model in comparison with market and competitive forces?

•What resources become available to this business model?

•What business models that we believe will be most highly valued in the future?

To make any change in our business model, what competencies do we need to further develop, and what strategic experiments can we do today to test new business models for tomorrow?”

Business Model Assets

January 15, 2018

Weill and Woerner Digital Business Model Asset Types:

“Financial Fiscal assets, which include cash as well as securities like stocks, bonds and insurance policies that give their owners rights to potential future cash flows;

Physical Material assets, which include durable items such as computers, as well as non-durable items such as food;

Intangible Goodwill assets, which include intellectual property such as patents and copy-rights, as well as other intangible assets like knowledge, goodwill and brand value;

Human Capital - People assets, which include people’s time and effort. People of course cannot be legally bought and sold, but their time and knowledge can be “rented out” for a fee”.

Peter Weill, Thomas W. Malone and Thomas G. Apel, Digital Business Model compa-nies manage asset rights to generate revenue are as:

Originators - Creators, which sell ownership , copyrights, royalties, of products they have created by transforming or assembling raw materials or components. Ford, 3M and Intel are ex-amples of this type of company;

Logisticians - Distributors – Supply Chain such as Wal-Mart or’s retail busi-ness, which sell ownership of products, channels, they bought but did not substantially change, except by transporting, repackaging or marketing;

Attorneys - Owners - Landlords, which sell only the right to use assets – tenure for tenor, for a specified period of time; Marriott, Hertz, Accenture and Citigroup are examples of the land-lord model. We included in this category companies that employ licenses or subscriptions to sell limited rights to use their intellectual property (IP) assets — companies such as Microsoft and The New York Times;

Arbitrators – Negotiators - Brokers, which receive a fee – value for matching buyers and sellers without ever taking ownership or custody of the product; examples include Charles Schwab, eBay and realtors”. Adaptation Refer - Digital Business Model - Peter Weill, Thomas W. Malone and Thomas G. Apel, in MIT SMR 2011, “New research suggests that the stock market particularly values business models based on innovation and intellectual property”.

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