Here in Washington, DC, just two blocks north of the
White House I co-hosted a two-day workshop with Steve Denning last
Thursday and Friday, Revolutionizing the World of Work. The event was
sold out with participants from Goddard Space Flight Center, Deloitte,
Johnson & Johnson, American University, Comcast, Homeland Security,
Kaiser Permanente, and others. We are already planning another for 2012.
I continue to collaborate with other thought leaders on bringing the
future to forward-looking companies, helping leverage what’s on the
horizon for success and impact today.
William Gibson made the astute comment, The future is already
here. It’s just very unevenly distributed. Well, at this
conference we caught a pretty solid glimpse of the future. It is
radically different than common practice in most organizations today.
Case studies from Salesforce.com, Amazon.com, Gore, Cisco, and NASA
highlighted both highly successful work force practices and arcane
attempts at control in the face of overwhelming change.
Turbulence is everywhere: inside the organization, among the customers,
and in industry. Change is happening so fast the word disruption is commonplace. Those
organizations that are holding onto the past or buckling down to try
and weather the storm are seeing their margins erode and their talent
Those that are playing a bigger game, participating in and contributing
to the change are seen as players and attracting top talent. Jeff
Bezos so aptly illustrated this last week. At the Consumer Report event
on Wednesday he was asked when Amazon would release an iPad killer. Here’s an
excerpt from his response:
Most business is
not usually like a sporting event. It’s very common to read blog or
newspaper headlines, and the words “X Killer” is very, very common. I
assume because it works–it must get more clicks. But in real life
industries usually rise and fall together. When it comes to competing
products, however, success isn’t always so black and white. In a
sporting event, there really is a winner and a loser. I think in
business people use that metaphor–the sporting event metaphor is
ingrained in us. Any kind of new product introduction, probably the
company is not hoping to completely kill any other company. They’re
hoping they can be part of something big.
Many CEOs I know feel they are in a killer competition and work against
the other organizations that share their space. What if, like Bezos,
they could read the market as a larger force? And what if they could
leverage their competitors to co-create the future?
Most of us may not feel we have the luxury of Amazon. But Bezos was
thinking this way before he was successful, as was Steve Jobs. Perhaps
it is their mindset that we should be giving more attention to, rather
than their products and services.
I covered the event, Revolutionizing the World of Work, live – with
articles posted on both Fast Co and Forbes’ websites. Forbes registered
well over 1,000 views of each post (1st post, and 2nd). There was also a live twitter feed at #revwork
with insights from participants and our practice partners, Madelyn
Blair, Rod Collins, Michelle James, Deb Mills-Scofield, and Peter
More to come – if you would like to stay current with developments on
Revolutionizing the World of Work, drop me a
In the meantime, are you helping build tomorrow?
What future is
calling that requires your participation to emerge?
All past issues of Seth Kahan’s Monday Morning Mojo are
available on the web here.
All my white papers, essays and
published articles are available on my Free Resources page.
The foreword, introduction, and
first chapter of my Washington Post bestseller, Getting Change Right, How Leaders
Transform Organizations from the Inside Out can
be downloaded here.