Services, channels and experiences matter in old economy industries

old-economy-vs-new-economyIn my last post I spent some time examining the opportunities and challenges of innovating in an old economy industry – the railroad industry.

For some industries, especially those that are asset-light, innovation can seem so simple.  Creating another compelling feature, service or product on top of an already agile set of capabilities can be pretty straightforward.

For old economy companies with infrastructure, equipment and assets, trying to innovate can seem very difficult, because of the history you have to bring along, and because of the standards, platforms and ecosystems that define your value proposition.

So here’s where both asset light new economy companies (Uber, AirBnB, etc) and old economy, asset rich industries can find common innovation ground.  Continue reading

Revolution, Platforms, Digital and the Huge Impact on Business in the Future

combining-forces-industrie-4-0-and-iccWe are all moving from the simple digitalization (3rd Industrial Revolution) to innovations based on multiple combinations of technologies, ushering in increasingly the 4th Industrial Revolution.

This is forcing everyone doing business to reexamine how they will manage this changing environment. There is a need to challenge existing assumptions, question how the operating teams need to work in the future and be ready to continually innovate.

As we gather increasingly around different platforms to undertake our business, we will continue to extend and exploit ecosystems that share and relate to our existing aims, or radically challenge them to force ‘us’ to make changes to our existing business models, so to achieve different innovation outcomes that radically alter the present business landscape.

There is a major impact on business underway, which will give such a different velocity to accelerating innovation and managing increasing disruption. Continue reading

Old economy ecosystems signal innovation opportunities

rail-crossover-points-2Paul and I have been writing mostly about ecosystems and platforms in the abstract to date, not spending a lot of time talking about specific companies or industries.

We took this approach because we wanted to establish a firm foundation about ecosystems and platforms generally, that wasn’t subject to debate about their applicability to one industry or another.

In the next several posts we will be looking at two diametrically opposed industries and the importance of ecosystems and platforms to both of these industries. Fittingly, I’ll be looking at the importance of innovation in ecosystems and platforms for an “old economy” industry – the railroads, while Paul looks at the importance of platforms and ecosystems in a new economy company – Alibaba.

On the (rail)road again… Continue reading

Where the physical and virtual worlds are blurring, thanks to Alibaba.

alibaba-visual-plus-logoIf ever there is one company in my mind that is at the forefront of building ecosystems, platforms and customer engagement, that is the Alibaba Group.

They are so focused on building the fundamental infrastructure for modern commerce, presently comprising marketplaces, payment. logistics, cloud computing and big data that is ‘collectively’ empowering businesses of all sizes to leverage the internet for their own digital transformation.

So who is Alibaba?

“Alibaba Group is an internet company that aims to make it easy to do business anywhere. Alibaba operates a range of online marketplaces that connects buyers and sellers, with the company providing the technology infrastructure to help merchants, brands and small businesses all over the world reach Chinese consumers. Alibaba’s ecosystem includes e-commerce platforms, cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, payments and financial services, logistics, and local services.”

Continue reading