Weekly Download 15.19

download-150965_640Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

Workplace Culture vs. Climate – why most focus on climate and may suffer for it painfully points out that much of the current focus is on rather superficial “climate” issues, not on the deeper culture of an organization. As part of the ongoing theme that the definition of work matters, this article does a great job of pointing out the difference.

Predicting the Future and Exponential Growth shatters assumptions. Our intuition, based on a natural tendency toward linear forecasting, is that the next five years will grow (or change) at the same rate as the past five years. That’s a pretty significant amount of change. However, when growth is exponential, this is not the case. In simpler terns, this rapid construction of the future happens because the tools that are built today for tomorrow make it easier to build the future the next day.

Uber and AirBnB get a lot of press about their new and innovative approaches. They are providing access to services without owning the assets—they provide a technology platform without owing the underlying service. Uber offers access to thousands of on-demand drivers as an alternative to a taxi company. AirBnB connects travelers with accommodations without having to build and market hotel rooms. All with a very different pricing model, and (dare I say?) a superior customer experience. Networks and the Nature of the Firm explores the huge economic shift generated by adapted software and connectedness.

But, is this so new? There have been many iterations of low-cost networks or platforms replacing large organizations or fragmented providers.

  • Travel agents aggregated knowledge on travel, and then services like Kayak and Expedia replaced travel agents.
  • Ebay was a platform for individuals to sell things that were previously sold through local outlets, classified ads or hobbyist conventions. Etsy and Amazon have subsequently expanded on the model.
  • Digital media has given rise to an exponential number of individuals providing reporting, opinion, and content where large-scale organizations just 30 years ago had the only national and global platforms.

How can networks and platforms, especially digital ones, impact your organization and role. Isn’t the driving factor a superior customer experience?

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