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New strategies for the digital age
In an interview we conducted a few months ago, Jimmy Wales said it best: “If you really want to innovate, stop thinking about business models and start thinking about human needs.” The more I work on an ongoing series of reports about industry and transformation, the more these words ring true.
In our everyday lives, it’s easy to take digital transformation for granted. After all, when you have entire worlds of streaming music, who misses commercial radio or monolithic record stores? As services like Airbnb go mainstream, will anyone be nostalgic about overpriced, identical hotel chains? For most of us, the shift from mass market products to personalized user experiences seems natural, and in most cases welcome. But ask any number of industry giants who’ve failed to adapt to this new user-centric marketplace, and the outlook is uncertain, to say the least.
As individuals and businesses everywhere gain access to new digital resources, it’s becoming increasingly clear that old industry logics no longer apply. The cost of producing and sharing information is approaching zero. And the costs of marketing, distribution and even production of products and services are all following the same downward trend. The result is that entire markets and product categories are being created or redefined overnight. And businesses are rethinking nearly every strategy and competitive advantage along the way.
The true innovators we’ve come across in our research and interviews embrace this rapidly shifting landscape. Unconfined by technology costs or market barriers, they’re sharing, collaborating, diversifying, crowdsourcing and opening up to new business networks every day. And always with a single goal in mind: Find the user need, and solve it faster, better and more seamlessly than anyone else. The business model? We can invent that later.
For those clinging to yesterday’s vertical silos, it’s a frightening thought. But for those driving the value networks of tomorrow, it’s the beginning of an entirely new world of possibilities.
We can’t say Jimmy Wales didn’t warn us.
The first full report is here. Let me know what you think.
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