Tomorrow is Today! A New World Ecology is Underway
- By Faisal Hoque, Founder & CEO, BTM Corporation
Tomorrow is today. If you or your company are waiting for “things to get better,” you’re missing the point: It’s up to you to make things better now. A New World Ecology is underway, and you must to be a part of it.
The basis for moving forward is understanding we live in a globally interconnected economic, business and social environment. As we move further into the 21st century, new technologies are changing these fundamental relationships at an ever-accelerating pace. Cross-cultural boundaries are diminishing. The marketplace is growing ever more intense and demanding. Clearly, the imperative to innovate could not be greater.
These goals are not simply possible. They are inevitable. They are achievable when viewed from a fresh perspective, as an act of transformation: a proactive process for an individual or institution, regardless of purpose or mission, which begins with a passionate need to effect significant change in both the internal and external environments. We don’t make progress in this world by doing the same things we’ve always done and expecting different results. Put another way, the 20th-century economic, business, social models simply aren’t working efficiently any longer.
Transformation is driven by an acknowledged need to grow and change, followed by thinking differently about the old ways and means. It is one of the steps to becoming a successful 21st century enterprise. It can be modeled, documented and implemented as a total game-changing process. The steps in the transformation process are as follows:
- Human nature is driven by wants and/or needs
- We develop strategies to evolve tactics to turn those wants and needs into goals
- With tactics in place, we can formulate a plan, or call to action to achieve the goals
- The plan, or call to action, involves setting personal or business objectives and determining the most appropriate technologies with which to implement them
- When the business objectives are combined successfully with the appropriate technologies, the result is convergence, the seamless merging of both to attain goals
- Convergence makes it possible to gain access to enabling technologies, essential in the process of satisfying the wants or needs
- Transformation occurs when the individual or enterprise has successfully embarked upon on the new course to achieve its goals
- Change, innovation, and sustainability, the most sought-after attributes for the individual or the enterprise, have now been unleashed and are powerful tools for bringing goals to fruition.
Those completing this process are now positioned not just to survive, but to progress and thrive. The process is repeatable — in fact it loops — continually transforming actions through the use of powerful enabling technologies into creative, innovative, and sustainable goals and outcomes.
Technology proliferates at a tremendous rate, leveling playing fields in business, politics, medicine, and nearly every endeavor it touches. It may be a smartphone app, solar and wind energy, hybrid and electric autos, social media, cloud computing, or an innovative new Web 2.0 app. Here are a few examples:
- Borders, once considered a competitor in the retail book market, recently went bankrupt – not only in cash but innovation. Borders failed to take charge of its Internet presence and annoyed customers with long lines and high prices. It lost the in-store Starbucks franchise to Barnes & Noble. It didn’t enter the market for e-readers. In short, Borders never changed, and for that it paid the ultimate price.
- KickStart sells an irrigation pump to African farmers which lifts water uphill into fields. It has enabled them to increase their yield and their income tenfold, from $110 to $1,100 a year.
- The cell phone, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitpic were used by Egyptian citizens to assemble in Tahrir, or “Liberation,” Square to demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarek. Over a million people rallied, and Mubarek stepped down.
- Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, found an unintended consequence of transforming his company in 2008: instant coffee. At first poo-poohed, Schultz learned the market was $20 billion and so brought Via to market to compete against old, tasteless offerings. In its first year, it sold $180 billion and became fifth most popular.
The success for an enterprise is often driven by its ability to recognize significant challenges and immediately identify the strategic imperatives necessary to address them. While nothing new, accomplishing such goals in today’s global climate requires new organizational structures, creating and sharing new kinds of business knowledge, understanding and applying emerging socio-economic models, and developing repeatable, reusable transformational processes.
We can no longer think of ourselves simply as a unique, branded, steel-and-glass tower of commerce, but rather as one member of a community of myriad, pixellated, overlapping, massified groups. We can no longer focus just on short-term goals and quarterly profits. Our efforts must entail adding value to the greater good of the world. In order to succeed, each of us — individual and enterprise alike — must learn how to solve ever-changing, complex business and social problems. We must come up with new ideas for the process of creativity, innovation, and sustainability, not just for the benefit of ourselves or our enterprise, but for business partners, customers, and the ever-growing global social groups in which we interact.
Transformative events of all kinds are occurring hundreds, thousands, of times a day across the world. The application of an appropriate technology jumpstarts transformation, opening the portal to creative and innovative uses of enabling technologies. Convergence, transformation, and enabling technologies in an endless loop sustain ever more creativity and innovation. When mandated by leadership behavior and coupled to collaborative and functional processes, an enterprise can use this transformation model to better position itself to take advantage of today’s — and tomorrow’s — opportunities.
Faisal Hoque is the founder and CEO of BTM Corporation (www.btmcorporation.com). A former senior executive at GE and other multi-nationals, Faisal is an internationally known entrepreneur and thought leader. He has written five management books, established a research think tank, The BTM Institute, and become a leading authority on the issue of effective interaction between business and technology. For his commitment to business-technology convergence, CIO Quarterly magazine designated him “Mr. Convergence”. In May 2008, the editors of Ziff-Davis Enterprise named him as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Technology. His latest book, The Power of Convergence (www.thepowerofconvergence.com), is now available. © 2011 Faisal Hoque.